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Why Are We Still Obsessed with ‘Sex and the City’?

It’s been how many years since the last episode aired and yet here we are, watching reruns of the reruns.

10.27.15

Also relevant: Does television have a women problem?  Or would you rather just muse on the best shows to re-watch?

On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 4:33 PM, Leandra Medine wrote:
Given that we’re about to embark on the last leg of the Sex and the City diet like ten years following its final season, why do you think we’re still so obsessed with the show? There’s a level of resonance beyond just you and me, right? I mean, according to Google analytics, our readers like the diets, so what is it about the show that keeps on giving?

On Oct 21, 2015, at 8:20 PM, Amelia Diamond wrote:
I have almost too many thoughts on this.

The first is that…at least for people our age: Clueless was our (my) first glimpse into fashion, casual sex, dating, drama beyond what you learn from your friend down the street. It’s so glamorous and scary — but also, you don’t get any of the jokes.

And then with Sex and the City, I don’t think I saw my first episode until…when makes sense? High school? But by that point, I got the jokes. I was in the club. Initiated.

Still not part of their world, but hooked.

…That’s like, half of a half of a half a fraction. Why do you think?

On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 8:15 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
So you think we’re still into it because it made us feel part of a club? But wouldn’t have Clueless done that too? I think, and I really could be wrong, that it’s more about the exposure that it provided to the kinds of scenarios that make growing up feel so fascinating. It totally eclipsed the 20-something experience and glamorized reaching your thirties.

And doing that while single!

No one on television had ever turned the spinster stereotype on its head because no one had presented it as anything but miserable. These women proved the power of friendship and for me redefined what makes companionship great. Romantic partnerships are wonderful, but they’re not everything if you’re missing that soul piece.

On Oct 22, 2015, at 10:09 AM, Amelia Diamond wrote:
That’s a HUGE part of it too. But with Clueless, you couldn’t join the club because you didn’t get the jokes. By the time we watched SATC, we got the jokes, so we became their friends.

The exposure part of SATC was probably why we became hooked, but the reason I fell in love with it and STILL care about it is the fantasy. It’s like our version of science fiction. And their world was glamorous! Samantha makes PR look super fancy. Carrie makes being a writer look like you never have deadlines and can afford a studio. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s a gallery girl — you cannot have a more “NY job” than that. Miranda’s life was probably the most real, which is why no one ever wants to be “a Miranda.” But it’s still all fantasy.

I have to admit: the aspect of 4 single woman was never comforting to me. Samantha is the only character who didn’t make it look terrifying. But I am single and in New York City and it is not that terrifying.

On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 2:15 PM, Leandra Medine wrote:
You’re right about Miranda. No one wants to be a Miranda because that’s reality rolled up into a ball that lives on the Upper West Side. I just wonder if that also defeats the purpose of the thesis, which at its root is that the reason we’re still obsessed with SATC is because it broke down the single girl experience and made it stylish.

Question though: why was the idea of being single in NY never comforting to you? Was it because the girls made it look terrifying? If that’s the case, what element of the show resonated best for you? Was it the friendship? The drinks? Carrie’s NY Mag cover?

On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 4:32 PM, Amelia Diamond wrote:
No, that thesis stands, too. I don’t think the fantasy element negates the show’s celebration of singlehood. It definitely glamorizes it, but still: SATC made it badass to be single. It made single women eligible bachelors. I’ve been technically-single for a long time in this city and though I’ve had moments of not wanting to be, it’s always been something I’ve embraced. I’m sure that comes from SATC. It’s fun to be single in your twenties in Manhattan.

What was not comforting was the relentless hunt. Carrie chases Big from the moment she meets him. In that episode where Charlotte says, “I’ve been dating since I was 16,” I felt exhausted for her and with her. I’m in no way running around looking for a husband and to me, at this point, a date is just a dinner with someone new. But the thought that this “phase” in my life could theoretically last (according to the rules of the show) until who-knows-how-long? Good lord.

What resonated most was that there was this magical city awaiting me that would, no doubt, support and put forth the best, most exciting years of my life. Do you think the single bit held more weight for you because you grew up here? It wasn’t a magical, undiscovered territory for you. It was just home.

Also, I’m really shitting on this show so it sounds like I didn’t completely love it. I do. I can quote almost every episode verbatim. But…the friendship part? Theirs as a group always seemed kind of fake.

On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 7:07 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
You didn’t connect with their friendship? I literally built Man Repeller as a response to it. (Let me clear that up: I felt like they were my BFFs and provided a sense of camaraderie even though they are fictional and have no idea who I am and I wanted to recreate that experience online only not scripted).

But I think we’re veering too far away from the initial question, which is still not answered: why are we STILL obsessed with SATC? I, for one, will choose an in-bed SATC marathon over socializing any day of the week — what is that?

Of note is probably that it now feels dated — like the experiences are not at all those of a woman who actually occupies the lifestyle they’re supposed to portray. So maybe it is the fantasy.

On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 8:26 AM, Amelia Diamond wrote:
The women were all connected by Carrie — the other 3 didn’t really have independent friendships with each other; Sam and Charlotte weren’t side-boobing on a separate chat outside of the group chat; Miranda probably called Charlotte “Carrie’s friend” when first describing her to Steve, you know?

Charlotte’s “What if we were each other’s soul mates” speech was touching and probably true. I feel that way about some of my very closest friends. I just don’t think Charlotte was really speaking to everyone at the table.

BUT YOUR QUESTION: We still care because of nostalgia, one, but two (and more importantly), because the scenarios of the show are still relevant – they remain the guide book to being a 21st century woman, single or not. Like big sisters, Carrie, Sam, Charlotte and Miranda went through everything before us so that we could go back and use it as a reference. You’re never alone no matter how weird a date or awkward a sexual encounter. You’re never alone with sexism at work or a huge fight with a friend or a broken heart. These women went through it all so that when we go through it and make mistakes or don’t know what to do, we turn to the show and there they are, going through it too.

Do you think that’s it? And if it is, do you think it will get old once we finally grow up?

On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 8:50 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
You’re right about their relationships with each other and Carrie as the centerpiece of the friendship. And I think your final point, about why we still watch it, or care, is a wise one. They went through the motions of our stuff for us, or rather with us. And even if it wasn’t realistic per se, the intention was there and so was the empathy, which might be the really important part of this. Empathy! The only thing a vulnerable person wants, (actually, I’m speaking for myself, so a vulnerable me) is true empathy. Understanding of the exact, isolated thing I’m going through — and as we navigate the years that lead up to our thirties, there are plenty of references embedded in the Sex and the City narrative that give that to us.

And there are good clothes.

Here’s my question, though: why don’t you think we’ve actually grown up yet? Do you really believe we’re less grown up than they were?

On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:40 AM, Amelia Diamond wrote:
Do you feel grown up? I don’t. Older and more mature and savvier and different from who I was 5 years ago, but not grown up.

Considering Carrie’s age alone by the final episode, we’re not there yet. The SATC wiki says Carrie moved to the city at age 20 and that she’s 35 by the fourth season, which makes her roughly 37 by the show’s end. Age is just a number, yeah, but it also counts for something when we’re talking about life experience. There’s no magic age where I think I will feel “up,” but it’s not my current 27.

On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 11:46 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
You know what? There’s an episode of Friends on in the background right now as I type up this e-mail and I’m thinking…Sex and the City was the opposite of a sitcom. It was one of the first shows I could think of that wasn’t made up of a string of extremely unrealistic, hypothetical situations. The sort of precursor to reality television, only airbrushed and edited and therefore far enough removed from reality to hit too close to home. But we all recognized the plight and wanted to feel it. No other show really does that. It’s either too realistic or too unrealistic. And who are the friends we make on TV? It’s a different day.

Feature image via HBO.  

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  • I WANT TO BE MIRANDA. She purchased an amazing Manhattan apartment all on her own. She went on to buy a Brownstone in Brooklyn before the Brooklyn boom. Miranda will swim in cash once she sells that place.

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      • streats

        Miranda: Broken… broken… broken

        Steve: Don’t you mean: Brooklyn… Brooklyn… Brooklyn

        This will forever remain one of my favourite lines in the whole series.

    • meme

      Preach. Miranda was always my favourite.

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    I am very much a Miranda personality-wise (definitely not fashion-wise!).Honestly I think the obsession with SATC is becoming generational. I am in my 30s and my friends who are in their late 20s – early 30s all love the show and we still reference it. But my friends that are younger? Crickets. I will make a joke or reference a specific episode and they will fake laugh with blank looks in their eyes. Kind of how you do when someone makes a joke that goes right over your head and you don’t want to look like you have no clue what they’re talking about.

    • Albre

      I think it appeals to all ages! I am 21 and all my friends have seen all the episodes and rewatch them all the time, I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t at least know the main characters. It’s pretty well known throughout the teens too, I think partly to do with it’s popularity on instagram with there being many memes of the one-liners from the show. I am from the UK but many of my friends from the US are the same.

    • Bella Charlwood

      No way! I’m 18 and have watched all seasons and movies 3 times. And all my friends love it too! Appeals to any woman i think

      • Bella Charlwood

        Defs popular in Australia

    • Abby

      I disagree! I am 20 and have watched the show since my freshmen or sophomore year of high school. I’ve seen all the episodes. Lots of my friends around my age watch it too. Just the other day we were debating which one of us was the true “Carrie”

  • maggieroseregan

    I, like Amelia, didn’t watch SATC until high school. So this show, for me, was like a guidebook that my (somewhat conservative) mother couldn’t/wouldn’t give me. I got the content and got the jokes – I was part of the club – but it was something I could watch alone at home after school and then discuss with my friends socially. Plus, the amazing fashion! Also, SATC was filled with lessons. It wasn’t a lesson in a Full House “awwww”-inducing kind of way, it made you feel mature and grown up. You almost didn’t realize you were learning these lessons because they were your friends.

    • EmmaBird

      Totally. SATC didn’t condescend to it’s audience with feel good moments – it wasn’t afraid show bad things happening to characters they had made you fall in love with. It was a fantasy, but a fantasy realistic enough so we saw men cheating and women struggling with infertility and exes moving on before you did and women having to divorce the ideas they had of themselves from the reality they became.

  • Emily

    SATC was the first time I saw women on television that were who I wanted to be when I grew up – strong, independent, ambitious, very well dressed, and having the kinds of romances I could only dream of as a quiet high schooler in a small town in the northwest. Yes it’s the fantasy that makes it so addictive, but not in the way that Game of Thrones is an absorbing fantasy, it was the ultimate fantasy of my future. Yes they were obnoxious almost all of the time, but that’s why there’s four of them, so you don’t get tired them.

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      I wanna be them when I grow up and I’m pretty much grown up.

  • Hunter

    I had this exact thought on Sunday…watching a marathon of SATC. I feel like as a twenty something girl in NYC or not, you’re expected to know every line of every episode, I’ve never met a girl who didn’t! I learned so much from these women in high school and even more so now because they’re totally relatable and it’s like they’re going through it all over again with you. But I thought to myself as I was getting dressed ‘Why do I want to watch Charlotte marry Harry for the fourteenth billionth time? I need to go run my errands.’ But of course, I sat back down and watched Charlotte spill wine on herself. Again.

  • sepiolidae

    Happy to be a dissenter and point out that the show is also a good barometer of how self-aware you and your friend group has become. When my friends talk about catching a glimpse of SATC on TV, we talk about the things we loved (Miranda’s maturity, Samantha’s freedom) but also its dismal race relations, and habit of turning queer identities into a series of puns. It’s all “Did the shoes distract us from the racism, guys?? Or were we just too young to care?” And the weird sexism – – you’re only a real woman if you’re having a certain kind of great sex. It still remains a touchstone for highschool memories, but for some of us it’s antiquated in a way even Clueless and its 2-hr runtime, early-90s release isn’t (Amy Heckerling’s work remembers that hey, there are women of colour, too! And many of us also care about clothes and shoes and sex!)
    Tl, dr: Clueless is timeless.

    • streats

      This is so true of so many shows of that era (late 90s/early-mid 2000s) that I’ve been rewatching. Friends, The OC – when you go back through them and realise how many actually-homophobic jokes there are, and how generally heteronormative they are, it’s embarrassing. But I still love them for the nostalgia.

    • Sanna Wege

      True, there is one episode of SATC that I always always skip, because it’s so queer-phobic and full of negative stereotypes. The one where Carrie is dating a bi-sexual man. All four women are behaving hideous throughout that entire episode.

  • Victoria

    I remember my mom watching this when I was really young, and I watched a few episodes with her, and loved all the clothes but mostly the aspect of their friendship and the fact that they had coffee together all the time. I watched the whole series again in high school and had a different perspective. I loved the glamour of it (clothes! perfect job! perfect house!)just like i did as a little girl but i also loved how they dealt with struggles including the ones in their own friendships. I think the reason it’s still sticking around even ten years later, is that some one at any age can appreciate it and love it (my mom being older, me as a young girl, and me as highschooler) ! You can always find something in that series to relate too or to be fascinated with/escape to. love love love sex and the city

    • Victoria

      Also i feel like clueless is sticking around just as much as SATC! and i don’t think SATC is lasting in the younger generations, unlike Clueless

  • Adam Vossen

    I have to disagree when you say the three women were only connected via Carrie. I think it’s important to remember that the show was told through mostly her POV. The viewer was made privy to Carrie’s one-on-one with each of them whereas if Miranda and Samantha had a one-on-one it may not have been used because it wasn’t as integral to the narration via Carrie. Even if they were initially all linked through Carrie, isn’t that a huge part of New York friendships? You meet someone through an internship, and then you meet one of his/her friends, who you hit it off with, and then a year later you’re no longer really friends with the first person, but now you and the second friend have two other friends and you all hang out. Long winded, yes, but friendship histories usually are. That is the biggest issue I have with Girls (to make a now-banal parallel between the shows); I watch(ed) it and felt no camaraderie between any of them, even (especially) Hannah. I could never decide if that was intentional or just bad acting, but I never picked up on any warmth between them and their histories seemed forced (college friends! really? still? you can’t meet anyone else?) at best. Of course Samantha and Charlotte are polar opposites, and yes the likelihood of them being friends in real life isn’t great, but there were still instances where the show depicted how the two of them shared with/learned from/loved each other, and it felt authentic and I believed it. Believe it! Present tense!

    That is the biggest reaction I had to this post, although I could go on AD NAUSEAM about why I still find myself (last night, to be exact) watching decade + old episodes of a show about white people dating white people with seamingly endless bank accounts and no MTA cards.

    • Bella Charlwood

      Totally agree on the friendship thing! Evidence in Charlotte having them all as bridesmaids. If they were only friends when Carrie was around, only Carrie would be the bridesmaid.

    • I agree, there are definitely scenes that underscore that the women are friends and close. For example, when Miranda contemplated an abortion and Charlotte couldn’t get pregnant. They ran into each other on the street and Miranda respected her wish to be left alone but told her she’ll walk behind her in case Charlotte wanted to talk. The scene speaks to how well Miranda knows Charlotte. Miranda also you said “you are my people” when Samantha revealed her cancer diagnosis at her wedding reception.

      I also agree with your assessment of Girls. But one could argue that that’s the point, that 20 somethings get stuck in these friendships that were founded on getting high or drunk at a party. But that’s just not entertaining or interesting to me

    • Abby

      I agree! We only see things from carrie’s pov for the most part. That’s the whole point of the show.

  • Bria

    I only started watching sex and the city this past summer (still have a season and a half left to go, shout out to hbogo!) and that’s because i was only 11 years old by the time the show went off the air. but i finally understand the hype and i love it. i proudly identify as a “miranda” and have no shame whatsoever. miranda seemed to be the only one with common sense and always checked the other women when they were being insufferable (especially carrie!)

    • I watched the show in its entirety both at age 18 and 25. I appreciate it far more at age 25

  • Shelby

    Having grown up in a *supremely* suburban town in Oregon, I think SATC was, for me, so aspirational—just a representation of a lifestyle and a way of being a woman that I hadn’t previously recognized as real (or realizable). It’s probably still questionably “real” (again, THAT apartment and THOSE shoes on a writer’s salary?), but the show opened up so many possibilities in my teenage mind. That, and it was the first time I had ever watched a show that featured nudity and sex so unabashedly. I think I may have actually checked out several seasons from the public library (lolol) and then secretly binge-watched them whenever I was home alone for that reason.

  • Isabelle

    I have been watching this show for it feels like an eternity, but every time I watch it I still get just as excited even if I know every word by heart. I don’t know if its Carrie’s clothes or just the interesting plot of the episode that made me watch it in binge sessions. I was around 14 when I started watching, of course nothing made sense but regardless I still loved to watch. Now I am 17 and own every season in hard copy. I mean who doesn’t want to be Carrie? I really thought (and maybe still want to think…) that it is possible to buy many a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s with her job. I just think it was the dream of having that life made me want to watch the show and I am still watching to this day.

  • Natalie

    The friendships may have felt “fake” at times, but they are certainly something to aspire to. The women on the show treat each other respectfully and always support one another. Most impressively: they rarely bail on their lunch dates and they NEVER talk sh*t behind each others backs. I just love that. I certainly can’t say the same thing about a lot of other female-centric shows (see: Girls).

    • EmmaBird

      YES. I love how hard these women go for each other. I actually really dislike all the characters individually, but the relationships between them is what keeps me addicted. I love seeing how ride or die they are and the lengths they go to for their friends.

    • One of the more powerful scenes (or at least one that sticks with me) was the Samantha/UPS guy episode in a later season. Carrie says “But I would never do that” and Samantha calls her out on her shit and points out that she never judged Carrie.

      Sex and the City is associated with waving a flag for female sexuality, but it also showed how complicated it is. The first episode is about Carrie trying to “sleep like a man” but later judges Samantha for doing so

  • I have to say, I think Clueless is just as eternally popular as SATC, it’s just not talked about as much because it’s one 2-hour-long movie as opposed to 47 hours of TV time (yes, I calculated it haha).

    I still adore SATC and watch it all the time (thanks, HBO Go). For me, I grew up in a tiny town and it made NYC seem soooo amazing and glam and fun (similar to Friends, another will-live-on-long-past-our-deaths show). I think the swanky clothes/apartments are pretty believable for everyone except Carrie (Charlotte has family money, Miranda’s a lawyer, and Samantha works for a successful PR firm–$, $, and $), and that just makes it more watchable. And being younger when I watched it, it made growing older seem sexy and cool instead of terrifying. If they’re all that hot in their forties, it makes the hands of time seem less threatening and more of a pleasant inevitability that you can ride out in style. Now that I’m older, I feel the same way about it–the age-is-just-a-number mentality is comforting (and a reminder that getting older doesn’t have to equal a blunt bob and sweater set just because that’s how it’s done elsewhere).

    The only things that niggle at me now that I’m older are the total lack of diversity, and the cringeworthy classism (the scene where they’re getting pedis and Charlotte calls someone “working class” before they all give an awkward, cringing glance at the Asian women buffing their toes? Gross). But it’s a lighthearted HBO show, not a documentary, and it’s still as entertaining as it ever was.

    • Craig Bowers

      I was in high school/college during SATC–and not sure why I’m talking about it now–but the diversity/classism was even a bit of an issue then. There is the episode later in the show where Miranda FINALLY dates a black man. (Of course it is Miranda that does this. She is by far the smartest.) And the idea of having your goal in life being to own a lot of shoes annoyed so many of us. The materialism was prevalent, but it was recognized and it even made of itself sometimes.
      I do worry that many people want to “be” like them without realizing that they weren’t perfect or divine in any manner.

  • bd

    So I’ve been revisiting episodes after a break of a couple of years. Like everyone else in and around my age, SATC was the guiding force of my late high school through college years. But I have to say, my first time through, I think I loved it because I was supposed to. It wasn’t until I was older (but still not old, say, 25) and got some special full set that I realized how great it truly was. Now, as I watch again, I have a different perspective, as I am the same age as they were(ish). At 33, the struggles and triumphs they document resonate with me as more realistic (though the manolos are still a pipe dream). I feel like I can identify with the characters more and the scenarios that seemed almost too absurd have happened to me–or a friend or a friend of a friend. Suffice it to say, despite the land lines, the show has staying power, and it’s fun to rewatch from a different perspective. Now if only I could afford to live such a dope lifestyle without crippling debt in New York…

  • THANK YOU AMELIA DIAMOND. While I can re-watch SATC on a Friday night with the best of them, I completely agree that the depiction of close female friendships pissed me off. I mean, how inauthentic could they be, and none of the writers really challenges or questions it in episodes?!
    It’s The Carrie Show in all her friendships, not the delicate and precariously balanced dynamics of a true group of besties (side chats YASSS)… Like all these self-sufficient, independent women are supposed to happily take it and not get annoyed by the one-sidedness of the friendships, if not with each other with their collective one Best Friend. Who is totally (I love her) self-absorbed. Sorry, but a mature woman deserves mutuality in her functional relationships and she’s not too insecure to insist on it.

    The only exception is Miranda but why don’t we want to be her! ??

    Even that falls flat though cause in real life Miranda would basically have that fight in the beginning of Season 2 “call me when you want to talk about something other than men blah blah” (I already admitted I love this show, k? ) – over and over again until she moved on to a better-suited friend group.

    Also how do none of them have other friend groups?! Except carrie. Most frustrating portrayal of female friendships out there.

  • Lua Jane

    I’m definitely a Carrie type, but so wish I was a Miranda. I make terrible romantic decisions and get attached to emotionally unavailable men. Also put most of my, hard earned money into footwear instead of investing into something a bit more substantial, like real estate for example. Sad thing is, when I watched the show originally, last one I wanted to grow up into being was Carrie. Actually, I maybe liked Samantha a little less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sex possitiveness, but boy, was she crude and raw about that. To me she somehow had a very unsexy way of being “sexy”. Like a wanton middle aged matron, a’la Mrs Robinson in The Graduate. I loved Charlottes enthusiasm, and still hope to find my own Harry Goldenblatt one day.

  • kforkarli

    As a 29-year-old Australian woman, I didn’t watch all of SATC until a few years ago. I think it is still relevant because it is still fun and likeable. The characters give us all (WOMEN) a frame of reference…We all can nod knowingly when talking about the Burgers we’ve meet (ON A POST IT?!!?)… It is just a fun, enjoyable and ultimately, unreal life – just how TV should be.

  • Bella Charlwood

    Miranda, the first time watching SATC was the down to earth one that no one wanted to be. But after watching it again a few years on i realise that Carrie is kind of whiney and never takes a strong opinion. As a woman in a time where being opinionated and outspoken is increasingly looked upon more favourably Carrie’s on the fence stance pisses me off. The authors try too hard to make her appealable to everyone and in turn have created a shitty person and a self-absorbed friend. In hindsight, i think Miranda is the nicest of them all because she takes no shit and supports her friends. I want to be Miranda!!

    • Bella Charlwood

      However, no one can deny Carrie’s wardrobe kicked ass

      • Craig Bowers

        Watching a few episodes again, and Carrie’s insecurity is obvious. She is never certain of who she is or what she wants–other than fabulous clothes! Now I do think she wants to be good and kind, and probably is, but Miranda is by far the most valid of the four.
        And actually, I bet that if I was friends with all of them and in need of help, I could call Samantha and she wouldn’t be shy about giving me advice or support. It might not be logical and it would be very subjective, but she would be there.

    • Brit

      here, here!

  • Caroline Hogue

    I’ve had two major breakups so far at the age of 29. One was Aidan, one was Big. I binge watched this show after both breakups and I felt stronger and ready to face the world again by the time the series ended! It’s definitely been a guide, a generalization of major emotions that people deal with when dating. It’s like a culmination of all the magazine glamour, gossip and sex advice incarnate. I definitely watch it for fashion advice, too! The series, I think, did start out a little more realistic than it ended as sometimes I feel like ‘the girls’ were playing out caricatures of themselves, but it definitely remains a solid favorite of all time. It’s scary that I started watching this show when I was a virgin and next year I’ll be single and 30! Life imitating art? Oh god, I feel like that’s another bucket of worms when it comes to how this show had an impact on women.

  • Brit

    It’s ok to pretend the movies never happened, right?

    • Leandra Medine

      I think so.

  • K

    I think the show’s continued relevance has a lot to do with the constancy of the group’s friendship and how that appeals to the 20-something demographic. After leaving college, moving to new cities, feeling isolated, missing friends, making new friends, dealing with new jobs, etc., we have the consistency and intimacy with these four women that we may not have (but really, really want) with our own friendships/relationships/cities. And it’s okay, because the fact is that these women met after they moved to New York. So instead of making us feel bad for not having our own Carrie/Samantha/Charlotte/Mirandas at 24, it gives us something to aspire to. Because every generation goes through the “belly of the whale” experience of their 20’s, the show’s concept–featuring women who have made it past that point–still resonates with that age group, even if the delivery seems a little dated. I was in elementary school when SATC first aired, and my friends and I still watch reruns of reruns.

  • sss

    Carrie is 38 by the last season. And of course, she makes it such a big deal that the Russian doesn’t want to have kids which means that by choosing to stay with him she is electing not to have children. SATC is popular because the women are unapologetic about not fitting stereotypes in life or on a sitcom. It was the only show of its time to not focus on family roles or friends who eventually take turns sleeping with one another. (never a fan of friends) None of that behavior used to exist on television from women characters and it is what cultivated such a huge following. I think they were true blue friends. I really don’t get all the tallk about their love for one another being fake and one sided.

  • Love this.

    So, this could be because I’m devastatingly narcissistic and overly concerned about my life’s relevance in the greater scheme of things, but I know that for me, the biggest draw was the fact that — no matter what awkward/painful/ironic thing happened — it was always part of this cool, “wise”, reflective story.

    There is something so alluring to me about the notion of going through really trying experiences and being able to turn those around into tidy anecdotes that aren’t shameful, or hidden, but instead championed as learning experiences that tie into bigger lessons about ourselves, our relationships, our shoes, etc etc.

    Almost quite literally every time I go through something difficult (subjective), I think about what my end-of-show voiceover monologue would say about it. A dangerous habit in it’s own right, sure, but a chemical-free coping mechanism that I’d like to think’s saved me, like, a million dollars in cocaine & cigarettes.
    To then spend on shoes.

  • Um the same reason I still watch friends, it doesn’t require a lot of mental chewing and the clothes are pretty to look at. It’s escapist. Besides the relationship stuff, it gives simple luxuries to bring to our own lives, like cupcakes. Nobody is actually objectively THAT gorgeous (besides courtney cox and kristin davis) but you get sucked into their easy charisma and then you want to walk and talk and dress like them. Or at least I do.

    Except for high heels. Hate high heels.

  • Mahori Inose

    I am 25 and all my friends love the show. Everybody at least can name the main characters even here in Japan. SATC is kind of cults.

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  • Caro

    I always watched the show for Carrie- for her clothes and hair (I like to think wr have similar texture). I was just talking to my mom about this- I think I was bored with what was happening on other shows and then all of a sudden: boom. And then, of course, it was exciting to hear about sex. And, the love stories and the depiction of romance and flirting made me swoon. I’m a total romantic so to see how Carrie did it- I was obsessed.

  • Kelly

    I just currently finished yet another SATC binge of season 3 and it will never not be my go to show. Even when I’m in the middle of another show or have really ANYTHING better to do SATC will always be my number one choice. It’s still relevant! I still want to move to New York City and have three best friends and dress like Carrie Bradshaw. It’s still the dream to me, which is why it’s so great. Somehow it transcends time and has become something all women can resonate with. Also, to add to why no one wants to be ‘a Miranda’ I have to mention her style… I mean, that one look in the park with the blue rain jacket and bucket hat!!! EW. And let’s not forget when she runs hides from her ex in huge overalls and a puffy winter coat…COME ON MIRANDA! For me, I can see past her overall demeanor but she falls far short behind the other three in regards to fashion.

  • Kate

    Ok I gotta take issue with one comment – I always saw all four women as friends! Yes Carrie is the center piece, but I think that’s partly because the show is from her POV, so we rarely spent a lot of time with the other characters without her (outside of their dating lives, of course). But I never thought Miranda would introduce Charlotte as “Carrie’s friend” by the time we’re introduced to the characters on the show. I think at that point, they’re all relatively close.

    As for the “why do we still care” question, my 2 cents is that – similar to what Amelia said – this show is still one of the most honest and relevant commentaries on what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century. I started watching the show as a teenager, and initially was mostly drawn to their lifestyles – the clothes, the apartments, life in NYC. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more attuned to the female-centric issues the show tackled throughout its run, particularly in the early season.

    Yes, as the seasons progressed, I think the show got more and more fantastical. But lately I’ve been watching a lot of episodes from the first season, which premiered over 15 years ago, and I’m blow away by how progressive the show is. Certainly there were issues regarding lack of racial diversity, many characters were very one-dimensional, etc., but I really can’t name another show that I relate to as much regarding my relationships with men and my friendships with other women. Girls sort of had a moment for me, particularly just as I was finishing college, and how my relationships with certain friends were changing during that time. But starting with Season 2 of the show, I ceased to find those characters as relatable, whereas the older I get, the more I find myself relating to the SATC ladies.

    Not to keep rambling, but I also think that part of the reason we still care about the show is because we, as women, still face the same issues in 2015 as the SATC characters faced in 1998. There are still the Charlottes, the women for whom it’s important to get married, start a family, etc. There’s the Mirandas, the ones who are more concerned with professional success, and might struggle with intimacy, having a child by accident, etc. The Samanthas still live in a world of slut-shaming, and there’s the Carries, who just want that ridiculous, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love! More importantly, I don’t think it became socially acceptable for women to pursue these different paths until the late 20th century (and it’s still not acceptable in some parts of our country). So SATC was really on the cusp of the changing societal norms with regard to women, and that change hasn’t fully materialized. Thus, even while the show may be outdated in some respects, its overarching storylines are still relatable because most of us are still living through them in our daily lives.

  • Lilly

    I wrote a whole paper for uni a few weeks ago that was pretty much about how SATC was and is talked about today, and so much of the analysis (academic and popular) is still pretty divided! A lot of the (feminist) discussion tends to want to make conclusions about its worth as a feminist text: is it empowering, or is it a depoliticised version of feminism, a postfeminist erasure of feminist diversity? It’s an argument that I think is a little oversimplified because it assumes some sort of taste hierarchy where some texts are ‘bad’ for women and others are ‘good’?
    Aside from that, I feel like it’s stuck around at least partly because it managed to cover so many topics and get to the heart of how they’re thought about whilst staying somewhat general – it’s super well written, I think. We can laugh at it and with it, which is a bit of a winning combination.

  • Laura De Valencia Kirk

    To me is always about reverse engineering Patricia Field’s ideas.

  • Kayla

    Reading this while watching Sex and the City*. The show has and always will comfort me in some way or another. Whether or not it is even relatable to my life, it helps me escape. I watch the show when I’m happy, sad, and with no shame on a Saturday night. I usually have it playing the background somewhere while I study (I think my senior thesis paper is starting to sound like Carrie Bradshaw wrote it). The show makes me feel better about the world in all its fabulous glory, no matter how much it reminds me at times that I’m single. I <3 Chris Noth & HBOGo.

  • Ali Glass

    I think as a teen, a lot of people myself included, just wanted to bask in the glow of Carrie’s world. I wanted so badly to live the fantasy that is her lifestyle, without really considering how unrealistic it is. Part of the reason I am so obsessed, to the point of being able to quote every episode is that each time I watch it, as I “grow up” characteristics of each woman start to resonate with me, and I start to realize that being Carrie is not all it was cracked up to be, when I had no notion of what adulthood would be like. Now it’s more like I want to be a well rounded version of the four of them, because each woman has some sort of lucrative quality another doesn’t– I enjoy the balance of the unlikely friendships.

  • Alexis Fernandes

    I never watched Sex and the City in my life for one special reason, I almost NEVER watch movies, lol. I only watch like 10 or 11 in my entire 29 year-old life, so, as you can see it’s very rare.

  • I can’t personally relate to their sex life, but for me the stories just connect as a woman trying to figure things out. However, the friendship was my main connection! I just love their bond and the fact that they make you feel like you’re there and part of that friendship. I also feel that some of their life experiences made them a little more realistic, like how in many episodes they didn’t get their way. Remember that guy Samantha was dating with the maid that pretending she hit her?and I love hearing myself laugh out loud when Charlotte’s vagina was depress
    Miranda ” you’ve never seen yourself”
    Charlotte “I think is ugly”
    Miranda “Well no wonder is depress”

  • Lolo

    I feel like the next job for you is to investigate SATC sleepwear….and then locate where we can find all of the amazing, white, knee-length and midi white nightgowns that Carrie Bradshaw wore. PJs are, after all, the next thing everyone is talking about…