Flashback: Sex and the City

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Sex and the City is one of the most iconic television series with a central cast that focused solely on women. Four women to be exact, although that’s debatable as it all eventually focuses on the central protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Carrie is a relatively successful writer in New York who has a column all about sex and relationships. Although we follow Carrie and her trio of friends, Charlotte (Kristin Davis), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), everything we gain from these episodes is about Carrie’s musings on relationships, sparked by her own. I think the only time we veer off this topic is when a £485 pair of Manolo Blahniks get stolen at a party – Carrie has to take them off because of children, and she fights for her right to choose shoes over babies. You go girl.

Despite rolling out six seasons over six years of this same format where we watch this variety of women, who of course represent some form of feminist stereotype – the fashion obsessed writer, the W.A.S.P, the promiscuous cougar and of course the hard working lawyer – for some reason it worked. Sex and the City was nominated for 50 Emmy awards, 24 Golden Globes, Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list and finally the TIME magazine listed it as one of its “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME.” Catchy right?

So what is it about this show that seems to stick? Today television is at an all time high with such great shows as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Sherlock, Breaking Bad, Borgia, and of course Broadchurch. It is because despite women’s lib, and the enforced social idea that women can, and will choose their path in life, this show brought to light that now we have that like men, or so we think, we have the ability to wobble. I don’t mean because of weight or too high heels. This is purely about outlining that women and men are equal, and this is displayed universally in the concept that actually no one knows what they’re doing in life. This isn’t the cool political strategy of Homeland, or the funny let it all hang out and be embarrassing Girls, though there are moments. After all, Carrie got dumped by a post-it note! This is simply a galley of difference, within the same format.

Criticism of the show has largely argued that the show is too glamourised, too over the top, and finally that Carrie is a neurotic self-obsessed air-head. Though some of this may be true back in 1998, this show was competing with the likes of Friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer which were all about showing real people, even when faced with supernatural monsters. This show avoided the realist pit-fall and instead conveyed that there are, still, a lot of women who want to have it all, they just might not be sure what it is yet. So why not sit back and relax and enjoy watching someone else’s relationship drama while judging which outfits really are trés chic, and which ones need to be disposed of. Though eventually you will have to admit to yourself that you will always be Miranda.

Sex and the City was created by HBO Original Programming and distributed by Warner Bros. Television.

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BA English student at University of Southampton and Editor for The Edge (2015-16). A deep love of reading, theatre and all things entertainment.

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