First aired: 6th June 1998
Sarah Jessica Parker – Carrie Bradshaw
Kim Cattrall – Samantha Jones
Kristin Davies – Charlotte York
Cynthia Nixon – Miranda Hobbs
Willie Garson – Stanford Blatch
Ben Weber – Skipper Johnston
Sarah Winter – Elizabeth
Scott Bryce – Tim
Bill Sage – Kurt Harrington
Jeffrey Nordling – Capote Duncan
Chris Noth – Mr Big
Synopsis: RCarrie Bradshaw is narrating the story of British journalist Elizabeth and American banker Tim as they begin a love affair. It’s all fairy tale, but one day Tim stops returning her calls. This casual end to what felt like a real relationship to Elizabeth leaves her cold and embittered as she tells the story to Carrie, who is adapting it for her column called Sex in the City. We now get a bunch of talking heads cut scenes with men and women pontificating about love and relationships. This highlights that fact that men and women were as bad at communicating their wants, needs and intent as they are now. We see three of Carrie’s friends in this scene PR agent Samantha Jones, art buyer Charlotte York and corporate lawyer Miranda Hobbs. All four meet for drinks and all talk about wanting to have sex without feelings, like men do.
On a different day, during lunch with camp talent agent Stanford, Carrie notices notorious ex Kurt. Despite having been back to have her heart broken a couple of times, she tries an experiment and offers to meet him for some afternoon delight. After getting some lovely attention to her downstairs, Carrie leaves and bumps into a handsome well dressed man who helps her with the contents of her handbag, which is mostly a purse and condoms. There is clear chemistry between them.
At lunch with her friend web designer Skipper, the subject of sex without feelings comes up and Skipper is a lot more into having a proper relationship and Carrie agrees to set him up with Miranda at a club opening that night.
At the club, Skipper and Miranda are not getting on that well, Skipper is earnest and considerate, whilst the acerbic Miranda is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Samantha arrives with Carrie and has her sights set on a rising star in property development. Carrie takes a look and finds it’s the handsome man from earlier, but backs away for the sexually confident Samantha.
As this is happening the fourth member of this group is the more conservative Charlotte who is having a date with Capote Duncan. They end up at his place to look at a painting he has recently bought. Charlotte is keen not to have sex on this occasion, but arranges another date for the weekend. He gets that and is respecting that. Thing is he is horny and gets in her cab home, keen to try his look at the club were the others are.
Outside that club, Miranda is trying to ditch Skipper, before he leaves, the shy Skipper gets bold and plants a kiss on Miranda, who is glad of it. Samantha tries her look with this new Mr Big, but he’s clear that he’s not interested. It’s not a complete waste for her, she ends up at home with Capote. Mr Big however finds Carrie outside the club trying to get home and offers her a lift. They talk in the limo he’s in and she explains her column and it’s current theme of ‘Sex like men’ he understands what she means, but he knows she’s not like that. The confusion over this is based on the fact that she’s never been in love. She’s quite taken aback by that and when she gets out of the car outside her home she asks if he has been in love.
Notes: This show really needs to be viewed in two ways, one as a TV show in and of itself and also in it’s historical context. Lets get that out of the way first. Women talk. That is not news to almost anyone, but the bit that might take you by surprise is that women talk about everything..EVERYTHING. But TV wasn’t doing that. Sex is a large part of the human experience and yet on TV it’s often used as fodder for tittilation or filler when it isn’t being just ignored all together. This show amongst others changed that. These women talked about all kinds of stuff and it was refreshing to see this reflected on TV. This was fairly ground-breaking and opened the doors for TV to talk about more stuff, because this show was something of a success and has changed things in the cultural landscape.
But this is a 22 year old show, so lets look at it as a show.
This first episode does the job of introducing the characters in a novel way, allowing you to see their point of view, before they become part of the plot. Which is good, because this is a very thin plot. A woman is writing a column and eats out, llike a lot. The only thing we see of her home is the bedroom and her laptop, every other scene is her eating out (Well apart from seeing her ex, which almost led me to write a bit of a double entendre, which you can write yourself) or getting drinks. The ensemble cast do shore up the rough parts of the story and you are kind of drawn into the rest of the girls, who each have a single primary personality trait. We get uptight yuppie, sexually agressive and cynical on top of Carrie’s tinge of narcissism.
There is good stuff here though, the openness of the discussion and the battle of the sexes elements are well presented, even if there is a lot to date the sexual politics of the 90’s and the cast are doing well with what they have. Being the token ‘nice’ girl isn’t a role that allows much to be likeable, but Kristen Davies is given enough to charm the screen as she tries to woo Capote and her double take as he gets into her cab is great comic timing. Likewise Cynthia Nixon is also great, but the cynical girl who is smart, but has a limited filter is something I am already a fan of, so that wasn’t much of a surprise and Chris Noth is fun as Mr Big, who is full of cheeky charm. I’m not sure what the problem is here, maybe it’s a fact that it’s dated, or that the other two leads are less likeable or that there doesn’t seem to be anything to the show due to it’s 22 minute time limited, but I just didn’t take to it. Was it important? Yes, was it needed? Yes, there’s not doubt that more female led shows were needed then as now as popular culture needs more and different voices. This could have been a better show and it doubtlessly did do that, but I’m not looking at whole series am I? I’m rambling a bit and this is a bit of an incoherent post, but sadly that matches the subject matter.
But seriously though, did the woman eat nothing in her own house?
Does it work? Yes, this shows women as friends, rather than rivals in love and open about sex and their lives.
Does much need fixing? Yes, this show is in severe need of a solid format.
Does it stand up? Not very well, it’s a product of it’s time, but there’s been worse examples.
Do I want to watch the next one? No, I didn’t particularly like the lead and knowing her voice would be the main one in each story wasn’t going to make me want to carry on.
Did I enjoy it? I enjoyed some of it, but not all of it.
Overall: 3 out of 5. This is an okay show that was worthy of rewatching the first episode of.