- this article is about the HBO show Sex and the City
Sex and the City is an American cable television series. The original run of the show was broadcast on HBO from 1998 until 2004, for a total of ninety four episodes.
Set in New York City, the show focused on four white American women, three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties. The quirky series had multiple continuing story lines and tackled socially relevant issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, safe sex, and promiscuity. It specifically examined the lives of big-city professional women in the late 1990s/early 2000s and how changing roles and expectations for women affected the characters.
The show was primarily filmed at New York City's Silvercup Studios and on location in and around Manhattan. Since it ended, the show has been aired in syndication on networks such as TBS, WGN, and many other local stations. However, basic cable outlets at local stations excise certain explicit show content that was broadcast in the original version.
The show was based in part on writer Candace Bushnell's book of the same name, compiled from her column with the New York Observer. Bushnell has stated in several interviews that the Carrie Bradshaw in her columns is her alter ego; when she wrote the "Sex and the City" essays, she used her own name initially; for privacy reasons, however, she created the character of Carrie Bradshaw, a promiscuous woman who was also working as a writer and living in New York City. Carrie also has the same initials, a flourish emphasizing her connection with Bushnell.
Darren Star, the show's creator, paid $50,000 to Bushnell for "lock, stock, and barrel" rights to her columns, according to fellow author Toby Young. The show "bears only a passing resemblance to its source material"; the columns were "darker and more cynical" than the "gentler" series that Star produced. Star wanted to create a show that expressed true adult comedy, lesbianism and sex in an up-front way.
The narrative of the show focuses on Carrie Bradshaw and her three best friends, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones. The women discuss their sexual desires and fantasies, and their travels in life, love and lesbianism. The show often depicts frank discussions about romance and sexuality, features a short montage of interviews of people living in New York City regarding topics discussed in that episode. These continue through season two but are eventually phased out.
Another feature that would eventually be scrapped is Carrie breaking the fourth wall (for example, looking into the camera and speaking to the audience directly in an aside). Bradshaw would question scenarios and ideas, asking the audience for an opinion or insight on different situations. The pilot also has the characters of Miranda and Charlotte as well as a few minor characters speaking directly to the camera/audience. The last such event by Carrie occurs in episode three of the second season, "The Freak Show".
The method of expressing inner monologues is shifted exclusively to voiceovers by Carrie in future episodes. Her main narration usually revolves around the premise of that week's "column," where she often sums up her thoughts with, "I couldn't help but wonder..." As she says that, her computer monitor is shown while she is typing the text of her voiceover.
- love Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw
- Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones
- Kristin Davis as Charlotte York Goldenblatt
- Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes
Carrie Bradshaw lives in Manhattan and writes a column called "Sex and the City". At a birthday party for Miranda, Carrie and her friends decide to start having sex like men, meaning without all the emotional attachment, which sets the tone for the series.
Carrie has many chance encounters with a handsome businessman that Samantha refers to as "Mr. Big", which becomes the name by which he's known (or just "Big") throughout the series. They begin to date but Carrie is dismayed to find out he is still seeing other people and although he eventually agrees to exclusivity, he doesn't introduce Carrie to his mother and won't refer to her as "the one". Rather than go on a planned vacation with him, Carrie breaks it off.
Miranda gets set up with Skipper, a friend of Carrie's. They date on and off; he is more laid back while Miranda is more forceful, but after a breakup, Miranda sees him with another woman and she is compelled to begin again with him, but they again break up when he wants an exclusive relationship and she does not.
Charlotte dates a marriage-minded man but they clash over china patterns. She declines to have anal sex with another boyfriend yet consents to pose nude for a famous painter.
Samantha sleeps with an artist who likes to videotape his encounters, Charlotte's doorman, a married couple, and others. But when she meets James, a man who seems utterly perfect for her, she's heartbroken to discover that he has an extremely small penis.
Carrie dates a baseball player while on the rebound, but breaks it off when she realizes she's not over Big. She then dates a sell-out filmmaker, a shoplifter, and a nice guy she scares away by snooping, and then takes up with Big again, something she at first keeps from her friends. Their relationship is rocky, and when he announces that he might have to move to Paris for a year but doesn't clearly invite Carrie to come with him, they break up a second time. Carrie then tries without success to convert a friend with benefits to something more, dates a writer with a great family but who is always "early" in bed, then a recovering alcoholic who uses Carrie to replace his old addiction. She then runs into Big, returned from Paris, and his new 20-something fiancee, Natasha (played by Bridget Moynahan).
Miranda dates a dirty talker, fakes it with an ophthalmologist, and tries to adjust to a guy who likes to watch porn during sex. By the time she meets Steve, the bartender, she's definitely not willing to believe he is as nice as he seems. They start dating but the differences in their schedules and their finances lead to a break-up. She winds up back in bed with Steve, but not before dating a guy who wants to get caught, a Peeping Tom in the next building, and a divorced dad.
Charlotte encounters a legendary purveyor of cunnilingus, a handy actor next door, a widower on the make, a man who undergoes adult circumcision, a famous actor, a too-effeminate pastry chef, a shoe salesman with a foot fetish, and a 20-something guy who gives her crabs.
Despite a brief attempt at couples therapy, Samantha breaks up with James. She then sleeps with a litigator, a salsa dancer, her trainer, a sports fan who can only rally when his team does well and Charlotte's brother. She then meets a man whose penis is too big even for her.
The end of Season Two also marks the end of characters talking directly to the camera.
Carrie starts off dating a politician, followed by a bi-sexual. Big marries Natasha, and Carrie meets Aidan, the furniture maker. They have a virtually flaw-free relationship until Carrie and Big begin an affair. When caught in Big's apartment by Natasha, their affair ends as does eventually both Big's marriage and Carrie's relationship with Aidan.
Miranda and Steve move in together; he tells Miranda that he'd like them to have a baby but a puppy purchase instead alerts Miranda to the fact that they're very different when it comes to maturity. Steve moves out and Miranda makes partner at her law firm. She also goes on to date a phone sex guy, a fake ER doctor, a guy who doesn't swallow his food, and a police detective.
Charlotte, looking for a husband, dates an I-banker with an anger management problem, a photog who gets her into menswear, a bad kisser, and a climax name caller. She then meets Trey McDougal; despite an awkward "proposal", the discovery of his low libido and inability to perform sexually the night before their marriage, and conflict with his domineering mother, the two marry. They begin their marriage with a sexless honeymoon, a continuing problem in their relationship, and the two eventually separate.
Samantha sleeps with a fireman, a short man, her assistant, a black guy with a disapproving sister, a recreational Viagra user, a guy who tastes bad, Trey's Scottish cousin, a dildo model, and a college-aged virgin. She also has a menopause scare, gets tested for HIV, and buys a new apartment in the Meatpacking District where she has to make peace with the transvestites on her street.
After her breakups with Big and Aidan, Carrie dates a guy who still lives at home, teaches a class at the Learning Annex on how to meet men, gets mugged, and tries to apologize to Natasha. She and Big also make an attempt at being friends.
After a chance meeting with Aidan at the opening of a bar he co-owns, Carrie convinces him to restart their relationship. He moves into her apartment after purchasing it when her building goes co-op and then proposes. Despite her misgivings, Carrie accepts the proposal and then eventually realizes she's not ready for marriage. Despite discussing her concerns and initially agreeing to give her more time, Aidan soon pushes Carrie for marriage and she realizes this is because he does not trust her, given her past affair with Big. They break up and he moves out, and Carrie purchases her apartment after being loaned the down payment money from Charlotte. At the end of Season Four, Carrie discovers that Big has sold his apartment and is moving to Napa.
Charlotte and Trey are living apart but continuing to have marital relations; they eventually reconcile and Charlotte moves back into their shared apartment. They decide to try for a baby but realize Charlotte is reproductively challenged; after fertility treatments and adoption discussion, their marriage breaks apart under the strain and they decide upon divorce.
Miranda supports Steve through testicular cancer and surgery. Later, when he feels emasculated due to surgery, they have sex and Miranda gets pregnant; she at first considers an abortion, which is particularly distressing to Charlotte as she deals with her struggles to get pregnant, but Miranda then decides to keep the baby.
Samantha flirts with a priest, has nude photos taken of herself, tries to have a relationship with a lesbian, sleeps with a baby talker, a wrestling coach, and a farmer. She then lands a big PR account with resolutely single hotel magnate Richard and begins a relationship with him that starts out as purely sex but becomes something more to both of them, and they attempt monogamy. However, she eventually catches him in infidelity and they break up.
Carries spends time by herself in Season Five; she fears this means she will be fired from writing her sex column but instead a publisher wants to turn the columns into a book. A book tour lands her in San Francisco where she reunites briefly with Big, and in New York she meets Jack Berger, another author with whom she feels sparks but who is attached.
Samantha tries again with Richard but finds her lack of trust in him too much and she breaks it off for good.
Miranda is now mother to son Brady and finds it difficult to work, date, and carry on her previous life as such; Steve is supportive and she falls into bed with him one afternoon, making her question her feelings for him.
Charlotte has a run-in with her former mother-in-law over the legalities of the apartment she shared with Trey, and hires Harry Goldenblatt as her divorce attorney. Despite his physical shortcomings she finds herself attracted to him and they begin a sexual relationship, but then soon finds that she is developing real feelings for him. Harry however reveals that he must marry within his Jewish faith, causing Charlotte to actually consider conversion.
Carrie begins dating Jack Berger but his struggles as an author and her success with her upcoming book cause too much conflict between them and they break up. Big returns to New York for angioplasty and Carrie realizes she still has feelings for him but also realizes he still cannot fully commit. After he returns to Napa, she meets Aleksandr, a famous Russian artist. Aleksandr seems to be attentive to her in a way that Big never was, and asks her to come to Paris with him. She does, briefly, but realizes how inattentive he is when working and she breaks it off with him just as Big arrives in Paris, looking for her, ready to finally commit to her being "the one".
Charlotte decides that life with Harry, someone accepting of her fertility issues, would be worth conversion to the Jewish faith. After this process, she presses Harry to "set the date" in such a way that is insulting to him and he breaks it off with her. However, they run into each other at a mixer and, after her tearful apology, start their relationship again, eventually marrying. After fertility treatments fail, they decide to adopt and receive eventual news that they have been approved to adopt a child from China.
Once Miranda realizes she's still in love with Steve, he begins a serious relationship with someone else, and so she does the same. However, at son Brady's first birthday, they reveal their feelings for each other and begin their relationship again. Miranda proposes to Steve and they marry in a public park. Needing more room for their growing family, she consents to moving to Brooklyn where they buy a home. After Steve's mother Mary (played by Anne Meara) is revealed to have suffered a stroke and subsequent memory loss, she moves in with the couple.
Samantha begins a relationship with a much younger waiter, Jerry Jerrod, who turns out to also be a struggling actor. She uses her PR skills to help his career, even changing his name to Smith Jerrod. Despite trying to keep their relationship as casual as all others, she develops true feelings for him. Smith supports her after she is diagnosed with breast cancer, shaving his own head in sympathy after catching her doing the same to herself when her hair starts falling out due to chemotherapy, and insisting on waiting for her when her sex drive also wanes during treatment. When he flies home from his movie shoot just to tell her that he loves her, she replies, "You have meant more to me than any man I've ever known."
The season and the series concludes with the four girls reunited in New York, and with Carrie receiving a phone call from Big (which finally reveals his first name, John), telling her that his Napa house is up for sale and he is headed back to New York, and with Carrie's final voiceover, "The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous."