So what is it about the show — which premiered in 1998 and ended over 15 years ago — that has us reaching for our dusty boxsets to rewatch? While we can accept some parts of the show have dated badly (like the lack of diversity, for one), others deserve to be praised and recognized for the impact they have made on modern women today. From the importance of friendship to never faking an orgasm, here’s why we’re still watching SATC two decades on.
One of the best things about SATC is that it’s based on real, working women: Carrie Bradshaw with her writing career, Samantha Jones, a PR queen, Charlotte York as an art dealer, and Miranda Hobbes, the law powerhouse. Some of them may have had an inexplicable stash of cash (we’re looking at you, Carrie — what writer lives a lifestyle like that?), but all with good jobs making their own way. Of course, they all had their ups and downs with work – especially when Charlotte gave it all up to become Mrs. MacDougall – but isn’t that what makes it so relatable? For the time period the show was made in, it was refreshing to see women with such successful careers.
If SATC did one thing for women all over the world, it was making them fall in love with New York City. I mean, who doesn't want to live somewhere where you can stay out all night, go to boozy brunches, and meet the love of your life? Because that's what the show promised NYC would be like. Sure, it rarely showed the things that make the city so testing, like rats and subway delays, but it painted a picture of a city where anything could happen. We can only imagine how many people moved to New York because of the iconic show.
Okay, we know the show is about women... but what really would it be without the men in their lives? Of course, Mr. Big was the main heartthrob of the series, but we can't forget some of the other studs who gave us a newly restored faith in mankind. Firstly, Aiden - the one who got away. We all wonder deep down what would have happened if Carrie chose him instead of Big. Steve was an absolute angel to Miranda because we can't deny that she was hard work. Charlotte's Harry was the most loving husband and father ever and who could forget when Smith shaved his head for Samantha? Pure gems.
SATC was the hottest show in town back when it was airing, so it's no surprise that not only were the celebs queueing up to play characters on the show, but they were also eager to appear as themselves. Matthew McConaughey played himself, who was dying to produce a movie version of Carrie’s column. Heidi Klum appeared alongside Carrie in a fashion show, and Hugh Hefner offered Samantha his knee. Truly iconic cameos.
If you watch SATC back today, the number of familiar faces might surprise you. When famous actors weren't dropping in as themselves, they had some very interesting characters. Justin Theroux was lucky enough to be featured in the show twice, once as Jared, a writer friend of Stanford’s who had a thing for giving the thumbs-up and was named one of New York Magazine’s “30 Coolest People Under 30.” He also played Vaughn, a fiction writer who orgasms too fast. Who woulda thought?
Although there are lots of people who think the SATC movies didn't do the series justice, we appreciate them for what they are. The movies threw us lots of curveballs that we would have never seen coming from watching the series: Steve cheating on Miranda, Aiden's big comeback, and Carrie and Big's wedding. Although we never got the third movie that we'd hoped for (anyone who follows Hollywood gossip knows why), the first and second SATC movies wrapped up the storylines nicely and we're quite content with how it all panned out.
As much as we love New York, there was nothing more exciting than when the gals got out of the big city to visit somewhere new. For example, when Aiden took Carrie upstate to his cabin in the woods and it wasn't her cup of tea, or when Carrie moved to Paris for that brief period of time. And who could forget Abu Dhabi in the second movie? We love to travel vicariously through our favorite TV ladies.
Let's face it — we all watch TV to escape from our own lives for a bit, so the fact that the SATC lifestyles were completely unattainable was a plus. What are the chances you'll be a writer with one column due a month, a stupidly lavish apartment, enough money for designer clothes and Cosmopolitans at New York City bars (basically the same price), and get to marry a rich bachelor with a private limousine? It just doesn't happen. A gal can dream, however, and we could do that with our eyes open watching Sex And The City.
There's no love at the end of the tunnel without some broken hearts along the way, and boy did these gals know how to do a breakup. Steve and Miranda broke up enough times that you'll relate to at least one of them, but each time was more devastating. One of the most notable times was when she couldn't handle the puppy he bought them as a baby test run. For us, one of the most brutal breakups was between Carrie and Berger. Their relationship turned rocky when he became insecure over the attention she received from her book and his own lack of success. She wanted to kick him to the curb, but he wanted to try to work things out. Then, he broke up with her via the infamous Post-It note.
Carrie Bradshaw's style was the fifth main character on SATC and you can't tell us otherwise. From that pink tuille outfit in the show's opening sequence to her Vera Wang wedding dress and her Louis handbags, that girl knew how to dress — or rather the show's stylist knew how to dress her. The ladies on the show weren't afraid to express themselves via fashion and there was no such thing as dressing too young for your age. Remember when Samantha wore the same dress as a teenage Miley Cyrus? Iconic.
We've touched on how the SATC lifestyle was unattainable for the most part, but the show also tried to discuss real problems as much as possible. The storyline tackled health when Samantha was diagnosed with cancer. It showed the effects of infertility on a family when Charlotte struggled to get pregnant. It touched on abortion when Miranda had a surprise pregnancy with Brady and also explored overseas adoption.
SATC was one of the first shows that embraced singlehood in women. When the show began back in 1998, all the ladies were in their thirties — Samantha nearing 40 — and none of them were married or even in a serious relationship. Sex & The City showed that there's no need to rush into marriage if you're not sure, and also that being single can sometimes be way more fun than being in the wrong relationship. These ladies were just living their lives, drinking, working, having sex, and spending time with their besties. As Charlotte once said to her girls, “Maybe we can be each other’s soulmates.”
If there's one thing the writers of SATC were good at it was knowing exactly how you felt at all times. They tackled every kind of relationship issue you could think of: emotionally unavailable men, salary differences, mismatched libidos, and more. They had some good advice, those ladies, Samantha in particular — remember: "Women are for friendship, men are for f*cking."
We couldn’t have Sex and the City without the sex, could we? From self-love to threesomes, anal to oral, dirty talk to STDs — it was all there. Everyone learned a thing or two from the show, most importantly that you can still get pregnant with one testicle and a lazy ovary. The show didn't take sex too seriously. It also didn't shame women for needing sex as much as men. We all like sex, okay?! Okay.
Although Sex and the City focused a lot on the ladies' relationships with men, we all knew that the most important relationships they had were the ones with each other. These women were supportive and kind to one another. They made each other laugh. They gave each other tough love when they needed it (well, at least Miranda did). They stuck by each other in bad relationships and made sure to not let men come between them. Lots of fans aspire to have relationships like Carrie and Big's, but we just want a girl gang like Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte and Carrie's.