6 Ways Sex and the City Drew You In From the Start
Fondly remembered as the 30 minutes that introduced me to my four favorite TV friends, the Sex and the City pilot stands out as a turning point in boundary-pushing TV with female relationships at the center. Sex and the City took the humor and “friendship-goals” of its female-focused forebears Mary Tyler Moore and Golden Girls, and turned up the volume. Free from the grips of network censors, Sex and the City put it all out there without any apologies, like the big sister/best friend who tells it like it is, without trying to protect you from the awkward or messy bits. Here’s how.
It made you believe in true love…
Executing one of the greatest bait-and-switches in a TV pilot, Sex and the City begins with the love story of Elizabeth and Tim, who seem like a perfectly compatible couple. Seduced by the fantasy of an instant connection in one of the most romantic cities in the world, viewers are sucked into the possibility of effortless romance; a real-life fairy tale, only to realize it’s too good to be true.
...and then dumped you back down to earth.
Nobody explains the perils of modern dating better than our girl, Carrie: “Welcome to the age of un-innocence. No one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember,” she declares. “Instead, we have breakfast at 7 a.m. and affairs we try to forget as quickly as possible.” The candor of her comments, although spoken in 1998, ring true to the challenges of putting yourself out there in a city where the expectation of romance is as prevalent as its skyscrapers.
It reinforced the power of female friendships...
When Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte get together for Miranda’s birthday, the four vow to stop searching for the perfect guy. Although this scene doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel test, it sets the stage for a show about the relationships the women have with each other in addition to those they have with men.
...and attempted to defy gender stereotypes.
Samantha Jones’ frank views on casual sex were ahead of their time: “If you’re a successful saleswoman in this city you have two choices: You can either bang your head against the wall and try to find a relationship or you can say ‘screw it’ and just go out and have sex like a man.” What Samantha meant was it was OK for women to have sex without emotional attachment. In a culture that still slut-shames, this idea remains a big deal.
It’s still empowering AF.
After running into a mistake she made when she “was 26...and 29...and 31,” Carrie decides to take Samantha’s above recommendation for a spin. Carrie leaves her tryst feeling “powerful, potent and alive,” and this scene is a refreshing example of a female character who has autonomy over her body and choices. Samantha mentions this is an age when men and women are finally on equal financial footing — why shouldn’t they have similar approaches to sex?
And allowed you to assess your personality more accurately than via Myers Briggs.
Admit it: You’re either a Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha (or a combination thereof). The four archetypal icons are instantly relatable, refreshingly candid and maintained a bond unrivaled by another female-foursome until Girls premiered in 2010.
Buckle up: After you watch the pilot, you’ll be hooked. One episode down, 93 to go...
All episodes of Sex and the City are available on HBO.