These stylish ladies were some­times heels

Sex and the City had flawed leads be­fore that caught on and it was in­sight­ful about fe­male friend­ships

StarMetro Toronto - - DAILY LIFE - Jo­hanna Sch­neller

I’ve been a Sex and the City fan since it pre­miered on June 6, 1998 — which means I’ve had to de­fend it for 20 years. De­press­ingly, that hasn’t got­ten any eas­ier over time.

De­trac­tors dis­miss S&TC for the same (so-called) rea­sons they dis­miss Hil­lary Clin­ton or Kath­leen Wynne: They pick at this or that flaw, but what they re­ally mean is, “These women make me un­com­fort­able. They’re too in­sis­tent, too present, too forth­right, too needy, too an­gry, too happy, too in­de­pen­dent, too flawed — too much. They’re dif­fi­cult. They don’t be­have.” Of course, those are the same rea­sons we cel­e­brate male an­ti­heroes, from Gre­gory House to Wal­ter White, but tele­vi­sion can be sex­ist, too. The stars of Sex and the City, from left: Kristin Davis, Sarah Jes­sica Parker, Kim Cat­trall and Cyn­thia Nixon.

Car­rie (Sarah Jes­sica Parker), Sa­man­tha (Kim Cat­trall), Mi­randa (Cyn­thia Nixon) and Char­lotte (Kristin Davis) strode onto a TV cat­walk that was just be­gin­ning to em­brace an­ti­heroes.

Amid the lite an­tics of That ’70s Show and Friends, an in­te­rior de­signer named Grace (Debra Mess­ing) was besties with a gay man named Will; a bad girl (Michelle Wil­liams) was com­mand­ing at­ten­tion on Daw­son’s Creek; and at­tor­ney Ally Mcbeal (Cal­ista Flock­hart) was all pouts and prick­li­ness “Snap­pish,” her as­sis­tant, played by Jane Krakowski, would chide, glid­ing away).

What makes the S&TC four­some le­git­i­mate an­ti­heroes? They did what they wanted. They messed up. They hurt peo­ple. They hurt them­selves. But they also did a lot of things that elec­tri­fied view­ers. They felt en­ti­tled to healthy sex lives.

They ex­pected or­gasms (un­like the next-gen­er­a­tion quar­tet on Girls). And they did not ditch each other for men.

The se­ries delved into weighty sub­jects: in­come dis­par­ity, class di­vides, in­ter­ra­cial ex­pec­ta­tions, re­li­gious dif­fer­ences, the anger of cer­tain men, the self-loathing of cer­tain women. The con­ver­sa­tion Mi­randa and Car­rie have while wait­ing their turn in an abor­tion clinic is a quiet master­piece.

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