These stylish ladies were sometimes heels
Sex and the City had flawed leads before that caught on and it was insightful about female friendships
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.