Every Sex and the City episode ranked from worst to best

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Carrie: ‘Great love, what does that even mean?’
Charlotte: ‘It means a love that changes you, that shakes you to your core, after which you’re never the same.’

For many women of a certain generation, Sex and the City was a ‘great love’ – and, it can be argued, we were never the same. The show first came into my life when I was the impressionable age of 16. I wanted to be a writer, had no idea about boys and spent all my money on the latest boob tubes and pedal pushers to hit Miss Shop.

Sex and the City spoke to me, which, now that I think about it, was part of its problem – teenagers could relate to Carrie and, to a certain extent, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. I can’t help but wonder what 30 something women thought of them back then.

These days, some of us talk about SATC like an ex that disappointed us but still holds a place in our hearts. So here, like a mix tape, is my inconsistent, messy and completely subjective list of every SATC episode ranked from worst to best, chronicling my love-hate relationship with a show that both influenced and infuriated me.

94. Ring a Ding Ding

Also known as the episode where Carrie has money problems, this is the one I love to hate. Following Carrie’s break up with Aidan, he gives her 30 days to come up with the money to buy her apartment. She suddenly realises she’s spent $40,000 on shoes and, after failing to get a bank loan, visits Big.

In other words, she goes to her ex – the very reason for her most recent break up – wearing what the Instagram account ‘Every Outfit on SATC’ informs me is ‘head-to-toe Chanel’ to childishly and helplessly say, ‘You know money, I want you to teach me what you know about money.’ I’m not exactly on top of my finances, but even I know the basic principles of saving and that spending $400 a pop on 100 Manolo Blahniks equals $40,000.

Kate Erbland articulates her rage at this episode a lot better and in more detail than me in her article for Film School Rejects. If you have a similar opinion, I suggest you check it out.

On a side note, wouldn’t Richard’s personal shopper have been fired anyway for writing ‘Love Richard’ on the card?

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What a Girl Wants: The Best Love Triangles in Pop Culture

One of my favourite chick lit authors, Lindsey Kelk, is set to release her latest book What a Girl Wants this July. What a Girl Wants is the sequel to About a Girl, a story about Tess Brookes that ends with a ‘who will she choose?’ cliffhanger. The men in question are her best friend Charlie, the object of her unrequited love for the past decade, and the arrogant and hot Nick Miller, the man she’s known for one thrilling, sexy week.

While we wait to see who Tess will choose (cough, Nick please, cough), it got me thinking about other ‘who will she choose?’ scenarios in pop culture, so here is my completely biased list of the best love triangles (from the ’90s through to today, of course).

Bridget, Mark and Daniel – Bridget Jones’s Diary
Before Lindsey Kelk, there was Helen Fielding – one of the masters of the chick lit genre. As we all know, the film adaptation starred Renee Zellwegger as the title character, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy and Hugh Grant as Darcy’s nemesis Daniel Cleaver. Is it completely wrong for me to go with skirt chaser Daniel here? It goes against my pattern of backing the ‘nice guy’ in these situations (with the exception of About a Girl’s Nick Miller), but Hugh Grant, in my book, trumps the nice guy any day. I still swoon every time I hear him say, ‘That’s an order Jones’. Swoon.

 

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Kelly, Brandon and Dylan – Beverly Hills 90210

Most of you would probably say that the more famous and better love triangle of Beverly Hills 90210 was the one between Kelly, Brenda and Dylan, and I would totally agree with you. After all, that love triangle gave us one of the best lines from the whole ten years of Beverly Hills 90210 put together. Remember when Brenda caught Kelly and Dylan out on a date, and Kelly defended herself when Brenda called her a bimbo? Brenda’s classic comeback went as follows: ‘Well Kelly, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…’ Oh. May. Zing.

However, we’re talking about the ‘who will she choose?’ scenario here, so let’s bring it back to Kelly’s love triangle with the other Walsh twin. At first, Kelly did a Samantha Jones and chose herself when faced with an ultimatum between Beverly Hills’s bad boy and nice guy, but the pull of the troubled bad boy was ultimately too strong for Kelly to resist. Alas, Brandon ended up being no match for the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Dylan.

This love triangle was revisited years later in an advertisement for Old Navy. Dylan and Brandon’s props – a motorcycle and a teddy bear – played into the classic bad boy vs nice guy stereotypes brilliantly, but neither were enough to entice Kelly, who this time ended up choosing jeans. I stick to my choice of Brandon 4EVA. Da-na-na-na, da-na-na-na!

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Being an Age Chameleon

“There is no greater joy than being part of a group reciting the entire theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in perfect unison”.

I was born in 1981. Two weeks ago, I turned 32-years-old. That means I’m 3 years and 351 days off what Sex and the City’s Carrie and Miranda would call my “scary age” of 36. It also means that I am on the Generation X to Y cusp.

After doing some research that entailed watching the generation feature on Channel 10’s The Project a few months ago and  looking up a couple of articles on that entirely accurate information hub Wikipedia, Australian Gen X-ers are typically defined as those born between 1963 and 1980, and Gen Y-ers from 1981 to 2000. If someone calls me a Gen X-er, I usually deny it, because everyone wants to seem younger, right? I also don’t see myself as sharing a common upbringing with those born in the 1960s and I was too young to really register anyone before John Howard as the Prime Minister, let alone identify with Winona Ryder in that quintessential Gen X-er movie Reality Bites, which was released in 1994, or realise just how pretentious the movie really was (am I right?) Around that time, I was the target audience for Sister Act 2, rather than for Dangerous Minds.

 

Then again, I vividly remember New Year’s Eve 2000 as an 18-year-old wearing a hanky top (remember those?) and finally getting legally drunk on Stollys, and to think that I belong to a generation including people who were just being born in 2000 seems just as far-fetched. I mean, J.Lo released ‘Waiting for Tonight’ for the millennium, and I still think that was about 5 years ago. The fact that it was 14 years ago makes my mind want to implode.

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When Sex and the City Went ‘Splat’

Cynthia Nixon recently admitted to the New York Times that while she’s proud of what Sex and the City did for women, she didn’t like how the first movie linked love and money when Big bought Carrie a penthouse apartment with a customised walk-in closet and, worse, when the audience cheered.

“I remember when we screened the first movie in London, when Mr. Big shows Carrie the closet he’s built for her and the entire audience clapped”, she told the Times. “I found that devastating. Maybe that’s a strong word, but I was disheartened. Because I thought, ‘Is this what women in the audience think true love is? A man who has enough money to buy you a walk-in closet?’”

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Now that Cynthia’s opened the floor to criticism of Sex and the City, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about how I felt the last few episodes of the series did a massive disservice to all the work the previous seasons did to champion single women and how I, as one of those single women in her late teens/early 20s at the time the show aired, felt betrayed by how the series ended. It is a view I rarely share with others due to the fact that the series finale regularly tops ‘best of’ SATC countdowns and because of a conversation I had with someone years ago who asked me, ‘What? Don’t you like happy endings?’ Yes, of course I like happy endings in general, but why does a happy ending have to be synonymous with a conventional happily-ever-after?

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