SATC: The Legacy

“You’re such a Charlotte.”

“This is just like that episode where Carrie has to choose between smoking and Aidan.”

“He’s like my Mr. Big. Not in the sense that he’s my destiny, but in the sense that we’re basically having an affair.”

“Why can’t I get pregnant? I mean, Miranda got pregnant after one night of sympathy sex with one-ball Steve!”

miranda

“I’m mostly a Carrie, but with a splash of Samantha.”

“Remember that episode where Carrie freaks out about all the money she’s spent on shoes over the years? That’s how I feel about my finances.”

“I learned what kegels were from Samantha.”

“He broke up with me via email. That’s almost as bad as a post-it.”

post it

“Ever since the Charlotte/Trey proposal episode, I can’t stop using the word ‘alrighty’.”

“I’m a new woman. I feel like Miranda after Samantha gives her her hair appointment.”

“I don’t want to find my Mr. Big, I want to find my Harry.”

“It’s like, Season Two when her only income is writing her column for the New York Star, and she has the same Dior saddle bag in three different prints – do you know how much those bags cost?? Well trust me, she can’t afford them.”

“Can I pull off a tulle skirt?”

sex-the-city-intro-3-o

“Socks… men as socks… this article socks.”

^^ That’s what S wrote to me last night, when discussing ideas for a new Beauty Coup post. For those of you who don’t know, there is a nine-year age difference between S and myself. She is the Charlotte to my Samantha, in more ways than one. And while there are occasional differences in our pop culture experiences of the world (we definitely didn’t watch the same children’s shows), there’s one tenet that holds strong in its sway over both of our lives: Sex and the City.

We’ve both seen every episode, and so have you. We can quote many episodes, and so can you. We not infrequently relate the stories of those four women to our own lives, and so do you. All of this is true because SATC was unlike any show that came before it, and nothing has quite filled the space it left behind.

carrie1

It’s been ten years since the last season of SATC aired. In those ten years, the sanitized SATC movie and the atrocious sequel-that-shall-not-be-named have somewhat overshadowed the series, devaluing the cultural contributions of what was truly a groundbreaking show.

You’ve heard it all before – how SATC depicted women talking about sex, openly and sometimes crassly; how the focus of the show was on the female friendships, and how the men in their lives often took a backseat to a friend in need; how each of the four women had their own distinct goals and ambitions, further separating them from the once presumed Female Be All End All of love and marriage.

What you might not know is that even though the show’s creator, Darren Star, is a man, there were a lot of women at the helm of SATC, directing quite a few episodes in the first three seasons (prior to Star’s departure from the show), and featuring prominently in the writer’s room throughout the series. In the late 90s / early aughts, this was a significant shift in an industry that remains highly male-dominated. Let’s also remember that SATC only exists because of the source material from author Candace Bushnell, paving the way for a world where more and more women are the show runners for their own series.

four gals

Of course the show had its flaws. There was a lot of privilege on SATC, of both the racial and financial variety. All the same, SATC arguably blazed the trails that led us to Broad City, The Mindy Project, and Orange is the New Black – female-centric TV shows that are far more colorful in both representations of ethnicity and economic realities.

At the close of the Sex and the City series, the show cements its feminist underpinnings with a nod of the hat to being a phenomenal woman and having a room of one’s own. In the final episode, after all the ups and downs of friendship, the many and varied romances, the families formed and the choosing of choices, Carrie left us with these simple, powerful words:

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”

cheers

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