At its best, Sex and the City showed the heartwarming, hilarious, and occasionally shocking ways that women grow together in deep friendships.
For Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, sometimes that meant helping one of the team remove a stuck diaphragm from her vagina. Other times, it looked like one of the women taking care of the other when she had the flu. And in one of the show's most controversial plot lines, that meant Charlotte deciding to loan Carrie $40,000 for a down payment on her apartment — after Carrie initially berates her friend for not offering to help.
"If people were pissed and hated that Carrie did that, I'm OK with that," says Amy Harris, a producer and writer on SatC. "The biggest fight we ever got into in the writers' room was about the money," she told CNBC Make It. "That was a very big debate."
No surprises there. Bank of America's recent Friends Again report revealed the ways that friendship and money don't mix. Seventy-one percent of people — across the age spectrum — said they had loaned money to a friend and never been paid back. Millennials, ages 18 to 34, were most likely to come up short, making Charlotte's defense against Carrie's initial anger ("I love you. But it's not my job to fix your finances. You're a 35-year-old woman. You need to learn to stand on your own.") seem perfectly on point.
Plus, Carrie wasn't exactly the most reliable person with money. She'd amassed, at minimum, $40,000 worth of (often exquisite) shoes, but had less than $2,000 to her name when she goes in search of her loan, suddenly hit with the reality of how expensive being a renter or owner is in New York City.
Harris says she firmly believes Carrie "learned a lesson" after Charlotte loans her the money. "I do believe she sat down every month and wrote Charlotte a check," she says (though any paybacks must have happened off-screen). In reality, it is unlikely that most people would ever get there. In Bank of America's survey, people admitted that they had gone the distance to avoid a friend they owed money, from ignoring their texts or calls and pretending not to see them, to outright blocking the other person on social media.
I love a happy ending, too, as Harris says she prefers, but it's hard to see how this situation would have ended so warmly IRL. Even with more people under 36 buying homes for the first time, becoming a homeowner is still out of reach for many millennials — whether they buy shoes, avocado toast, or are extreme couponers. In a 2015 study, young people whose families helped them pay for college and later assisted with a down payment "[accounted] for more than half of the Millennial homeowners in Zillow's data, though they account for only 3 percent of the total Millennial population," per The Atlantic. "Only about 9 percent of Millennials whose parents were able to contribute to their post-high school education were also able to help them purchase a home — and the group that had such significant help is an incredibly low percentage of the total Millennial population."
Carrie may not have gotten help from a parent, but she did get significant financial help from a Charlotte — something very few people could ever dream of doing.
Harris demurred when CNBC Make It asked if Carrie was ever good with money. "I don't want to judge her," she said. "Money is a tricky, complicated thing. She spent it well on things she enjoyed, and luckily it all worked out well for her."
Regarding judgment being a poor way to change people's habits, Harris is right at least. Even if it's wishful thinking, may we all end up with such good luck, incredible shoes, a nice home, and amazing friends.
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