Like many millennials before me I recently found myself in a Sex and the City hole — watching every episode, back to back, from the awkwardly dated pilot to the fairy-tale-in-Paris finale. I loved the series when I was in high school, and still partially credit a similar post-breakup binge in 2004 with inspiring my move to New York, back in the days when the DVDs were always stacked up next to my TV. I wanted brunch with the girls, cabs all over Manhattan, and all the shoes. But this time, as I sat on my bed glued to my laptop's glowing screen, I found myself cringing. Some things were not quite right.
First, Carrie is pretty terrible. Take, for example, her first breakup with Big. At the end of season 1, Carrie takes issue with Big because her idea of commitment is going to church with him and his mother, while his idea of commitment is taking them on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean. So, when he plans the latter, she breaks up with him on the steps of her building while he’s there, with a cab, about to take her on holiday. How could I have ever thought that this was irreverent and free-spirited, and not downright insane?
More than the characters' sometimes erratic behaviour, the city they live in is nearly unrecognisable. Carrie says that it takes 10 years to become a New Yorker, a milestone that I hit last September. In that decade — coincidentally, the decade that SATC has been off the air — the city has rapidly changed. Manhattan is no longer the sole desirable borough, transgendered sex workers are far from a fixture on West 14th Street, and a weekly columnist can hardly even dream of living alone in a one-bedroom off Lexington. Yet, while many parts of series' portrayal of the city feel dated, others are still strangely recognisable — and in rare instances, the show was even ahead of its time. We break down what holds up and what falls flat, ahead.