I couldn’t help but wonder…. by SJV
20 years ago today, Season 1: Episode 1 of the freshest, feistiest, most fabulous TV series we’d ever seen before was aired on HBO (in the US) and Channel 4 (in the UK), changing the lives of a whole generation of women forever, and the social landscape immeasurably.
Inspired by a dating column written by Candace Bushnell for The New York Observer, Sex and the City followed the ups and downs of Carrie Bradshaw, a sex columnist for the (fictional) New York Star, and her friends Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York.
20 years ago, aged 28, I was just one of the millions of women around the world who tuned in during those early years of Sex and the City to marvel at the language, the location, and the lifestyle and was utterly hooked. Despite a right old ribbing by the critics, the show went on to be nominated for 210 awards – including 54 Emmy Awards (winning 7), 24 Golden Globes (winning 8) and 11 Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning 3). Sarah Jessica Parker herself was nominated for 32 individual awards, receiving the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, 4 Golden Globes for Best Actress and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance – so, you know, sucks boo to them!
Over the course of 94 episodes, Sex and the City launched the Cosmopolitan as the drink of choice, brought about the (courtesy of a 30 second clip filmed outside Magnolia Bakery) cupcake phenomenon, made the Jimmy Choo, the Manolo Blahnik and the Christian Louboutin the only shoes to be seen in. It introduced us to The Rabbit, the Brazilian, frozen yogurt, the ‘zsa zsa zsu’ and the revelation that ‘he’s just not that into you’.
Even today, aged (on the cusp of) 48, some of my favourite life mottos are quotes from Sex and the City. Who can forget ‘I love you, but I love me more’, ‘Honey, they don’t call it a job for nothing’, ‘Tell me I’m The One’, ‘I curse the day you were born!’, ‘I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.’, ‘There is a good way to break up with someone, and it doesn’t… involve… a post-it!’, and ‘When Big colours… he rarely stays within the lines.’
So listen, hundreds of real journalists are writing real pieces about Sex and the City at the moment, and I’m NOT a real journalist and this isn’t a REAL piece, but I do want to wish a very happy 20th Anniversary to Sex and the City. You will forever be ‘Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours.’
SJV (née SJP) xx
Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is out now in all good bookshops.
‘A fascinating retrospective of the iconic and award-winning television series, Sex and the City, to coincide with the show’s twentieth anniversary.
When Candace Bushnell started writing her “Sex and the City” column for the New York Observer, she didn’t think anyone beyond the Upper East Side would care about her adventures among the Hamptons-hopping media elite. But her struggles with singlehood struck a chord, making her a citywide—and soon nationwide—sensation.
Beverly Hills, 90210 creator Darren Star brought Bushnell’s vision to an even wider audience when he adapted the column for an HBO series. His four main characters: Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha, forever branded the actresses that took on the roles, redefined women’s relationship to sex, and elevated the perception of singlehood. With their fashion-forward lifestyle, they launched a barrage of trends, from fabric flower accessories to Manolo Blahnik shoes to Cosmopolitan cocktails.
Sex and the City and Us is the story of how a columnist, two gay men—Darren Star and fellow executive producer Michael Patrick King—and a writers’ room full of women used their own poignant, hilarious, and humiliating stories to launch a cultural phenomenon, pushing the boundaries of television and ignited a national conversation about single women and sex in the process. While the show’s feminist merits continue to fuel debate, it taught viewers—male and female, gay and straight—about sex, and demonstrated that single women could support each other through life’s tribulations, even as men came and went.
Featuring exclusive new interviews with the cast and writers, including star Sarah Jessica Parker, creator Darren Star, executive producer Michael Patrick King, and author Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City and Us brings us behind-the-scenes for a nostalgic look at a TV series that changed the way women everywhere see themselves.’