Cape Town - It’s been a full two decades since the world first met Carrie (Sarah-Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). The effects that the cultural phenomenon had on TV, women, the Big Apple, brunch and the Manolo Blahnik brand are still evident today, long past the show’s heyday.
You could argue that some aspects of the show might not hold up today (in the age of the internet, there’s no way a columnist could live the way Carrie does; the lack of diversity is an issue; and the women’s finances are hardly ever mentioned, even though they all support themselves), but in a lot of other ways, the show still resonates with us today.
Here are five of our favourite moments that we still love 20 years later.
5. "A Woman’s Right to Shoes": Season 6, episode 9
Carrie attends her friend Kyra’s baby shower, where she is instructed to leave her shoes at the door. She’s hesitant, since her shoes cost almost $500 (Manolos, naturally), but she complies, and, sure enough, they get stolen. Carrie goes back to Kyra’s apartment a few days later and Kyra offers to pay her back for her shoes. She’s about to write a cheque, but when Carrie tells her how much they cost, Kyra explodes. She refuses to support what she sees as Carrie’s extravagant lifestyle.
But our favourite moment comes later, when Carrie points out that, in fact, she and her other single friends have been subsidising their married friends’ lifestyles in the form of engagement, wedding, baby shower and children’s gifts for years. Single people, she argues, get short shrift - and way fewer gifts.
We totally agree with USA Today that Sex and the City was at its best when it showed the difficulties in navigating a world built for couples as a singleton. (In the end, Carrie opens a registry of sorts at Manolo Blahnik, and Kyra buys her her shoes after all.
4. "Ex and the City": Season 2, episode 18
The finale of Season 2 sees Carrie finally letting go of Mr Big (for now), sending him off back into the arms of his young fiancee Natasha. She’s realised that he’s happy with Natasha, and that whatever she and he had is officially over.
And the closing scene is one of the most memorable of the entire series, with Carrie walking away in slow-mo in that white dress and her voiceover musing, "Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with."
3. "Splat!": Season 6, episode 18
A lot of fans remember this episode as the one with Kristen Johnston as Lexi Featherston, doomed party queen, who declares that New York is “O-V-E-R”. But our favourite part of the episode is Carrie and Miranda’s massive fight after the funeral, when Carrie breaks it to her friends that she’s decided to go with Aleksandr to Paris. It’s so raw, and so real, and when Miranda says, “Carrie, I love you, come on,” we still have to fight back tears.
2. "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda": Season 4, episode 11
This is also known as the abortion episode, when Miranda decides at the last minute that she actually wants to keep her and Steve’s baby. It addresses one of the more serious issues of any episode, and the most touching moment, which we will never forget, is Carrie saying, “Any day now” when she’s asked when she got over her own abortion. The episode also deals with Charlotte and Trey’s challenges in conceiving, and Charlotte trying to avoid the newly pregnant Miranda is totally relatable.
1. The series finale, "An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux": Season 6, episode 20
Carrie realises that New York City is where she belongs, and when she literally runs from Aleksandr, she’s wearing heels and a long, green tutu. The scene where she runs past a lit-up Eiffel Tower, with the tutu gathered in her hands, reminds us of the white tutu she wears in the opening credits of every single episode. That tutu is shorter, and more whimsical, but, along with the long green one in the series finale, it’s a symbol of Carrie’s status as fairy princess/heroine, and a return to her charmed life after years of struggle. (To read an in-depth discussion of what Carrie’s tutus symbolise, go to this The Cut article.) We are also really partial to the reunion scene with Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, which you’ll see in the clip below.
Stream the entire boxset of Sex and the City on Showmax to relive these and other first-class moments.