I discovered Sex and the City randomly. I was 17, in high school, and chilling at home for some reason. I must have caught a marathon or something, because I was hooked after that first viewing. 17-year-old Jubi was amazed and enthralled with these four women, living the type of life I imagined I wanted to have as an adult. On the surface, you wouldn’t expect me to be drawn to this type of show – what does a 17-year-old Black girl from the Midwest have in common with four White women in their 30’s in NYC? There shouldn’t be much, but I instantly gravitated to the characters, especially Carrie. I felt a common spirit who was looking for the one thing she ever wanted, love. It’s an experience I related to even as a teenager.
From that first viewing, I was a loyal SATC fan. I missed Season 3 due to living in a dorm with no cable (#firstworldproblems) but I managed to catch up thanks to the cable provided in my intern apartment. I even had the Season 2 box set on VHS, which I watched and rewatched until I knew every episode by heart. After the show ended its run, I bought each season on DVD and they have been played over and over again. Even now, I watch reruns on cable channels, even though I know they are heavily edited. SATC was part of my journey into adulthood and each time I watch an episode, I’m transported back to my younger self.
So you can imagine the sheer horror I felt a few months ago when a realization occurred to me – that SATC is a really bad example of relationships. Sure, it’s a tv show and not a how-to manual, but really, it served as a terrible example of what to do in relationships for its younger viewers. Let me explain…
SATC revolved around the lives of four women and their relationships. The key relationships in the show were between Carrie and Big, then Carrie and Aiden; Miranda and Steve; Charlotte and Trey, then Charlotte and Harry; and Samantha and lots of guys. In each of these relationships, these women made horrible choices, the biggest offender being Carrie and her inability to leave Big alone. Time and time again Carrie went back to Big, even going as far as cheating on Aiden with Big. Why? Cause she loved him. That’s it? Love was making her act a damn fool for a man who acted like he didn’t want her the majority of the time? He’d treat her like shit and she’d claim she was done…until he’d do one little thing and then she’d be back for more.
Miranda wasn’t much better with her constant back and forth with Steve. Steve was actually a great guy and perfect for her, but she made the man jump through so many hoops he could have joined the circus & become a performer. Eventually she got her act together and realized he was the one for her, but you also had that feeling that she felt like she was settling for Steve and their family. Charlotte was the classic “I want to get married at any cost” type of woman and it totally bit her in the ass…In Season 3 she meets Trey, gets engaged, gets married and gets separated…all in the same season!
Last weekend I was catching a few random reruns of SATC and a lightbulb went off in my head. I realized why I gravitated and identified with SATC so much during my formative years – because these four ladies were going through the same things I was going through, at the same time. I’d had a guy in my life that I went back and forth with; I’d pursued a serious relationship with a guy solely cause I wanted to be chose; I had been in love with a guy who treated me like an afterthought. I understood the struggle of going out with horrible dates, hoping to find that great guy in the bunch. I felt the pain of choosing the guy who made your knees weak instead of the guy who treated you like a queen. And I had that great group of girlfriends who helped me through the ups and downs of relationships.
Why does a young woman in her college years relate so well to the experiences of women supposedly in their 30s? Well that’s cause SATC really wasn’t shit. Seriously. I don’t say this lightly. How the hell are women in their 30s out here making the same mistakes that I made at 19, 20, 21? Shouldn’t they have made those mistakes in their 20s too? Shouldn’t you get to your 30s and actually know how to not fuck up relationships? So why are four very grown women making juvenile mistakes? And even when they get to their 40s, they still continue to fuck up – just see Carrie’s stupid decision to marry Big after he left her on their wedding day, as proof of that.
Since I figured this out, I haven’t been able to look at SATC the same way. All I see are immature women making dumb life decisions, instead of entertainment. Each time I see Carrie pining over Big, I see a woman who stuck with a man who left her, then married another woman, then cheated with her, then left her again, and then finally decided he loved her right at the moment she found happiness with someone else. Talk about a basic bitch! She put up with years of Big showing her that he gave not a fuck about her, and she stuck in there just waiting for him to finally give her some attention. Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha all eventually got their act together and figured it out, but not Carrie.
I’ll always be a fan of SATC, and I’ll enjoy the entertainment value…but I will never look at the characters the same way I used to. At the same time, at least I didn’t have to reach my 30s to figure out this love thing and get my act together. If only the ladies of SATC had done the same.