By George Arkley
On TV, threesomes, cheating and anal sex can only mean one thing: Sex and the City. Or, you have finally discovered how to watch PornHub on the big screen. As our favourite show approaches it’s 22nd anniversary this June, I can’t help but wonder: why are we still watching it, and more importantly, should we be?
Back in 1998, Sex and the City was the first of its kind. Darren Star, the show’s creator, decided to abandon the classic romantic comedy structure for a cutting-edge take on real-life relationships. He said goodbye to the roses, chocolate and wedding dresses of the movies and embraced all things sex.
While Sex and the City explores a whole host of sexual acts, sexualities and relationships, it never quite escaped the perfection of romantic comedies. You know, the perfectly dressed woman with the perfect body and perfect apartment. Carrie Bradshaw and her three best friends dress in the latest designer labels and maintain the “fabulous” look throughout. Carrie even attempts to tell us she isn’t perfect by farting in Big’s apartment, Season 1. If one fart makes her imperfect, there is no hope for the rest of us.
Fashion is one of the selling points of the show. The designer labels and Fifth Avenue stores make New York and the four girls the epitome of glamour. But 22 years later, I can’t help but notice the severe lack of diversity. Between Carrie’s rock-hard abs and the slim figure of every main character, I feel out of shape just watching it. If it were broadcast now, would we see plus size models or a woman with thighs bigger than a cocktail stick? Probably not.
However, let’s not forget Cynthia Nixon’s baby body in Season 5. The actress, who played Miranda Hobbs, utilises her real-life baby body to portray the reality of post-partum life. Her swollen boobs, lumpy tummy and stretch marks are the only honest depiction of the female body in the show. Then again, it was the 90s and #bodyposi hadn’t quite hit yet.
The show’s poor diversity doesn’t stop at body shape either. There is a severe case of white privilege going on. The characters have house-keepers, maids, drivers and even, a servant. Fast forward twenty years, and this kind of white privilege would barely make it onto our screens, let alone become a hit TV show.
Granted, many aspects of the show are outdated. However, the ruthless depiction of sex remains cutting-edge. The girls discuss masturbating, three-way sex and faking orgasms. Even in 2020, we still see idealised and glossy sex scenes all over the media. Some might say, Sex and the City launched the Sexual Revolution through revealing what women actually talk about.
Speaking of female empowerment, Darren Star told Vanity Fair: “The ending of the show ultimately betrayed what it was about, which was that women don’t ultimately find happiness from marriage.”
It’s no secret that viewers hated the ending of the show. The girls coupled up with their beloved partners and the writers forgot about the main message. “Bros before hoes.”
But two main themes remain timeless: sex and the city. New York will always be fabulous and sex will always be the first thing we gossip about.