Like many people, I was very excited that Sex & The City was launching a reboot. Also like many people (although the overlapping venn diagram is very small) I had not watched the original series. As a result, I had less than one month to watch the entire show. Every episode, every season. Obviously, it took me a lot longer than just one month to watch the entire thing, and I want to save everyone else from the inevitable fate of not being able to watch the reboot because they haven’t seen the original. So: here’s a recap of every single season of the original Sex & The City TV Show!
In season 1, we meet the main cast: Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda. All of them are single, and looking to meet a guy, although their motivations differ greatly. I decided that it makes the most sense for all of these seasons to just break down the season arcs by each of these main characters. In case you don’t know, Carrie is the main character and narrator, so we know the most about her. Here we go.
Carrie is writing a column called Sex & The City, hence the show name. Carrie tries to fuck like a guy (aka no emotion), then she wonders why married people look down on nonmarried people, and then she meets Mr. Big. Mr. Big, from what I hear, is going to be a bit of a recurring character. They go on their first attempt at a date in episode 4, although it ends up not working out due to time constraints and then Big bringing is crying friend on the date. Shortly thereafter, they start dating, although we find out Big doesn’t believe in marriage. Because of that, she nearly marries her gay best friend Stanford, who needs to marry a woman to come into his inheritance. Big and Carrie have some more ups and downs, but break up at the very end of the season because he refuses to introduce her to his mother or say that she is the one.
Samantha is busy pretending she is a model and fucking all of the guys who only fuck models. She dates a variety of different guys, none for very long. That’s literally her entire arc. At one point, she tries to reform a man, but it doesn’t work out.
Miranda is the short haired girl of the group, and she ends up dating a younger boy named Skipper. Skipper is the “nice boy” and Miranda isn’t that into him, but it’s working. They end up breaking up, and Miranda is more or less single for the rest of the show. People think she’s a lesbian at some point, but she decides she most definitely is not.
Charlotte is the girl who wants a relationship. She wants to get married. In episode 4, her perfect boy Brian asks her to have anal sex. This launches a fairly sex negative plot for the rest of the episode, but Samantha (the one who is portrayed as a hoe) seems on board for the whole thing, so maybe not thatttt sex negative. She later becomes briefly obsessed with her vibrator, and says a lot of things that seem to imply she’s not actually into men.
Season 2 begins essentially where season 1 left off, or so it seems. Time is a bit variable on this show, so I think it was actually one month, but that’s all the same.
Carrie is upset about losing Mr. Big, and appears to be a bit of a mess as a human. She is going through being single in NYC, but on episode 5 she ends up going on a date with Mr. Big. She decides not to sleep with him though, and goes home. She eventually goes back to dating him, telling her friends after a few weeks, and they begin to date regularly. They have many problems, and she has to change him and multiple of his behaviors, because he’s sort of a shitty boyfriend. However, by the end of the season she tells him that she loves him. He doesn’t say it back. Don’t get too comfortable though. They break up in episode 12. Carrie pouts for a bit, says a bunch of anti-therapy bullshit, and bounces back to a quick recovery. By the end of the season, Big comes back from Paris ENGAGED and Carrie is crushed but has weird closure moments.
Samantha opens the season dating the boy she met at the very end of last season, but rather than taking any joy in the fact that he was in love with her, she is upset about his micropenis. She ends up breaking up with him and going back to sleeping around. Unfortunately, a non-affair with a married man gets her blacklisted from every club. She also dates an old rich man at one point, although that ends briefly. Not much else interesting happens.
Miranda buys her own house and is mostly single. She experiences sexism the entire time she tries to do this, which was a fun and more real issue to talk about than just the sex issues. She gets a bit more of a man hating arc in this season than she did on the one before. She ends up dating this cute bartender who really cares about her, and although they have a rocky start, by the end of the season their relationship seems to be going well. They break up because of a wage gap and lack of goal alignment, but at the end of the season they come back together for a brief friends with benefits type thing.
Charlotte also has a fairly strong man hating arc, and states that she fakes orgasms and thinks all men let her down. Charlotte continuously tries to reform men, but fails. Every man she dates is a short-lived “I’m going to marry him” that seems to end by the end of the episode. There’s some biphobia in her plotline because she dates this man she thought was gay but was not, and the girls call it “gay straight” or “straight gay” when he could just be… bi. Charlotte continues to be shocked by sex while having more boys than everyone except Samantha.
Season 3 once more greets us with 4 “single” women. We open in Staten Island, and they’re all going to have a good time and live their best lives.
Carrie meets this politician judge from a fundraiser and they begin to date. She doesn’t go to Staten Island with him though because she’s scarred from Big, but then ends up going, and then they date for real. Unfortunately he has a piss kink and that ends their relationship. She then dates a young bisexual guy and the entire cast says a bunch of really biphobic things which are not true and are in fact very harmful. She moves on to a guy who makes her give up smoking, which she tries to do for him. While dating perfect non-smoker boy, Carrie sees Big at the opera, and panics and runs away. She sees Big repeatedly after that, and then he tells her that he’s going to leave his wife for her. He then says that he won’t, but keeps pursuing her for some reason. Carrie and Big sleep together while she’s still dating the perfect boy, Aidan. Carrie and Big have a full on affair. Natasha (Big’s wife) catches Carrie with Big, and so now the secret’s out and Carrie says it’s so over! But then she tells Aidan anyways and he breaks up with her. Carrie’s column may be becoming a movie soon.
Samantha dates a short man for a few weeks, because although he was short he was also funny. She then falls again for a black guy, but they’re forced to break up because his sister doesn’t want him dating a white girl. Season 3 not doing great in the problematic department. At All. Honestly I always have trouble writing Samantha’s recaps because Carrie narrates her as this character who is only interested in sex and is sleeping with a new man every night, but in reality she likes her relationships just as much as everyone else, and will date men repeatedly until it doesn’t work out. We finish up Samantha’s season arc with her complaining about pre-op transgender hookers, which is still a very real situation many transgender people find themselves in, but the way it’s talked about on this show was not great and pretty transphobic. On the bright side, Samantha never misgenders the women, although Carrie does frequently in her narration. When Samantha throws a party to become friends with them, Carrie does a weird blaccent thing that made me even more uncomfortable.
Miranda technically is in a situationship at the beginning of the season. Her and Steve are hooking up but saying that they’re just friends. He wants something more and eventually they end up becoming something more. Miranda gets chlamydia, which shows the importance of regular testing if you’re having casual sex, folks! Her and Steve break up in episode 8/9, which was crushing to me because I thought they were genuinely cute together. When the girls go to LA, Miranda really lets loose and starts getting more in touch with her overtly sexual side. Miranda starts dating one of Carrie’s exes from 8 years ago. Unfortunately, he’s an asshole to Carrie, and so Miranda breaks up with him and he becomes an asshole to her too.
Charlotte dates a guy who is a horrible kisser, so she has to dump him. She then dates a guy who calls her a bitch/whore in bed, which makes her uncomfortable and then she says a bunch of offensive things about whores so we’re 3/4 in characters with problematic plot lines this season and at the time of writing this line I’m only on episode 6! She dates this banker guy, and then proposes to him, to which he says “alrighty”. So she’s engaged after just a few weeks. And she’s going to be married! Unfortunately she’s never had sex with him and when she does she finds out that he can’t get hard. She ends up fleeing her marriage to join the rest of them in LA. Once she gets back, she continues trying to help Trey (her husband) have sex with her. This is the longest running plotline of the entire show so far, aside from Carrie/Big. Trey and Charlotte end up separating because he refuses to even try to have a sex drive. So now Charlotte is 34 and divorced.
I’m halfway through the show! very exciting considering at this point, the new reboot has already started airing, meaning that I’m very behind on releasing this post. I’m hoping that this season will go back to seasons 1/2 when there was less problematic content because it was hard to get through last season when nearly every episode had a plot that made me uncomfortable.
Carrie turns 35, but literally nobody shows up. She sits alone for a long time and then goes home and has a bunch of messages saying that everyone is running late. She has a life crisis about being alone. Her and Big become friends and start hanging out sans sex. Can I just say here for the record that I do not see the appeal of Mr. Big whatsoever? She shouldn’t have cheated on that boy with the dog (Aidan). At Samantha’s request, Big backs off and they both start to see other people, even though they’re clearly in love with each other. Carrie sees Aidan at a party and he’s SMOKING which makes no sense, but it spirals Carrie into wanting him back. They have sex, then get back together! Aidan struggles to forgive her but they do their best to make it work. Aidan and Carrie start dating in earnest, and Aidan even makes up with Big a little bit. Aidan proposes to Carrie and she says yes, but it’s short lived because she’s not ready for marriage and he is, so they break up yet again. Carrie is disappointed to find out that her best friend Big is moving to Napa, and they attempt to have one last night together before he leaves. Unfortunately, Miranda goes into labor in the middle of it!
Samantha takes naked photos and becomes obsessed with her body. At one of Miranda’s art shows, she meets a lesbian painter, goes to her house to buy one of her paintings, and they share a ~moment~. Samantha says she’s done the girl thing but doesn’t want a relationship so they become friends. The woman, Maria, eventually decides that she can’t just be friends with Samantha because she’ll fall in love, and Samantha replies to this by deciding to kiss her! Bisexual Samantha representation! When she tells her friends, they’re equally shocked that she is in a relationship and that she’s “turned lesbian”. yay for more biphobia!! and also a strong lack of understanding of sexuality!! The relationship ends up not working because Samantha hates talking and Maria loves it. It’s ambiguous whether this is a lesbian thing or a relationship thing according to the show. They have strap on sex before breaking up. Overall great bisexual representation! We see some of Samantha’s career in this season, which is fun and shows that she’s a powerhouse in the corporate world. She ends up meeting this man and work and falls for him, and they begin dating for real, although Samantha is constantly stressed that he’s cheating on her. She’s right, he is cheating on her, and so they break up. Samantha is heartbroken.
Miranda is trying to up her own confidence, but when she does the guy she’s seeing says she’s full of herself. The boy Miranda is dating has no boundaries, and she struggles with this for a while and breaks up with him. She swears off of sex and develops a binge eating disorder. Steve opens up his own bar and Miranda is still caught up on him and sad that Steve is moving on while she cannot. She hurts her neck and has to take some time off of work, which she enjoys. Miranda’s mom dies, and we get an oddly emotional episode. Steve gets testicular cancer but survives, and Miranda has sex with him one time. She gets pregnant, and decides to ultimately keep the baby. Her and Steve agree to co-parent the child. Miranda remains pregnant for almost the remainder of the season, and most of her plotline revolves around being stressed about having a child. In the season finale, she goes into labor, and gives birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Charlotte starts this season spiraling about Trey and trying to figure out whether she should divorce him. She talks too much and shares her problems with everyone. She decides to leave him and ends up filling out a singles survey. Don’t despair though, because they are still sort of together, and now that they’re estranged, Trey can get hard and have sex again, but only in public. This makes Charlotte mad and they fight and Trey finally agrees to have sex in their bed. They work it out and move back in together as husband and wife. They decide to try for a baby and Charlotte quits her job so that she has more time around the home. Unfortunately she only has a 15% chance of getting pregnant due to reproductive problems. Trey ends up not wanting to go through with the effort of getting pregnant, and they break up for real.
Season 5 is the shortest season of them all! Not really sure why, but I guess the network realized it was dragging on a bit too long.
Carrie is in a bit of a dating drought and worries she may lose her column, but instead lands a book deal. She seems fairly anti-men overall, disillusioned by Aidan and Big not working out, and is refusing to even date. She publishes her book and meets a boy she really likes, but alas he is married. Carrie finds out that the woman Aidan dated right after her is spreading rumors about their relationship, and she confronts her to try to get her to stop. However, the girl doesn’t even feel that upset about it, Carrie is just worried about judgement unnecessarily. Carrie and Samantha take a trip to California, because Carrie is so desperate to hook up with someone that she wants to have sex with Big.
Samantha is dating Richard again, and seems happily in love even though her friends don’t approve. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s cheated on her made her a little bit crazy, and she can barely stand to leave him alone because he may cheat again. She decides that she can’t handle the pressure anymore, and breaks up with him. Samantha starts feeling like her friends are judging her for the amount of sex she’s having, and gets extraordinarily defensive. She’s brokenhearted about Richard and uncomfortable in her aging identity. The women get lunch with Samantha in the meatpacking district, and they talk about how the district is gentrifying, without using the words and with half of them being team gentrify. Samantha, as always, is the most liberal of the friends and says that it should not have been “sanitized”.
Miranda has a child, and that makes her a little bit more lame than everyone else. She struggles with balancing a baby and friendships and making sure she doesn’t kill him. When the group plans a trip to Atlantic City, Steve is supposed to take care of the baby for the weekend, but then he bails and says he CAN’T DO IT, which is incredibly unrealistic because Steve is not the type of guy to bail out like that. Miranda struggles to lose weight after pregnancy, and even gets insulted by people saying she has a fat ass, which most definitely dates this show a lot. Steve is a good parent, and begins hanging out more, and Miranda realizes that she has fallen for him! This causes her to panic, but really I think it’s quite cute because her and Steve really do belong together.
Charlotte is upset about the fact that she’s aging, and refuses to let anyone celebrate her 36th birthday. She regained her hope and decided she wanted to date again, but none of her friends are very supportive because they’re all jaded by still being single. She ends up getting a lawyer and officially divorcing Trey, winning the house in the proceedings thanks to Trey’s last kindness (and no thanks to his mother’s). The lawyer Charlotte chose was intentionally ugly so that she could be herself around him, but after the case ends she ends up having sex with him, and then falling for him, despite the fact that he is a bit dorky and less cute than her normal boys. Unfortunately he breaks up with her because she’s not Jewish, breaking Charlotte’s heart.
Stanford gets a boyfriend this season, which is very exciting and deserving of its own section! Carrie doesn’t acknowledge it enough, and he calls her out for it.
Contrary to the “nobody wants to watch this show anymore” mindset I assumed the network had for season 5, they renewed the final season 6 for the longest number of episodes yet, at 20! Normally this would be very exciting, but as someone binge watching this entire show it was mostly stressful. Another stressful element is that I didn’t notice I’d finished season 5 and begun season 6 until I was halfway through episode 2, so if I miss something that happened in this season it’s probably the last sentence of the season before.
Carrie goes on an impromptu date with Berger, the guy she met at the publishing house last season. He seems cute and normal and I’m a fan. Unfortunately, the sex is very subpar and Carrie doesn’t know what to do. They end up communicating and get around it. Unfortunately for Berger, Carrie still engages in occasional phone sex with Big. She cuts it off with Big, and her and Berger say they love each other. Carrie’s book deal takes off in Paris at the same time Berger gets fired, and he cannot reconcile being less powerful in the relationship, so they go on a break. She ends up meeting her high school boyfriend, and they rekindle their love affair. He tells her that he’s in a mental institution, and that he’ll be staying there for at least 8-10 more months, and so they break up. Big comes back into town to get heart surgery, and Carrie feels really emotionally about it. I can sense that this is the start of them getting back together. It truly is, because Carrie takes care of him during recovery and they begin to talk about a future together. Carrie starts dating an eccentric Russian artist shortly thereafter. They seem pretty cute together and get serious very quickly. He is overly romantic, but Carrie soon realizes that it’s real. He asks her to move to Paris with her, and eventually (despite Miranda’s strong protests) decides to go with him. On her last night, Big shows up and tries to get her back, and she yells at him and tells him to never come back again.
Carrie goes to Paris with the Russian but it ends up being a huge mistake. He is far more interested in his sculpture work than he is in her, and doesn’t pay her any attention. She is forced to wander the city completely alone. When she nearly makes friends due to her Sex & the City Book, he begs her to skip her party and go to his show instead. He then ditches her there, ignores her, and causes her to miss the party. When she tries to confront him at home, he slaps her. She realizes that he is not who she was looking for and leaves.
While fumbling around in the lobby, Big shows up and rescues her, telling her he’s the one and whisking her back to New York City. It was very romantic. I may or may not have cried, despite being a long term Big hater. They decide to make it work, for real.
Samantha starts dating a waiter/actor named Jerry. She ends up getting him fired from one of his catering jobs, but the relationship seems to be going well, if mostly sexually. Unfortunately, he admits to being in AA and she leaves but ultimately agrees to give him a second chance. When she sees his play, she decides she’s going to help him be a successful actor using her PR career. He ends up having a hit play and an absolute vodka ad. They actually date for a very long time and Samantha lets him hold her hand on the street. It feels like they’re both genuinely into each other and might be able to make it work. Samantha decides she wants to have a boob job, but when she goes for a consultation she finds out she has cancer. As she undergoes chemo, she begins to lose her hair and goes wig shopping so that she can walk the red carpet. When she hates all of them, she shaves her head, and Jerry/Smith also shaves his head to be supportive. Samantha ends up rocking a pink wig to the premiere and starting to feel confident.
Having chemo, beginning menopause, and losing all of her hair has Samantha so underconfident that she stops having sex. Jerry/Smith sticks it out with her, and in the very end of the season he tells her that he loves her, and Sam says that he “means more to her than any man she’s ever known”. It’s all very cute and they have sex again.
Miranda is in love with Steve, but right as she’s about to tell him, he tells her that he’s started dating someone new and is no longer in love with her. I think Steve is lying about the love and Miranda should have told him anyways, and Carrie agrees with me, but Miranda refuses. Instead, she enters a sponsored ad for TiVo and begins to “date” her recordings. A hot doctor moves into Miranda’s apartment and they begin to become friends / maybe something more. They start officially dating and Miranda even takes a personal day from work to hang out with him. He’s sweet and takes care of her and I love them together even though I think Steve and Miranda better be endgame. Miranda can’t tell Robert she loves him even though he’s literally the perfect man, and this inspires her to finally admit her feelings to Steve. Steve feels the same way and they kiss and my heart melts. She ends up asking Steve to marry her, which is fun because it means that so far on this show, there have been 3 proposals and 2 were by women. The two have a small and beautiful wedding together. They realize that they need more space for their family, and look into buying a house in Brooklyn. They buy it and she makes the move, although the fact that life is changing still stresses her out.
Steve’s mother (who Miranda notoriously hates) moves in with them because she had a stroke that leads to her suffering from dementia. Miranda ends up being super caring towards the mother, and Magda (the housekeeper / nanny) and Miranda have a touching moment where Magda acknowledges Miranda’s love.
Charlotte debates converting to Judaism for her current boy. I’m not sure if she realizes what an intensely hard process this is, since Judaism isn’t exactly set up for easy conversion, being a closed religion, but I’m happy that she’s happy. She ends up converting and when Harry doesn’t immediately propose, she spirals, says some offensive things to him, and he leaves. Luckily, they end up coming back together and Charlotte gets married once again! She starts going to acupuncture to try to get pregnant, but miscarries her first pregnancy. They start trying IVF, and do so twice unsuccessfully. She adopts a beautiful little cocker spaniel dog. She enters her as a showdog and wins the competition, and the dog ends up having babies.
It takes a while, but Charlotte and Harry get approved to adopt a baby from China! Their little family becomes complete.
Stanford still hates Anthony (Charlotte’s wedding planner / friend / the other gay guy on this show) and insists on showing off his boyfriend (Marcus) to him every time they are both in the same room. Unfortunately, Anthony thinks that Marcus used to be a sex worker, and that opens the doors for him to disparage sex work. Stanford finds out and is upset because he had never heard this from Marcus, and breaks up with him. Marcus comes back at the gay prom and makes a case for them to be together again, and Stanford takes him back.
To sum it all up, I really loved this show! It was so fun and lighthearted and about friendships in a way I enjoyed. There were definitely very problematic episodes, and the cast was one of the most whitewashed shows you could possibly watch, but there were great parts too. I’m very excited to be watching and reviewing the reboot at some point very soon.
Oh also, I read something somewhere where someone said that none of the four of them would be friends if not for Carrie. I actually believe this is completely untrue (minus Charlotte) and have provided a friends ranking for each friend, in my opinion:
Let me know if you agree!