Oh to be Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte or Samantha, the four most glamorous single women in “Sex and the City’s” version of life in New York. The fab four’s tour de force through Manhattan’s singles scene changed the way we look at television and gave us a glimpse into the glittery worlds of fashion, clubbing and dating in all their magnificent, and sometimes emotional, glory.
The HBO series, which ran from 1998 to 2004, centered on Carrie Bradshaw, a size 2 bundle of sexual and empathetic energy who enjoyed a certain amount of New York notoriety for her work as a newspaper sex columnist. Played by Sarah Jessica Parker, the engaging, overly-dramatic Carrie and her gal pals meet, talk, lunch and drink endlessly, sharing dating adventures and sexual exploits, often over Cosmopolitans.
Each character in the group had her own highly identifiable persona. Samantha, played by Kim Cattrall, was slightly older and more-than-slightly adventurous, particularly when it came to men. Miranda, played by Cynthia Nixon, personified professionalism, at least some of the time. Charlotte, played by Kristin Davis, was an almost down-to-earth Ivy Leaguer. The show aired for six years and during that time, women from the Upper East Side down to Soho took odds on which character they were the most like, and men joked about which one they hoped to date in real life. Everyone in the city had a favorite, but on the show, Carrie was everyone’s favorite.
Men surrounded the foursome as plot fodder for the series, most especially Carrie’s future husband, John, who is known as Mr. Big throughout the entire television series.
The Big Screen Beckons
The show was so popular that two movies brought the characters and their fan base further along the journey. “Sex and the City: The Movie” picked up four years after the television show left off and was a huge commercial success, despite less than stellar reviews from critics. “Sex and the City 2” followed two years later, featuring cameo appearances from major stars like Liza Minnelli and Miley Cyrus, amid a lukewarm plot and negative reviews. A loyal fan base loved the film and this movie was also a commercial success
The Fifth Star
Both the series and films were shot primarily in New York City. Landmarks and “in spots” included the Staten Island Ferry, Area, Century 21, Magnolia Bakery and the Monkey Bar. Carrie and Mr. Big have their notorious rehearsal dinner at uber-trendy Chelsea restaurant Buddakan. The most iconic location is Carrie’s small, rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper East Side, but ironically, the exterior shots of the cozy, easily-identifiable location were actually filmed in the West Village on Perry Street. From locations in Brooklyn to Harlem, every episode portrayed New York as larger than life, fabulous and accessible to anyone lucky enough, or crazy enough, to date here.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.