Over the past month or so I’ve worked my way through my Sex and The City box set. I loved watching this series right from the start, all the way through, as you can really see how the characters grow and I finally understood Carrie’s never ending love for Big.
According to articles I’ve read women are supposed to be in one camp; Aidan or Big. I always thought I swayed more towards Aidan until I watched the love stories unfold in linear order. And more importantly I noticed how Carrie was with each man.
With Big, right from the first scene it is clear that he stirs a big reaction in her (pun intended). He makes her laugh, makes her cry (a little too much, nearly enough to make me jump back into camp Aidan), turns her world upside down time and time again but out of all the men in her life she always runs back. No matter what has gone before, he draws her in and even with all the misery he has caused her when she is with him you can see true love and happiness in her smile. And true despair when she is faced with the news he has to have heart surgery. She has an all consuming passion for him.
He seems baffled by her, but at the same time you can see the fascination and adoration he has for her, the fear that he can’t be with her, the desperation that he can’t lose her. Thank god he finally grows a pair and rescues her from the decidedly creepy Alexander Poxy (who was by far my least favourite of all of Carrie’s starring men. Arrogant, sleazy, pathetically in need of a woman to prop up his ego. Their first phone conversation when she kept hanging up on him due to not being able to understand his accent was about the only humour he injected into her life).
Aidan is Mr Nice. There's a theory that women are at some point supposed to figure out that Mr Nice makes for a wiser investment. But not if he brings out Miss Nasty; which I think Aidan brought out in Carrie. Her character strikes me as a pretty loyal lady, and yet she jumps into bed with Big not that far into the relationship and she snaps quite a lot at Mr Nice, particularly when on a romantic vacation to his man-made country home. You can see her pained recognition that this is a gentle, loyal, adoring, handsome man who loves her, who will give her everything that Big never would....or maybe not. On the surface it appears that Aidan is clearly the better man but not if he makes Carrie compromise herself to the detriment of losing her sparkle.
From date one Carrie really tries hard and here in lies the problem – with Aidan she has to try. She tries so hard to kick her addictions; smoking and Big. She tries to appreciate the wonderful man she has, she tries to convince herself that marriage with him is the logical move but her body protests, violently – vomiting at the sight of an engagement ring and allergic reactions to wedding dresses isn’t even quite enough to make her back off completely (and Big has commitment issues??). It takes Aidan to point out the obvious to her; that she just isn’t ever going to love him enough.
Because of course Big is her one true love. If there was ever an argument for someone having a one true love, their story is it. And, once he gets over being an emotionally challenged commitment phobe, he is her perfect man. Sophisticated and wealthy enough to compliment her fashionista lifestyle, mature enough to not be threatened by her success,(Berger, you had so much promise), on the same humour page so able provide her with plenty of belly laughs, satisfies her between the sheets, reads her column and doesn’t get offended by it (seriously how she manages to keep any man when she writes about them in such a public forum is beyond me). Even her fiercely protective friends in the end recognise that Big is Carrie’s one and only.
For me though, the series biggest love story is the friendship between Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. It’s so heartening to see women’s friendship portrayed in such a fiercely supportive, protective and loyal way. I remember reading that Sarah Jessica Parker said that the series taught her to appreciate her female friends more. There’s a line in the film where one of them (I think Charlotte) says maybe they can be one another’s soul mates and men can be an accompaniment to that. While it’s clear they all still feel more complete with the men in their lives, (Samantha points out a very obvious thing only a man can provide, but I’m talking about more than that of course), I do think it’s true that women can sometimes look to men to be their ‘all’ when we forget that sometimes they just can’t understand us in quite the same way a female friend can. Female friends I salute you!
I have to say out of all of the men in the series Smith has got to have been the model boyfriend (and I’m not talking about his model looks!). I defy anyone who did not cry when he returned home early from a shoot to be with Samantha and she told him how no man had meant so much to her - the tears weren’t just for that scene but from the whole way he had supported her through her cancer. I really loved the finishing scenes of the series. I would never have forgiven the writers if Carrie had ended up staying in Paris with Alexander!
I have to point out these faux pas in the footnotes of this entry: I watched in confusion the episode where Carrie constantly referred to the right hand side of the brain as the logical side, and the left as the creative, irrational side. Anyone as creative as Carrie would know that it’s the opposite way round! How did no one on this show pick up on this?
Oh and when Miranda names her and Steve’s baby Brady it’s a touching moment. Until the episode where she marries Steve and their son becomes...Brady Brady. Doh!
This is what happens when you watch box sets. You become one of those annoying people who start to notice the glips along the way. Like when I watch re-runs of Friends on E4 and it strikes me that David Schwimmer is an appauling actor! How did I never notice that first time around??