It may have once been emphatically said that “Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex (*and isn’t afraid to ask),” but, in retrospect, it wasn’t her sex life that had women all up inside her mind like freshly pedicured feet in a pair of open-toe Manolos. What made–and will continue to make–Carrie Bradshaw the go-to guru for women of all ages and from every subsequent generation in existence after its series finale in 2004 is her eloquent combination of chutzpah and class.
Regardless of being the “column they run by ads for penile implants,” Carrie has a natural way of exuding elegance in spite of her often rough around the edges demeanor and being best friends with Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), who we all know Carrie favors above Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis).
With her gift for words (often overkilling it with the puns, in fact–as parodied in numerous SNL skits) and her ability to transform every ensemble into a work of art, Carrie is able to challenge the boundaries of how annoying and whiny she can be without losing our interest at any given moment. Whereas, with other shows about female protagonists looking for love in New York City (e.g. Friends, Girls and even The Carrie Diaries), the main character has a far higher capacity to irritate the viewer due to lack of an attitude that combines the perfect blend of pluckiness and cynicism.
As Carrie navigates the ups and downs of trysts and occasional relationships in Manhattan–all the while wondering through incessant voiceover what she’s doing wrong–we’re continuously addicted to watching her travails. Even after watching the series a first time, you will invariably always go back to it to see her make the same mistakes all over again. Is it just because she knows good sex? In part. But what it’s really about is that she lives in the New York that every woman wants to live in. It’s the ultimate in glamorized realism, with all the elements of materialism that most can’t resist. Yes, we identify with the drama of failed relationships, but it’s the lifestyle exhibited in this 1998-2004 Manhattan world that we’re all truly after.
By watching Sex and the City, we, too fall under the classic Carrie Bradshaw spell of romanticizing and idealizing everything that can never really be.