Sex and the City is one of those shows that you watch under two circumstances: by yourself while binge-eating chocolate, or with a friend while sipping on a glass of wine.
I wouldn’t call myself a Sex and the City fanatic, but I certainly have downloaded a few episodes here and there to keep myself busy during long airplane rides, and never hesitate to scroll to the E! channel in hopes that it will appear on the guide.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about the show that continues to keep me interested: whether it’s the friendship that all four women seem to maintain with one another through the thick and thin or the endless drama that ensues in their lives.
And then, there’s the question of whether I continued to watch for so long because I wondered what would happen with Carrie and Big.
For anyone reading this article who watched this show for a period of time, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The relationship between these two characters was indescribably complex, messy, and surprisingly loving.
At the end of the series, many women probably found themselves doting on the fact that in the movie, Carrie and Big end up with one another and live happily ever after.
Yet, the truth is, none of us should have been rooting for their relationship at any point in the series. While Carrie and Big may have loved one another, their relationship was altogether emotionally abusive and utterly dysfunctional.
Alright, I probably sound like a huge pessimist right now who is trying to hate on love and slam this relationship. I apologize, for that is not what my intention is.
However, I do think it’s important that this relationship dynamic is acknowledged because as women who watch shows such as these and witness these relationships, we start thinking that it’s OK for men to treat women a certain way because it’s what we see on T.V.
Throughout their entire relationship, Carrie is always the one making sacrifices for Big. She is the one who is constantly trying to communicate with him- whether that’s subtly by putting her toothbrush on his kitchen sink or outwardly by knocking on his door — and he rarely makes such an effort.
The one thing that manages to stay consistent during their love affair is Carrie repeatedly being hurt by Big’s uneasiness with marriage and uncertainty about their relationship, as she continuously goes back to him again and again. In fact, anyone who watches this show remembers that Carrie’s friends were not always a fan of Big. Like good girlfriends, they liked him because they knew Carrie loved him, but they never liked the way Big treated her.
Sure, Big wasn’t always a bad guy. There was the time he showed up outside Carrie’s apartment on her birthday with champagne and balloons, and the dinner with the girls that Big made an appearance at after saying he didn’t want to go. Although these are nice gestures, let’s not forget the email he left on her cell phone before their wedding telling her he didn’t think he could go through with it…
In the end, one might say that everything turned out exactly how it was supposed to. Carrie and Big ending up together and her finally agreeing to wear a wedding ring.
Still, the course of their relationship led me to feel a bit unsettled by this ending, and to almost fret about the decision to make Carrie and Big the primary relationship in the show.
The fact of the matter is, they are the stars. We may follow the three other girls’ various relationships, but Carrie and Big’s is what takes center stage every time, and that is what makes it so problematic.
By highlighting their relationship as primary, it communicates a message that this is the relationship we as viewers should be invested, the relationship we should care about, and the relationship we should strive for.
I’ll be honest, early-on, I was rooting for Carrie and Big. But after thinking about their dating history and the way he treated her, I will always consider it a mistake that I doted on their relationship.