"Sex and the City" is a funny, refreshing, and (at times) scandalous, but all-around fantastic series following four best friends through their lives as single, 30-something women in New York City. After watching too many reruns on HBO over the years, I decided it was time to start with season one and make my way through. And while I've found myself with this extreme void in my life, after finishing season six this past week, I have realized that I actually learned a lot more from the four featured divas than just some bad sex stories, justification for spending a small fortune on a pair of strappy sandals or appreciation for the perfect cosmopolitan.
1. Carrie Bradshaw
Its hard not to envy the fantastic lifestyle of the show's leading lady. From her brilliant taste in Manolo Blahniks, ability to attract some of Manhattan's most eligible bachelors and her bold, and seemingly fearless, ways of sharing the ups and downs of her love life in her brilliantly crafted column "Sex and the City," we all seem to get the impression that Carrie has it all. But, like every woman, Carrie has her weaknesses: a mixture of Marlborough Lights and the heartthrob Mr. Big. It's hard not to want to shake your TV screen every time she goes crawling back to the man who just can't seem to commit, and for good reason. It's like watching your best friend make the same mistake twice with a guy you warned her was nothing but trouble.
But through all six seasons of the "he loves me, he loves me nots" with Mr. Big, I cannot help but admire Carrie for her ability to follow her heart, free of any inhibitions. She tells it like it is, no matter how passionate, desperate or crazy it may sound, wearing her heart directly on her sleeve. Even when her life seems to have finally found balance (in the form of the hunky furniture man Aiden and their future joint apartment), she is able to admit to herself that something just isn't right and, with or without the promise of a future with Big, ends a seemingly perfect relationship in the hopes of a love that will never leave her doubting. It may backfire on her more than a few times, but it is a characteristic I would think many women wish they could emulate. For me, Carrie represents a willingness to be more expressive, and thus more vulnerable in the quest to find exactly what it is that will one day leave us irrefutably happy.
2. Miranda Hobbes
Miranda is underrated and one of my favorite characters in the show. She is successful, driven, funny, a loyal friend and, more often than not, lacks a serious filter. She always seems to take issue with something about a man with potential; she has high standards and sticks to them. Admirable, yes. A slight character flaw, absolutely. It is almost impossible not to fall in love with Steve, the geeky-cute bartender Miranda brings home one night who, despite her best judgment, actually develops some pretty serious feelings for her. Their plot line never seems to end — even when they have baby Brady. Steve just isn't "the one"... until she finally allows herself to admit that maybe, he is just that.
I think I love Miranda's character because I see so much of myself in her (and yes, I have taken the "Which Sex in the City Character are you?" quiz and gotten her every time). She can never fully commit to a guy as her vision of what love is supposed to look like is so strong, it makes everyone seem not good enough. She is driven, but unbelievably stubborn, and it takes her a long time to figure out that maybe what she is looking for is right in front of her. I, for one, can learn a great deal from Miranda, mainly that sometimes we just have to let go of our idea of perfection and accept something that may look exactly opposite of what we pictured, but is even more perfect than we could have aspired for.
3. Samantha Jones
The slightly promiscuous, confident and sassy best friend that everyone loves to hate. At first, Samantha seems to be your quintessential party girl, never without a few crazy stories from last week's hook-ups and little to no inhibition in sharing every detail of her sex life with just about anyone. She can come across as "too much" to many and often drives Princess Charlotte crazy with her theories on love and commitment (or lack there of). And while all of this may be true, there is a lot more to Samantha than that. She tends to shy away from any sort of commitment when it comes to men, a quality that drove me crazy watching model Smith Jared try and win her over almost completely unrequited, but understandable when you consider why she is so guarded. She seems to fear vulnerability — the result of an incredible sense of independence — as she refuses to accept anything that compromises her idea of what she deserves.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend we try and learn something valuable from Samantha's dating history, but we can sure take a lot from how she ends up. Her unrelenting sense of self and need to remain independent in a society where women can too easily become dependent on a man is something I truly admire.
The elegant, loving, naive and beautiful woman that holds the group together. She is perfect in every sense of the word; the modern-day Elizabeth Taylor. Charlotte is hard not to love, but also hard not to want to smack some sense into. She is an absolute believer in love and refuses to allow any situation (or man) to prove her otherwise. This adolescent take on love quickly leads Charlotte into a seemingly perfect relationship with handsome Trey McDougal — Charlotte's dream man on paper, but a man with some serious hidden flaws. Needless to say, the fairy tale love affair Charlotte hopes for falls to pieces and leads her along a pretty dismal path trying to find love again.
I admire Charlotte for her ability to never falter in her belief that true love does exist, even through the heartache she feels realizing that in her life with Trey, it didn't. She never seems to stop believing that her Prince Charming will come along and prove to her that her heartache was well worth it. And after finally finding an even more perfect love in the surprising comfort of Mr. Harry Goldenblatt, she continues to show just how important finding — and keeping — love is to her, converting to Judaism for the real man of her dreams. Most women these days would tell her she is crazy, but I cannot help but agree with her. Everyone needs something to believe in — whether it's love or faith or destiny — and she is a great example of how we must never stop believing, even when the goal seems lost.
To all the haters out there who think "Sex and the City" is just another '90s HBO series that tried desperately in its day to be the next big hit — you are wrong. Yes, the show is filled with some pretty surface-level plot lines and, as the title would suggest, a decent amount of sex, but there's a lot more to it than that. It's an honest story about four great friends, too many not-so-great men and a common understanding that with a cosmopolitan in hand, and in the company of one another, anything is possible.