By Hope Guzzle and Andrew Millman
Gen Z loves Sex and the City, despite all the principal characters being the same age as our mothers. Well, two Zoomers do at least, but even with our love, we can’t overlook how wildly problematic some of its episodes are, no matter how much one of us (Andrew) clings to the Woke Charlotte instagram page. There’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, but the only way to ethically watch SATC is to be as drunk as the girls are at all times. In an inebriated state, one is able to appreciate how horrendously bad episodes are, and they become unintentionally hilarious in how backwards these people are. How did Carrie become a sex columnist when she’s repulsed by any sexual act that isn’t missionary and seems to be ignorant of even basic sex education? We’ll probably never know.
So, whether you’re a SATC neophyte, veteran or just wish Cynthia Nixon was our governor right now, here’s our guide to the five most problematic episodes of the turn-of-the-century’s most sexually liberated show (wow, that bar was low).
- “No Ifs, Ands, or Butts” (S3/E5)
Let’s start this article off with a bang—in “No Ifs, Ands, or Butts,” Samantha begins dating Chivon, a Black music producer, and the entire subplot of the episode surrounds the difficulties of being an interracial couple in the 1990s. Sounds relevant and topical right? Well maybe on a different show, but on Sex and the City the issue is approached in a whole different way. Slave Play this is not. This episode frames the white women lead characters as people who “don’t see race,” while Chivon’s sister, portrayed as the “mad Black woman” stereotype to a comical degree, is the real racist, according to the show. Sam ultimately comes to the conclusion that the problem in this relationship “isn’t her little white pussy, but that Chivon’s a big Black pussy.” Yes, that was an actual line of dialogue said on television in the Year of Our Lord 2000.
- “Cock a Doodle Do!” (S3/E18) [CW: Transphobia]
Don’t you just love when a 1990s romcom TV show decides to include a character physically assaulting transgender sex workers? Yes, that is the actual plot of this episode. Sam moves into “a neighborhood that’s trendy by day, tranny by night” and is mad that the people who were there before her are loud (how rude of them not to just allow themselves to be displaced immediately when their lifelong neighborhood becomes desirable to white gentrifiers). When aggressively talking to them doesn’t work, she physically assaults them with a pot of water. This was the last episode of the season and ends with Carrie having a party on her rooftop, magnanimously inviting the sex workers, and then showing off her “blaccent” to them. Also, this episode is titled “Cock a Doodle Do!” Very bad!
- “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl…” (S3/E4)
Bi-erasure queens! In this episode, SATC takes yet another brave, edgy stance, declaring bisexuals don’t exist! Carrie has a new, younger man in this episode and, after fetishizing their age gap, she learns that one of his three prior long-term relationships was with a man. How scandalous! “Pick a side!” Charlotte screeches, visibly upset that sexuality isn’t a binary. Carrie spends the whole episode confused by the spectrum of sexuality and how people can remain friends with their former romantic partners post-breakup. The only “positive” comments come from Samatha, and even those are objectifying bisexual people by calling their attaction to both genders “hot.” The one bright spot of this episode is that it guest-stars Alanis Morrissette (like, how did that happen?).
- “The Cheating Curve” (S2/E6)
Charlotte, in her job as an art gallery manager, comes across a group of affluent, professional women who are all attracted to other women. The girls quickly dub this clique the “Power Lesbians,” and Charlotte spends much of the episode implicitly faking same-sex attraction to ingratiate herself with these women. They have a nice dinner, dance at lesbian clubs, and go to a party at one Power Lesbian’s penthouse apartment. Eventually, Charlotte’s lie of omission is revealed, and the Power Lesbians drop her immediately for not being “one of them.” (Because that’s a thing gay people do! Heterophobia!) Also, why wasn’t Miranda in the Power Lesbians? A huge missed opportunity, imo.
- “Evolution” (S2/E11)
Making yet another entry on this list is Charlotte’s relationship with a “gay straight man.” What does that gibberish mean? Well, according to Samantha, a gay straight man is a heterosexual man who practices basic hygiene, knows how to dress himself, and possess some cultural literacy. This is quite an enigma to the girls, fixated on the binary and encultured to accept the bare minimum from men. The episode ends with Charlotte dumping her gay straight man after he is unable to get rid of a mouse in his kitchen, coming to the conclusion that’s she not masculine enough for a femine man. Yes, you read that right. To paraphrase Lizzo, she coulda had a bad bitch!
The one author of this article who is of legal drinking age recommends a good mom wine (Barefoot, Cupcake, or Yellow Tail) for the optimal viewing experience. Why be irresponsible and go to a non-socially distant house party putting your fellow students and local residents in danger when you could stay in and follow our recommendations?
And, if you get through these and want more, here’s our honorable mentions: “Hot Child in the City” (S3/E15), “Are We Sluts?” (S3/E6), “Politically Erect” (S3/E2), “Games People Play” (S2/E13), “Baby Talk is Cheap” (S4/E6). If you’re detecting a pattern, most of these episodes are from Season 3. What the hell was going on that year? Also, you can basically pick an episode at random—they’re all wild.