Sex and the City

Season 1 Episode 1

Sex and the City

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 06, 1998 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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  • At a thirty-something birthday party the girls decide to stop looking for Mr Perfect and start having sex like men. Carrie meets Mr. Big. Miranda starts dating Skipper. Charlotte has a date with Capote Duncan, who ends up going home with Samantha.

    As an episode by itself, this isn't the most fabulous piece of television I have ever seen. The thing is, since 1998, so many series have evolved that mirror the content of Sex and the City, so watching this episode, now thirteen years later, it seems somewhat dated. However, we must remember, at the time, that there was nothing else on television quite like it. What this episode does do well is that it sets the tone for the episodes to follow. A lot of the shows staple ingredients are already in place. The city itself looks fabulous from the opening credits to the final scene, we are treated to wonderful scenes of New York City. The four girls chatting is also featured in this episode and continued throughout the shows entire run. Of course the Carrie and Big relationship is introduced here too, which is one of the most exciting things about this episode. Of course there are many faults, this IS the pilot after all. The English Elizabeth, has an Australian accent. I hate the direct talking to the camera. I find it distracting, and it makes me feel like I'm an observer looking in. I don't want to be an observer, I want to be there, with the girls as part of the action. I am glad that the production team saw the light and gave up on this. I also feel at this stage the production team are making a feeble attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Those hideous 'interviews' with all those toxic bachelors, I just don't get it. Are they trying to show the male point of view? Or are they using the fact that all these men are such total idiots, to justify the derogatory comments? It's not clear this moment in time, it's slightly ambiguous and it leaves me with the feeling that they haven't been as brave as they could have been. The four women come across as somewhat watered down versions of themselves, and they seem quite stereotypical in their appearances and their attitudes. Samantha looks and sounds like a sex mad woman, Charlotte looks like Miss Perfect Park Avenue, and sounds like a romantic, Miranda is the angry one, who dresses like a man, and Carrie is the one who doesn't really know who she is yet. I don't just feel that SJP the actress is acting, I feel like Carrie the character is acting most of the time. That's why I love the scene in the restaurant with Stanford. Carrie chats to him about nothing significant, but I feel it's the first time that we get to see the real Carrie. Full credit here to Willie Carson, he has absolutely nailed Stanford straight (pardon the pun) away. He is cute, funny and utterly adorable. I find myself screaming at the television...I want one of those. I don't feel this lack of characterisation is anything to do with SJP's acting skills. I think that she also has nailed Carrie, pretty early on. The audience isn't meant to figure out who Carrie is right away because even Carrie doesn't know who she is yet. I think that we are meant to find Carrie slightly irritating at times, we are meant to see that she isn't the perfect woman, but we are supposed to love her anyway. Carrie has some great lines in the opening scene. I love it when she says "Welcome to the age of un-innocence. No-one has Breakfast at Tiffany's and no-one has affairs to remember. Instead we have breakfast at 7am and affairs we try to forget as soon as possible". It's real and honest, no gloss or frosting here. She is also quite brutal when she wonders if no-one had told Elizabeth about "the end of love in Manhattan." Ouch!! She then asks us (albeit in the irritating talking right to the camera way) "How did we get into this mess?" Right from this pilot episode Ms. Bradshaw is there, questioning everybody and everything. It's great. I love it. The danger of this is that Carrie could appear to some as cynical. Not an attractive quality. But real nonetheless. I don't think Carrie is cynical. I think she is the ultimate optimist. Hanging on to the notion that 'love' really may conquer all. I use the term 'love' in the commas, because I think that Ms. Bradshaw, like so many of us, has her own version of love. But she believes that anything is possible. I get that right from the start. I see how vulnerable Carrie is in this very first episode. Not that she can't defend herself against the mean streets, or the big bad city, kind of vulnerable, but emotionally. This is illustrated perfectly by Darren Star in this first episode. After sleeping with Kurt , described by Stanford as "The loathe of your life", Carrie leaves his apartment feeling potent, powerful and alive. She boasts to us whilst on the phone to Charlotte that her afternoon of cheap and easy sex felt good. However, when she runs into Kurt at 'Chaos' and he tells her how much he likes the 'new Carrie', she ends up confused and wondering, "Do all men secretly want their women promiscuous?" She also wonders, if she was having sex like a man , with no feelings, then why didn't she feel more in control? A question we best leave to Mr Big to answer on the way home I think.

    If anything makes me want to watch the next episode, it's this man. Chris Noth has perfected the art of playing Mr Big so early on that it scares me, I actually think he IS Big. I love the way the car pulls up and he says "Well get in for Christ's sake", with that saucy look on his face. He then asks Carrie what she does for work and the two of them begin this little conversation 'dance'. The trouble for Carrie here is that she knows the steps well enough, but she is dancing with a far superior partner. He not only outwits her, but he manages to see straight through her, right to her core. She starts to feel about two feet tall, with each response that Big gives her. I love the fact that Big sums up perfectly in one very short sentence, what would have taken Carrie three sides of A4 and 3 packs of Marlboro lights to figure out. He says to Carrie after hearing that she is writing an article about women who have sex like men: "But you're not like that". Of course what makes it even worse is that when Carrie asks him "well aren't you?", he replies, "Not a drop, not even half a drop". So not only has he read her perfectly, she has read him all wrong. She then digs herself even further by saying "Oh yeah!?" To which Big replies "Oh I get it, you've never been in love". Ouch...that's got to hurt a bit. Now don't get me wrong, I am not condoning men who talk down to women, or men who put women down, that would just be insane. However, there is something about the way Big makes these statements that makes me believe that they are absolutely true. Carrie herself acknowledges this by claiming to feel like she has had the wind knocked out of her. She says that she just wants to crawl right under the covers and go right to sleep. Can't say I blame her. If I was her I'd want to do exactly the same. Right from this moment we get the feeling that Carrie has met someone who is not only her equal, maybe even her 'better half', but possibly the next 'Big' thing in her life. Who wouldn't be seduced by a man who can look at you and see past all the questions, all the talking and right into your very soul?

    Of course the line of the episode has to go to Big. When Carrie gets out the car and thinks about it, she rushes back and asks Big the inevitable question: "Have you ever been in love?", and Big replies with that smoldering, sexy, cheeky little look on his face, "Abso-......-lutely" . One of the best last lines of an episode on television ever.