YMMV / Sex and the City

Tropes relating to the show.

  • Americans Hate Tingle: This American made TV series was considered to be very daring and groundbreaking for addressing issues of sex and relations that others shows to that point didn't discuss. Especially from a female standpoint. Other viewers in the US watched it because they felt it was hot and saucy. In Europe the show was appreciated more for its comedy and camp value, because the fact that the main cast always has sex without removing their bra or with the sheets covering up their genitals still comes across as very prudish for a show with the word ''sex'' in the title.
  • Awesome Ego: Samantha.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • Carrie and Big in the "The Big Time". You know it shouldn't be, but it is. Big kisses her:
    Carrie: Fuck you. (He continues to kiss her). Fuck you. (She kisses him back). Oh, fuck me.
    • And in the aftermath of the above the crown goes to the other side:
    Natasha: Yes, I'm sorry about it all. I'm sorry that he moved to Paris and fell in love with me, I'm sorry that we ever got married, I'm sorry he cheated on me with you, and I'm sorry that I pretended to ignore it for as long as I did. I'm sorry I found you in my apartment, fell down the stairs, and broke my tooth. I'm very sorry that after much painful dental surgery, this tooth is still a different color than this tooth. Finally, I'm very sorry that you felt the need to come down here. Now not only have you ruined my marriage, you've ruined my lunch!
    • It gets even better when around "I'm sorry he fell in love with me" the self-absorbed Carrie smiles, apparently thinking that Natasha really sympathizes with her losing Big — only to realize a moment later that no, it's a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Carrie dealing with Kyra the judgmental mother in the end of "Woman's right to shoes". Especially as Kyra had the nerve to initially refuse to pay for Carrie's stolen shoes, which Kyra made her take off, on the grounds that "we shouldn't have to pay for your extravagant lifestyle", even though the woman has three fucking kids Carrie bought presents for in the past.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Harry's proposal to Charlotte.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The Movie ostensibly had a message about rejecting the importance of labels (in both senses of the word), despite large chunks of the movie which are practically in-movie commercials for designer labels. The orgiastic display of wedding dresses alone... In a larger sense, the series as a whole falls victim to this concept. We're supposed to be at least somewhat horrified by the narcissism and shallowness that's all-too-frequently on display, but the characters and their environment are a bit too glamorous for the "moral" to really take. Bushnell's original columns were considerably more trenchant in their appraisal of their social milieu.
  • Double Standard: Many critics feel the series in general has a rather double standard. Had the show been about four men who have countless one-night stands and dump their partners afterwards for the same, sometimes nitpicky, reasons the women in this show do it would have caused an outrage among feminists. Also, for a show that is praised for talking about sexual taboos it does enforce a lot of stereotypes about genders too, being that all men should be strong, fearless and well-endowed.
    • As well, for a show geared towards women, there was a very bad example of a Double Standard rampant in film and television. Throughout their on-again, off-again relationship, any pursuit of Big by Carrie—leaving a few things at his apartment, wanting to meet his mother, saying, "I love you"—was made out to be pathetic, clingy, etc., and was always "punished" somehow, usually by Big freaking out and pulling away from her, sometimes even outright breaking up with her. But after Big married Natasha, he flat-out stalked Carrie for several weeks—calling her constantly, lurking outside her building waiting for her to come home, continuing to lurk until her boyfriend left, sneaking into the building and practically trying to push his way into her apartment, only stopping when she warned him that her boyfriend was coming back, following her to the hotel she was staying at, following her into the elevator, then grabbing and kissing her repeatedly. Throughout all this, she repeatedly and explicitly tells him to leave her alone, and in the elevator, continually pushes him away, telling him "Fuck you" (essentially, "no"), before finally succumbing to his advances. While it's undeniable that Carrie certainly could be stalkerish with Big, her behavior was always portrayed negatively and typically resulted in her being dumped, whereas Big's harassment and virtually forcing himself on her was made out to be sexy and romantic and resulted in him getting her back.
    • To a lesser extent with Steve and Miranda. From the moment their one-night stand is over, she makes it clear that this is all she wants. He responds by constantly calling her, showing up at her place—at one point, threatening to make a scene if she doesn't let him in—and overall, repeatedly ignoring her numerous requests that he leave her alone. This is never made out to be bad, despite Miranda's obvious annoyance with his persistence, just a case of the "Wild" guy trying to win over the "Uptight" woman and get her to let her defenses down.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Miranda's reaction to Samantha's Suddenly Sexuality, considering the fact that Cynthia Nixon is engaged to another woman. (And has dealt with having fallen in love with a woman extremely well; not dissimilar to the way Samantha did, in fact.)
    • An even better example of this is a first season episode where Miranda is assumed to be gay by a co-worker, who sets Miranda up with a female date for a company event. At the end of the episode, she considers how life would be much easier if she were a lesbian, testing this by kissing her same-sex date.
  • Hollywood Homely:
    • Miranda, though men aren't put off by her looks so much as her powerful career and a demeanor that intimidates and emasculates them (however, at least one guy in-show really finds that attractive).
    • Harry qualifies as well, as he is rather homely, but portrayed almost as a hideous beast at times. And apart from rather terrifying back hair that appears in only one episode, he isn't really that far from some apparently "hot" or not commented on-screen (but slept with) guys in the show.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Miranda's "baby weight", Samantha in the movie after she gains — at most — five pounds. To the show credit, the differences between the characters' usual sizes are at least visible.
  • Ho Yay: Carrie has shades of this with a guy's mother in the episode "Shortcomings". Carrie even notes that she was really breaking up with her, not him.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Lexie Featherstone.
  • Periphery Demographic
    • Gay men, famously, to the point it's almost considered more of a "gay show" in the popular imagination than it is a "chick show".
    • Straight males, too. See Testosterone Brigade.
  • The Red Stapler: The name "Aidan” seemed to increase in popularity possibly as a result of the show.
  • Retroactive Recognition: After leaving Big, Natasha went to law school.
  • Tear Jerker: Although it dances with becoming Narm, the scene in which Carrie is begging Aidan to take her back after she slept with Big.
    Carrie: You have to forgive me. You have to forgive me. You have to forgive me. (Begins to weep). You have to forgive me.
    • Much better than it sounds.
    • Also, Miranda releasing all the pent-up emotion about her mother's death during a fitting for a new bra.
    • Charlotte and Trey realizing that their marriage is beyond repair. He shows up at a magazine shoot featuring their penthouse that he hadn't wanted to do. When she tells him he can leave if he wants, he firmly says, "No. This is important to you".
    • Richard Slut-Shaming Samantha and refusing her a job because she slept with his architect. Samantha points out the hypocrisy by saying, "If I were a man, you would have shaken my hand and given me a key to your office." She makes it to the elevator before breaking down in tears. (Although it becomes better when Richard calls Samantha back and offers her the job anyway because her speech impressed him.)
    • Basically every time Samantha got hurt, as it showed that for all her promiscuity, she was looking for love just as much as the other girls. In particular, the aforementioned Richard, who did a lot of work to get her to let her guard down and exchanged "I love yous" with her. . .only to cheat on her.
  • Testosterone Brigade: While its male fanbase is often stereotyped as being composed primarily of Camp Gay men who watch it for the fashion, during its prime it also had a very large contingent of straight male fans, as it featured a ton of female skin and enough of the male perspective (at times) to occupy straight men's interest.
  • Values Dissonance: A couple examples regarding time and place.
    • Carrie smokes cigarettes a lot. Back when the series began, it was questionable- but acceptable. Nowadays it would not be acceptable- and would be a major turnoff towards a lot of dates.
    • None of the protagonists work in service professions or do volunteer work of any kind. All four of them are single women. This may have been passable in NYC- but it would have never been acceptable in the South, where it is highly encouraged (if not downright expected) for singles (and to a lesser extent of married and attached people, but not as severely) to do volunteer work unless they are in service professions (and still encouraged even if they are) due to Dixie being so religious.
  • Wangst: Carrie's endless whining about Big and how he doesn't do X for her can get very annoying.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Her Back: A few examples, but most notably with Carrie and Aiden after she had an affair with Big. He was still deeply hurt by it, could no longer trust her at all, and in the end they realized the damage was done and there.

Tropes relating to the film:

  • Aesop Amnesia: In the series, Carrie and the girls complain that their married friends view them as a "threat" in their relationship and the unfairness of it. Come the second movie, Charlotte is fretting constantly about Harry cheating on her with the Nanny. To add insult to injury, the movie "fixes" this, not by saying that Harry wouldn't cheat on her, but by making the Nanny a lesbian. Problem solved!
  • Critical Research Failure: In the second film, Miranda blithley informs the girls that 'Han ji' is how you say 'Yes', apparently after reading umpteen travel guides on the UAE. It's actually Hindi, and while there is a large Indian expat population in the Middle East, any decent guidebook would tell you that in Arabic one says 'Aywa'.
  • Designated Hero: Carrie, whom the audience is ostensibly supposed to identify with and care about, is a self-and-shoe-obsessed character whom in real life would be an extremely annoying girlfriend/wife, and not a very good friend.
    • Especially a Kick the Dog moment in the second movie where, when Charlotte says it's not a wise idea for her to go out to dinner with Aidan, after all that's happened between them, Carrie retorts, "Okay, you're crazy, you are crazy in Abu Dabi. Just because you're worried about your marriage, everybody's gonna cheat. Have a nice night." Poor Charlotte is almost in tears after that, and Carrie does end up kissing Aidan, so Charlotte was right all along.
    • And, as Big himself lampshades, she bitches him out in the second movie for buying a television and having the audacity to wanting to stay at home and watch it instead of going to parties all the time. Her treatment of Big overall is ridiculously petty and she comes off like Control Freak, whining about him not wanting to go to the party with her, then going off to Abu Dabi for two weeks without him.
    • Samantha in the second film. She's blatantly and constantly disrespectful towards the culture of the country she's visiting, repeatedly refuses to put something less revealing on even when Miranda begs her, acts like she did nothing wrong when she's arrested for public indecency - and then thinks it's a good idea to throw condoms at Muslim men on the way to prayer!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The waiter in the first movie mistaking Miranda and Carrie for a couple when Cynthia Nixon is a bisexual in real life.
  • Wangst: When Big almost calls his and Carrie's wedding off in the first movie, Carrie's reaction is to go to bed sick and depressed like someone died, and Samantha at one point has to spoonfeed her while she basically looks like a victim of war or a natural disaster.
    • In the second film Charlotte is incredibly stressed out with having to raise her two children...except that she's a stay-at-home mother, and has a full-time live-in nanny to help her! Well, fair enough, we all deal with stress differently...but the big breaking point, where she has to hide from her children in a closet? Happens because her elder daughter gets paint on her skirt while they were baking cupcakes. A cream vintage Valentino skirt, which she decided to wear whilst baking cupcakes and finger-painting with her children. Not to mention, Charlotte was desperate for a baby in the series, but then when she finally has a child in the second movie that proves to be demanding, she seems to just shove her off on a Nanny, which comes off as a little ungrateful.
    • Carrie's love interest Berger when he starts feeling intimidated by Carrie's success. His reaction for Carrie pointing out some fashion mistake in his book - and she loved and praised the rest of all - is especially blown out.