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YMMV / Sex and the City

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Tropes relating to the show.

  • Americans Hate Tingle: This American-made series was considered to be very daring and groundbreaking for addressing issues of sex and relationships that other shows hadn't discussed before, 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 have sex without removing their bras or with sheets covering up their genitals still comes across as very prudish for a show with the word ''sex'' in the title.
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  • Awesome Ego: Samantha.
  • Catharsis Factor: Natasha giving Carrie an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech, calling her out on ruining her marriage, causing her to severely injure herself and wrecking Natasha's lunch by gatecrashing and giving a very It's All About Me flavoured apology. Carrie can't do a thing but leave with her tail between her legs, knowing she deserved the whole thing.
    • When Carrie storms over to Charlotte's apartment to demand why she didn't offer to lend her money, Charlotte points out that she is not responsible for fixing Carrie's finances and telling her she's thirty-five and needs to learn to stand on her own. Unfortunately it's spoiled later by Charlotte giving Carrie her wedding ring and Carrie is never shown paying Charlotte back for it as agreed.
    • Miranda calling Carrie out for going to Paris with Alexandr just to prove a point about how she's moved on from Big and telling her she's living in a fantasy land. She's proved absolutely right when Alexandr spends all day working while Carrie wanders around Paris alone and doesn't fit in with the culture, speak the language or have any friends out there.
  • Designated Hero: All four of the girls gets this to an extent at varying times, despite occasionally saying or doing questionable or even despicable things.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Trey during his and Charlotte's disastrous marriage. While he was certainly far from perfect, Charlotte conveniently overlooked the fact that she rushed into marrying him, rushed into having a baby two seconds after they reconciled, and went completely overboard with her efforts to procure a child once it was learned that she had fertility problems—infertility treatments, support groups, adoption lists, etc. When an exhausted Trey asks if they can simply take a break from all the baby-making efforts, his completely understandable request is treated like a horrible betrayal and it's pretty much the beginning of the end for them. She dumps the blame for the failure of their marriage squarely on his shoulders and never once sees where she contributed to it.
    • Natasha gets this in and out universe, with many people somehow seeing her in the wrong for having the audacity to marry Big.
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  • 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 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Every Samantha/Carrie scene, after the rumors of a feud between their actors were confirmed in February 2018. In fact, pretty much every scene between the girls, after Kim Cattrall's statement that she was never really friends with any of them.
  • 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's credit, the differences between the characters' usual sizes are at least visible.
  • Informed Wrongness: Charlotte is painted as a self-centered jerk for not lending Carrie $10,000 and citing Never Lend to a Friend. Many viewers were on Charlotte's side, given Carrie's financial irresponsibility.
  • Les 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: Woke Charlotte is starting to make its rounds online, with people using Charlotte to point out and correct the problematic things the others (mainly Carrie) say, such as Carrie's infamous statement of No Bisexuals.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Lexie Featherstone, an aging Hard-Drinking Party Girl played by Kristen Johnston who appeared in the show's third-to-last episode "Splat!", in which she complains about how boring life has become to her before falling to her death from an open window. It went to the point that Vulture published an article about that episode.
  • 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • John Slattery as a politician Carrie dates for a couple of episodes.
    • Harvey Specter is an artist who has a thing for filming the sex he has with models. Apparently.
    • Miranda is presumptuously set up with a same-sex partner at her company ballgame by Sterling Archer.
    • After leaving Big, Natasha went to law school.
    • That's Bailey as the cop who allows Samantha to continue littering the neighborhood with flyers denouncing Richard as a cheater.
    • A bleach-haired Bradley Cooper as a guy Carrie hooks up with in an attempt to make herself feel young and carefree again.
    • Miranda pretends to be an air stewardess in order to date Agent Coulson.
  • The Scrappy: Unusually for a TV Show, a case can be made for Carrie - the main character. But watch any video of SATC online and the comments will be full of comments on about how petty, dramatic, selfish and whiny Carrie is, especially how badly she treats Aidan or takes her friends for granted.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Just because you support abortion doesn't make actually having one any easier. Carrie got an abortion after getting pregnant from a one night stand with a waiter who didn't even remember her, and while she's never regretted that decision, she's never felt "good" per se about that decision. Samantha admits she's had two and Miranda's had one in the past, and while neither regretted theirs either, they pointedly don't make eye contact for a moment when they confess that.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Steve and Miranda. Throughout their on again/off again relationship, she seemed angry or annoyed at him most of the time, outright asking him "What are you, fucking crazy?" when he proposed to her after she got pregnant, explicitly saying that they were not in love—something he readily agreed with. They co-parent very effectively, but there's zero sign of them rebuilding their relationship. Literally out of nowhere, she declares herself to be madly in love with him and that he's the love of her life. She acts like a bitch to and about his perfectly nice new girlfriend, rebuffing the woman's sincere attempts at getting along with her, and ditches her own perfect new boyfriend to reunite with Steve. The whole thing comes across as though the writers just rushed them into it so that Miranda could Earn Your Happy Ending in time for the series finale. Justified because Miranda's character arc is her learning to let her guard down and open up to others, especially Steve. Steve's love for her is always clear, even when he dates other women, and there are hints even before Brady is conceived that Miranda is jealous of Steve's new flame but won't admit it.
  • 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.
  • The Un-Twist: Samantha gets suspicious of Richard's absences from work and his late nights, so she follows him. TV convention would have it turn out that he's been planning some kind of surprise for her, but sure enough—especially given his playboy reputation—he's cheating on her.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Charlotte regarding hers and Trey's disastrous marriage. First, she rushes into it within five minutes of meeting him and it inevitably falls apart just as quickly. Then, after they've reconciled, they get all of another five minutes of happiness before she rushes into baby-making. And when that doesn't work out, she goes completely overboard in her efforts to procure a child—infertility treatments, support groups, adoption lists, etc, all without stopping to ask Trey how he feels about any of this, leading him to confide in his overbearing mother, which she blasts him for even though she blabbed about their problems to complete strangers, ultimately driving him away. Lastly, she foolishly quit her job before she even got pregnant and following her divorce, not only can she not get it back, but she's overqualified for everything else. This all sucks, but she's the victim of her own stupidity.
  • 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 to a lot of dates. She also frequently lights up in other people's homes without asking permission, then acts appalled when someone asks her to smoke on the terrace. Designated Hero much?
    • Carrie's attitude about bisexuality also has aged poorly. While her beliefs—that bisexuality is a Gen-Y fad, that bisexuals are confused, and that identifying as a sexual orientation besides heterosexuality is a choice—were commonplace at the time of the show airing, it's especially jarring that a sex columnist is so ill-informed. Conversely, Samantha dismisses Carrie's dismissal of bisexuals (and her discomfort with her current boyfriend having a male ex), proposing a gender-fluid future of pansexuality in the then-nearing turn of the millennium; her viewpoint remains progressive even by today's standards.
    • Big practically forcing himself on Carrie—grabbing and kissing her even while she pushes him away and says "Fuck you" (in other words, "NO") didn't look right even then and it sure as hell doesn't now.
    • Considering all the other kinky and unorthodox things Samantha did, why all the fuss and controversy about her dating a black man?
      • That wasn't the actual problem — the guy's sister was incredibly overprotective and clingy towards her brother and told Samantha she didn't want him dating a white woman, but Samantha realized she actually just didn't want her brother dating any woman, period and when he refused to confront his sister, she dumped him.
  • Wangst:
    • Carrie's endless whining about Big and how he doesn't do X for her can get very annoying.
    • Carrie's love interest Berger, when he starts feeling intimidated by Carrie's success. His reaction to Carrie pointing out a minor fashion mistake in his book — and she loved and praised the rest of it — is especially blown out of proportion.
    • Carrie whining about Natasha and her friend giving her "the look" when accidentally bumping into them, especially because she and the audience knows she deserves it (she slept with Natasha's husband), but she spend an entire episode bitching, complaining and practically stalking Natasha until Natasha epically tells her off.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Her Back?:
    • A few examples, but most notably with Carrie and Aidan after she had an affair with Big. He was still deeply hurt by it, could no longer trust her, and in the end they realized the damage was done and there was no saving the relationship.
    • Charlotte telling Miranda that she likely won't be able to have children.

Tropes relating to the film:

  • Critical Research Failure: In the second film, Miranda blithely 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 Dhabi. 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 Dhabi 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 bisexual in real life.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Stanford and Anthony. They hate each other on the show and are both annoyed that Charlotte assumes that they'd like each other just because they're both gay men. The Movie plays it straight and gets them together, while the second film opens with their wedding.
  • 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.


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