10 dating lessons from sex and the city
(It’s also the episode that Charlotte and Harry began their nice romance, which helped Charlotte come down closer to Earth after spinning into madness during the Trey years.) Carrie’s skittishness about entering a new relationship and her utter nastiness over the publication of her book offer a sly meta-criticism of the show in its particular time—how useful or meaningful is all this ultimately inconsequential stuff in a world where so many terrible things happen?
Downbeat isn’t really the best tone for this series, but Season 5 is still an interesting peer into the show’s version of the abyss. Like wayward Felicity Porter before her, Carrie returned for this new round of episodes having chopped her trademark mane of curly hair into a bob that’s way sadder than it is sassy.
Best Episode: “Ex and the City” The finale moment when Carrie dramatically walks away from Big after sending him off to his young fiancé may be a on the nose, and may have launched a thousand mean jokes (look it up), but it remains one of the most indelible scenes of the whole series—sexy, poignant, and free-spirited, it’s what first solidifies this show as a classic.
Worst Episode: “Games People Play” This isn’t the one with the “gay straight man” (an otherwise good episode that has Miranda, foreshadowingly, contemplating fertility), but it’s got weak conceits, like a guy who will only sleep with Samantha if his sports team wins and Jon Bon Jovi as a ho-hum one-off for Carrie, who finds herself in post-Big therapy.
Season 5 also introduces us to the boring downer that is Jack Berger, a character that never gets off the ground and is played with an unpleasant sense of veiled anger by a bored-seeming Ron Livingston. Best Episode: “Critical Condition” When book critic Michiko Kakutani ends her warm review of Carrie’s book with a reference to the men in Carrie’s life being “disposable,” it sends Carrie into a tailspin of self-doubt that has her seeking out the woman who dated Aidan right after her.
It’s a smart, searching episode that also includes a rare Miranda/Samantha dual subplot—one that acutely addresses the frivolousness of all this fabulousness.
Worst Episode: “I Love a Charade” The goopy finale episode hardly advances the plot (Berger’s back! ) and features an irritating guest appearance by Nathan Lane.
What’s Good: The random people interviews are sparser and the tone and themes feel tighter.
If, of course, they ever existed in the first place.
A decade later, those trends are largely gone, but there’s still the show—this great, thrilling, maddening, occasionally dumb show.