Series 3, episode 9: Easy come, easy go

“We always used to share a cigarette together” – Big
“We did a lot of things that were bad for me together” – Carrie

sex-easy-comeThe problem with Big is that he just isn’t a nice guy. He’s an arsehole, in fact, and not even a very charming one. Frankly I reckon he and Carrie deserve each other … just when I’m feeling sorry for her, whoops, she’s cheating on Aidan.

Things are going swimmingly between the pair, and they’re having coupled-up fun at a design show, when along come a miserable-looking Big and Natasha in search of new furniture. Carrie’s response, naturally, is to crouch down on the floor. Once she’s upright things are no less awkward, and just when it seems like she has no choice but to introduce Big to her beau – using his actual name – there’s an accident involving hot coffee.

Drinks of a different kind are involved soon after, as a drunk and sloppy Big returns to bemoan his “bullshit beige” married life. Addressing Carrie through a trumpet made from a rolled-up auction catalogue, he announces in a sing-song tone: “It’s not working. I’m getting out. If you know anyone who’s interested…” Carrie scathingly declares that no-one is interested in that information, and naturally we instantly cut to her promptly announcing the news to her very interested friends.

“Why’s he telling you?” asked Miranda, aghast.
“I dunno,” replies Carrie. “To save postage on his newsletter?”

She assures everyone that she is not going to doing anything, for two reasons:
“first, I have a great boyfriend, and second, I’m not insane”. So far, so sensible. But the episode is all about the conflict between going with your heart rather than your head.

Miranda and Steve might have split up but he’s still hanging around, because he has “no money, no savings, nothing”. It’s only been three weeks but obviously he can’t be expected to go all that time without a shag, so he has no choice but to give out Miranda’s landline to all and sundry. Dick. “A 34-year-old guy with no money and no place to live – because he’s single, he’s a catch. But a 34-year-old woman with a job and a great home – because she’s single, is considered tragic”. Ugh.

Here’s Bunny! I remember Trey’s mother being infuriatingly interfering – what I didn’t recall was that Charlotte quickly picked up on her sure-fire way of getting Trey to do anything she wanted … and put it into action herself. Unfortunately, a combination of great expectations and this intoxicating power leads her to blurt out her desire to get married … and Trey’s response is a crushingly unromantic “alrighty”. Fortunately, a well-timed trip to Tiffany’s puts a smile back on her face.

Samantha’s storyline, about a guy with “funky-tasting” spunk, is most notable for the glorious first 15 seconds of this clip:

But back to Carrie and Big. When he calls and leave a message asking her to call him back urgently, it seems to me the most likely explanation is that he’s horrified to have blabbed about his marital woes to his big-mouthed sex columnist ex. “He wants to get back together, right?” says Carrie. “What happened to the not-insane part of you?” replies Miranda. Of course Carrie’s gone all giddy-knickers with expectation by the time she returns his call, and you’d think it’d be something of a passion-killer when he says that he’s thought about getting out of his marriage, “but it’s gonna cost me a lot, so maybe you should forget about what I said”.

Instead of getting a grip of herself and reminding herself that Aidan is not only lovely, thoughtful and kind, but up for spending a whole day sanding her floors for free, she complains about the noise he makes while doing said DIY, complains about his dog (who apparently “deletes things” while she’s trying to write), complains about the cost of going to a hotel, and strops out. Disastrously, Big shows up and won’t take no for an answer, telling her he loves her and forcing himself on her in a lift. By the end of the episode he’s blowing cigarette smoke in her face (gross) and she’s musing “Just like that, I lost my head”.

Carrie’s column: When it comes to relationships, is it smarter to follow your heart or your head?

Fashion: It seems to glaringly apparent now that Natasha wore white in every single scene, but I don’t remember this from first time round, when I had to wait a week between episodes. No wonder she’s a fan of beige furniture too. What a bore.

Puns: Nope.

Season 2, Episode 15: Shortcomings

“Is your vagina in the New York City guide books? Because it should be – it’s the hottest spot in town, it’s always open!” – Charlotte, to Samantha

ShortcomingI was shocked by the attitudes expressed in this episode towards divorced men. I’m not quite sure how old the women are at this point, but they seem to believe they’re still in the first flush of youth and shouldn’t have to go anywhere near dating’s damaged goods.

Miranda reckons dating a “used” man is like chewing someone else’s gum, while Samantha asserts that they should all be rounded up and put in a pound – “that way you get their whole history before you take one home”.

Charlotte is the voice of reason, but she’s biased because her brother is going through a divorce. There’s no suggestion a marriage – even a broken one – might be a sign of willingness to commit to a relationship, although Miranda does later twig that such a guy is the “heterosexual holy grail” so many women seek.

In the end, though, their break-up is less about his marital status and more about his bratty kid, into whose face Miranda accidentally slams a door. The episode’s theme is family, and the fact that relationships always bring together more than two people.

Carrie’s latest beau is short story writer Vaughan (Justin Theroux), whose family are a delight. They’re clever, witty, well-connected, and put on a lovely spread for lunch. As Carrie notes: “they got charisma”. Unfortunately Vaughan has a premature ejaculation problem – and a temper problem too – so in the end Carrie has to deliver the difficult break-up speech … to his mother.

Meanwhile, Samantha predictably shags Charlotte’s sad-sack sibling, prompting the venomous outburst at the top of the page followed by a grovelling, muffin-based apology.

Carrie’s column: When you sleep with someone, are you screwing the family?

Fashion: Miranda wears a nice outfit! It’s like a maxi dress but without any midriff coverage. Carrie looks sensational in a simple, body-hugging minidress, and also carries off a somewhat garish gypsy top.

Puns: Despite the bitchy tone of the opening brunch scene, I concede there’s also some decent banter.