Season 1, Episode 5: The Power of Female Sex

Women have the right to use every means at their disposal to achieve power” – Samantha

episode5ON repeat viewing, this episode is not what it first seemed. It’s not “the one where Carrie gets paid for sex” – it’s the one where Carrie receives a charitable donation after moaning to a man she’s known for five minutes that she’s broke. Broke as a result of buying too many shoes. Which is pretty embarrassing, but not exactly prostitution.

She’s been introduced to her handsome/creepy French benefactor by her friend Amelita, who’s either an international party girl or a hooker with a passport, depending on who you ask (you can probably guess which take is Miranda’s – she cries out “Don’t listen to the dime-store Camile Paglia!” as Samantha tries to argue that a bit of female-on-male exploitation is justified).

What’s striking in this episode is everyone’s enthusiasm for eating. While Samantha and Carrie’s efforts to snag a table at the hottest restaurant in town are fairly cringe-worthy, rumbling stomachs win out over style credentials each time. And while Carrie ponders what to do about the $1000 on the bedside table, she and her pals wolf down the hotel’s entire room-service breakfast menu.

Carrie’s column: “Where’s the line between professional girlfriend and just plain professional?”

Fashion: The coveted shoes that set off the episode’s chain of events are just awful. Fluffy pink marabou heels, Carrie? Really? She also showcases a voluminous old-lady nightie – perhaps it’s some sort of family heirloom. While Carrie’s fashion choices were always hit-or-miss, the difference in make-up and overall “grooming” between these episodes and the later ones is really quite striking. Also: the woman withholding restaurant tables wears a series of hats that on paper sound great – a jaunty miniature top hat, a leopard pillbox number – but in execution are really bad.

Puns: I’m starting to get the feeling these will be a long time coming. If you’d told early viewers that Samantha would one day be romancing “Lawrence of My Labia”, they would never have believed it.

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