Season 1, Episode 9: The Turtle and the Hare

You know who wants to get married?
Men who miss their mommies”
– Miranda

Black wedding

THIS is a very significant episode in the grand scheme of Sex and the City. Hots on the heels of the relevations about Mr Big’s ex wife, Carrie gets a shock when he lets slip he doesn’t want to get married again. That’s right, HE DOESN’T WANT TO GET MARRIED AGAIN. Worth bearing in mind for the future.

I’d forgotten all about Stanford’s granny and her inheritance-upon-marriage rule. There’s not really scope within the episode to discuss the fact that she seems to be sticking to this rule despite knowing Stanford is gay. And therefore, as this is the 1990s, unable to get married. Perhaps the deal is that he gets his when she dies, as is traditional with inheritances. I suppose it doesn’t matter. I’m not certain, but I think Carrie breaks the fourth wall in this scene. I don’t believe that ever happens again.

Anyway, that plot strand is just a flimsy device, as is the one about an actual device – a Rabbit vibrator to which Charlotte becomes addicted. I have some serious hygiene concerns about the Rabbit scenes. Stop touching it in the shop! Stop touching it in Charlotte’s bedroom! Oh god, why are you putting it in your handbag? Gross.

Samantha’s plotline is also pretty weak, dependent as it is on the idea that her ballsy exterior masks low self-esteem and the even less plausible notion that she’d enjoy treating a man as a dress-up dolly.

There’s a nice retro touch when Stanford places a personal ad, but a contemporary-feeling result when the sole respondent arrives, looks him up and down and rejects him (the gay scene is “too competitive”, poor Stanford bemoans).

Carrie’s column: It’s not entirely clear which title she chooses for the column. She types up “Is it always better to marry someone who loves you more than you love them?” after a just-married friend whispers the assertion in her ear, but the final draft seems to be “In a city of great expectations, is it time to settle for what you can get?”

Fashion: The women all wear black to a wedding in the opening scene, which seems like a bit of a rude statement even if they do have to face the indignity of the children’s/weirdos’ table at the reception, but I’m no wedding etiquette expert. Carrie later wears a fairly minging royal blue and mustard tartan coat, but the worst offender in the episode is a cad Samantha meets at a wedding who invites her out for dinner and then – despite sporting attrocious blonde highlights – manages to chat up another woman instead. Stanford’s granny is super-chic in vintage Chanel.

Puns: Maybe I’m not listening closely enough.

Season 1, Episode 8: Three’s A Crowd

You in a threesome? You won’t even wear a thong!” – Samantha, to Charlotte

ep08_charlotte

IS Charlotte a prude? Or just a woman who knows what she wants and plays by her own rules, regardless of peer or partner pressure? It’s a surprising leap to go from an episode where she rules out blowjobs straight into one where she seriously toys with the idea of a threesome, and Carrie acknowledges as much.

The weaving together of contrasting stories linked by a theme continues to work very effectively, albeit Miranda’s strand about feeling rejected as a threesome buddy by the other three reveals an insecure, neurotic side that I’m not sure is evident anywhere else in the series.

While Charlotte is flirting with women at charity benefit nights, Samantha is becoming the third person in a marriage (unbeknown to the wife – at least initially) and Carrie is shocked to discover Mr Big was once married. As usual, it’s unclear to what extent the concealment of this information was a shady move on Big’s part. Had he omitted the detail during discussions of previous relationships, or had no such discussions taken place?

Curious to learn more about ex-Mrs Big, who happens to work in publishing, Carrie contrives a meeting. Refreshingly, the two women get on like a house on fire – but over lunch Carrie learns the marriage ended due to his infidelity, causing her further anxiety. The twist in the tail is that the divorcees are still on friendly terms, and Carrie’s research wasn’t quite as undercover as she’d hoped. We’re left to speculate about how she came up in conversation. Was ex-Mrs Big really such a fan of her work that she would happen mention the meeting when catching up with her ex-husband, or had he already told her the pair were dating? It’s a shame this character is never (to my memory) seen or hear from again. She would have been a plausible guest at the infamous wedding of film one, and could have popped up periodically to remind viewers that Big isn’t the slippery cad he so often appears.

Carrie’s column: “Are threesomes the new sexual frontier?”

Fashion: Charlotte sports a truly ridiculous hairstyle, but I do remember this half-up, half-down horror being a recognised trend circa 1999. Never forget.

Puns: Not a sausage.