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.