Series 3, episode 5: No Ifs, Ands or Butts

“I don’t wanna be a jerk … but I can’t date a smoker” – Aidan

sex aidan.jpg

I had misremembered this episode, in which Samantha dates a black man whose sister doesn’t approve. I knew that was why the relationship had faltered, but I thought she’d offered some sort of Save The Last Dance-style rationale. She doesn’t – she’s just a radge. It’s a shame, because Chivon seemed to have the measure of Samantha, as well as an enjoyably cheesy line in pillow talk.

The episode is all about deal-breakers, and sets up a series of butterfly-inducing first dates only to land a series of gut punches on our poor pals. Charlotte’s new man Brad is a face-licker, Stanford’s paramour collects china dolls, and Carrie’s new love interest won’t date a smoker. He’s Aidan! I’d totally forgotten that Carrie kicked the habit for him – an unrealistic compromise right from the get-go.

Meanwhile, Steve’s deal-breaker is his personality. At one point he wants his mum, sorry Miranda, to go and watch him play basketball but she has to work on a case. “I ask you to do one thing, one time for me, and you can’t – what the fuck is that?” he snaps, before bouncing his basketball off the walls of the expensively decorated apartment he has been effectively squatting in since the emotional manipulation of the last episode. Did I mention I hate Steve?

Anyway, back to Aidan. His and Carrie’s expertly contrived meet-cute results when Stanford spots a “beautiful man downtown selling beautiful furniture” in the New York Times style section. Within seconds Aidan’s rubbing her hand on some ancient leather and bingo, she’s bought a ridiculously expensive chair and snagged a date.

I’ll leave you wish an exchange between Miranda and Carrie, who is giddy at having a crush on a guy for the first time in a while:

Miranda: At this age, I’d have to say I’m crush-proof.
Carrie: What about Steve?
Miranda: Oh god, right, I forgot about my boyfriend – is that normal?

Get out now, Miranda – no good can come of this!

sex aidan coat.jpgCarrie’s column: In relationships, what are the “deal-breakers”?

Fashion: There’s another outing in this episode for Carrie’s coat of many colours, which in itself would probably be a deal-breaker for many. I hope it didn’t cost a month’s rent. I loved the bronze sequin dress Samantha wears when Chivon’s sister delivers her first warning, but by the time they’re brawling she’s in an entirely ridiculous pants-flashing number.

Puns: None per se, but I enjoyed everyone’s horrified responses to Samantha’s attempts at “black talk”.

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.