Four women discuss the ending of Sex and the City.

Conversations in real time.
May 31 2008 7:46 AM

Spoiling Sex and the City

Four women argue about the clothes, the men, and the ending.

Readers take note: This discussion is designed to be read by people who have already seen the Sex and the City film. There are REALLY BIG SPOILERS ahead. GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS SPOILERS right in the VERY FIRST LINES. Read at your own risk.

Sex and the City. Click image to expand.
Sex and the City

Dana Stevens: Let's kick off with the most spoiler-y question of all. What did you all think of the ending? When Carrie finally married Big—after he'd left her at the altar (well, near it) in the movie's first act—did it make you swoon, gag, swoon while gagging, remain poker-faced, or what?

Advertisement

Meghan O'Rourke: I felt numb. The movie was heading toward Schindler's List length. The whole thing felt bloated and self-important—precisely what the zippy TV show never was.

Erinn Bucklan: It felt like the characters hadn't changed, especially Carrie, even after all that drama. These women will continue their pattern:blow up at a man, bond with the ladies, buy a few things, and go back to a man.

Meghan: The show (and even more so, the original book by Candace Bushnell) was essentially episodic and nonteleological. And that was part of what was good about it:It dispensed with one-dimensional Cinderella narratives about women and talked about what dating life in NYC was really like. But the movie reneged on that essential contract with the viewers.

June: I agree. This movie convinced me that at least in some cases, telly is better.

Meghan: I never loved the show all that much, but I tuned in for the clothes and to have something keeping me company as I paid my bills. It was short, tight, and sorta charming (like S.J. Parker herself). I thought the movie was shallow and materialistic. And the materialism of the show feels very different in 2008 than in 2000. E.g., Carrie, after Big jilts her, says, "I feel like I took a bullet." Um, really? You mean, like a soldier? It totally animated the moralist in me.

Erinn: It's so funny that you bring up that "bullet" line. So many audience members were sobbing throughout my screening, and I was struck by hearing more crying in that movie than during any serious war movie or mourning scene I've watched in a looong time. I left thinking, Geez, people are really hurting for love.

Dana: Erinn, can you describe your relationship to the show as our resident hater? Did you watch it regularly despite (or because of) the fact it got on your nerves?

Erinn: I actually did watch it regularly because so many people around me were obsessed, and, well, I did like to track the cartoonish fashions. It was a train-wreck of a group of women.

June: One thing I really missed in this movie was work. Yeah, yeah, the apartments and clothes were always beyond their pocketbooks, but they did have jobs. In the movie, Samantha was still working but hated what her job had turned into—got no pleasure from it. Miranda doesn't seem to like her work, but she's responsible and knows she has to do it. Carrie didn't do any bloody work, though she seemed to have produced some books. Charlotte's got her man. But there was no joy in work.

Meghan: There was no joy in anything! There was just a lot of fear. And porn, or what counts for porn in NYC: The movie opens with the money shot, as it were—a beautiful view of a stunning prewar penthouse that Carrie and Big want to buy and live in.

My big problem with the movie is that no one talked about anything. Steve fucks another woman when Miranda won't have sex with him (they've had sex once in six months). And she gets mad and won't forgive him. But there's no discussion of what role her frigidity played or whether they might be able to get past it. The film invokes all these contemporary koans about what's hard about marriage (commitment, fidelity, etc.). But it never investigates them with any pathos.

Erinn: It's true. These women are supposed to be so sophisticated. But they are always so emotionally crude.

June: And the big dilemmas the characters face are over nothing—Steve did something wrong, but thoughtlessly, unintentionally, almost accidentally; Big jilts Carrie, but only because he wanted to talk to her before the wedding and forgot that brides don't always have their cell phones handy (there were no pockets in that Vivienne Westwood, after all—maybe grooms should see the wedding dress beforehand so they realize that).

So the characters weren't asked to compromise—just to forgive transgressions that are almost random.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.