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

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 5:56 PM Watch Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg, and More on New YouTube Channel
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 7:23 PM MIT Researchers Are Using Smartphones to Interact With Other Screens
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?