I came late in understanding the fascination with the HBO series Sex and the City. Once the series ended and the dvd’s made their way to video rental stores, I got caught up with all six seasons and loved every minute of it!
Sex and the City was centered around the lives of four professional women in their mid-30’s (one friend in her 40’s). These friends differed in their professional careers, haute couture fashion sense and taste in men, but shared the larger space of where their lives took place: in energetic and fast-paced New York City. Over the span of six years Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha experienced individual seasons of love, marriage, divorce, death, births, clothes, shoes, food, drinks and ofcourse, sex. While the city of New York acted as the ever present character throughout this series, I actually found the common spaces the women occupied within the city to be quite interesting as it was instrumental in their character development. Although the city was the backdrop throughout the ninety-four episodes, I have chosen to highlight the specific spaces of restaurants, streets and apartments and the relationship each space had in the lives of the characters.
the restaurant: The intimate space of a table is nothing new in the concept of communal sharing. The table (within restaurants) is where the friends would catch up and share any and all new developments. The site of the table also awarded the characters the opportunity to look beyond of their immediate inner circle and outward to other people in the restaurant or those in their lives. Often when this was done, commentary about our real-time culture in one way or another was introduced in a comical way.
the street: Because of the difficulty involved in trying to walk and talk to more than one person on an urban street, the street in this series often became the place for more involved, personal discussions between any two of the friends. I found this ironic, because the street, any street, is a very public place. Nontheless, the friends were quite comfortable in claiming whatever length of blacktop they occupied during their walks to be their own space for private moments and discussions. I often felt that they were not only talking to each other, but to their beloved city of New York.
the apartment: From the rent controlled brownstone to the Park Avenue condo, the apartment is the place where we get to see an extension of each individual personality – all apartments complete with beautiful views of the skyline. Carries’ full and organized bookshelves, Charlottes’ high-end furniture and art, Mirandas’ clearly delineated circulation paths (better for rushing to work) and Samanthas’ sensual and seductive decor; their apartments were the spacious and personal retreats from their busy and exciting lives.
I have spent some time thinking about which space was most occupied during the run of this series. I would have to choose the street – because even from the insides of restaurants and apartments, the connection to the street fades, but does not dissappear. From Carrie hearing people getting off the No#5 bus (with Jack Berger) to Samantha throwing a bucket of water on her new “neighbors” from her apartment window, their connection to the street, the artery of their sexy city, was never lost.
Which space would you choose?