The second season of The Carrie Diaries, The CW's squeaky clean prequel to HBO's influential comedy Sex and the City kicks off on Friday, October 25 at 8 PM ET with the introduction of Ms. Bradsahw's notorious pun-loving (among other things) pal Samantha Jones, played by Lindsey Gort. While this series is a 21st-century show masquerading in the totally tubular 1980's, it's the original SATC that's the real period piece.
On the surface, old episodes of Sex and the City look as charmingly dated as other syndication favorites like Friends and Seinfeld. After all, there is literally an episode in which Sarah Jessica Parker's iconic, trendsetting Carrie –- who was a professional writer, mind you -- doesn't know how her AOL (!) email works. That said, for every episode featuring a New Yorker smoking indoors at a bar or holding a sparkly animal clutch, not to mention the fact that no one on the show ever tried online dating, there are still plenty of episodes that not only hold up in the year 2013 (a whole 15 years after the series debuted), but actually feel more relevant than ever. Here are five that stick out the most, and sorry, but none of them are from the televised time capsule that is Season 1:
"The Chicken Dance" (Season 2, Episode 19)
Yes, some of the fashions and hair styles in this episode are gloriously outdated (particularly Miranda's hilarious pompadour 'do) but this is one of those almost universally relatable episodes. For as much as SATC ventured into sheer fantasy (Carrie's reformed, suddenly romantic ex-boyfriend rescued her in Paris) or aggravating absurdity (Carrie couldn't afford her apartment, but she did own over $40,000 in shoes), it still was rooted in plenty of realism for single 20/30/40-somethings. "The Chicken Dance" hit a lot of check marks for women in those demographics. Brought an uninterested, inattentive date to a wedding? Check. Had an out-of-town guest royally piss you off? Check. Met someone you can't place, but that you're sure you've met before? That's a check. Even better, unlike so many later SATC episodes, "The Chicken Dance" was willing to laugh in the face of these dating woes, rather than endlessly bellyache about them.
"Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" (Season 4, Episode 59)
SATC had plenty of silly, light episodes in Season 4 (like Carrie falling on the runway in "The Real Me" or Miranda's obsession with chocolate in "What's Sex Got to Do With It?") but the show took some big risks by tackling bigger life topics as well. While the emotional "My Motherboard, Myself" (in which Miranda deals with the unexpected death of her mom) still strikes a nerve, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" was a bolder episode. While the sexually active show had tackled topics like STDs, it was the first time that the sex columnist and her pals broached the taboo subject of abortion. The episode took both the conservative (Charlotte) and liberal (Samantha) angles on the topic and delivered one of the most devastating lines of the series: Carrie, when asked by Miranda how long it took for her to feel back to normal from the abortion she had 13 years prior, responded with, "Any day now."
"Change of a Dress" (Season 4, Episode 63)
SATC was as polarizing with its fashions as it was with characters. And while this episode featured one of the very worst outfits of the show's run, it also had one of the very best ensembles during an episode that brought the best and worst out of Carrie and Aidan. The engaged couple were doomed from the start (especially with Big always lingering in the picture) and the juxtaposition of their dark, depressing split in the most beautiful setting possible (in front of a Central Park fountain) made it one of the most visually and emotionally striking episodes of the series. Unlike the two SATC movies, this glossy episode will stand the test of time because it's got enough substance to back it up.
"I Heart NY" (Season 4, Episode 66)
"I Heart NY" is a poignant, landmark episode that was dedicated to New York City "then, now, always" (Season 4 aired in the time right before and after the September 11 attacks). While the whole episode feels like a love letter to the city and the people that come and go from it all the time, it also had some of the most down-to-earth moments in the show's entire run. From the birth of Miranda's son to the low-key "last" dance between Carrie and Big (who was the first major character on the show to actually move out of the city), it was as filled with as much hope as it was sadness -- a sentiment that was all too familiar in 2001 and one that is still felt when watching this episode.
"Splat!" (Season 6, Episode 92)
If "I Heart NY" was the love letter to New York from SATC, then "Splat" was the big giant middle finger to the city. It's particularly relatable for anyone who has lived in NYC for many years and has realized the magic can wear off. But it's the appearance by party girl Lexi Featherstone (a memorable turn from guest star Kristen Johnston) who declared that "New York is over" and "boring" that will reverberate with anyone who feels like hipster Brooklyn culture, among other trends, has all but destroyed the cultural mecca the city used to be.
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