Female friendships are so powerful to watch on television. When done right, it can be gut-wrenchingly authentic, because they are so hard to get right. When everything fades away — what is being a friend? The scenes of my own friendships range from midnight phone calls on a bathroom floor to huddling together on a Chicago rooftop laughing our mascara off. It’s screaming matches on driveways on sultry summer nights and holding each other on Christmas Eve (because heartbreak never did have good timing). It’s good morning texts and passive aggressive emails. It’s mental health. It’s death. It’s laughter. It’s trust. It’s everything in between.
For me, Sex and the City was my first introduction to well-rounded women and female friendships on the small screen. It was the first time I saw the intricacies of womanhood being depicted unapologetically. Each woman made different choices. Each woman held their own. Each woman was (generally) respected for their decisions. Each woman taught me something, and it might not be what you expect.
Samantha Jones: You don’t have to explain your past, choices, or decisions to anyone.
We are a summation of everything that has ever happened to us, everything that is happening to us, and everything that will happen to us. We will always be imperfect, and our choices are our own. I used to think that I need to explain myself all the time, but Samantha taught me that the only person you need to explain yourself to is yourself.
On Life: You don’t have to relive every mistake. You don’t have to doubt yourself. We are all trying to figure it out. Make the decisions that are right for you, and don’t look back. Don’t you dare question yourself. Samantha wouldn’t.
On Female Friendships: When Carrie was cheating on Aiden, she tells Samantha first. As the camera turns to Samantha’s face, the audience is expecting her to act surprised or maybe confused. Instead, she radiates a look of compassion. It’s the face of a friend that doesn’t need an explanation. Carrie’s behavior made me mad as a viewer. But the truth is, if you are a true friend, you let your friends make their own decisions and support them either way. It might not be the right one, and it might not be the best one. But it’s their decision. They don’t owe you an explanation, and you’ve got to respect that.
My Favorite Samantha Moment: The Relationship Smile
Miranda Hobbes: You can’t put a limit on any type of love.
I once read that Miranda embodies the millennial woman. My friends and I refer to her one-liners about workplace sexism, settling, and settling down all the time. Miranda’s character arc led to my realization that love takes on many forms, and you can’t put a limit on it even if you want to.
On Love: To Miranda, relationships are nothing but being at the right place at the right time. The perfect person is a myth, and settling down for love is for people who don’t know how to be self-sufficient. That all changes when she gives birth to Brady and realizes that, despite the flaws, Steve is the one for her. So maybe love isn’t puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. It isn’t dysfunctional lust. It isn’t even complementary opposites. It’s two people constantly saying, “I might not like you right now. But I am always going to love you.”
On Life: One of my all-time favorite television scenes is during the series finale of SATC. Mary, Steve’s mother who is recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, unexpectedly walks out into the cold. Flustered and scared, Miranda looks for her, running through the streets of Brooklyn. When she finally finds her, Mary is in a state of confusion digging through a garbage can on a corner. Miranda brings her home and helps Mary wash up. The camera pans to Magda, the elderly nanny, who smiles at Miranda’s actions, and tenderly says, ‘What you did, that is love. You love.’
The audience knows that this interaction is starkly different to everything Miranda has preached in the past. Maybe this is why this moment always brings me to tears. We think we can put a limit on love. We think we only have so much to give. The truth is, love is boundless. We have the ability to give more than we think we can. But only if we decide to.
My Favorite Miranda Moment: Steve and Miranda Get Married
Charlotte York: The only thing you can expect is the unexpected.
Life is ruthless. You can live your entire life expecting certain things to turn out a certain way. A great boyfriend that turns into a kind husband, or maybe a stimulating job offer that turns into a fulfilling career. But unfortunately, nothing is that linear. Charlotte taught me that even the most carefully laid out plans can end up in flames. And that’s okay.
On Love: Nothing works on your time. If you recall correctly, Charlotte has been dating since she was 15. She has met numerous wrong suitors. She knows what she hates, and she especially doesn’t want to settle. Charlotte taught me that even if things don’t work out according to your plan, you have to stay true to who you are and trust the timing of your life. Be your own person and value your morals, and things will work out at the end. If you are really lucky, you might end up getting more than what you wanted.
On Female Friendship: I will never forget the look in Charlotte’s eyes when she yells at Big on the street after Carrie attacks him with her bridal bouquet. She literally feels Carrie’s sadness and shame. It’s hard to feel for other people, it’s hard to empathize, and it’s hard to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Friendship, in essence, is realizing that another person is living a life just as vivid, cheerful, and painful as you are. They go through experiences, and, as a friend, the only thing you can really do is be there for the unexpected.
My Favorite Charlotte Moment: Charlotte Dancing Alone
Carrie Bradshaw: Life is about finding yourself between the high highs and the low lows.
Carrie is selfish, fiscally irresponsible, and a seasonal hot mess. She makes bad decisions, she is so bad at giving people the benefit of the doubt, and she just doesn’t know how to handle matters of the heart. But Carrie is also strong, resilient, and emotionally intelligent. She wears her heart on her sleeve and says what she needs to say. She is resourceful and so supportive.
On Life: Carrie is very honest about her life. Like, even when you don’t want to hear another complaint. I mean, I know the show is centered around her life, but she is painfully dramatic sometimes. The one thing I love about the show is that you get to see her during her best and worst. The Carrie moments that really stick with to me aren’t when she’s crying over Big, or when she’s doing something glamorous. It’s when she’s writing on a snowy night, or when she’s watching a movie and eating cup noodles on New Year’s Eve. The moments that make us who we are are in the in-between. Life is about the undocumented parts that no one gets to see. You are who you are when no one watching.
On Love: I don’t even want to go into the whole Aiden vs. Big debacle, but I will say that the best parts of Carrie’s relationships are the smaller moments. The parts we glaze over as an audience. When she is uncomplicated. When things aren’t going well, but they aren’t going downhill. That’s when she is at peace. So yeah, the real, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love is important. But so are the moments in between. The quiet moments. The moments that, when we look back, make up the entire fabric of our lives.
On Female Friendship: One of Carrie’s best qualities is that she is there for the people she loves. She is there when Charlotte is in tears about her fertility issues, she is there when Miranda gives birth, she is there when Samantha tells her about her breast cancer. She is there. She is present. She is open. She loves. Maybe this is what friendship truly means. It’s just about being there through the good and the bad. Through the tears and the smiles. It’s just about showing up no matter what happens. For all the in-between moments. Especially for the mundane ones.
Feeling nostalgic? Good thing every single episode is on Amazon Prime Video!
Did you learn anything from SATC? Are you a Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha?