A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although the show celebrates consumerism, obssessive analysis of relationships, and a flashy lifestyle, the women ultimately have faith in love, and stereotypes of all stripes are addressed and smashed head-on.
Positive Role Models
Some say the women on the show are too loose, too easy; others say they're strong, independent, very real. The truth lies somewhere in between. And whatever their flaws, their devotion to each other and their friendship is strong.
Violence & Scariness
A fistfight or two, and some lovers' spats, but nothing too extreme. This is glitzy, glam New York, not criminal drama New York.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Traditional, kinky, and everything in between. HBO version is pretty graphic (better for 17+); syndicated episodes have been edited and are much tamer (so OK for 15+).
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Syndicated episodes edit out or bleep the worst of the HBO version's strong language (which includes the complete range of dirty words); nonetheless, the characters, especially Samantha, are as salty as sailors.
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Products & Purchases
Hello, Manolo Blahniks! Carrie is a shoe fiend; her friends are all fashionable women who spend a lot on their wardrobes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Almost all of the characters drink, smoke, and/or use drugs at some point -- though none of the women are heavily into the latter. Lots of martinis/cosmos in particular.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show actually has lots of heart; so much so, in fact, that if not for the frank talk -- and "walk" -- about sex (of all kinds), it would actually make a good primer on the enduring benefits of friendship, the power of love, and the importance of self-esteem. That said, nudity is a given in nearly every episode of the original HBO broadcast (available on DVD and on demand), as are very frank discussions on romance, lust, and love. The edited versions running in syndication have toned down the ladies' language, as well as the nudity (which, of course, just leaves more to the imagination ...), which is why this review is rated OK for 15+. The uncut versions would warrant a 17+ age recommendation.
Is It Any Good?
But blissfully, the title doesn't say it all; what makes this HBO classic (now broadcast nightly in syndication) so delightful is that it's also about a distinctly post-modern version of family: friends. As Carrie herself would probably type on her omnipresent laptop: Where would life be without friends? Though various men (and some women) may flit in and out of their lives, the four women always have each other, and that's a joy to watch onscreen. Never have friendships been rendered so completely as in Sex and the City -- the women may be fabulous, but their relationships unfold in completely human glory, warts and all.
Not that the show's perfect. In fact, sometimes, the characters play too much to type: Sex-starved Samantha wears thin, as when she beds a fireman (do viewers really need to see her in yet another strange position?); it's hard not to wonder just how Carrie can afford such expensive shoes on a writer's budget; Charlotte's preppy shtick borders on Pollyanna; and Miranda's simply too harsh. And the men? Most of them, including Carrie's main squeeze, Big (Chris Noth), are ne'er-do-wells, ready to break hearts. But just when the show verges on irritating, it's rescued by witty writing and intelligent acting. (In one episode, when Carrie confronts her judgmental tendencies toward Samantha, the dialogue is stingingly, startlingly believable.) Often, if not always, the writers snap the show back to cold, harsh truths. And thank goodness for that.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.