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.