Sex and the City, At Its Most Pivotal

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Sex and the City, At Its Most Pivotal

Why it’s pivotal: First of all, praise God that this episode was essentially a 28-minute hot take on lunatics who make people remove their shoes at an adult party. I’m strongly against this, but since we’re dealing with a germ-propelled pandemic at the moment, I’ll back off. 

Carrie’s ongoing awareness of being single as the world moves around her is magnified when her designer shoes get lifted at a house party. When she confronts the host, Kyra offers to pay for them—until Carrie tells her they cost $485. “That’s insane,” Kyra says, offering her $200. When Carrie points out that Kyra used to buy Manolos, the response is cutting: “Yeah, before I had a real life…but Chuck and I have responsibilities now—kids, houses.”

“I have a real life,” a wounded Carrie sputters. The tables turn when a fed-up Carrie “registers” at Manolo Blahnik for the shoes and the saleswoman scolds Kyra for her wild children. The opposing perspectives—Carrie’s being that a single woman could consider possessions as satisfying as children and Kyra’s being that being a mother trumps all frivolity—feels on point. 

With this episode, SATC also nailed the newfound bougie “buggy boom” Manhattan was starting to see in 2003. In season one we saw satellite friend Lainie move to the suburbs, because that’s what city people did when they had families. By season six, choosing to remain in the city after having kids started to become a status symbol, and Kyra and Chuck were written as cartoonish yuppies with a downtown loft, three kids (!), and a Hamptons house. Listen closely and you’ll hear razor-sharp background chatter while Carrie looks for her missing shoes about “the amazing house in Sag.” (“We got the house, but we couldn’t get a table at Nick and Toni’s for the rest of the summer!” Kyra crows, the stray, stoned party guests roaring with laughter.)

“A Woman’s Right to Shoes” is pivotal for its shortcomings, as well. It was indisputably too late in the game for the series to address the lack of people of color onscreen in a meaningful way, especially given the fact that almost every single episode takes place in New York City, and it’s a shame they used Blair Underwood’s wonderful Robert as a romantic foil—a “hot Black doctor” as Samantha cringily calls him—that eventually helps Miranda come to terms with her love for Steve, despite Robert’s seemingly real feelings for her. 

Season 6B, episode 18, “Splat!” (2004)

Is it heavy-handed in its messaging? Yes. Is it also one of the most iconic episodes of the series? Also yes.

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