I’ve recently been on a Sex and the City kick. It’s one of my go-to shows, kind of like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Will & Grace – predictable, low-stress, mildly funny shows that cheer me up when I’m sad and provide me with much-needed stress relief. I call them my “fluff” shows, and I watch them when I don’t want to have to think.
I’ve been making use of my On Demand and watching marathons of HBO shows nonstop lately. I’ve gone through the entire six-season series of Sex and the City in the past few months. And I’ve realized something. Something I’d never thought of before.
Carrie Bradshaw is kind of insipid.
Now, before you all come charging towards me with pitchforks, just hear me out.
Carrie is cool, don’t get me wrong: she’s fiercely independent, she’s open-minded and funny, she supports her friends’ lifestyle choices, she follows her dreams, and she makes a lot of quippy puns (so many that they can be distracting). I can see how Miss Bradshaw could, on first, second, or even third glance, be seen as a feminist icon, as a woman-about-town, the kind of fiercely independent, talented, free spirit that you want to be. But I call shenanigans.
Carrie Bradshaw is, at her core, one of the most annoying characters on television.
I realize I may be in the minority here, but really, after watching the show in quick succession – six years’ worth of episodes in a period of a couple of months – it’s just so glaringly obvious that Carrie is less than ideal. Of the four “main” characters on the show, Carrie is the least genuine, the least unique, and has the least amount of growth over the course of the years. Sure, she remains true to herself, but that self isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Carrie’s entire arc with Mr. Big drives me nuts. From the way she begins to over-analyze and micro-manage every single detail of their relationship before they’ve even had an official first date, to how she expects him to go above and beyond to secure her and somehow prove that he’s interested, as if she’s just so fabulous that she has the right to stalk him at church with his mother after he’s specifically told her that he’s not ready to introduce her to his mother yet.
Later in the season, she cancels on a romantic trip and breaks up with Big because he won’t declare her “the one” on the spot. Don’t even get me started on the next five years, their sordid affair, her letting him encroach on her relationship with Aidan not once but twice, and how she freaks out and makes his heart surgery scare all about her.
Then there’s the way she treats her friends. She blatantly disregards all of their advice and attempts at loving support. She judges Samantha for her sexuality, gets angry with Charlotte for not loaning her several thousand dollars, and is constantly harping on Miranda for not being supportive enough of her various relationship mishaps. She treats her friend Stanford as if he’s a punchline, making constant jokes about his lifestyle and treating him as if he’s a second-class citizen.
Carrie is the type of person who will chase a woman all over Manhattan to find out why she gave her a dirty look in the bathroom of a club and demand to know WHY someone might not like her. She’s the type of woman who ignores her concerns and travels across the world to move in with a guy who treats her and her friends like shit and only comes back home after Mr. Big comes to rescue her. She’s the type of gal who proclaims “I don’t cook,” “These are Mahnolo Blahniks,” and “I don’t DO camping,” as if anything less than her standard of living is completely beneath her.
Carrie Bradshaw is a judgmental, affected, self-centered jerk. She whines, she moans, she squeals. Six years the show ran, and her character never really developed. She never began to show any substance. Samantha battled cancer, fell in love, and became more confident in herself than ever. Charlotte realized that “perfection” was tiring and decided to become less judgmental and accept that life isn’t always idyllic. Miranda stopped being such a stone cold bitch and let life in rather than working herself to an early grave. What did Carrie do? Not much. Just swooped off to Paris to be rescued by her knight in shining Gucci, Mr. Big.
Don’t even get me started on the Carrie Bradshaw of the Sex and the City movies. I try to pretend that those cheesy-to-the-point-of-offensive movies don’t even exist.
For all the trailblazing, style, and hilariousness of Carrie Bradshaw’s character, I just don’t think I could suffer her presence in person for longer than a few minutes. There are so many other better examples of great feminist characters in literature, television, and movies these days.