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Sex and the City: The Essential Episodes

Feb 21 2014 - 10:00am

It's hard to believe Sex and the City has been off the air longer than the show was in production. In fact, this Saturday marks a decade since the series finale aired on HBO. Back then, we had no idea Carrie and the ladies would make a comeback on the big screen. The last episode didn't only feel like the end of a pop culture phenomenon, but also the last time we'd ever see our best girlfriends — the ladies who taught us all about modern relationships [1], sex, and discovering your self worth. And so we did the only thing we could do before Netflix streamed videos online: we fired up the DVD player and watched the episodes over and over. While the entire series is can't-miss television, we're rounding up the best of the best for old times' sake. Keep reading for all the highlights!

— Additional reporting by Nick Maslow

Season One: "The Drought"

In this episode, our heroine Carrie has been happily dating her heart's desire, Mr. Big. He's rich, handsome, and a grown-up. This is the first episode, though, that we begin to see just how neurotic Carrie gets around him. She farts in front of him (one of the funniest scenes in SATC history), and then emotionally melts down because she thinks she's ruined their relationship.

Season One: "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"

After many ups and downs with Big, this season finale finds Carrie realizing that he is one emotionally unavailable guy. After basically stalking him and his mother at their church, she decides to end things. Also, Samantha thinks she's found love but as the HBO website puts it, she discovers that tragically, "size does matter." Ha!

Season Two: "The Ex and the City"

By this episode Carrie has discovered that the allegedly "emotionally unavailable" Big actually is available — and engaged, no less — to a 20-something named Natasha. Carrie realizes, in a classic SATC moment that she is the curly haired girl in The Way We Were and Big is Hubbell! Carrie comes to terms with the fact that Big has moved on and tells him, "Your girl is lovely, Hubbell."

Season Three: "No Ifs, ands, or Butts"

Aw, I love this episode because Carrie first meets Aidan at his furniture shop and then has a hard time quitting smoking for him. This is also the episode where Steve has a chance to win money via a free throw at a basketball game and Miranda learns to be supportive. Their differences in personality really show here, and it's both cute and funny.

Season Three: "Running With Scissors"

Carrie loses her mind and cheats on Aidan with Big. This is the episode she gets caught by Big's wife, Natasha — in Big and Natasha's apartment, no less. Natasha falls down stairs, and Carrie has to take her to the ER. It's a terrible and dramatic ending to Big and Carrie's affair made worse by the sweet Aidan waiting for Carrie back at her apartment, completely unaware of what his girlfriend has done. Grrr.

Season Three: "Cock-a-Doodle-Do"

In this episode, Carrie and Aidan have broken up, and Big asks to meet up with Carrie. This is the last straw for Miranda, who's had it with picking up the Carrie's pieces whenever Big breaks her heart. The two friends proceed to have their first fight. The scene is so realistic, and I could really relate to it. It's the first time in the series when the friendships become multidimensional, and not just based on cocktails and sex talk.

Season Four: "Belles of the Balls"

This is one of the most testosterone-filled episodes of the entire series, with Carrie's two loves, Big and Aidan, physically confronting each other. Carrie is back with a new and improved Aidan (and he looks ridiculously hot when he's reintroduced this season), but she's still friends with Big. There's talk of superheroes and Billy Joel songs . . . it's a lot of dude stuff and totally fun.

Season Four: “Change of Dress”

Oh man, that picture says it all, doesn't it? Carrie can't bring herself to marry Aidan and cuts him loose for the last time. I can't even type this without tearing up, so moving on.

Season Five: "The Big Journey"

Carrie spends most of season five single and focused on her career as a published author. In this episode, she heads to San Francisco where Big has relocated (Napa, technically) because she really wants to have sex. But he has read her book and just wants to talk about feelings. The role reversal is funny and kind of essential in keeping the Big/Carrie arc chugging along.

Season Six: "The Post-It Always Sticks Twice"

By the end of season five, Carrie has met this nice author named Jack Berger (or just "Berger"). They spend the first half of this final season dating, though he often struck me as too insecure and even too similar to Carrie for it to work out. Carrie decides to give the guy a chance anyway, but then he shockingly dumps her by leaving a Post-It note in her apartment. Women of America are outraged.

Season Six: "A Woman's Right to Shoes"

This episode brings up one of the most awkward social situations ever. What happens if you attend a party where the host asks you to remove your shoes and at the end of the night they're gone? What happens when said shoes are designer and really expensive? It's a classic single girl vs. married-with-children girl episode, and it got a lot of people debating who was in the right. Plus, Charlotte and Harry adjust to married life, and they're too cute for words.

Season Six: "One"

This is the episode in the final season that I think sets every character up for their last "hurrah." Carrie meets the Russian (you get a sense right away he could be as big as Big), Miranda and Steve finally realize they love each other, and Charlotte suffers a miscarriage. While the jokes are still there in a big way (Samantha dyes her pubic hair neon orange), the overall tone becomes a little more serious and more urgent.

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