The 20 Most Iconic Episodes of "Sex and the City"
We can't believe it's been 25 years since we begged our parents to upgrade our cable subscriptions to include HBO — all so we could spend our Sunday nights living vicariously through our favorite four ladies on "Sex and the City." We decided who in our friend group was the Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, and learned everything we needed to know about dating, love, careers, sex, and — most importantly — friendships.
We don't have to tell you that even after all these years, the show is still considered a pop culture staple, with its many life lessons and style inspiration for generations old and new. And its legacy continues with its revival series "And Just Like That" — which reunites the lovely ladies (sans Samantha) in their 50s — picking up after the last "SATC" movie to find them navigating their new realities that include out-of-control kids, discoveries in love, and even old flames.
To celebrate the show's big anniversary and June premiere of "And Just Like That" season two, check out the 20 most iconic "Sex and the City" episodes — from Carrie and Big's epic Paris reunion to the infamous "New York is over" speech.
"Belles of the Ball"
This episode is a standout in season four. Carrie and Aidan continue to tiptoe around the big issue in their relationship: Mr. Big. And then, before you know it, she's invited him up to Aidan's cabin for the weekend. What happens is exactly what you'd expect from two immature men: an all-out mud fight. But the resulting forced camaraderie between the two men makes it all worth it, and Carrie yelling, "Stop! You're middle-aged!" in the middle of the mud fight is what dreams are made of.
"Hot Child in the City”
Season three gave us the beauty of this truly fun episode. Carrie takes on her postbreakup life by hanging out with a comic book author who still lives with his parents and spends his free time smoking pot and eating KFC. Did we mention the episode features Miranda channeling her inner child and wearing braces? It brings the laughs like no other episode, and it teaches Carrie a good lesson about the standards she sets for herself and the men she dates.
"The Baby Shower"
We're treated pretty early on to this stomach-churning episode in season one. Carrie and the girls feel obligated to attend an old friend's baby shower out in the suburbs, and immediately they feel judged for choosing to maintain their single, child-free existences. It's the classic struggle that many women deal with as they start to descend that threshold of the late 20-something who hasn't settled down, but the way these women handle it is perfect. And by the end of the episode, it turns out the socialite's perfectly pregnant life isn't so perfect after all.
"Ex and the City"
Sometimes it just feels like the show is trying to break our hearts, and this finale episode in season two does exactly that. Carrie is invited to the engagement party of Mr. Big and Natasha. Of course, she does not attend, but fate would have it that she runs into the couple leaving the party. Carrie tries to be happy for Big and takes a page out of "The Way We Were" with an emotional goodbye. It's the end of an era for Big and Carrie . . . at least for now.
"Running With Scissors"
Reality had to catch up with a cheating Big and Carrie sometime, and the insane explosion happens in this episode in season three. Natasha accidentally stumbles on Carrie leaving the scene of her affair with Big, and it ends with a broken nose and an even more broken Carrie. She tells Big she can't do this anymore, and we really hope she means it. The show also tackles the really important subject of HIV testing through Samantha's plot line.
This episode in season six is definitely in the dark-and-serious category. Carrie is excited to show off her new Russian beau at an elite Manhattan party, but the celebration quickly turns ugly when New York City party queen Lexi Featherston accidentally falls to her death in the middle of her "New York is over" speech. It's heavy, and it sends a shock wave through Carrie and her friends.
"Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda"
There is so much to unpack in this emotional season four episode. Miranda finds out she's pregnant with Steve's child, all in the midst of Charlotte's fertility struggles. It's uncomfortable, and even more uncomfortable is the fact that Miranda plans to have an abortion. The show does a great job of tackling the topic, and the episode ends with one of the best scenes of friendship we've ever seen. Four words: "We're having a baby."
"The Freak Show"
Carrie goes through a dating phase in season two, dealing with a slew of men pretending to be one way while harboring some undesirable traits, like anger problems. As a result, she develops some slight paranoia that makes her question whether or not all men are freaks. When she finally meets a great guy randomly in the park, she spins out of control trying to figure out what his secret is and subsequently becomes the freak in the relationship. She loses the man, but she learns a valuable lesson. It's the perfect summation of the dating world and how it's easy to lose your head and let your fears get the best of you.
"The Post-It Always Sticks Twice"
Is there any TV breakup more iconic than the Post-it breakup note in season six? Only perhaps Ross's "We were on a break!" catchphrase, but other than that, Jack Berger's jerk move takes the cake. Just when you think the men in Carrie's life can't sink any lower, she's delivered a yellow adhesive note that tells her everything she needs to know. The good news is that the episode ends with friends and ice cream sundaes — the only things you need to get through a breakup.
"Luck Be an Old Lady"
Hell hath no fury like a Samantha Jones scorned. Richard learns this very important lesson in this iconic episode in season five. When Samantha suspects her man might be cheating on her, she loses her mind and sprints up several flights of stairs in a very impractical pearl thong. She stands up for herself and exclaims our favorite line: "I love you, Richard, but I love me more."
"The Real Me"
We love this episode in season four for so many reasons — Heidi Klum and the first meeting of Stanford and Anthony, to name a few. But what we really love is that even though Carrie literally face-plants during her runway debut, she laughs it off and teaches us the importance of self-love and being your authentic self.
"A Woman's Right to Shoes"
This episode in season six tackles the constant power struggle between single women and their friends with children. Carrie's prized Manolo shoes go missing at her friend's party, prompting her to ask the hostess to replace them. An argument ensues due to the high expense of the shoes, but Carrie holds her ground and refuses to be punished for being a child-free woman. Since she has spent hundreds on her friends' wedding and baby shower gifts over the years, it's time for the universe to give back to her. It's an episode that still holds up perfectly.
"A Vogue Idea"
Carrie deals with her broken engagement by throwing herself into her work in the form of a freelance job at Vogue. When life seems too good to be true and Carrie's new coworker invites her into the magazine's accessories closet, she finds out that it is. It's an important lesson in workplace sexual harassment that seems very applicable these days, but Carrie handles it like a champ.
We could write an entire column on all the important topics covered in this season one episode. Carrie takes a gamble and poses for a bus banner photo shoot. It goes well, and she gets to keep the dress, but then she's immediately brought back down to earth with an "American Vandal"-esque graffiti job. But she doesn't let it get her too down, and she sports the infamous "naked dress" from the photo shoot on her first date with Big. There's a discussion in the girls' group about whether it's OK to sleep with someone on the first date, but Carrie follows her heart. She soon realizes her new man might be ashamed to take her out in public, and she refuses to stand for it. It's all about self-worth and being your own advocate.
"Sex and Another City"
You know what they say: When it gets too cold in NYC, head to LA. The girls do just that in this season three getaway, and they quickly learn that Hollywood isn't all glitz and glamour. The group gets invited to a wild Playboy Mansion party, and Samantha manages to get herself kicked out for accusing a bunny of stealing her fake Fendi purse. To add insult to injury, the bunny's Fendi purse is authentic. There's no place like home.
"An American Girl in Paris, Part Une"
Who among us hasn't wanted to jet off to Paris to eat croissants and walk along the Seine? It turns out that fantasy doesn't always line up with reality, a lesson Carrie learns the hard way when her Russian beau, Alexander Petrovsky, jets her away to Paris in season six. Carrie is lonely in a city where she doesn't speak the language, and she doesn't have her girl group. Big makes a final plea to Carrie's girls back in the States to help him earn back Carrie's heart, and Miranda utters the memorable line, "Go get our girl." It's at that moment that we know Big is the one for her, and he is finally ready to step up and be the man she needs. Plus, we see Carrie's friends are willing to do anything for her . . . even help the man who disappointed them so much in the past.
"An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux"
If you're going to include Part Une on the list, you've got to include Part Deux too. Things get more heated for Carrie as she finds herself in a tense argument with the Russian. He "accidentally" slaps her, she can't find her prized necklace (a gift from Big), and she storms out, hoping to find herself another hotel room for the evening. And then, like a beacon of light, there is Big to save her from despair. It's not the best lesson: leave your awful boyfriend for the guy who broke your heart a million times before. Even Carrie says in the final monologue, "The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself." So, I guess we just have to trust her. It's a very emotional final episode for the show, but we couldn't imagine it any other way.
This season two episode is amazing, and it's not just because of a shirtless Justin Theroux (but he helps). Carrie finds herself dating Vaughn Wysel, a writer with amazing parents. There's only one problem: premature ejaculation. Carrie debates staying in the relationship because she's that obsessed with the man's family, but by the end of it, she's forced to break up with him . . . and his mother. Valerie Harper plays the mother (and owns the role), and the episode is truly cringeworthy in that amazing way that only "Sex and the City" can pull off.
"La Douleur Exquise"
Carrie gets her heart handed to her in season two when Big announces he may or may not be completely abandoning their relationship to live in Paris for six months. It's awful, and it's one of the many times we wish we could just grab Carrie by the shoulders and tell her to get some self-worth. Luckily, she begins to learn that lesson on her own (and with the help of her girl gang), but it is still very painful to watch. It's iconic because it's so relatable, and more importantly, it's an extremely valuable lesson all women need to learn: you have to stand up for yourself. Oh, also, Charlotte starts getting free shoes for her relationship with a foot fetishist, and her internal struggle with the exchange is absolutely hilarious.
"The Cold War"
Sometimes you just need a good ol' fashioned dog show, and the show's season six take on the whole thing is amazing. Charlotte signs up for the dog show and brings one of our favorite characters, Anthony Marentino, along for the ride. Each scene is a gem, but there's nothing better than when Anthony realizes Charlotte's dog has her period and exclaims, "What are you gonna do? Run around looking for a teeny-tiny tampon?" It's not the most profound episode, but we love a lighthearted laugh every so often.