Sex and the City – the Final Season

Last seen in the Hamptons attending the straight wedding of ex-gay cabaret entertainer Bobby Fine (Nathan Lane) and aging socialite Bitsy Von Muffling, the heroines of HBO’s Sex and the City are now starting up their 6th and final season in great heals, witty clothes and some heavy lip shtick. The glossy build-up is unavoidable after more than seventy episodes. The New York Times covered the new season with a large article about the show’s new appeal among teenage girls and older women, expanding from their core audience of women under 40 and gay men.

But head-writer and frequent director Michael Patrick King seems to be getting back to basics for this round of shows, rebounding from the slump of formulaic sit-com storylines of last season that were ringing particularly false because he pointedly avoided any discussion of post 9/11 New York City, the other star of the show. Maybe King was right all along to skirt around unprecedented tragedy to get to his frothy heartfelt comedy.

Those basics not only go past the modern bedroom farces propelling the upended love interests of un-jaded sex journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker),cynical lawyer (and devoted shrill mom) Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Park Avenue ex-deb and future Jewish convert Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and sex-starved public relations bombshell executive Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), but exalt the genuine chemistry of these women with each other. At its best Sex is always a celebration of womanhood, with or without men, and that point of view comes joyously through this season with all four actors so ripe in these parts that they are now icons. Of course, this also begets problems of sustaining narrative surprise and character development.

Last year was a shrinking round of sit-com capers, punctuated with the fallout from failed relationships – Carrie’s break ups with virile furniture restorer Aiden Shaw (John Corbett} and her sublimely volatile connection with Mr. Big {fatally debonair Chris Noth} had great flow. But these affairs underlined the challenge that the next boyfriend would be a difficult slot to fill.

Stepping in last season was the nervously handsome Ron Livingston (Band of Brothers) as novelist Jack Berger who captures Carrie‘s fancy, it seems, both dramatically and comedically. Carrie and Berger, as she calls him, throw sparks standing up but fizzle in the bedroom as he is shaking off the scent of a lingering romance with his cheating ex-girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Miranda has decided that she loves Steve (David Eigenberg), father to her infant son, but he has moved on and she feels spurned, so they are paired for endless rounds of hostile negotiations over the care of Brady. Yawn. Charlotte is converting to Judaism because she is in love with bulky mensch lawyer Harry Goldenblatt, played with sloppy chutzpah by an endearing Evan Handler.

And Samantha just keeps going and going, after her messy break-ups with business exec Richard Wright (James Remar), she has been working her way through blue collar Manhattan, currently throwing down the hunky blond waiter at a trendy vegan restaurant called Raw.Will Carrie end up with Mr. Big or Berger?When will Miranda stop bickering with Steve. Can Charlotte give up her Tiffany Christmas ornaments for a dreidel? Is Samantha going vegan? And where is gay pal Stanford Blatch?

There are moments when the dialogue seems forced, almost robotic. Take, for example, this exchange between Samantha and Charlotte when the vegan waiter appears again: "I f—ed him. He’s that waiter from Raw, otherwise known as the best sex I’ve had in years," Samantha says proudly, to which Charlotte snappily comes back, "I have a 9A.M. conversion class at the synagogue…Oy. You guys, that was my first Oy!"

Carrie announces she had "accidental phone sex with Big" while involved with Berger and Charlotte responds "I don’t know why you want to drag all that Big baggage into your relationship." Oy is right.Will Sex and the City go out with style or just stylized?Only Carrie Bradshaw knows for sure.

Lewis Whittington

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Philadelphia, PA
Lewis Whittington writes about the performing and film arts for many publications. He is a renegade dance, theater and opera queen, a jazz-head and a civil activist.