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You have to admire the strange moxie it took, for HBO to put together a half-hour sex comedy, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and two other women in their 30s (and one in her 40s), run by gay men. now and trying to separate it from every hip crime movie it inspired.The casting is perfect, the writing is flirty and sharp, and Carrie still smokes. Aside from the problems of time, the first season relies heavily on not only the corny people-on-the-street interviews, but Carrie’s direct address to the camera.Here’s a ranking of the seasons, from worst to best, as it looks a decade later.What’s Good: Well, this is the season that started it all, that introduces us to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, and Big and a few other recurring characters.
As a longtime fan of the show who hadn’t watched an episode in some time owing to exhaustion—I probably tore through the whole series at least twice in 20—I decided to re-watch the entire thing recently to see how it looks now that its of-the-moment modernness has given way to vintage charm.Season 5 also introduces us to the boring downer that is Jack Berger, a character that never gets off the ground and is played with an unpleasant sense of veiled anger by a bored-seeming Ron Livingston. Best Episode: “Critical Condition” When book critic Michiko Kakutani ends her warm review of Carrie’s book with a reference to the men in Carrie’s life being “disposable,” it sends Carrie into a tailspin of self-doubt that has her seeking out the woman who dated Aidan right after her.It’s a smart, searching episode that also includes a rare Miranda/Samantha dual subplot—one that acutely addresses the frivolousness of all this fabulousness.(It’s also the episode that Charlotte and Harry began their nice romance, which helped Charlotte come down closer to Earth after spinning into madness during the Trey years.) Carrie’s skittishness about entering a new relationship and her utter nastiness over the publication of her book offer a sly meta-criticism of the show in its particular time—how useful or meaningful is all this ultimately inconsequential stuff in a world where so many terrible things happen?Downbeat isn’t really the best tone for this series, but Season 5 is still an interesting peer into the show’s version of the abyss. Like wayward Felicity Porter before her, Carrie returned for this new round of episodes having chopped her trademark mane of curly hair into a bob that’s way sadder than it is sassy.