I have kind of a love-hate relationship with “Sex and the City.” I discovered the show when I was 20 and quickly picked up on its aspirational aspects, free of any critical filtering whatsoever. Like most women that age, I was pretty impressionable, and I thought Carrie was amazing. I wanted to be her; I wanted her wardrobe, job, boyfriends, and even her hair. Her New York City life seemed amazing and I secretly strove to emulate it when I actually grew up. I watched and re-watched the show throughout my early 20s, but then eventually shelved it. Last year, I gave it another run through and was much less impressed. Carrie, who seemed so glamorous when I was 20, came off as irresponsible, selfish, and flakey. Samantha, who always gave me a laugh, made me cringe. 20-year-old me found Charlotte sweet and harmless, but 28-year-old me found her annoyingly conservative. When I posted about the show last year, an analysis was posted in the comments that reviewed many of the show’s satirical qualities. Maybe it’s because I’ve read the book, which is much more satirical and better presents Carrie as an anti-hero, but I think the show lost most of that after the first season. What started off as a somewhat critical show about men and women dating in New York City quickly became aspirational fluff that seemed more like a giant advertisement for Manolo Blahnik than anything else. Anyway, I’m veering here, so I’ll get to the point.
You may have noticed that I left Miranda out of my little rant above. When women are asked which character they identify with, almost no one answers “Miranda.” I guess it’s easy to understand why; compared to the other characters, she’s a bit bland and ordinary. When contrasted with the other characters’ annoying optimism, she can also come across as sort of a bitch. 20-year-old me didn’t see much of interest in Miranda; however, 30-year-old me finds her the only tolerable character on the show. She’s the only realistic character in the whole series and the only one that presents a half-ways healthy image of a 30-something woman. She was never afraid to assert herself and call out the men she dated on behaviour that bothered her. Sometimes she was in the right and sometimes she wasn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that she wasn’t afraid to speak up. She never hesitated to tell Carrie when she was being needy and/or totally unreasonable. In one episode, she calls out the others on the fact that they always talk about men, asking why four smart women can’t talk about anything other than boyfriends. I don’t know Miranda; I don’t know. In another, she turns the tables on a construction worker who sexually harasses her on the street. Good one, Miranda.
I suppose that in a show full of idealized characters, the one who most closely resembles a real person is bound to be less popular. Still, if given the choice, I’d much rather be a “Miranda” than a “Carrie” or a “Charlotte.”