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Sex and the City: Top 20 Episodes (A)

For six seasons Carrie Bradshaw and friends Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte offered us their hilarious, outspoken and outrageous look at dating, mating and relating in the big city of New York.

Based on Candace Bushnell's bestselling book Sex And The City, Sarah Jessica Parker stars as writer Carrie Bradshaw; Kristin Davis is conservative nice-girl Charlotte Goldenblatt, (née York; previously MacDougal); Cynthia Nixon plays frank, forthright Miranda Hobbes and often stealing the show is Kim Cattrall as promiscuous man-eater Samantha Jones. From 1998-2004, the girls gave us a peek into a world of modelisers (men who only date models), toxic bachelors, freaks (including the infamous Mr P***y), commitment-phobes and serial daters.

Sex And The City (SATC) served up sharp insight into aspects of sex and interpersonal relationships that few TV series had broached up to that point: farting in bed, the other half's dirty underwear, secret single behaviour, the etiquette of certain sexual acts etc. Little wonder it became a worldwide phenomenon, making stars of the cast and elevating Manolo Blahniks and Cosmopolitans into pop-culture reference. Selecting a top 10 was not an easy task. However, I believe the shows below are among the very best. Don't bother looking for the finale (An American Girl In Paris) as I thought much of it was average at best - clichéd, contrived and fantastical. In addition, turning Aleksandr Petrovsky into some kind of pantomime villain is a great example of lazy writing.

The Turtle And The Hare - Big tells Carrie he will never marry again; Samantha tries to turn a nerd with bad breath into a Helmut Lang-wearing catch and Miranda introduces Charlotte to 'the Rabbit'. A really snappy episode with some great lines including Samantha insisting that if one must get a battery-operated device, "at least get one called 'the Horse'."
Why It's A Must-See: Charlotte's obsession with the Rabbit is hilarious

The Drought - "New York City is all about sex. People getting it, people trying to get it, people who can't get it. No wonder the city never sleeps. It's too busy trying to get laid." All the girls are in a sexual drought for various reasons and after breaking wind in bed with Mr Big, Carrie's convinced he'll never want to sleep with her again.
Why It's A Must-See: Carrie's fart. It's a classic SATC moment.

The Freak Show - Are all men freaks? Carrie wonders. We meet a man who wears dog collars and likes to be slapped around and also, the notorious Mr P***y whose reputation precedes him. As Carrie wryly says: "That night, Charlotte saw God seven times." This instalment cleverly shows how women can be just as freaky...
Why It's A Must-See: Two words: Mr P***y.

The Cheating Curve - Charlotte is intrigued by the 'power lesbians', a group of well-dressed, successful women (with good shoes) and Carrie is officially dating Mr Big again…but keeping it a secret from her friends. Samantha's on hand to provide the humour (thanks to funny antics with her personal trainer Thor) and the Big and Carrie scenes raise the temperature.
Why It's A Must-See: The 'power lesbian' scenes are wonderfully written

The Man, The Myth, The Viagra - "I know your friends fine. Charlotte is the brunette, Miranda is the redhead and Samantha is…trouble." So says Mr Big after Carrie decides he should get to know her friends better. Miranda hooks up with bartender Steve Brady and Samantha hangs out with a 72-year-old millionaire ("How old? Fifty? Sixty? Sweetie, is he on medicare?").
Why It's A Must-See: Samantha's face is a picture when she sees the wrinkly, saggy backside of her old geezer - hilarious!

The Caste System - Carrie and Mr Big say "I love you" and Steve feels emasculated by Miranda's earning power so they split. Samantha dates a rich man with a duplicitous servant named Sum and Charlotte hooks up with a movie star. Clever episode reflecting the fact that class matters as much now as it did when Mr Darcy looked down on Elizabeth Bennet.
Why It's A Must-See: For the gorgeous opening shots of New York in the spring - I'm a sucker for the great city shots. Also, Samantha's exchanges with Sum are very funny.

Easy Come, Easy Go - In Trey MacDougal, Charlotte finally has the man, but not the proposal, of her dreams. Steve is on Miranda's couch, Samantha's new man is not to her taste (heh, heh!) and Carrie cheats on Aidan with Big.
Why It's A Must-See: "Alrighty!" Samantha's "Funky tasting" bloke ("Honey, they don't call it a job for nothin'!"). Big and Carrie steaming up the sheets. A classic SATC episode from beginning to end.

Running With Scissors - Carrie's affair with Big goes from ultra-sexy to ultra-seedy. Samantha meets her sexual match but he insists she take an AIDS test. Charlotte is obsessed with finding the perfect wedding gown so she hires no-nonsense stylist Anthony Marentino (brilliantly played by Mario Cantone).
Why It's A Must-See: Because the writers pull no punches with the ugly truth about Carrie and Big's affair. Also, Mario Cantone steals every scene.

Hot Child In The City - Ever wanted to relive your teen years? That's what Carrie and Miranda inadvertently find themselves doing. Carrie's new man works at a comic book store and lives at home and Miranda has to wear braces. Samantha is hired as the publicist for the Bat Mitzvah of spoilt Jenny Brier and Charlotte surfs the net for a solution to Trey's sexual problem.
Why It's A Must-See: Carrie's latest lay blames her for bringing pot into his mother's house so she leaves and takes the stash with her. Ha, ha, ha!

Cock A Doodle Do! - Samantha and Carrie are having trouble sleeping; the former's kept awake by drag queen prostitute neighbours and the latter can hear roosters crowing at the crack of dawn. Steve and Miranda, Trey and Charlotte and Big and Carrie try to work out their relationships.
Why It's A Must-See: For the moments of genuine poignancy between Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte and their other halves. And the drag queens are fun.

(To be continued...)

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