I'm Calling Bullshit On This 'Sex And The City' Writer's Defense Of Carrie's Spending Habits

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You might not even realize it, but your entire approach to sex and dating was probably influenced by Sex And The City. That’s partly because it was such a cultural phenomenon, of course, but also because the characters’ thoughts and actions were pretty grounded in reality, albeit in outsized, simplified caricatures.

One thing that wasn’t realistic, though? Carrie’s spending. It was never really addressed in the show, but it was kind of a running joke that Carrie managed to afford a Manhattan apartment (to be fair, this was right before King Giuliani started personally punching out every criminal in the city) and a shitload of designer gear with a weekly newspaper column as her only income. Her rock bottom came in season 6 episode 16, when she was bailed out at the last minute by her friend Charlotte in order to buy her apartment and stave off eviction:

It’s a ridiculous ending to an already frustrating episode. It starts with Carrie being forced to buy her apartment back from the new owner, who just so happens to be her ex Aidan (WHAT ARE THE ODDS??), and hits a crescendo when Carrie goes full Hannah Horvath and scolds her friends for not offering to give her $40k, after it was offered to her by her (other) ex, Big. Along the way Carrie finally learns, at age 35, that she’s worse with money than most drug addicts. Look, this show was a lot of fun, but it was also unbearably stupid. Roll with it.

Apparently because this episode aired 15 years ago, writer/producer Amy Harris talked with CNBC about the episode, for some reason? Idk, slow news day I guess. Anyway, she offered up the following very bizarre defense of Carrie’s vile behavior:

“Sarah Jessica and I talked about this: We believe she paid her back. It was a loan, not a gift, so she did have to learn to save a little, to not spend everything on shoes and clothes.”

Although that transaction never made it into the show itself, Harris says, “In my mind, she had to acknowledge all the s—– choices she’d made and the fact that she hadn’t saved a penny and that was a big mistake, and so she was living with that.”

Besides, she insists, “Carrie learned a lesson. I do believe she sat down every month and wrote Charlotte a check.”

Sex And The City

One, give me a fucking break: She could barely afford her apartment before she bought it, much less with a loan payment on top of it. Two, the idea that a 35-year-old woman needs to learn concepts like “don’t spend more money than you actually have” is ridiculous for a show that’s literally founded on the idea of strong, empowered women characters who buck societal norms. Like women actually enjoying sex, or not being bad with money, for instance.

You could argue that Carrie was such a shitty character because she was meant to be a foil to the other characters, even to challenge the idea that they could exist at all: Were you, a regular woman, to be dropped into the SATC universe, you would handle things a lot more like Carrie than any of the other characters. She was still insufferable, because nothing about that show was subtle, but fine. She’s the “relatable” one, I guess.

In the end, it’s still a really shitty justification for why Carrie did what she did, insisting that she only learned some measure of fiscal responsibility AFTER she received an auto industry-sized bailout that she never really deserved. Look, I’m not that far behind Carrie in age, and I don’t exactly have $40k lying around, either. But I know that if I needed it, the first place I’d go wouldn’t be my friends, because that’s ridiculous. One of my friends tried to “register” for a down payment for his wedding, and I slapped him so hard he couldn’t remember proposing in the first place.

Besides, that’s what parents are for, right?