Commentary: Gen Z is watching 'Sex and the City' for the first time. Our discovery? Carrie is a terrible friend

Kaitlyn Huamani, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

“Sex and the City” is now one of Netflix’s most-watched shows as it settles into its new streaming home. Since the series’ April 1 debut on the platform, a whole new audience — many of whom weren’t born when the show premiered on HBO in 1998, changing the TV landscape — is discovering it. The comedy has been streaming on Max and on Hulu (through its Live TV plan), but the “Netflix effect” is unmatched.

The witty humor, the relatable dating woes and the core friendship that hold “Sex and the City” together make it a timeless treasure, and it’s starting to resonate with a new generation.

As a Gen Z woman trying to catch up on pop culture phenomena like “SATC” that came before my time, I’ve started diving into some episodes with friends. We laugh, we debate whether we’re a Charlotte or a Miranda and we wonder what it would’ve been like to carry beepers.

One recent viewing party gave me pause about my enthusiasm for the show. In Season 4’s “Ring a Ding Ding,” Carrie — famously played by Sarah Jessica Parker — is dealing with some financial troubles. She has only $957 in her savings account and can’t get a loan to buy her apartment back from ex-fiance Aidan. When Charlotte doesn’t offer her money, unlike her two other best friends, Carrie storms into Charlotte’s apartment to interrogate her.

Carrie makes her financial burden Charlotte’s problem and proceeds to shame her for not offering help. It’s a bad look for her (and I’m not talking about some of her more questionable fashion choices).

This scene reminded me of plenty of others where she behaves selfishly. And I couldn’t help but wonder … is Carrie an awful friend?


Over the many brunches, Cosmopolitans and city excursions that Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha share, Carrie tends to shift conversations to revolve around her problems. If she’s not complaining about work or money, then she’s complaining about Big. Or Aidan. Or how awful she feels about cheating on Aidan with Big.

Her girlfriends address this with her many times throughout the show, most notably when they gently suggest she should see a therapist. “I don’t need therapy, I need new friends,” Carrie replies before insulting Miranda and calling therapy “self-indulgent.”

The discourse over Carrie’s own self-indulgent behavior has become a popular topic on TikTok. Recent videos that highlight Carrie’s “worst moments” or dub her the “ villain” of the show have netted hundreds of thousands of views. The “SATC” Reddit page is also bustling with first-time viewers calling out her behavior.

In one resurfaced viral clip, Carrie makes Charlotte’s engagement about her own breakup. Her boyfriend Berger dumps her via a Post-it note. At lunch, after Charlotte shows off her new engagement ring, Carrie sticks the breakup note on the ring and says, “Paper covers rock,” signaling that she only wants to talk about herself that day.


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