The 10 defining moments that made Sex and the City perfect television.

It's been 25 years since Sex and the City aired its first episode and somehow, the seminal series is still more relevant than ever.

The HBO series was inspired by Candace Bushnell's column in The New York Observer, which focused on her and her friends' sex lives while living in New York City. The series championed female friendship and ran for six seasons while making household names out of stars: Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda), Kristin Davis (Charlotte) and Kim Cattrall (Samantha). 

In 2022, the series released reboot And Just like That on HBO which offered fans an update on where the women ended up after all these years – well minus Samantha. Thankfully, Cattrall will make a special cameo in season two, so stay tuned. 

To celebrate Sex and the City turning 25, we rounded up the series' most defining moments. We were spoilt for choice, but we've narrowed it down to 10 moments that shaped the series into a cultural phenomenon.

1. The 'Up The Butt' taxi ride

The series got off to a spectacular start with episode four in the first season airing one of the most iconic moments. Charlotte, in the midst of a crisis, like usual, enlists the help of Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha who pick her up in a cab to coach her through her boyfriend's request to try anal sex. 

This chaotic car ride features some truly laugh-out-loud dialogue. Most notably the moment when the taxi almost get rear-ended by another car, as Charlotte asks "what was that?" the three women reply, "a preview". 

This scene has it all: honest dialogue about sex, the four women supporting each other while making each other laugh, all inside the deeply New York setting of a taxi. 


This is Sex and the City excellence. 

Image: HBO.

2. The baby shower

Another stellar episode from season one, 'The Baby Shower' sees the four women reunite with their friend from college: Laney, a reformed party girl who is having a baby. Throughout the baby shower, Laney makes multiple snarky and judgemental comments towards the four women because they're yet to marry or have children.


The tension boils over when Laney pretends that she didn't steal her baby name, Shayla, from Charlotte. Suddenly, Samantha steps in, and without any information or context, she simply tells Laney "you bitch!" 

The women flee the baby shower in a victory for single women everywhere.

Image: HBO.

3. The women sing 'The Way We Were'

This moment comes after Carrie finds out that, despite his fears around commitment, Big got engaged to twenty-something girlfriend, Natasha. As Carrie processes Big's rejection with the other women, Miranda draws a parallel with Carrie's troubles and the storyline in 1973 classic, The Way We Were.

The women agree that Carrie is too complicated like the film's protagonist Katie, and Big (or Hubbell as they affectionately sub in) needs a "simple girl" like Natasha. 

The cafe scene culminated in the women singing a rousing chorus of the movie's title track. By the end, even Samantha is moved, shouting out "I miss James," aka the man she dumped for having a penis that was too small.

Video via HBO.

SATC doesn't get much better than this. 

4. "Single and Fabulous?"

Carrie arrived late for a 'Single and Fabulous' cover shoot for New York Magazine so the photographer used her test shots on the cover, and added a pointed question mark to the headline.


This entire sequence of events is enough to make any single woman cringe. But it showed Carrie at her most vulnerable, which is often when Sex and the City is at its best: raw, real, and relatable. 

Image: HBO.

5. Carrie's cheats on Aidan with Big

Aidan was always sold as Carrie's great love without the drama that followed Big. This made it all the more torturous when Carrie cheated on Aidan with Big, who happed to still be married to Natasha. 


Whether you loathe the scene or find it weirdly hot (guilty!), there's no denying that Carrie huffing in Big's ear, "fuck you, fuck you... fuck me," in a hotel elevator is something that got everyone talking. 

After they have sex and share a cigarette – despite Carrie quitting smoking for Aidan – Carrie describes her decision: "And just like that, I lost my head."

It was a pivotal moment: it painted Carrie as a flawed person. 

Image: HBO.


Quick! Listen to this episode of The Spill. Post continues after podcast.

6. Carrie falls down the runway at Fashion Week

Carrie falling flat on her face while walking the runway in Dolce & Gabbana might not have carried much emotional weight but it was the perfect intersection of fashion and fun, which SATC was known for.

Stanford whispering that Carrie was "fashion roadkill," as Heidi Klum stepped over the columnist's shellshocked body will never not be hilarious. 

Image: HBO.


7. Miranda has a baby 

Miranda's gives birth in SATC's arguably best episode: 'I Heart NY'. This is the episode where Carrie gets all dressed up for an old New York-style date with Big, buying pink frilly Christian Louboutin's to mark the occasion, only for Miranda's water to break on them. 

While on the date with Big, Carrie has to flee as Miranda goes into labour, reminding fans that the strongest bond on the series is between these two friends. As Miranda gives birth, Carrie holds her hand while keeping the midwife and Steve from annoying her too much. It's perfection. 

Image: HBO.


8. A woman's right to shoes

This is the sort of episode that stays with you for decades, especially if you're a single woman who has attended more than your fair share of weddings, baby showers, and child's birthdays. 

Carrie is stunned when her friend Kyra refuses to replace her shoes that were stolen at a party where Kyra instructed her to leave her $485 high heels at the door. The married mother tells Carrie that she shouldn't have to pay for Carrie's "extravagant lifestyle," which sends Carrie into a spiral (rightly so) over all the money she's spent on celebrating Kyra's milestones. "If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you," she seethes. 

By the end of the episode, Carrie leaves her friend a triumphant voicemail which says: "I wanted to let you know that I'm getting married... to myself. Oh, and I'm registered at Manolo Blahnik." 


Image: HBO.


9. The Post-It 

If the scrunchie moment wasn't enough to convince you that Berger was one of the worst men on Sex and the City then this will. Carrie and Berger had a tumultuous relationship which ended suddenly after the failing writer fled in the night, leaving Carrie to awake to an, ahem, breakup Post-It. 

It was the seven-worded Post-It that would enrage a whole generation of women: "I'm sorry. I can't. Don't hate me." This Post-It set in motion a hilarious sequence of events that included Carrie yelling at Berger's friends, getting caught by the police "smoking a doobie!", and ended with Carrie sharing a banana split with an equally stoned Samantha. 


I mean, flawless. 

Image: HBO.

10. The Slap

It was the slap heard around the world. Carrie's new life in Paris comes to a crashing halt when her boyfriend, Aleksandr Petrovsky, back-hands her during an argument. Carrie flees her hotel room, Big is waiting in the lobby downstairs, and once he finds out about Petrovsky's actions, he attempts to track him down before Carrie trips him, and they both collapse in a pile. 


The Slap might have been the catalyst but it was Carrie and Big giggling together on the hotel floor which proved that these two were endgame the entire time. 

Image: HBO.

Thanks for the memories. They simply don't make shows like Sex and the City any more. 

Image: HBO + Mamamia.

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