The Twelve Best Sex and the City Episodes, Ranked

Feeling anxious about, you know, everything? SATC is the ultimate self-care TV, so here's a list of the best episodes to rewatch in lockdown.

SATC

by Jessica Barrett |
Updated on

2020 has been the year of the re-watch. While uncertainty and despair swirls around us, the certainty and reassurance of watching our favourite series again has at least restored some calm to our evenings. This is mostly because we know how they are going to end: no surprises = no anxiety, but also partly because not so many new shows have been in production as a result of Covid 19 restrictions.

Sex and the City has got me through a lot of shit. Break ups, deaths, an entire of year of depression at uni, a pre-wedding meltdown: it’s been there, and it’s getting me through a worldwide pandemic too.

It’s easy for people to dismiss liking the show as ‘basic’, it was after all the birthplace of ‘fizz with the girls’, but there had never been writing for women like it before SATC launched in 1998, and there has barely been another show we’ve loved with such dedication since. Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones have remained part of the conversation almost two decades after it finished for a reason.

Anyhow, in the current climate (a phrase which would be appropriate for literally any week of 2020, but in this case I’m referring to US election doom merging with the impending doom of our second lockdown), why not let Sex and the City transport you back to a simple time when your main concern was whether Will Young or Gareth Gates was going to win the X Factor, or that you’d used up all your free minutes on your Sony Ericsson contract. Here are the episodes I return to again and again when I need to be soothed, in order of how much I love them.

12 Where There’s Smoke, Season 3, Episode 1

This deserves a mention because a) there is hot fireman cosplay b) fittingly Carrie’s outfits are absolute fire in this episode c) there’s talk of watersports (thanks to politician Bill Kelley, played by John Slattery) and d) Charlotte gets drunk and screams from the Staten Island Ferry, ‘I’m getting married this year!’, and actually turns out to be right. It sets the tone for the whole series, which is one of the best.

11 A 'Vogue' Idea, Season 4, Episode 17

Carrie has some apartment based financial woes after dumping Aidan (despite taking Charlotte’s diamond engagement ring off her), but lands a cheeky freelance gig, working at Vogue where she’s paid $4 a word. It...does not go well, editor Enid doesn’t like her first piece of copy and she gets ‘drunk at Vogue’ on martinis. This ep unfortunately loses points for the inclusion of office creep Julian, and his use of the nickname ‘Cookie’.

10 Belles of the Balls, Season 4, Episode 10

Look, the fact that we were supposed to believe that, following their disastrous affair, Carrie and Big were suddenly friends and confidantes so close that she would counsel him through his liaison with Hollywood star Willow Summers was an affront. But that aside this episode gave us a lot: Miranda pity fucks Steve, Charlotte puts her own photo in Trey’s ‘Juggs’ magazines, and Carrie screams, ‘You’re MIDDLE AGED’ at Big and Aidan while they have the world's most pathetic fight in the mud. I still don’t buy that those two would make friends after this, though.

9 Splat! Season 6, Episode 18

Inclusion in this list solely for the appearance of Lexi Featherston (played by the iconic Kristen Johnston, the second best SATC cameo after Geri Halliwell as Soho House ‘Phoebe’) who falls to her death from an open window whilst smoking a fag and telling everyone at the party that they’re boring. Frankly, this is how I’d like to go. Season six is problematic for fans: we don’t like Aleksandr Petrovsky, there’s little levity and Carrie is at her most infuriating. But this episode is by far the best of the bunch.

8 Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Season 3, Episode 12

This makes it into the list solely because of Miranda’s decision to catfish a man into dating her by lying that she’s an air hostess. He’s a doctor she meets at a speed-dating event, she’s sick of being rejected by arrogant men who aren’t interested in an outspoken lawyer, so switches things up for the night. Miranda plans to invite him to Charlotte’s wedding but, that morning, she cuts her finger, and the ‘doctor’ recoils at the sight of blood - turns out he's not one. As she kicks him out of her apartment, she says, ‘I hope I never have you on one of my flights’. Carrie narrates, ‘For a brief moment, Miranda considered coming clean. But then they'd both be liars, and he wouldn't have slept with a stewardess and she wouldn’t have been one.’

7 The Post It Always Sticks Twice, Season 6, Episode 7

‘I’m sorry, I can’t, Don’t hate me’, reads Jack Berger’s Post-It note, the note he used to dump Carrie. We get it, she’s so annoying in this series and to be fair to Berger a Post-It was better than the modern day equivalent which would be getting ghosted. This episode has so much besides the Post-It, though: the opening of a novelty nightclub called Bed where they all sit on beds (remember clubs?), plus Carrie absolutely loses it and rants at Berger’s friends, causing some of the worst second hand embarrassment in TV history. Then she gets arrested for smoking a ‘doobie’.

satc post it
©HBO

6 Ex and the City, Season 2, Episode 18

The season two finale is an historic SATC moment. Carrie finds out that Big is engaged to Natasha (pronounced throughout as ‘Nat-arsha’). For some reason Carrie decides she has to go down to their engagement party at the Plaza to get the closure that the New York Times engagement announcement clearly did not provide. If you don’t think about the line, ‘Your girl is lovely Hubbell’ at least once a month then are you really a SATC fan.

Hubbell
©HBO

5 I Heart NY, Season 4, Episode 18

I’m not a major romantic but Carrie and Big’s last goodbye before he moves to Napa (‘You take a Napa you don’t MOVE to Napa!’) is emotional. Also featuring: Carrie’s pink Louboutin shoes which Miranda’s water breaks onto. Also featuring: Carrie holding Brady before Steve, his actual father, does after he’s born.

4 Cock a Doodle Do! Season 3, Episode 18

Carrie and Samantha both deal with noisy neighbours: Carrie’s are cockerels and Samantha’s are the ‘Up My Ass Players’, the trans sex workers in her new neighbourhood, the Meatpacking District. The final scene of this episode, and the season, with its party on the roof, where they’re drinking Flirtinis (vodka, champagne and pineapple juice) is a real serotonin blast and you’ll want to go out to a rooftop party with your friends - but you can’t.

3 The Real Me, Season, Episode 2

Carrie gets asked to appear in a New York Fashion Week show, and ends up getting put in tiny D&G knickers. If that’s not enough she falls over in front of everyone, but gets up again to the soundtrack of Cheryl Lynn ‘Got To Be Real’ while her friends cheer her on. I’m not sure why but Carrie’s bravery actually inspires Charlotte to look at her vagina in a hand mirror for the first time. Also, there are cameos from Heidi Klum and Alan Cumming.

Heidi SATC
©HBO

2 Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women, Season 2, Episode 17

This was my introduction to the bougie Hamptons back when I was in my late teens living an extremely un-bougie life in Somerset. It’s not just the high society escapism which makes this episode so good. Carrie ponders why your thirties are so much better than your twenties (better skin, better sex and better clothes, apparently) when Charlotte gets crabs after lying about her age and sleeping with a younger man. The piece de resistance of this episode, however, is Carrie’s outfit (a leopard print boob tube, sarong, cowboy hat) as she bumps into Big with his new girlfriend Natasha for the first time. As the extras flail around to Praise You by Fatboy Slim, Carrie pushes through them to the beach where she vomits up her grief into her own cowboy hat.

1 Escape from New York Season 3, Episode 13

Vince Vaughan! Matthew McConaughey (playing himself!), fake designer bags, dildos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Standard Hotel! The first of two episodes in Los Angeles, this is the one to which I want to return time and time again. It was also the first time that most of us had heard of a Hollywood wax. It was also the first time we’d heard of a smoking ban. These episodes are by far the most fun; they’re pure escapism, glamour and seeing as we can’t go on holiday...dive in.

satc LA
©HBO

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