'Sex and the City' First Episodes: THR's 1998 Review

Courtesy Everett Collection
'Sex and the City' in 1998

"Perhaps if you're a young woman in that Large Apple and figure there are too many women and no good men, you might find amusement here."

On June 6, 1998, HBO introduced Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City to television audiences. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below:

The perception is that there’s a lot of sex in our urban centers, especially New York, since there are so many people there for starters. Which brings us to a reasonable idea for a late-night HBO sitcom, simply titled Sex and the City. But what may be a reasonable, even sexy premise comes out flat, bitter and flaccid.

Perhaps if you’re a young woman in that Large Apple and figure there are too many women and no good men, you might find amusement here. Best of luck.

Creator-exec producer Darren Star's script needs a shot of Viagra. Star ought to know something about sex and the city, with a major credit list including Beverly Hills, 90210; Melrose Place; and Central Park West.

These are half-hour comedies (two show as previews Saturday night, with a regular slot on Sunday night) based on the book about real-life low-life experiences in the big city by New York Observer dating columnist Candace Bushnell.

She’s co-producer on the series, built around Sarah Jessica Parker as a twisted image of her. Dating columnist Carrie Bradshaw is a mouthy character who delivers a lot of narration to help us find our way through the sour polemics of women-vs.-men warfare to the gags.

Other frustrated pals include sour corporate attorney Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), still-romantic art dealer Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and hot-eyed PR executive Samantha (Kim Cattrall). Recurring is high-profile Mr. Big (Chris Noth), who seems to taunt the ladies and throw them off their little game.

In the pilot adventure, directed by Susan Seidelman (among several for the 12 episodes), Carrie sets out to see if women can have sex like men, without any emotion — as in wham-bam, thank you, man. She works it with one old lover and feels empowered, thank you.

Neither director nor cast can do anything much with Star’s awkward script, which is choppy and burdened with impossible dialogue. But worst is that the smarty mood leaps beyond cynical, and his characters are too disagreeable to make funny.

“Models and Mortals,” the second episode, airs immediately following the pilot. — Irv Letofsky

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