Sex and the City is, unsurprisingly, all about the city. Even if its depiction isn’t the most realistic, the beloved comedy-drama makes moneyed life in New York City look like a ton of fun, with hot new restaurants and late-night parties practically begging to be attended.
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But the show also features many episodes away from the iconic locale. While the girls often pursue getaways to escape New York City’s fast-paced, competitive atmosphere, their destinations usually prove disappointing in unexpected ways. In a fitting strategy for a show so concerned with New York, most of these diversions ultimately lead the characters – and viewers – to fall back in love with the Big Apple.
10 “I Love a Charade” (Season 5, Episode 8)
The show’s second Hamptons trip concerns the wedding of lounge singer Bobby Fine and socialite Bitsy von Muffling – a couple who seems suspiciously more like friends than lovers. While Samantha endeavors to host a party at Richard Wright’s Hamptons mansion as a settlement for their breakup, Charlotte is caught up in rather superficial concerns over being seen with Harry’s back hair.
Besides Samantha fighting for use of Richard’s house with three of Richard’s young girlfriends, one of the episode’s most memorable moments finds Carrie finally snagging a date with her fellow wedding-goer Jack Berger.
9 “An American Girl In Paris (Part Une)” (Season 6, Episode 19)
In the first part of the series finale, Carrie embarks on a life-changing trip, and although her first impression of Paris is positive, the less desirable aspects of her cross-continental arrangement quickly reveal themselves.
After rebuffing Big’s advances on the night before her departure, Carrie endures difficulties in Paris like meeting Petrovsky’s insolent daughter, a humiliating (and legendary) fall in Dior, and most poignantly, the loss of her signature “Carrie” necklace. This emotional episode finds Carrie lost in more ways than one.
8 “Escape From New York” (Season 3, Episode 13)
In the aftermath of her breakup from Aidan in the previous episode, Carrie plans a girls trip to L.A. to discuss a film adaptation of her column. Carrie’s business talks with an erratic Matthew McConaughey (in a hilarious cameo) poignantly lead her nowhere except a deserted New York City set on the WB lot.
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While Carrie is disenchanted by L.A.’s entertainment business, Miranda struggles with the city’s sex-forward culture. But in the episode’s iconic final scene, she jumps on the rodeo bar’s mechanical bull and rips open her blouse.
7 “Sex and the Country” (Season 4, Episode 9)
With her and Aidan giving their relationship a second go, Carrie agrees to a weekend stay at his cabin in the aptly named Suffern, New York. The rural setting, a rarity for Sex and the City, perfectly highlights the couple’s incompatibility as Carrie’s urban stuffiness clashes with Aidan’s laid-back, come-what-may ethos.
When Carrie convinces Samantha to tag along, it leads to some of the show’s silliest plotlines including Samantha milking a cow to seduce a neighboring farmer and Carrie having a meltdown over her ill-advised decision to bake a pie.
6 “Luck Be An Old Lady” (Season 5, Episode 3)
Carrie is committed to celebrating a despondent Charlotte’s thirty-sixth birthday, and Samantha nabs the foursome suites in an Atlantic City hotel for a weekend of gambling. But despite Carrie’s best attempts, the trip goes haywire with Samantha paranoid about Richard cheating with the hotel cleaning staff, new mom Miranda facing harassment from male gamblers, and Carrie gaining and then blowing a $1,000 chip.
It’s a melancholy episode concerned with aging and maturity, and it underscores the show’s ethos that friendships are life’s most vital assets at any age.
5 “The Baby Shower” (Season 1, Episode 10)
One of season one’s best episodes finds the girls attending a baby shower of an old acquaintance in a wealthy Connecticut community straight out of Desperate Housewives. They’re shocked to discover the extent to which Laney has transformed from a renowned party girl into a prim and proper housewife, and all feel shamed for their single, childless, and city-bound status.
Quickly though, Carrie learns that the grass is truly always greener as the seemingly ecstatic Laney confesses to desperately missing her wild New York City days.
4 “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women” (Season 2, Episode 17)
The girls’ first foray into Hamptons culture is all fun and frivolity until Carrie devastatingly encounters Big’s new, 25-year-old girlfriend. Charlotte nabs an August time-share for the gang and while she masquerades as a twenty-something to fool around with a younger man, Carrie reluctantly mentors a superfan, and Samantha clashes with a PR ingénue.
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Unlike its upscale iteration later in the series, the Hamptons in this season two is an almost nightmarishly youthful neverending beach party, which perfectly suits the generational conflict at the heart of the episode.
3 “The Big Journey” (Season 5, Episode 7)
When a sex-starved Carrie sets off for San Francisco to begin her book tour – and to see Big, who now resides in Napa – and Samantha tags along, her ambitions for a fabulous trip are quickly quashed. The multi-day train ride proves cramped and suffers a serious shortage of eligible bachelors, which leads the disappointed pair to get smashed in their tiny suite.
It’s one of the series’ getaway episodes that is simultaneously the dreariest and the funniest, and it ends with a much-anticipated and equally satisfying appearance by fan-favorite Big.
2 “Sex and Another City” (Season 3, Episode 14)
The second episode of the show’s L.A. arc improves on its predecessor with a series of iconic and jaw-dropping moments. Carrie goes home with a glitzy celebrity agent, only to find out he’s actually Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher’s assistant, while Miranda’s study of the L.A. lifestyle continues in an encounter with a friend whose new veneer of success belies a troubled mental state.
But most memorably, Charlotte finally joins the girls to escape her marital woes and the foursome attends (and is kicked out of) Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion party while flaunting some of the show’s best-ever outfits.
1 “An American Girl In Paris (Part Deux)” (Season 6, Episode 20)
The series finale finds Carrie at her loneliest as Petrovsky becomes engrossed in his upcoming art exhibit, and her suspicions of his priorities are confirmed in a revealing lunch with his ex. A climactic confrontation in which Petrovsky accidentally slaps Carrie causes her to lose all faith.
But when Big appears at Carrie’s hotel and takes off to Petrovsky’s room to teach him a lesson, Carrie is forced to trip him in the hallway in a moment fans remember well. With the pair splayed on the floor and bursting with laughter and then enjoying a nighttime stroll outside, Carrie’s arc in Paris finally gets the romantic touch it deserves.
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About The Author
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Kim is a movie and TV fan with experience editing for student publications and a degree in Film Studies. They are interested in experimental shorts, chick flicks, reality TV, and more. In their free time, you can find them watching all of those things, walking their dog, cooking, and playing music.
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