20 Things You Might Not Know About Sex and the CitySuzanne Jannese
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The year 2004 was a momentous time for me: I visited Mexico for the first time, got married, and on February 22, Sex and the City ended.
I still remember the last scene now: The Source featuring Candi Staton song “You’ve Got the Love” bellowing up as Carrie swung her Manolo bag and giggled on the phone to Mr. Big, who we just discovered was in fact named “John.” I could barely see, I was crying so much. I was saying goodbye to four dear friends who I had grown to love over the past few years. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda had dated the same idiots I had; had stared at a silent un-ringing phone along with me; had attended so many friends’ weddings wondering all the while where our “The One” was.
My fandom knew no bounds: I even gathered friends together to hold a “Trash or Treasure” party based on a Charlotte quote where she discovered a couple who had met after being discarded by their dates. “What is one woman’s trash is another’s treasure,” she cooed. Sadly, out of a room full of “trash,” I was the only woman who didn’t get a date. Tragic, I know. Another quote that stayed with me was Charlotte complaining that she’d been dating since she was 17 … “I’m tired. Where is he?” I remember telling friends that whilst Mr. Right came along when we least expected it, I’d been doing that whole least expecting it thing for a good six years.
For me, Sex and the City wasn’t just a TV show; it was another friend who was going through everything that my girlfriends and I were going through — albeit we were in London and without such fancy wardrobes. It was brave, bold, bright, and brilliant, running for six seasons and generating 94 episodes. Part of me (and forgive me for saying this movie fans) wishes they had left it there and not gone on to make two movies. I felt that where they left it in the final episode — Carrie rescued by Big in Paris and safely home in NYC, Charlotte married to Harry and adopting a baby, Samantha falling for a younger man who proves his devotion to her as she undergoes chemo for breast cancer, Miranda moving to Brooklyn and having Steve’s Mom move in with them after she suffers a stroke — was perfect. My girls had grown so much; they found love in unexpected places, found resilience in themselves, and found contentment in places they never thought they would. It proved that life wasn’t always as expected, but the joy was in the journey and those you chose to share it with you.
While I can tell you I loved The Sopranos and Friday Nights Lights, there is only one series I will find myself watching over and over and over again. I never tire of seeing those women negotiate careers, friendships, and loves with the backdrop of the best city in the world.
As Carrie says in the final episode: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”
Amen Carrie, Amen. To celebrate the end of my favorite show 10 years ago (10 years — how can that be?!) here are 20 things you might not know about Sex and the City:
1. Carrie’s famous tutu almost didn’t make the cut
The vintage tutu skirt that Carrie is wearing in the opening credits cost $5 from a thrift store. Patricia Field, the costume designer, and Sarah Jessica Parker both were keen for the tutu but apparently no one else was. Four outfits in total were brought to set for the shoot of the bus going past with Carrie’s image on it, soaking Carrie herself. Producer Michael Patrick King now has it framed in his office.
2. Matthew McConaughy was not the first choice!
In the episode “Escape from New York,” the part played by Matthew McConaughy was originally intended for Alec Baldwin. He turned it down, as did Warren Beatty. George Clooney was interested but was unavailable.
3. They had to change the opening credits after 9/11
From the very first season up to the 12th episode of the 4th season, in the opening credits, Sarah Jessica Parker’s name was shown with the World Trade Center towers behind her name. After the September 11 terrorist attacks and the collapse of the towers, her name then appeared with the Empire State Building in the background.
4. They shot the Central Park pond scene in one take!
In Season 3, Episode 18 titled “Cock-a-Doodle-Do,” Carrie and Big fall into the Central Park boating pond. In Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, Parker tells of how the pond was dredged before they shot the scene and cleared of lots of garbage. They did the fall in one take and Parker cut her foot on the bottom, so she had to have a tetanus shot straight after she got out of the water!
5. The history of Carrie’s medicine cabinet …
The medicine cabinet in Carrie’s apartment was first spied by SJP at a flea market just before filming began on the series. She and her husband Matthew Broderick decided against buying it but then reconsidered. When they went back, they found the cabinet had already been sold to “some TV show.” When SJP showed up for filming, the medicine cabinet was there on set. Isn’t it ironic …
6. Kristen Davis’ grandma has never seen the show
Why? Kristen Davis said, “She would be too shocked by it all.” Agreed.
7. SJP had a “no nudity” clause
Sarah Jessica Parker had a clause in her contract stipulating that she wouldn’t do full nudity. That is why the audience never sees Carrie in anything less than underwear, whereas all the other lead characters have shown a lot more. In Samantha’s case — a LOT more!
8. They had to switch up their filming technique after the first season
In the first season, the cast looked directly down the camera lens and talked straight to the viewers, commenting on the stories. This technique was dropped after Season 1.
9. Mr. Big’s real name is John James Preston
Mr. Big’s real name was not revealed until the final episode of the series. The trailer for the Sex and the City Movie shows his full name to be John James Preston. It is said to be an homage to Preston Sturges, who is the director the SATC producer, Michael Patrick King, most admires.
10. You can buy a nameplate necklace just like Carrie’s!
Carrie’s famous “Carrie” necklace was all the work of Patricia Field. Nameplate necklaces had been popular among African-American women and Latino women for years, so Field had started selling them in her own 8th Street store in NYC and added the signature necklace to Carrie’s wardrobe. You can buy your own necklace right here!
11. Kim Cattrall originally turned down the role of Samantha
Kim Cattrall turned down the role of Samantha several times. She was offered the pilot script but passed. Then she heard Sarah Jessica Parker was onboard and they were filming in New York (although she had lived in L.A. for 22 years), so she she met up with SATC producer Darren Star for lunch (having known his partner Dennis Erdman for years). She still passed. Another actress was hired, but three weeks before they started shooting, Dennis called her and convinced her to meet up with Darren again. Kim thought Darren was honest and keen and therefore changed her mind. The rest is history …
12. SJP’s pregnancy caused Season 5 to be shortened
Sarah Jessica Parker discovered she was pregnant with her son, James, while filming the first episode of a new SATC season in 2002. Parker felt unwell and sent her assistant to get her a home pregnancy test. Season 5 therefore only had 8 episodes, and if you look closely when Carrie attends Bitsy and Bobby’s Hampton’s wedding in the final episode of the season, you can clearly see her little bump — plus she is blooming!
13. Kristen Davis is the only SATC girl to not win a solo award
Sex and the City won seven of its 54 Emmy Award nominations, eight of its 24 Golden Globe Award nominations, and three of its 11 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. The only actress who failed to win a solo award was Kristen Davis who played Charlotte York. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon all won individual awards for their portrayals of Carrie, Samantha, and Miranda.
14. Carrie Bradshaw was named an “Icon of the Decade” by The Guardian
In 2009, The Guardian named Carrie Bradshaw “Icon of the Decade,” claiming that she “did as much to shift the culture around certain women’s issues as real-life female groundbreakers.”
15. SJP took inspiration from Jennifer Saunders’ portrayal of Edina in Absolutely Fabulous
Sarah Jessica Parker looked to the Brit comedy Absolutely Famous for inspiration. In Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, she says: “I trip a lot on the show, I actually try and trip as often as possible. The truth is Carrie is such a wreck of a person so much of the time and her apartment is such a mess, that she should trip over shoe boxes because they are in the way.” With that in mind she looks to the other side of the pond. “There are a lot of physical comedians that I admire … Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely Fabulous. I can’t believe some of the stuff she does. It’s so old-fashioned, broad, hilarious. I’ve never seen somebody fall so much. The people in Ab Fab are really in my head when I do my work, I want to be as good as they are.”
16. To the SATC girls, age is just a number!
For those into numbers, Carrie is 43 and Mr. Big is 53. Samantha is 51 while her love interest Smith Jerrod is just 36 (go Samantha!) Miranda is 42 and Steve Brady is 44. Charlotte is 43 and her husband, Harry Goldenblatt, is 47. I’m still confused, however, that Miranda’s son is called Brady. Does that mean he is Brady Brady?
17. Cynthia Nixon isn’t a natural red head
Cynthia Nixon who plays Miranda is naturally blonde. I first spotted her playing a maid in my favorite film Amadeus, and she has long blonde locks. Nixon dyed her hair red for the part. She also doesn’t have pierced ears, so all the fancy earrings she wears in the show are clip-ons!
18. Candice Bushnell only made $60,000 for the rights to her book
Candace Bushnell revealed that she invented Carrie Bradshaw as her alter-ego so her parents wouldn’t realize that her dating column in The Observer was about her own private life. “At first I was writing the column in the first person,” she explained.”Then my parents, who were conservative, announced they were getting a subscription to The Observer. That’s when Carrie Bradshaw was born!” She also revealed she was only paid $60,000 for the rights by Darren Star. Talk about a steal!
19. SATC caused Magnolia Bakery to hire a “bouncer”
The Magnolia Bakery on 401 Bleeker Street in New York became so popular after Miranda and Carrie stopped off there for a cupcake that the store now has to employ a “bouncer.” I can testify that I visited there in 2008 and the red velevet cupcake was possibly the best thing I have EVER tasted. It is all about the frosting!
20. It wasn’t always smooth sailing on the set
There have been reports of clashes on set and off, with Kim Cattrall allegedly being unhappy about her salary for the movie, which is why it wasn’t produced in 2004. When the second SATC film came out, SJP admitted: “When you’re on set, you’re working 90-hour weeks, you’re never home, you’re exhausted. There are times when all of us have been sensitive, and sometimes feelings get hurt. But I don’t have any regrets about how I’ve treated people.” Cynthia Nixon admitted there has been some trouble between the co-stars but nothing serious. “It hasn’t always been smooth sailing,” she said. “But the idea that we’re somehow adversarial is ludicrous.”
There were so many amazing quotes in the series — many that made me cry with laughter and some that just kept me smiling and believing. This perhaps, is my favorite of all:
I miss you, ladies.