Sex and the City quickly became a landmark soon after it aired in 1998. Here was a show unafraid to comment and delve into real women’s issues surrounding sex, love and everything else in between. It opened up important conversations involving women; topics that hadn’t been spoken about in such a frank manner on screen before, and it remains a cultural touchstone almost two decades later. Every woman watching latched onto one of the four female lead characters in some form, seeing a variation of themselves in each. We rooted for our favourite and in particular, rejoiced when the time came to wrap up couture-obsessed Carrie’s tale.
But it didn’t get everything right, and over the years one particular gripe continues to be the topic of endless Buzzfeed articles – Carrie Bradshaw’s wealthy lifestyle. That apartment and designer wardrobe – and those shoes – on little more than one column a week in New York City? Right. That’s totally attainable, said no one ever.
Her often frivolous spending (“sometimes I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I found it fed me more”) is endlessly debated by fans, and finally, the producer of the show has revealed that the character’s spending was also a topic of much conversation. We only had to wait almost twenty years for the creators of the show for Sex and the City’s writer and producer, Amy Harris, to give us an insight into the decisions behind Carrie’s disastrous spending choices.
And in one of the show’s most controversial fourth season plot lines, which saw Charlotte decide to loan Carrie $40,000 for a down payment on her apartment (Carrie only had $2,000 to her name when the time came to get her apartment) — but only after Carrie initially berates her friend for not offering to help. Harris said she was pleased with the outraged reaction, because they used the episode to make an example of Carrie’s “s**t lifestyle choices.” Spending over $40,000 on shoes and magazines over food will earn you that title.
“If people were pissed and hated that Carrie did that, I’m OK with that,” producer Amy Harris told CNBC Make It. “That was a very big debate.”
She says she firmly believes Carrie “learned a lesson” after Charlotte loans her the money. “I do believe she sat down every month and wrote Charlotte a check,” she added – though we never saw this even once onscreen.“Sarah Jessica and I talked about this: we believe she [Carrie] paid her [Charlotte] back.”
“It was a loan, not a gift, so she did have to learn to save a little, to not spend everything on shoes and clothes. In my mind, she had to acknowledge all the s**t choices she’d made and the fact that she hadn’t saved a penny and that was a big mistake, and so she was living with that.”
However, Carrie’s finances were a constant source of strife behind the scenes. “The biggest fight we ever got into in the writers’ room was about the money.”
“Money is a tricky, complicated thing. Carrie spent it well on things she enjoyed, and luckily it all worked out well for her – I love happy endings.”
It’s not likely not realistic but may we at least wish for the (exact) same happy ending – shoes, friends and all.