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''Sex and the City'' cast: Entertainers of the decade

Sarah Jessica Parker and company brought single life, cosmos, and sex talk to TV

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In the 11 years since Carrie Bradshaw first donned that pink tutu, Sex and the City has gone from being the frothy cable show that made cosmos the cocktail of choice to one of the mightiest brands in entertainment history. Over the course of six celebrated seasons on HBO, followed by a blockbuster big-screen adaptation (whose sequel hits theaters May 2010), Sex and the City found the funny, the poignant, and the outrageous in the lives of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda — four Manhattan heroines who talked freely about dreams, hopes, and especially sex. ”My feeling is, there was a voice that needed to be heard, and it was the single-girls-are-not-lepers voice,” says Michael Patrick King, who exec-produced the series (originally created by Darren Star) and wrote and directed both movies. ”And when I say ‘single girls,’ what I mean is the individual, the one who’s not cookie-cutter, whether it be through sexuality or choosing not to do the traditional route of marriage. The women have grown up, but it blows my mind that there are now 22-year-old girls who think Samantha’s their friend.”

Sarah Jessica Parker (star, producer)
recalls when she realized just how formidable a cultural force the show and her character Carrie Bradshaw had become: ”It might be hard to believe, but I don’t think that I fully appreciated the dedication of the audience that we had cultivated nor the awareness of the show outside that audience until the night that the final episode premiered. Part of that is just my own nature, which is to not think about how others might feel about the work in a larger sense. But that night, I was home watching CNN and I saw on the crawl ‘Carrie ends up with Mr. Big.’ I was just thunderstruck. I’m probably paraphrasing it wrong, but it struck me: There was a large enough cultural awareness to run that on a crawl. That really was a revelation.”

Michael Patrick King (writer, director)
reflects on how Sex made sex fun again: ”When we first started and we were filming on the streets of New York, people would ask, ‘What are you filming?’ And we’d say, ‘Sex and the City for HBO.’ And they’d go, ‘Oh, that stripper show.’ They thought it was Real Sex and they would always make a face and walk away. I realized that the show was making a dent when it went from ‘Eww, that show’ to girls coming up to me and saying ‘I’m Carrie.’ We took the word sex out of a dark, soil-dipped shame file and made it pink and fizzy. So now when you see the word sex and it’s associated with us, it feels fun. Sometimes people would say, ‘Oh, women don’t talk like that.’ I always said, ‘Well, they would if they had a writing staff!”’