Launching Sex and the City
Sarah Jessica Parker peeks through the keyhole of New York City's down-and-dirty singles scene in HBO's racy new comedy series
>>Sick of the whole overused ”size matters” double entendre thing? Well, here on the New York set of Sex and the City — HBO’s upcoming comedy series — they’re once again talking about matters of size. But at least this time they’re not beating around the bush. This time it’s the real deal.
The scene: a smoky nightclub bathroom packed with four stiletto-heeled, celery-thin bachelorettes. Suddenly, one bursts out with a teary confession — her boyfriend’s anatomy is the size of a gherkin! Her gal pal commiserates. She once had a lover who brought to mind a miniature-golf pencil. ”I didn’t know whether he was trying [to have sex with me] or erase me.”
Through it all, Sarah Jessica Parker — playing the lead character, savvy New York City sex columnist Carrie — is the voice of reason, trying to caution her girlfriends against the cult of hugeness. This, from the wife of Matthew Broderick, star of that size-worshipping lizard movie? ”Godzilla says ‘Size does matter,’ and my character’s line is ‘Size isn’t everything,”’ she reasons. ”So it’s not a total contradiction.”
Phew! Crisis resolved.
Now the only size question involves Sex and the City‘s viewing audience. Loosely based on Candace Bushnell’s knowing column in The New York Observer and brought to the tube by producer Darren Star — he of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210, as well as that grand belly flop Central Park West — Sex and the City follows the lust lives of four thirtysomething power gals in the Big Apple. (Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall fill out the frolicsome four.)
But be warned, Red Shoe Diaries fans — you won’t see all that much writhing and sweating. Instead, you’ll hear talk. Lots of dirty talk. These women jabber with eyebrow-raising frankness about every subject under the Kama Sutra: oral sex, threesomes, romance-killing farts, cradle robbing, and anal sex, to name a few.
”I’m slightly nervous,” confesses Parker, 33, sipping a Starbucks coffee in her trailer a couple of weeks before the show’s Saturday, June 6, debut (the next night, the show will begin a 12-week run on Sundays at 9 p.m.). ”I don’t know if people will find it saucy and smart or if they’re going to say ‘Well, this is just completely inappropriate. Who are these dirty awful people who would pollute our airwaves?”’
Even Davis, a vet of the hormone-soaked Melrose Place, balked at a recent plotline about her boyfriend requesting anal sex. ”I got a little mad when I got that script, but I got over it,” she says. ”I just told my mom she can’t see that episode.”
Mom’s opinion aside, the actresses probably shouldn’t lose too much sleep. In a nation that’s already swallowed Howard Stern and MTV’s Loveline, this series’ aural sex won’t incite much controversy (though HBO surely wouldn’t mind a publicity-generating scandal or two).
Perhaps a more pressing question is: Will enough viewers care about the insular, haute-couture universe — with its bulimic models, society climbers, and ”toxic bachelors” — that is the stuff of Bushnell’s column? Parker thinks so: ”I don’t participate in that world. These are the people you read about in The New York Times‘ style section and W magazine. But I find it intriguing.”
Sex and the City