Trying to be the ultimate girlfriend is making Carrie forget her friends, says Caroline Kepnes

By Caroline Kepnes
July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sex and the City: Craig Blankenhorn
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Will Big come between Carrie and Aidan?

Enough with labels! Last season, Carrie went a bit ”Choo” far with the footwear obsession. But in the July 8 episode of ”Sex and the City,” Sarah Jessica Parker’s heroine developed a more irritating fixation: relationship labels. Here, a sampling of the sappy, fishing-for-compliments speak: ”You love Pete. I love Pete. That’s just the kind of girlfriend I am … Who’s a better boyfriend than you? I’m your GIRLFRIEND!”

When exactly did ShoeGal become Stepford Girlfriend? Some of you are probably happy to see Carrie ”working” so hard that it reminds her of the SATs, but I say enough already. She’s 35, not 16! And if Aidan has her this jittery and stressed, well, he’s not like a Stanley Kaplan course. She can get a refund.

Yes, Carrie and Aidan are in hardcore ”Maybe” Land. Will she get back in the nook? Will he bop the barmaid? But, nonetheless, in a half-hour show, there should be at least one moment of intimacy, right? Not confession, not compliments, but flow. Think hard: Can you remember the last time Carrie and Aidan shared a laugh? She’s focusing so much on being a girlfriend that she’s forgotten to be herself.

Somewhere between the dog-walking disaster and that orange-juice jaunt to the deli, I found myself thinking of the original neurotic New Yorker romance, ”Annie Hall.” The scene: Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are in the kitchen, laughing themselves silly over the escaped lobsters. Now that’s what I call a relationship — two people lost in each other, not two emotional wrecks trying to please and plunder one another. I can’t help but feel that Carrie should throw in the silly grandfather hat and let Aidan sulk it out at Scout. She can’t win with him right now. The harder she tries for Girlfriend of the Year, the more he’s gonna feel like the Sucker of Season 3.

On the singles front, you couldn’t help but feel for Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda. There’s nothing like not having a boyfriend and having to be rescued — while you’re naked — by your friend’s boyfriend. But housebound and orgasmically deprived as she is, she still has her wits about her and is right on the money when she tells Kristin Davis’ Charlotte to lay off. After all, it IS Charlottes’s problem if following her heart seems like ”becoming one of those women we hate.” In a not quite up-to-par episode, I was psyched to see Charlotte get to glow. In fact, her transition from the gallery to the aspiring-mommy set was as go-go feminist as Samantha’s fight for the cab — and, well, the contents of the cab.

On the ick side, my heart went out to Miranda when Little Miss Girlfriend showed up at her apartment with H&H bagels sans the condiments. I can’t think of a more appropriate term for that kind of self-serving good deed than ”Bulls—Bagels.” And why? Well, if you ask me, Carrie is so label-conscious with Aidan that she’s treating her friends like last season’s pashmina. Just the same, I like that they’re dealing with this, even if it does make Miranda cry. It’s a nice twist on the whole ditching you friends for a boyfriend saga that they dealt with in the Big era.

And even though Chris Noth’s Big appeared only via the answering machine, he left quite an impression. The opening scene said it all: Aidan with Carrie. Big on the machine — oblivious, suave, invasive. Granted, as far as we know, she didn’t call him back. And I bet she won’t for at least a few episodes. But here’s something to chew on. Think of the dogged effort she’s putting into mastering the role of ”girlfriend.”

Now think of the immediacy with which she REJECTED Aidan’s ultimatum about cutting Big out of her life. The ever-capricious Carrie didn’t even blink before negging that request. Somehow, that spoke louder than all her pleading to Aidan, ”You have to forgive me.” I smell trouble for our newly flirtatious but tragically wounded furniture guy. And, if you wanna stick a label on it well, BIG trouble seems about right.

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