Sex and the City vs. Girls: Can We Compare the HBO Shows?

Tags: Lena Dunham - Sarah Jessica Parker

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Sex and the City meant glamour. Each week young women would tune in to watch Carrie hobble through New York donning a pair of skyscraper Manolo Blahnik shoes, climbing in and out of Big’s chauffeur driven car and working her way through the most eligible men in the city. The gal pals would meet over their Cosmopolitan cocktails to swap stories about their fabulous lives while the girls would drop what they were doing at a moment’s notice if each other were in need, because, in the immortal words of Carrie: “our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with”.

Sex and the City movie
Sex and the City remains one of the most popular shows of all time.

Fast forward ten years, since the end of the sitcom and we find ourselves with a new female oriented show to contend with SATC. Like Carrie, Girls' Hannah is a writer, living in New York City, figuring out life and love along with her girl friends who are of similar age. It would be easy to say that the 10 year age gap between Hannah and her pals and Carrie and hers can be held responsible for the fundamental differences in the two shows, but despite outward similarities they are still worlds apart.

The ethos behind Girls is in total contradiction to Sex and the City. Sex and the City was fun loving, it was about friends and love and searching for a happy ending. There were no important issues raised, no debates after each episode, no angry villagers with pitchforks screaming about fat-baiting and photoshop. Sex and the City was there to empower women. Spawned in the girl power era, Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda were successful in their own right and looked like they were straight off the catwalk in the process. All there was to say after every episode was ‘I wish I was more like Carrie‘, or ‘that Samantha is so wild, I wish I had the guts to do that’.

Sex and the City movieSex and the City spawned two movies, with rumours of a third

Times have moved on. The internet has bred a new wave of feminists who look at life more realistically. Carrie’s wardrobe, rather than enviable, now seems excessive and overpriced, these days young women vote vintage, shopping in thrift stores and on eBay. The ‘in-crowd’ don’t wear Jimmy Choos to clubs, they wear Mom Jeans and tops they cropped themselves with a pair of scissors from the kitchen drawer. Women writers don’t just write about sex and shoes, they get involved in the important issues, they write screenplays and comedy.

girls hbo}
Girls is more suited to a modern audience

Sex and The City paved the way for shows like Girls, and because of this we’ll always love it. But times have changed and Girls is (perhaps sadly) the show that’s more suited to a modern audience. It would be nice to go back to a simpler time, when all we wanted to do was slip into a designer dress and strut into the opening of a trendy club a la SATC, but for now Hannah’s green bikini and the constant neuroses of the Girls gang fits more comfortably.


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