There’s a scene in Sex And The City season four that really does it for a lot of people. Carrie Bradshaw is staying at her boyfriend Aiden’s cabin in upstate New York. She’s bored as hell, and when Aidan comes back from a hard day’s yakka working outside, she begs him to hang out with her while she makes an apple pie.
Suddenly, Carrie’s shrill scream sounds—she’s spotted a squirrel sitting on the window prompting her to drop her fresh-of-of-the-oven pie crust on her leg. It’s the final straw for the city-loving gal. She crumples, yelling “Oh God, oh God dammit!”
When a mildly bemused Aidan asked her if she’s okay, Carrie screeches “No! I am not okay! I hate this house!”
It’s a scene that’s understandably difficult to watch, largely due to the high pitched screams and the full-blown tantrum over, well, a squirrel. And it was enough for plenty of people to essentially cancel Carrie Bradshaw, deeming her a diva and an unwatchable spoilt New Yorker.
But the thing is, I vividly remember watching that scene myself for the first time, and instead of immediately writing off Carrie, I thought quite the opposite: I related to her.
To be completely frank, how often have we all been thrown way outside our comfort zone for what feels like no good reason and, maybe irrationally for a moment, wanted to have our own eight-year-old-style-throw-your-hands-in-the-air screaming tantrum?
It’s human, which is exactly what Carrie is. Can you really blame the gal for having her moment after desperately trying to cater to her boyfriend by leaving the city she loves and staying with him in the middle of nowhere only to burn her leg with a piping hot pie crust?
Honestly, I’d probably be having a cry about that too—then I’d get over it. Just like Carrie subsequently does.
Of course, the cabin tantrum was no isolated incident. Yes, sometimes Carrie can act a little ungrateful and completely oblivious of her privilege. She’s bossy, quite selfish and pushes her views on her a friends a little too much at times.
The real hum-dinger was most definitely when she cheated on Aidan. Something I and many fans of the show deemed an unforgivable feat.
But then, Carrie couldn’t forgive herself for a long time either. And that’s the thing—she was human. She made a mistake. A really big one at that, but she took responsibility and she dealt with the fallout.
There’s also the slightly troubling scene where Carrie gets upset at Charlotte when she doesn’t offer to help her buy her house. We get that, no monetary value should ever be put on friendship.
But again, look at the context here. Carrie’s disappointment in Charlotte is blown out of proportion not because of the money itself, but because of what Carrie see’s the money representing—support from a friend. Charlotte does lend Carrie the money in the end, which doesn’t thrill me given it kinda enable’s Carrie’s behaviour. That said, one of the show’s writers Amy Harris did later say that Carrie repaid Charlotte in full.
Another moment that garnered some hate for Carrie was when she sent her boyfriend Aiden to help Miranda when she throws her neck out. Yes, it’s a shit move from Carrie who doesn’t prioritise a friend in need, but again, Miranda doesn’t exactly stipulate the seriousness of the situation to Carrie (read: she’s naked, not a fun time when your best pal’s boyfriend comes instead). I’m pretty certain Carrie would’ve gone to help her had she known that fact.
Perhaps this generalised dislike of Carrie isn’t necessarily so much about the annoying things she does throughout the series so much as the fact that all of it is because, to put it simply, she’s not perfect—and none of us are no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
I’ll readily be the first to admit that sometimes, I can be a diva too. If I drop an entire cup of coffee over myself surprise surprise, I’m not going to be stoked on that.
And sometimes, I can be so consumed by things in my own life that I don’t even realise some of my friends are in need of some extra love. Like Carrie, I’d rectify that the moment I’ve had a reality check.
Carrie is full of faults, there’s no denying that, but so are we. Perhaps instead of casting her off as a villain the next time we see her throwing a tantrum in a cabin, or blowing things out of proportion when she’s under a lot of stress, we actually break down the situation from her point of view.
Because ultimately, if we dislike Carrie because of her faults, doesn’t that mean we dislike ourselves for our own faults too? And do these expectations we’ve subconsciously placed on Carrie reflect what we expect from ourselves and other people?
Perhaps that in itself should prompt us to rethink our own boundaries—no one is perfect, Carrie isn’t either. And despite being a fictional character living in her own one-bedroom NYC apartment on a one-column-a-week salary, maybe she’s a lot more realistic than we previously thought.