Hurray for 15 years of Sex...(and the City!)
With re-runs and box sets, SATC is as popular as ever, writes Deirdre Reynolds
Can it really be a decade and a half since Carrie Bradshaw tottered on to television screens, and into the lives of women everywhere?
Cult TV show Sex and the City has just celebrated its 15th anniversary.
And 30 fashion seasons after gifting us the phrase "He's just not that into you", it seems women here are still very much into Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.
"I loved Sex and the City," says celebrity fan Lucy Kennedy. "I can't believe it's been 15 years already.
"For me, it was all about the friendship between the four girls, and, of course, Carrie's crazy outfits."
"Sex and the City dealt with things that all women encounter," says RTÉ weather presenter and SATC fan Nuala Carey, "relationships, career, fashion and friendship.
"I think that's why it has stood the test of time.
"It's a show that can make you laugh – like when Carrie was dumped by Post-it – and cry – like when Samantha was diagnosed with breast cancer."
Despite getting off to a wobbly start, with one newspaper calling for it to be "banned immediately, not because it is rude, but because it is so deeply irritating", SATC – based on Candace Bushnell's book of the same name – has since inspired everything from board games to box sets and bus tours.
And with the groundbreaking series still on loop on cable, terrifyingly, girls only born the year it debuted are now nearly old enough to tune in.
"What made Sex and the City worm its way into so many women's hearts, I think, is the way that it foregrounds female friendship," says Natasha Walter, author of The New Feminism.
"The show grew from pretty unpromising beginnings to become a classic for our times. I don't think anyone in the future will be able to write about the status of women in the US at the turn of the century without running through some old Sex and the City videos."
Sure enough, when Girls first aired (also on HBO) last year, the show about four female friends living in New York City drew inevitable comparisons to SATC.
"I do think we are looking at a different time in women's lives and a slightly less glamorised New York," argues writer and star Lena Dunham. "Although it's for women, there is a divide between those two shows."
"It's a very different show," agrees SATC star Sarah Jessica Parker. "But the similarity is in the intimacy of the conversations among women."
Almost a decade since SJP hung up her Manolos, Ireland's recessionistas seem determined to Carrie on her legacy.
"Carrie's signature drink, the Cosmopolitan, is still the most popular among twenty-something women here," says Ian Tucker, owner of The Exchequer Gastropub in Dublin.
"If anything, since Sex and the City ended, we've seen even more groups of girls coming in for cocktails after work. It used to be lads having pints, now it's girls having cocktails; I'm not complaining!"
"Brazilians are the norm now," says Urbana Hair Removal Clinic owner Paula Cuddihy of the waxing trend sparked by one eye-watering episode of SATC.
"Before Sex and the City, I don't think anybody talked about their bikini lines over brunch. But it brought everything out in the open.
"I still love the show," she adds. "If I'm off sick, I'll stay in bed and watch re-runs."
At just 19, AnnaSophia Robb – who stars as the teenage Carrie Bradshaw in SATC prequel The Carrie Diaries – knows she has pretty big Choos to fill.
"When I landed the role, [Sarah Jessica Parker] sent me very lovely note just kind of giving me her blessing," recalls Robb, "so that was huge for me because I was obviously nervous.
"I loved the show Sex and the City. I still watch it. I try to watch an episode every night. I loved watching [Sarah Jessica Parker's] performance, but I would never want to copy it.
"As we go on, I feel like I'm becoming more like Carrie, or Carrie is becoming more like me."
Just like the rest of us though, mum-of-three Parker (48) isn't ready to let go Carrie quite yet.
"I've been saying ... there is one story left to tell," teases Parker of the possibility of a third Sex and the City movie.
"If it is, in fact, the right time and the right place, maybe we should tell it. It would be wonderful."