... alternatively known as, Visits to Sex Shops, Infiltrating the Presbyterian Church, and The Mystery That is Skipper (12 episodes).
And so, here we are, at the very beginning of Season One--the, um, very first season of SATC. (Sigh, can you tell it's been a long week, even though it's only Wednesday?) Here we meet the four women into whose hearts, minds, bedrooms, and closets the show will peer and rummage for the next six seasons--Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha. In this season, the women are in many ways more representative of differing viewpoints than they are fully realized human beings. ("Let me guess, we're about to discuss the desirability of casual sex... I'm going to say, Charlotte is against, Samantha is for, Miranda is just generally cynical, and Carrie... has a giant bow perched on top of her head!") Getting these characters (whom, I know, I know, were deliberately created as archetypes, I am aware) to be realistic people, as opposed to simply "Charlotte=Conservative, Samantha=Slutty," will take a bit longer than the twelve episodes we have to consider here.
But my, there is much of interest for us to consider in these twelve episodes, nonetheless! The writers, I think, must have composed a checklist of things they wanted to do to Scandalize and Titillate their viewers, prior to even penning Season One. "Clearly, this show of ours will never get any news coverage unless we Push the Envelope. The letter of the day is 'S' and the word of the day... 'Shocking'! So we need to do the obligatory discussion of anal sex, bring up the whole threesome idea, have the ladies visit a sex shop, feature vibrators shaped like rabbits, the works. IF THAT DOESN'T GET US A REPUTATION AS BEING DARINGLY CUTTING-EDGE, I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL."
In addition to crossing off these "I want us on the cover of Time as a bonafide cultural phenomenon, dammit!" milestones, though, the show also does start to take us into some territory rather deeper than the "well, do you find this shocking? What about this?" sexual hijinx. Carrie meets and falls in love with Mr. Big (which... good luck making that one work... for the next twelve frickin' years), the show starts to grapple with singlehood, motherhood, and marriage--and, from the very beginning, affirms female friendship as a vital part of women's lives. And in a pop culture which perpetually sets women up against each orher as enemies and rivals and assumes that women are inevitably bitchy and catty with and towards one another--seeing a show which just straightforwardly presents women who love, support, and stand by each other (the way, you know, lots and lots of real women actually bloody do)--is, I think, pretty darned neat.