The Best Romantic Gestures In The SATC-verse Are The Ones Between Friends

Seema’s actions in And Just Like That... speak to the heart of the show.

Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in 'And Just Like That' Season 2 Episode 8...
Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn/Max; Art by Margaret Flatley/Bustle

The show was called Sex and the City, and so it’s understandable that much of the cultural conversation around the HBO juggernaut centered on, well, sex. Or rather, the men our protagonists had sex with. Those men provided endless fodder for discussion, whether they were one-off dates with deal-breaker quirks or men who lasted multiple arcs and seasons. Did you think Miranda should end up with Steve? (Yes.) Should Charlotte have given Trey another chance? (No.) Are you Team Aidan or Team Big? (Team Berger.) But as fun as it is to talk about the SATC men, something the show itself has made clear repeatedly is that the women are really each other’s soulmates. “You three are the loves of her life,” Big said in the penultimate episode. “A guy is just lucky to come in fourth.”

While the grand romantic gestures from men can be appropriately swoony (Smith shaving his head alongside Samantha, Harry proposing to Charlotte in the middle of a Jewish singles mixer, Big flying to Paris to rescue Carrie from an emotionally-distant Aleksandr Petrovsky), my favorite overtures in Sex and the City are the ones we get to see between friends.

Love between friends isn’t something that’s often celebrated in the media. We get to see friends on television, of course (10 seasons of it! Ba dum tss! I’ll be here all week!), but we’re far more comfortable seeing the challenges of a relationship if it’s romantic. Friendship isn’t easy! Like romantic partners, friends often need to have challenging conversations. People mess up and need to apologize. Sometimes, friendships end.

The SATC-verse has a handful of incredible, big gestures from the women. When Miranda was overwhelmed caring for her baby, Samantha (a noted baby-hater) stepped in to babysit and give Miranda her appointment at an exclusive hair salon. When Carrie needed money, Charlotte gave her the engagement ring from Trey to help her. And in the latest episode of And Just Like That..., Seema proved she understands how to be a great friend: Even though she was feeling insecure and left out about Carrie and Aidan becoming a “we,” she showed up for Carrie anyway.

The scene of the two of them standing outside the hair salon was one of my favorites this season. Afraid of the awkward confrontation, Seema had pretended not to see Carrie when they were getting their hair washed next to each other. But Carrie refused to let the moment pass, and with wet hair, the two women went outside to talk about what was happening in the friendship. Seema was feeling uneasy because Carrie had jumped quickly into her old-new relationship with Aidan, and was preemptively dreading third-wheeling the Hamptons vacation she had planned for her and Carrie. Both women were vulnerable and honest, something that’s hard to do in even long-term romantic relationships or with friends you’ve known for your entire life. Seema wasn’t exactly rational, but she was able to express how she felt. To Carrie’s credit, she didn’t let Seema off easy. She let her know that she believed their friendship was worth fighting for.

Craig Blankenhorn/Max

The real staying power of SATC — why so many people and I have thrown it on as a comfort rewatch over the years — is the wish-fulfillment of unconditional adult friendship. These friends stuck by Carrie after her breakup with Big — again. And again. And again. They listened to her when she got back together with Aidan — again. And again. (How many times are they going to try this?) And you know that Carrie and Charlotte will always be there for Miranda — they suffered through Che’s “comedy concert,” after all.

The loss of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha hit so hard because it undid that fantasy. It was also a peek behind the curtain, a reminder that Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker weren’t actually best friends in real life. I’ve written about how Seema has begun to fill the Samantha-shaped hole in the show, but it was wonderful to see the challenges of friendship portrayed on screen in a way again. It reminded me of the way Samantha went into PR-maven mode and got Carrie looking incredible for her book cover. (Where do I find a friend like that?) As Seema proved, sometimes just showing up is the best way to tell someone you love them.