Ranking the main characters of Sex and the City
And just like that, it feels like it’s 1998 again. The fashion, the nostalgia, and now… the girls are back. In anticipation of And Just Like That… coming out in a few weeks, here is a list of the main reoccurring characters in order of Worst to Best. This list is by no means comprehensive but is completely unbiased and based on pure facts, not opinions. * This list does acknowledge the first Sex and the City movie as canon, but for the sake of the author’s mental health, she will continue to pretend Sex and the City 2 does not exist.
12. Mr. Big RED Flag (Chris Noth)
Big and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) are neck and neck. They deserve each other because they both suck an equal amount. Big is a wealthy middle-aged man who dates young models when Carrie meets him in season one. He stands her up for their first date, blames Carrie when he shows up anyway and can’t find her, and then has the audacity to bring a friend to their subsequent date. This man is a walking talking red flag. But Carrie runs into his arms like the toxic-loving New Yorker she is.
The worst part about Big – he’s not even that special or monstrous. He’s just a perfect amalgamation of men with commitment issues, cheaters, and gaslighters. He doesn’t do anything unforgivable until he stands Carrie up at their wedding. Big doesn’t even have a killer personality. He’s not funny or sweet. He can be charming and witty sometimes, but it can come off slimy instead of suave. If Carrie wasn’t just as slimy at times, Big would deserve to be alone until the end of days.
11. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker)
The star of the show, but certainly not the viewer’s favorite, Carrie is a controversial figure. There are whole articles dedicated to why Carrie is the worst. And they all have excellent evidence. Let us never forget the time she sent Aiden (John Corbett) to take care of Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) during a medical emergency and went to meet with her editor. Ok, she had a meeting. But she knew that Miranda was in a compromising position! And she’s Miranda’s emergency contact. Miranda should have come first. Hard stop.
There are a lot of people just like Carrie: self-involved, bad at money, melodramatic, impulsive, and prone to making very bad decisions. She’s not a crazy anomaly. It’s just frustrating to watch a character make such bad, awful decisions, and then her friends, boyfriends, and the audience are expected to continue to care about her week after week. That’s a tough sell. Let’s see what older and wiser Carrie is like in 2021. Maybe she went to therapy. (Remember when Carrie said therapy was for people who couldn’t solve their own problems?)
10. Trey MacDougal (Kyle MacLachlan)
Scotland tourism boards should be livid at this representation and very thankful that Diana Gabaldon and Outlander came along to fix this disastrous Scottish representation (American-Scottish, but they lean really hard into the Scot of it all). Trey is generally unpleasant and has erectile dysfunction. Having ED doesn’t make Trey terrible. What does make Trey the worst is his relationship with his mother (Gross. Just gross.), his lack of communication with Charlotte (Kristin Davis) about important things like his relationship with his mother and his difficulties with ED, and his boastfulness. Kyle MacLachlan also portrays this character as such a simpering, whiny annoying man that it’s hard not to start sighing in disappointment as soon as he’s on screen.
9. Aiden Shaw (John Corbett)
Once upon a time, Aiden was labeled solely as a victim of the Big and Carrie train wreck. And he still is. He’s also toxic as hell. After Carrie cheats on him, he decides to get back together. He says yes to being in a relationship again and then starts punishing Carrie instead of figuring out how to move forward. Plus, just because Aiden is the opposite of Big in many ways, doesn’t mean he is THE dream man. Aiden still tried to make Carrie into someone she wasn’t and is the prime example of this absurd notion that started sweeping the world in the early 2000s – that being a nice guy meant you were deserving of women’s love and attention.
8. Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) – Pre-marriage with Trey
In the first few seasons, Charlotte’s biggest personality trait is that She. Is. Looking. For. Love. And that love must be with a tall, romantic, wealthy white man. Except for that time she wants to be a Power Lesbian. She rushes into a marriage with Trey because of this fervent desire. Often labeled a prude, which isn’t inherently a bad or a good thing, she does end up being open to experimentation with threesomes and vibrators, so she wasn’t as prudish as people think. Never forget that Pre-Charlotte negotiated her pre-nuptial agreement, so she got more than the money initially offered.
7. Steve Brady (David Eigenberg)
When Steve cheated on Miranda in the first SATC movie, it was devastating. The only thing more heartbreaking in the SATC world would have been if Harry cheated on Charlotte. But something happened when Steve cheated. The audience felt empathy and compassion for someone who cheated because it’s clear how much Steve loves Miranda. It was wrong and will never ever be ok that he cheated, no matter how unloved or unwanted he felt. However, it was a rare instance where audiences took a closer look at their black and white views on cheating and who deserves forgiveness.
In addition to the cheating, when Steve first breaks up with Miranda, he let his insecurities around masculinity shape that decision. Good job patriarchy! After this short-sightedness, he grew up and didn’t let toxic masculinity dictate that he not be a stay-at-home dad. He was a cute bartender who had the ambition and the drive to own and manage a bar, which he eventually does. He could be a bit pushy though and didn’t always communicate with Miranda. All of these are why Steve is firmly in the middle of this list.
6. Charlotte York, eventually York-Goldenblatt – Post-marriage with Trey
Yes, this list separates these two Charlottes into two different characters. They feel like two different people! After her marriage to Trey, Charlotte is GROWN. She’s not perfect, but she’s finally stepping out of this preconceived fantasy she has around men and marriage. She stands up for herself against Trey’s mother, Trey, Big when she sees him after he stood Carrie up, and even her friends when they ask her for money. Charlotte also does wonderful kind things like helping said friends out with down payments on apartments. She can still be a bit judgmental, but all the women are judgmental. Even though she struggles when Miranda gets pregnant on accident, Charlotte gets over her jealousy and anger and shows up for her friend in the end.
5. Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler)
Did Harry spawn thousands of women’s fantasies that they would meet their true loves over divorce proceedings from the wrong man? Yes, it did. It takes a while for Harry to display more of a personality outside of some weird stereotypical Jewish lawyer nonsense, but once he does, he’s a great character. He’s funny and charming and typically uses those absurd tricky things called words to effectively communicate (gasp!) with Charlotte when they have issues like the naked couch situation. He still messes up, like when he casually told Charlotte he couldn’t marry her because she wasn’t Jewish and then subsequently broke up with her right after her conversion.
4. Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall)
Samantha says all the things that women aren’t supposed to say. She’s whip-smart and refuses to be slut-shamed. Is she a perfect example of sexually liberated women at the turn of the century? Not exactly, but she’s able to exhibit that rare quality of shamelessness around a topic that women are still shamed for by society. She’s also looking for love, as well as sex, and when Samantha falls for men over the seasons, whether it’s the guy with the small dick from season one or Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis), she loves freely until she realizes she loves herself more. This aspect of Samantha is one of the best parts of SATC that still stands up today – the relationship and love you feel for yourself should always come first.
3. Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson – May his memory be a blessing)
When Willie Garson passed a few months ago, SATC viewers took another look at Stanford. When Stanford first graced the screen, it was a big leap forward for representation. A gay man on the television screen with such bad fashion sense – it was groundbreaking in its own way. In the decades since audience members have had to reconcile with the whole ‘gay best friend as appendage’ trope. “This is my gay friend. Then these are my friends.,” is a messed-up way of talking about your friends. Stanford’s biggest personality descriptor is that he’s gay when there is so much more to him than just his sexuality.
Stanford was also loving, supportive, witty (“She’s fashion roadkill!”), and an excellent friend. When Stanford finally calls out Carrie in season five and says he’s been listening to Carrie talk for ten blocks and two years about Aiden and for once, he wants to talk about his love life, it’s a cheer-worthy moment. Stanford is all of us.
2. Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis)
Smith is so wonderful that people theorize he’s a hallucination. He looks like he was crafted by the gods, is kind and sweet and supportive, and works with Samantha through her relationship issues and her chemotherapy. The only reason he isn’t number one on this list is that I also believe Smith might be a collective figment of heterosexual women’s imaginations and because there were times where he should have stood up for himself more. When Samantha has him work with alcoholic brands even though he’s in AA, it’s frustrating to see him bend over backward for Samantha and not expect the same in return.
1. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon)
When young people watch Sex and the City, it’s so easy to see themselves in melodramatic Carrie or traditional good-natured Charlotte. Samantha, a character that embodies the late 90s version of female sexual liberation, can be tough to relate to at times, but still happens. Then there is Miranda. The 20-somethings might not relate to Miranda. At least, I don’t remember any young 20-something relating to Miranda. But for 30-somethings and older: Miranda is the truest version of a real woman in their 30s looking for love and success.
Miranda gets mad when all the women want to talk about is men. What about everything else they have to offer! She is there for her friends through thick and thin, works hard to get over her own issues when needed, and even learns how to forgive and move forward when her partner and husband cheats on her. Miranda doesn’t always jump from relationship to relationship. She continues to put herself out there and date, but she also knows the value of taking time to be by herself. Miranda can be prickly, stubborn, and often judgmental, but she consistently works on being better and kinder to those she loves, and that’s all we should be asking of each other.
*This list is very much based on opinions and those opinions are always right. Just like Carrie.