‘Sex and the City’ Alternate Opening Credits Has Carrie Tripping Clumsily

Sex and the City was and still is an incredibly influential TV show. The show is part of what put HBO on the map and demonstrated and celebrated female sexuality in a slightly older demographic.

On top of that, it spawned many fashion trends, like Manolo shoes and visible bra straps. Of course, it has rightfully received criticism for its lack of thought toward racial and sexual minorities, and for its complicated relationship to feminism and women’s liberation. However, it’s still an iconic show, and the characters are household names.

It’s even been adapted as a movie franchise and received a recent prequel series with The Carrie Diaries. Today, many remember Sex and the City fondly, and it’s still a popular show for binge-watching.

Chris Noth and actress Sarah Jessica Parker on "Sex and the City"
Chris Noth and actress Sarah Jessica Parker on “Sex and the City” | James Devaney/WireImage

‘Sex and the City’ revolves around friendship

Sex and the City is actually based on a book by Candace Bushnell, though the show has likely eclipsed the essay collection by this point. Candace Bushnell created the protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, from the persona she used in her own sex column.

Carrie Bradshaw is a newspaper sex columnist into fashion, and the show follows her and her internal monologue. It also follows her on-and-off romantic relationships, the main one being with Mr. Big, a divorced businessman.

The show also focuses on Carrie’s close friends: Charlotte York, who’s meant to be a less cynical and more conservative foil to Carrie, Samantha Jones, an older career woman who’s given up on romance but embraces her sexuality, and Miranda Hobbes, a cynical lawyer who ends up falling in love anyway. The four characters are somewhat archetypical — Sex and the City fans often describe themselves as being “a Carrie” or “a Miranda.” 

It’s clear that the writers of the show hit on character types that audiences could relate to and empathize with, an important task when writing a show.

The opening sequence of ‘Sex and the City’

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The opening sequence to Sex and the City is pretty iconic. It focuses on Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, out on the streets of New York while a catchy Latin jazz tune plays.

It sets her up as glamorous and cosmopolitan until she (and her outfit, a pink tank top and a short white tutu) gets splashed by a passing bus. Then the audience is introduced to her character on the bus’ ad with a sultry photo of her captioned “Sex and the City: Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex.”

It establishes her character well, and also establishes the tone of the show — glamorous, but with a touch of cynicism and irony about the lifestyle of New York’s fashionable elite.

‘Sex and the City’ has an alternate opening sequence

It turns out that there’s an alternate version of the Sex and the City opening. According to MTV, in this version, Parker wore a blue dress in place of the tutu ensemble, and instead of getting splashed with water, she trips after seeing her ad on the side of the bus.

The footage of this alternate opening hasn’t been found, but perhaps the tutu opening was fate. The subtle differences give different lenses on Carrie’s character: in the alternate, she’s dressed glamorously but conventionally and is surprised enough by her own ad to trip. The one used on the show, on the other hand, gives Carrie a less conventional sense of fashion and gives a more sardonic take on her glamorous life.

Ironically, the opening has itself been criticized as symbolizing the issues with the show: presenting its lead woman as childish, then as a sex object on the bus advertisement. Times have changed, and people may be starting to wake up to issues in the world around them, but that opening sequence still does stay in many viewers’ minds.