Episode Two: models and mortals
People like to make fun of Sarah Jessica Parker’s nose, especially males who like to make fun of females who watch the show. As if she didn’t know it was huge and thus should be admired for overcoming and making a career with her face.
For that reason, I love this episode, because it makes two disparaging references to SJP’s nose. The first is when the girls are comparing the body parts they hate and Carrie points to her nose, and the second is when Derek a.k.a. the Bone says Carrie’s nose is distracting him. The scene with the Bone, surprisingly, comes straight from the book, but the trading body flaws talk with the girls seems to be written for SJP. So there.
I also like the throw-away joke in the party scene, when all the models are wrinkling their noses and turning away the hors d’orvs and Carrie scoops four of them off the waiter’s tray.
This leads to another encounter with Mr. Big, and in both this episode and the first, he seems to be adamant about taking the wind out of Carrie’s sails. Her column is “cute,” men who date models are “lucky,” and everything about her fluffy little world that gets whipped up throughout the episode is brought down to earth with a loud thump the second he shows up and says something snide.
One might think that I don’t like Mr. Big, and one would be right up until this point in the show’s history. I really have a love-hate relationship with the man. To quote SJP: “Chris has done a great job of taking a very specific archetype of man and forcing Big to become human.” (See Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell).
Case in point: my all-time favorite moment of TV history is the final scene of this episode. Carrie has told BIg that she sometimes writes her column at a coffee shop on 73rd and Madison (which she will never do again after this season). He comes to see her there, and the first thing I love about this scene is that Big does not read over her shoulder when he walks up behind her while she’s writing on her laptop. Aidan does this in a much later episode, and it drives Carrie (and me) crazy.
Big sits down across from her, and suddenly, I love him. He starts off saying he’s late for a meeting (ooh, so powerful), but he’s been thinking about the column she’s writing (okay, so you were glib at first but it actually gave you some food for thought, huh Mr. Big?). Then he says “well, there are so many goddamn gorgeous women out there in this city,” which pisses Carrie off but is actually kind of sexy because that “goddamn” shows more emotion than anything the character has said so far.
Then he says: “but the thing is this: after a while, you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh, you know what I mean?” And Carrie grins and nods, and he leaves, and then the voice over makes some Manhattan-specific quip, and then it’s over. But I love it. That line was inscribed in silver ink on the back page of my “senior memories” book in high school.