HBO // 1998 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 22nd, 2006
Charlotte: Is it safe to buy pot from strangers?
Miranda: They're not strangers, they're our new friends with pot.
When you've got a great series like Sex and the City, the temptation is to pump out as many variations of the same product as you can. HBO Video has released every season of the groundbreaking show individually, and this past year offered a very handsome, very pricey collector's edition of the entire run. Now for all you impulse buyers comes the bargain priced Sex and the City Essentials collection. The discs are merely three similarly-themed episodes with a nice black-and-white photo of Sarah Jessica Parker (The Family Stone) posing as the lead character, Carrie Bradshaw. I'm not sure who's supposed to buy these volumes, since most hardcore fans already own the full collections in some form. Add to that Sex and the City's current syndication deal, and a casual viewer can catch edited versions of the shows nightly on basic cable or local television. If you're merely looking for a sample of the show or a favorite episode, this might be the way to go, but it seems to dampen some of the brilliance of the show itself.
Sex and the City morphed beautifully with well-thought-out arcs over its six-year run, which started in 1998 and wrapped up in 2004. Each volume of Sex and the City Essentials includes a hodgepodge of episodes from all the seasons, so any continuity is lost. Additionally, nothing has been done to improve the transfers, which were always soft and grainy with a lot of shimmering on the buildings and wilder clothing patterns in the fashion. All extras have been stripped as well, with no commentaries or featurettes included. This is as bare bones as it can get, folks; but at least it's a bargain for people who don't want to shell out forty -- or even two hundred -- bucks to get a season or the collector's box set.
This volume is called Sex and the City Essentials: Breakups. The episodes include:
* "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Carrie decides to come clean to Aidan (John Corbett, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) about her affair with her ex. He can't handle it, and calls off their relationship at Charlotte's (Kristin Davis, Melrose Place) wedding. The show was the season finale for the third season. It's a gut-wrenching moment, and the climax of the most daring season arc, which made Carrie the bad guy.
* "I Love a Charade"
Samantha (Kim Cattrall, Porky's) throws a fabulous party at her ex's Hamptons mansion. The rest of the girls go to a wedding they suspect is a matter of convenience. Nathan Lane (The Producers) makes a cameo appearance as a potentially gay groom. Amazingly enough nobody actually breaks up in this episode, so I have no idea how it ties to the theme of the disc. Samantha's big break with her true love came in the finale of Season Four, which is featured on Sex and the City Essentials: Mr. Big
* "The Post-it Always Sticks Twice"
After an infamous breakup delivered via a sticky tab of paper, Carrie plans a night out to deal with her rage. Strangely enough, this episode does not include the actual breakup; that episode can be found on Sex and the City Essentials: Romance. Both are from the final season of the show. Carrie's rant at her ex's friends is the most memorable scene.
How can you have a collection of breakups without Big and Carrie calling it quits? Aidan's breakup was spectacular, but where's the Big ones? This has to be one of the weaker collections in the Essentials line, but it's nice to see these episodes again.
Random trivia for Sex and the City's fans -- Instead of using the "555" telephone numbers normally used on TV, the producers purchased two real phone numbers, which they used over and over again throughout the show.
Review content copyright © 2006 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated