HBO // 1998 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 22nd, 2006
Miranda: My f*** buddy moved to Chicago. Now, we have phone sex.
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: Lust. The episodes included are:
* "The F*** Buddy"
Carrie decides to try and turn a physical relationship in to an emotional one. This is from the first season of the show. It looks different than the other episodes, because it was shot on film stock, as all the initial year's episodes were. It's fast and funny.
* "Running with Scissors"
Carrie and Big's (Chris Noth, Law and Order: Criminal Intent) affair steams up hotel rooms all across Manhattan. The story comes from Sex and the City's third season. The rest of the episode deals with Charlotte's (Kristin Davis, Melrose Place) wedding dress plans, Samantha (Kim Cattrall, Big Trouble in Little China) having to take an AIDS test, and Miranda's (Cynthia Nixon, Warm Springs) flirtation with a talking sandwich. It all ends on a shocking, sober note that takes all the fun out of the lusty romps that preceded it.
* "The Turtle and the Hare"
Charlotte gets a vibrator called "the rabbit," and Samantha decides to date a "fixer-upper" everyone knows as "the turtle." This show is also from the first season. It has one of the funniest wedding scenes, where Carrie claims they all look like The Witches of Eastwick. (Honestly...they do.)
Lust is something that never ran scarce on Sex and the City. The cast of four women were hot for literally hundreds of guys over the six years the show was on the air. It was ridiculous to think of how many men they bedded (with a couple of women just for good measure). The carnal appetites of single gals had never been shown in a more candid, honest way on television. That's what made Sex and the City feel liberated and revolutionary. It's hard to think any three episodes could boil all of this down to a simple collection. Anything called Sex and the City Essentials: Lust should include almost every episode of the six-year run. Pick any three, and it would be there. This one's a no brainer.
Random trivia for Sex and the City's fans: The girls' addresses are:
* Carrie -- 245 East 73rd St
* Samantha -- 300 Gansevoort Street
* Charlotte -- 700 Park Avenue
* Miranda -- 331 West 78th St.
And none of those addresses actually exist.
Review content copyright © 2006 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 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