HBO // 1998 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 22nd, 2006
Big: It took me a really long time to get here, but I'm here. Carrie, you're the one.
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: Romance. The episodes included are:
* "Baby, Talk is Cheap"
Carrie realizes she is still in love with Aidan (John Corbett, Northern Exposure, and desperately attempts to get him back. The episode came from the first half of the fourth season. I'm not sure what exactly qualifies it as a romantic episode, but it does feature a cute scene with Carrie throwing rocks outside of Aidan's window.
* "Hop, Skip and a Week"
Charlotte's (Kristin Davis, Melrose Place) blind dates from the synagogue lead her back to Harry (Evan Handler,One Life to Live). Again we have an episode about reconciliations instead of romance. I'm not quite sure this collection was aptly titled, but I suppose Sex and the City Essentials: Do-Overs wouldn't work all that well. The episode ends with Berger breaking up with Carrie via a Post-It note. Ah, romance! This is from early in the sixth season of the run.
* "An American Girl in Paris (Part Deux)
In this season finale all the stops were pulled, and everyone finally got what they needed to make them happy. I'd say it was one of the most romantic episodes in the series, even though it was slightly controversial for many reasons. Two of the women end the show married, and the other two are in relationships which seemed to conclude you can only be happy and complete with a man in your life. The show that had championed single women suddenly abandoned them at the last moments. And yet despite that angle, it's a fitting tearful goodbye to the cast. It's amazingly well done, and was a classy way to go out.
Romance has always been a big factor on Sex and the City. Yet this is an odd trio to represent it on a single disc. I could think of many other shows from the run that were more evocative of the title, but nothing wrong with these episodes. If you're looking for a set that includes the final season's ending, it's the one to buy.
Random trivia for Sex and the City's fans: The tutu that Carrie is seen in during the opening credits is easily the cheapest outfit on the show. It cost five dollars at a resale shop; a far cry from the price tags of the outfits she wore in the show. Let's just say you could get a very nice car simply for the cost of a pair of her shoes! But the pink tutu? Dirt cheap, and it's the most seen piece of wardrobe in the show.
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