Nearly twenty years after airing its finale, Sex and the City remains a television institution. The show that revolutionized television and helped turn HBO into the ultimate home for prestige TV is still highly regarded by critics and fans despite many of its unsavory and often discomforting views on several subjects.
With season two of And Just Like That… looming on the horizon, now is the perfect time to revisit this groundbreaking television show. Luckily, fans on IMDb have voted for the top-rated episodes of Sex and the City, making it easier for viewers to experience the show’s best outings.
Updated on August 28, 2023, by David Caballero:
And Just Like That… finished its second season on a high note, reminding fans why they fell in love with Sex and the City in the first place. The show remains a turning point in television, redefining female sexuality and how it was portrayed on the small screen. The best Sex and the City episodes were groundbreaking and game-changing, building HBO into a prestigious brand and changing the TV landscape for good.
15 “The Catch”
Season 6, Episode 8 (2003)
Charlotte and Harry are the best, most functional, and sweetest couple in Sex and the City by far. Their relationship might’ve been fast, but their love was genuine. Nothing about her courtship with Harry was like Charlotte imagined, but those difficulties and unexpected turns helped her grow as a character.
Their wedding, which occurs in the season 6 episode “The Catch,” is as unpredictable as their romance, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. “The Catch” features minor stories for the other characters. Carrie gets a memorably comedic storyline with Harry’s best man, a guy so bad in bed that their encounter actually causes physical harm, but the episode mainly revolves around Charlotte and Harry, as it should.
14 “Running with Scissors”
Season 3, Episode 11 (2000)
Carrie and Big’s affair comes to an explosive end in the season 3 episode “Running with Scissors.” The misguided and toxic liaison drives Carrie’s life to the point of no return, as Charlotte chastizes her for becoming involved with a married man. However, the worst happens when Natasha discovers a half-naked Carrie in her apartment, causing a short chase that ends with Natasha falling and breaking her tooth.
“Running with Scissors” does a great job showing the damage Carrie and Big’s affair has done to their lives. Big, ever the selfish man, cares little about the hurt. However, Carrie realizes she can’t keep up with it and ends things for good with him. The Carrie/Big affair was always an awful idea, and seeing it implode so spectacularly is cringe-worthy but a much-needed wake-up call for Miss Bradshaw.
13 “La Douleur Exquise!”
Season 2, Episode 12 (1999)
Carrie and Big are among the all-time most toxic relationships on television. Their second attempt at making it work ends in the season 2 episode, “La Douleur Exquise!” when Big unceremoniously and unexpectedly announces he’s moving to Paris, leaving Carrie hurt and confused.
Miranda, Charlotte, and especially Samantha take a backseat to the Carrie/Big drama. “La Douleur Exquise!” is all about Carrie’s frustration and pain and her ultimate realization that she might not love Big himself but rather the idea of him and, most worrying, who he could be. The episode ends with their separation as he moves to Paris; unfortunately, they don’t stay apart for long.
12 “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”
Season 4, Episode 11 (2001)
The friendship between Charlotte and Miranda is among the most underrated aspects of Sex and the City. The two share one of their most memorable storylines in season 4’s “Could, Woulda, Shoulda,” as Miranda announces her pregnancy just as Charlotte struggles with getting pregnant. The storyline is beautifully handled, featuring stellar performances from both actresses and some of the show’s most nuanced writing.
Elsewhere, Carrie reminisces about her abortion from years before and doubts whether she should tell Aidan. It’s one of the rare Carrie storylines that gives some insight into her past, and the character is all the better for it. Season 4 is among Sex and the City‘s best, thanks to thoughtful episodes like “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.”
11 “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women”
Season 2, Episode 17 (1999)
IMDb Score: 7.9/10
The Carrie and Big saga is Sex and the City‘s bread and butter. Their relationship reaches a turning point in season two, as Big returns from Paris engaged to the beautiful twenty-five-year-old Natasha, much to Carrie’s chagrin. “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women” sees Carrie learning of their romance while in the Hamptons.
The episode focuses on the girls dealing with their age, especially as they meet young, twenty-something girls who challenge them. “Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women” is a funny and memorable episode that uses one of the show’s recurring themes to set up the season’s ending and further explore Carrie’s ongoing struggle to get over Big.
10 “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice”
Season 6, Episode 7 (2003)
IMDb Score: 7.9/10
Carrie’s relationship with Berger is chaotic from the start. However, things worsen when she receives a big publishing opportunity, just as his most recent book flops with critics and audiences. Ultimately, Berger can’t handle being with someone more successful than him, and he breaks up with Carrie via a Post-It note that reads, “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.”
“The Post-It Always Sticks Twice” is all about Carrie dealing with the breakup. Her friends get individual stories, but Carrie is the episode’s emotional center. Sarah Jessica Parker gets the chance to display some physical comedy, especially towards the end when Carrie gets high on marijuana. “The Post-It-Always Sticks Twice” is among the rare SatC episodes more comedic than dramatic, bringing the best out of the show’s four leading ladies.
Season 6, Episode 12 (2003)
IMDb Score: 7.9/10
Cynthia Nixon won the Emmy for her performance in season 6. “One,” the episode that sees her admitting her feelings for Steve during Brady’s one-year birthday party, was one of her submissions, and it’s a spectacular celebration for her character and her portrayal of Miranda.
However, “One” is also a tour-de-force for Kristin Davis, who gives one of her finest and most vulnerable performances as Charlotte becomes pregnant, only to lose it shortly afterward. Charlotte’s struggle with pregnancy is one of SatC‘s most difficult stories, and Davis did a beautiful job playing Charlotte’s grief. As per usual, Samantha carries the episode’s comedic aspects almost single-handedly, but “One” is one of the rare occasions where she gets overshadowed by her co-stars.
8 “Hot Child in the City”
Season 3, Episode 15 (2000)
IMDb Score: 7.9/10
Before she became a star, Kat Dennings had a one-episode stint on Sex and the City as Jenny Brier, a wealthy girl who hires Samantha to plan her bar mitzvah. As Samantha experiences jealousy of Jenny’s overly privileged life, Carrie dates an immature man, and Miranda gets braces.
“Hot Child in the City” finds the four women dealing with youth and insecurity issues in different ways. Samantha’s story is slightly more prominent, although Carrie’s romance with a younger man also receives considerable attention. Dennings steals the episode with her lively, bitchy performance, making her a great foil for Samantha. Ultimately, “Hot Child in the City” finds new and clever insights into maturity, proving why it’s among the best and most rewatchable TV dramedies.
7 “My Motherboard, My Self”
Season 4, Episode 8 (2001)
IMDb Score: 8.0/10
Cynthia Nixon is arguably Sex and the City‘s most accomplished dramatic performer, and “My Motherboard, My Self” is the perfect showcase for her abilities. The episode finds Miranda dealing with her mother’s passing; elsewhere, Carrie’s laptop crashes, erasing all her columns, and Samantha seemingly loses her ability to orgasm.
“My Motherboard, My Self” is among the show’s most dramatic outings. Nixon delivers a stunning, layered portrayal of grief, while Kim Cattrall bears the episode’s comedic weight with her chaotic storyline. Carrie, however, is at her worst, reacting selfishly to Aidan’s attempts to help. However, Nixon and Cattrall’s stellar work is enough to cement “My Motherboard, My Self” as one of the show’s best episodes.
6 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Season 3, Episode 12 (2000)
IMDb Score: 8.0/10
Television has produced several unforgettable weddings, including Charlotte’s elaborate nuptials to Trey MacDougal. Her apparent happy ending is ruined when, on the eve of the wedding, she discovers Trey has erectile dysfunction, a detail he has been conveniently keeping secret.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is most famous for being the episode where Carrie confesses her infidelity to Aidan, ending things between them. Miranda and Samantha get funny side plots, but Charlotte and Carrie carry the episode’s emotional weight. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is among Sex and the City‘s most dramatic outings, but all the spectacle feels earned, especially after several episodes of build-up leading to the wedding.
5 “An American Girl in Paris: Part Une”
Season 6, Episode 19 (2004)
IMDb Score: 8.1/10
Sex and the City‘s ending was divided into two episodes. “An American Girl in Paris: Part Une” sees Carrie leaving New York for Paris. Her early days in the City of Lights are enchanting, but she slowly finds herself feeling lonely and longing for New York, her friends, and Big. Meanwhile, Samantha struggles to write an inspiring speech for a cancer benefit while experiencing hot flashes.
“An American Girl in Paris: Part Une” largely revolves around Carrie’s new life in Paris. Parker gets to show her silly side as Carrie lives her Parisian fantasy, although the dream soon turns into a nightmare. Cattrall also receives incredible material, and her final speech at the benefit is a perfect, endearing, and poignant representation of who she is and what she stands for.
4 “I Heart NY”
Season 4, Episode 18 (2002)
IMDb Score: 8.2/10
Sex and the City is among the most famous shows set in and filmed in New York. Logically, the city plays a crucial role in many episodes, including the season 4 finale, “I Heart NY.” The plot centers on Big moving to Napa just as Miranda’s due date approaches. Meanwhile, Samantha’s relationship with Richard hits a dreaded bump when she suspects him of cheating.
“I Heart NY” is a love letter to the city, with Carrie incapable of comprehending how Big could leave New York. The episode includes one of the show’s best portrayals of the Carrie/Big relationship, plus some hilarious comedy from Kim Cattrall. As far as season finales go, “I Heart NY” is among the show’s best, mixing gravitas with humor, resulting in a satisfying conclusion to a great season.
3 “The Real Me”
Season 4, Episode 2 (2001)
IMDb Score: 8.2/10
When Carrie agrees to walk down a runway, she doesn’t know she’ll do it in her underwear. Her experience with high fashion leaves a bitter aftertaste as things don’t go according to plan on the runway.
“The Real Me” is most famous for being the episode where Carrie falls on the runway, and Heidi Klum walks over her. Every girl receives a storyline about dealing with their physical appearance, with the episode offering some half-baked but still appreciated lessons about self-love and acceptance. And while “The Real Me” arrives at a stereotypical conclusion, the episode is sufficiently funny and memorable to earn its high rating.
2 “Ex and the City”
Season 2, Episode 18 (1999)
IMDb Score: 8.2/10
Season 2 ends with Carrie accepting Big’s engagement with Natasha after confronting him and asking the question that’s burning inside her: why wasn’t it her? “Ex and the City” offers the other girls smaller stories, with Samantha taking the most memorable as she meets “Mr. Too Big.”
“Ex and the City” is the best season finale in Sex and the City. Funny, clever, poignant, and satisfying, the episode seemingly offers a decisive but cathartic conclusion to the Big and Carrie storyline; this is where it should’ve ended. The episode’s closing scene, where Carrie says her goodbyes and quotes The Way We Were, has become iconic, with many fans considering Carrie’s best moment in the show.
1 “An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux”
Season 6, Episode 20 (2004)
IMDb Score: 8.8/10
Sex and the City has one of the best TV show finales according to IMDb. “An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux” sees Big traveling to Paris to get Carrie back, just as she’s reconsidering her relationship with Aleksandr Petrovsky. Meanwhile, Charlotte struggles with the adoption process, Miranda learns to care for her ailing mother-in-law, and Samantha finally accepts her true feelings for Smith.
Unlike many series finales, “An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux” feels surprisingly small-scale. The show opts for a more intimate ending without any fancy gimmicks. However, it works; “An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux” is iconic and fulfilling, the perfect ending for a show that revolutionized television and how audiences see female sexuality on-screen.
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