“Four girls talking dirty”

BABETTE: He’s [the new kitten] just the cutest thing. But he’s so teeny. There’s no way he can go with us and I would hate for him to stay all alone in the house so I was thinking maybe Rory could come over and house-sit for the evening.
RORY: I’d love to.
BABETTE: Oh great! We’ve got a kitchen full of food and Morey just got cable so you can watch those four girls talking dirty if you want to.

Babette is referring to Sex and the City, an American romantic comedy-drama television series, originally running from 1998 to 2004 on the cable channel Home Box Office (HBO). The show was based on the 1997 book of the same name by Connecticut-born author and journalist Candace Bushnell, which drew on her column of the same name for the New York Observer, describing the dating lives of herself and her friends.

The “four girls” in the show are the narrator, journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), PR businesswoman Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), art gallery assistant Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and lawyer Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon). The four friends have many sexually frank discussions (“talk dirty”) about their various relationships, and story lines include subjects such as oral sex, bondage and discipline, infidelity, pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections.

Sex and the City has won numerous Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, and is now regarded as a classic television show, still with a cult following. The show led to two feature films, and a prequel series, The Carrie Diaries.

It’s an interesting little throwaway in an episode devoted to The Donna Reed Show. Times certainly changed for women on TV between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s, but it’s a matter for debate whether any real progress was made, or whether the images of femininity on Sex and the City are any less glamourised, idealised, and unrealistic than on The Donna Reed Show.

Sex and the City, as a quippy, pop culture-laden, female-centred show created for a female audience, and focused on a successful single woman who’s attractive and glamorous, whose daughter is an aspiring journalist, is another forerunner to Gilmore Girls.

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