The second season builds on the foundation of the first season with plot arcs that are both hilarious and heartfelt, taking the show from breakout hit to true pop-culture phenomenon. Relationship epiphanies coexist happily alongside farcical plots and zingy one-liners, resulting in emotionally satisfying episodes that feature the sharp kind of character-defining dialogue that seems to have disappeared from the rest of TV long ago. When last we left the NYC gals, Carrie had just broken up with a commitment-phobic Mr. Big (Chris Noth), but fans of Noth's seductive-yet-distant rake didn't have to wait long until he was back in the picture, as he and Carrie tried to make another go of it. Their relationship evolution, from reunion to second breakup, provides the core of the second season. Among other adventures, Charlotte puzzles over whether one of her beaus was "gay-straight" or "straight-gay"; Miranda tries to date a guy who insists on having sex only in places where they might get caught; and Samantha copes with dates who range from, um, not big enough to far too big--with numerous stops in between.
The third season was the charm, as the series earned its first Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series to go along with its Golden Globes for Best Comedy Series and Best Actress (Parker). One of this season's two principal story arcs concerned hapless-in-love Charlotte and her pursuit of a husband; enter (if only...) Kyle McLachlan as the unfortunately impotent Trey. Meanwhile, Carrie has a brief but memorable fling with a politician who's golden, but not in the way she anticipated. She then sabotages her too-good-to-be-true relationship with furniture designer Aidan (John Corbett) by having an affair with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), who himself has gotten married. Like I Love Lucy, the series benefited from a brief change of scenery with a three-episode jaunt to Los Angeles, where Carrie and company encountered, among others, Matthew McConaughey, Vince Vaughn, Hugh Hefner, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The fourth season is just as smart and sexy as ever, mixing caustic adult wit and sharply observed situation comedy on the mean streets of Manhattan, though this time the quartet of singleton city girls must endure even tougher combat in the unending war of love, sex, and shopping. Carrie finally seems to have found her ideal life partner when she is reunited with handsome craftsman Aidan. But can their relationship survive trial by cohabitation? Meanwhile Charlotte seems to have both her dream Park Avenue apartment and a solution to her marital problems with Trey. But when the subject of babies comes up, everything starts to unravel for her, too. It's not just Charlotte who has baby issues either: after what seems like an eternity of enforced sexual abstinence Miranda is horrified to discover she's pregnant. And as for the sultry Samantha, she's on a quest for monogamy, first with an exotic lesbian artist, then with a philandering businessman, with whom to her utter dismay she just might have fallen in love.