Writing Miss Bradshaw
by Cindy Chupack
I always felt I could tell who wrote which Sex and the City episode by Carrie’s voiceover, because as much as we tried to be consistent script to script, there was room to put ”you” the writer in ”Carrie” the writer. That was one of the great luxuries of writing Carrie — the fact that she herself was a writer. Carrie could be as wise, wry, and poetic as we had the talent to make her. In fact, I think I saw Carrie as a better writer than I was, and in that way she challenged me, along with the rest of the writing staff, to do some of the freshest, most thought-provoking work we’d ever done.
Another luxury of writing Carrie was the company in which you got to do it. I fear I will never be in another writers’ room that matches the wit, energy, laughs, and tears of the Sex and the City writers’ room. So many great episodes came from the group therapy sessions that constituted our story-breaking process. I remember so often thinking, during a bad date, or a bad OB-GYN appointment, how much better and funnier it would be the next day in the writers’ room. I remember each of us breaking down at some point over love, death, illness, family…and how we would distill those moments of real-life drama into some of the most beautiful and honest moments of the show.
Filtering your worst date, worst fear, worst breakup, worst crime of the heart, through Carrie — who handled even the most horrifying situations with dignity, grace, and humor — was better than a baptism. It was healing. And it was even more healing to see how women around the world responded to the deeply personal stories we were telling. It reminded me that issues of friendship and love, when handled truthfully, are universal. And, often, your most embarrassing moment would be the moment that made viewers roar with laughter and recognition.
To me, the most shocking thing about Sex and the City was not that the characters were physically naked, but that they were emotionally naked. That’s the kind of nudity I think viewers, especially women, were craving.
Cindy Chupack was a writer and an Emmy-winning coexecutive producer on Sex and the City.