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'Sex and the City': Season 1 Episode Guide

Gearing up for Carrie and Co. on the big screen, we critique every episode of every season. First up: the premiere batch

Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, ...

EPISODE 1: ''Sex and the City''

Carrie couldn't help but wonder... ''Why are there so many great unmarried women and no great unmarried men?''

PLOT The fab four — quippy sex columnist Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), wide-eyed art dealer Charlotte (Kristin Davis), jaded corporate lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and sexually uninhibited PR exec Samantha (Kim Cattrall) — gather at Miranda's b-day dinner and debate the merits of women having sex like men (that is, without feelings). In related news, Samantha winds up in bed with Charlotte's date. Introduces Mr. Big (Chris Noth), Carrie's business-suited foil; Skipper (Ben Weber), Carrie's sensitive pal who pursues Miranda; Stanford (Willie Garson), Carrie's gay confidant.

BEST SOUND BITE ''Absof---inlutely.'' —Big to Carrie, after she asks if he's ever been in love

CRITIQUE It's a little less risqué than you remember, and the superfluous addressing-the-camera device falls flat, but the episode gives us an enticing peek at the volatile sexual dynamics of thirtysomething women in the Big Apple. And that last moment (see sound bite) offers the show's first transcendent romantic moment. B+

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