When it first aired in 1998, there was no denying that Sex and the City was a groundbreaking show. Not only did it feature four powerhouse female lead characters, it also discussed female sexuality in a way which had never really been previously explored on a mainstream television show.
Not surprisingly, the show became a cultural touchstone for many women. It wasn’t uncommon to hear people identify as “a Carrie” or “a Samantha,” or argue over whether Carrie should have chosen Aidan over Mr. Big. However, in the midst of the SATC craze, one character was consistently overlooked when it came to empathetic fangirls: Miranda Hobbes.
Characterized as the smart, pragmatic member of the quartet, Miranda was known for her short, fiery red hair and her sardonic one-liners. She was one of the most multi-faceted characters on the show, and experienced a dynamic story arc — and yet, when women would muse about which Sex and the City character they most identified with, nobody wanted to be “a Miranda.”
I still don’t fully understand why no one is keen on identifying with Miranda, particularly when the woman was so far above her peers in terms of both brains and success. With everything the character had going for her, why did no one want to be “a Miranda”?
Personally, I think it’s a travesty that this nuanced character was often relegated to the role of “nagging pragmatist,” much in the same way Bea Arthur was on The Golden Girls.
Here’s why Miranda was the best character on Sex and the City, and why she deserved better:
1. She’s really f*cking smart (even though nobody cares).
This is always casually mentioned by the other girls as if it isn’t a big deal, but Miranda graduated from Harvard at the top of her class. That is a big f*cking deal, y’all. I appreciate that the other women also have healthy careers and are really good at shopping (and sex, I guess), but why are Miranda’s smarts constantly treated as an annoying hindrance rather than an asset? She may be a whip-smart character, but that doesn’t change the fact that the people she encounters have no idea how to deal with her intelligence.
2. She’s independent.
Miranda was always the one who served as a reminder to her friends that four smart, successful women could talk about more than just men. In a show which, though groundbreaking, often seemed to revolve around in-depth discussions of male sexuality and motivations, Miranda was one of the few characters who periodically berated her friends for obsessing over the opposite sex. “Why do four smart women have nothing to talk about but boyfriends??” she fumes in one episode. Oftentimes, this Miranda perspective is treated as some sort of party-pooper mentality by the rest of the girls — which makes no sense at all, since Miranda’s attitude is one that all women should strive to emulate. Miranda doesn’t need a relationship with a man to fulfill her life, and somehow, this is treated as one of her greatest emotional handicaps throughout the show.
3. She was always the most responsible one, and had her sh*t together.
Miranda purchased an apartment in Manhattan. By herself. I don’t mean to sound obsessive here, but apartments in New York have always been expensive, even in the ’90s. A single woman buying a Manhattan apartment on her own is one of the most baller moves imaginable. On top of this, she managed to balance the astronomical number of hours she spent at work every week with the obligatory bi-weekly dinner and drinks with her girlfriends. The woman has savings, for God’s sake! She could afford to give Carrie the downpayment on her apartment! Miranda is living it up in New York City while somehow also managing to stay financially secure — and trust me, if you’ve ever lived in Manhattan, you know this is no easy feat. However, everyone is predictably “intimidated” by Miranda’s success and practicality, and this leads to (often unnecessary) friction in her personal relationships. Miranda’s “true love” Steve once broke up with her because she could afford to buy him an expensive suit that he was unable to afford for himself. While the show purported to champion Miranda’s success, her money seemed to be a huge liability when it came to certain romantic entanglements.
4. She doesn’t play games.
Miranda’s fairly straightforward about her feelings, particularly where men are concerned. If she thinks they’re being an assh*le, she says so. If she’s not interested in anything more than a sexual relationship, she makes it clear from the beginning. Sure, this can make her sound somewhat brash and insensitive at times — but her modus operandi at all times is (generally) sensibility. She makes her needs known, and if a man is unable to satisfy those needs, then Miranda doesn’t waste her time trying to change him. She holds her partners to certain (fairly reasonable) standards, and tries to keep her romantic relationships as drama-free as humanly possible. Again, such practicality often seemed to be portrayed as unfeeling or romantically-stunted by SATC. Even though Miranda’s relationship behavior was completely mature, her character was often presented as being “emotionally unavailable” as opposed to what she actually was: honest.
5. She’s a really great friend.
Look: Carrie Bradshaw is a terrible friend. I’m sorry to burst everyone’s bubble. She’s an entertaining character who makes witty puns and fairly on-point observations (for twenty years ago). However, she is an extremely self-centered person who is often only capable of discussing her own problems. As one of her nearest and dearest friends, Miranda exhibits the patience and tolerance of a saint by constantly weighing in on Carrie’s concerns and life events with true concern and thoughtfulness. She was always willing to drop by in the middle of the night and give Carrie a pep talk whenever her support was needed. When she had a baby (spoiler alert), her biggest concern was not how her love life would suffer, but rather that her friendships would be compromised. The woman was the literal embodiment of girl power, of God’s sake!
Miranda was a smart, responsible and loyal friend, who was wildly successful and would kick considerable ass for any of her girlfriends. It’s just too bad (and too unfair) that she got written off as the “boring one.”