From woman to woman: Lessons from my mother and our favorite TV show


Sofia Joyner '24

Carisa Joyner ’21 and her mother, Liana Yamasaki, enjoy a casual drink while bingeing “Sex and the City.” But don’t worry! Joyner’s martini glass is filled with ice and water.

“I wish I’d had a show like this to watch when I was in college,” my mama said to me one overcast afternoon as we started our sixth episode of “Sex and the City” that day. “I could’ve learned a lot from it.”

Since quarantine started back in March last year, I have done a lot of TV watching, especially with my mama. Our show selection is based on our mood in that immediate moment. If we’re in need of a laugh, we watch “VEEP”; if we’re in the mood for a nap, we turn on “The Great British Bake Off.” But if we want some true girl time, we turn on “Sex and the City.” 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this early 2000s hit, “Sex and the City” follows the lives of four best friends, Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Samantha Jones and Charlotte York. The show explores life in New York City and follows the friends as they take on the world of relationships, work and family. Carrie Bradshaw, the narrator of the show, is a sex columnist who writes about her life and the lives of her friends. Although their dispositions are very different from one another, these four best friends confide in each other and always have each other’s backs. 

This show is known for several things, one of which is the life lessons portrayed through the lives of the main characters. Every time I sit down on the couch, open up the HBO Max app and click play on the next episode of this influential show, I think of my mama’s words from that overcast afternoon. What exactly are some important life lessons in “Sex and the City,” and what knowledge does a very wise woman in my life have to bestow upon me through those lessons? 

All young women, and especially all of my fellow Tologs, can learn a lot from this show. That is why I’ve decided to sit down with my mama, grab a bag of Haribo gummy bears, pick out three of her favorite episodes and relay her commentary to the readers of the Veritas Shield. 


After going through a major breakup with Mr. Big, her on-and-off love interest, Carrie decides to go to therapy since her friends are sick of hearing her complaining about the various games she and Mr. Big played within their relationship. At therapy, she meets Seth, another patient, in the waiting room. Carrie discovers after their first date that Seth failed to disclose the fact that he would dump her right after they slept together, which is the exact reason he’s in therapy. This goes to show that Carrie has once again picked the wrong man who plays manipulative games, which is why she is in therapy.

“There are some people that say ‘don’t ever play any games,’ but I guess it just depends how you define the word ‘game,’” my mama said. “Because you can’t always be honest about everything. But it wasn’t right, what Seth did to Carrie; there is a fine line between playing ‘games’ and being manipulative. Some people say ‘don’t call him until he calls you,’ and I think there is validity to that. I don’t think there is anything gained when a woman is blowing up a dude’s phone. I think there’s definitely value in not revealing too much of yourself too fast, not sleeping with the guy too soon and that might not even be a game. That might just be how to achieve what you want.”

I think that almost anyone can relate to waiting to hear from a person they’re interested in, stressing out and wondering if the interest is being reciprocated. You don’t want to seem desperate and blow up their phone, but you also really want to know what they think of you. He (or she) may take three hours to respond ‘not much wbu’ to your initial text. Your heart flutters when their name pops up on your screen, so you decide to play hard-to-get and not seem too desperate by waiting 10 minutes to respond. While games may be played in dating and relationships, according to my mama and “Sex and the City,” games can sometimes be played in normal life too, leading us to achieve what we want. For instance, when reading a book for English class, you may motivate yourself to read by placing gummy bears over certain words on the page, tricking your brain into rewarding itself for doing work it should be doing. As a result, you’ve played a game with yourself in order to get what you need or want.

Being There 

When Miranda’s mother dies unexpectedly, it takes a while for the grief to kick in and causes Miranda to lash out at various people, including a sweet saleslady at a bra store. Charlotte is determined to contribute to a classy funeral service by doing what she knows best: being the “mom” friend of the group. Samantha doesn’t react well to the death of Miranda’s mom and starts to bottle up her emotions, causing her to become incredibly tense, which takes a major toll on her dating life. It’s not until she attends Miranda’s mom’s funeral that she can really let go of all of her suppressed emotions and cry her heart out. The three girls do their best to support Miranda and her loss, as they always do for each other no matter what. 

“The main theme, being there for each other, was the important part, whether that was in the form of a boyfriend or friends, or even a maternal figure. Even for Samantha, it wasn’t until she could really be there for her friend that she could release everything she had been holding on to,” my mama said. 

Being there for someone, as well as having someone to be there for you, is important in maintaining a healthy life. That’s why we have friends and family in the first place! I have had a lot of issues in my life, whether with an injury, family or boys, and one of my best friends has been there for me each and every time. She was there to talk me through all of my emotions surrounding the subject, and even took me to the nurse’s office when I started crying to her in the middle of a class. She has been having a tough time in her own life lately, so I’ve been doing my best to support her throughout her situation. Because she was there for me when I needed her most, she deserves to have someone there for her, and that someone is me. 


Following various fights, Carrie and her boyfriend take a week-long break from each other, which leads to the inevitable “post-break break-up.” The distance between Miranda and her baby, since she works 70-hour weeks at her law firm, leads to baby Brady becoming more attached to the nanny instead of her. After breaking up with her boyfriend due to some insulting remarks being thrown back and forth, Charlotte goes on a series of dates with eligible bachelors, which only makes her realize how much she misses Harry, her now ex-boyfriend. Because of the break-up and distance between them, Charlotte and Harry reunite and realize that they are meant to be together. 

“This episode is my favorite since it touches on Miranda being a working mom and having that work-life balance, along with Carrie and Berger’s break-up since he was threatened by her success, which made him not good for her,” my mama said. “But Charlotte’s story in this episode was by far my favorite since she said that she just wanted to be with [Harry]. Charlotte wanted the man who would treat her like a queen even though he didn’t look like her usual type and had a lot of obstacles, like having to marry a Jewish woman. But because she had taken time apart, the distance had made it more clear that all she wanted was him.”

While none of us may be working moms or have boyfriends who are threatened by our success, I think that because of Covid, anyone can relate to distance making us miss loved ones even more. Distance from someone can make us realize how much we truly love that person, whether a friend, parent or grandparent, just like Charlotte did with Harry. Or it can have the opposite effect like it did with Carrie and Berger, where maybe we realize that not having someone in our life might be the better option for us. Regardless of what effect distance may have on an individual, we rarely see close family and friends as often as we used to, and the lack of social interaction is definitely taking a toll on everyone.

In Conclusion…

Role models and guardians, specifically my mama, are there to guide me to understanding lessons from certain aspects of pop culture, especially television and movies. Watching “Sex and the City” was incredibly valuable to me because it was not only bonding time for the two of us but also an opportunity for her to teach me what she’s learned through normal life experiences. So now, dear reader, not only do I highly recommend that you watch this show, but I also recommend that you look for those big lessons in pop culture and maybe even talk to your own parents or guardians about them. TV shows, music and films are not only fantastic sources of entertainment that can make you feel “some type of way,” but they can also give you topics to think about that you may be able to relate to your own life. Listen to any and all wisdom that is offered to you because you may be surprised by what you learn about others and about yourself.