Sex and the City Re-watch Recap: La Douleur Exquise!

So there’s a new restaurant in town: an S&M place named after the episode’s title. In addition to excessive skin and leather, we get to see Samantha with a whip (wasn’t she turned off by a guy who had whips?), and Charlotte with kinked hair.

This whole scenario brings up the issue of fetishes. Do the girls have any?

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Carrie has to leave to see her fetish, Big, who is about to leave for Paris for work. She snags Samantha’s whip for a bit of pretravel pain play.

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Stanford (Stanford has his own storyline!?) spends his free time on the internet in archaic chat rooms. Like many gays, he has an outlandish screen name, and chats about his particular interest, underwear.

Charlotte’s interests are more down to earth. As in literally on the earth, since she likes shoes. She enters a shop where all the styles beckon and she very nearly swoons. But she isn’t the only one in the shop that day who sees something she really likes. The nice salesman, Buster, gives her quite the discount.

Miranda is book shopping on the street for biographies. She meets a guy who also enjoys the voyeuristic experience of reading about others’ lives.

While Big is packing, he drops the bomb that he may be moving to Paris. Carrie is blindsided, and wonders why he didn’t tell her earlier. “Don’t got carried away”, he stays. Not a good time for puns, buddy.

At brunch, Carrie throws a tantrum and realizes that maybe her fetish is the painful relationship she keeps trying to carry on with Big. Is she a masochist?

Miranda winds up going on a date with Will Arnett (can’t remember his character’s name). He likes other voyeuristic things other than biographies, it seems, like messing around in public places. Surprisingly, Miranda goes along with it, because who hasn’t done it outside the bedroom? And I don’t mean in the living room or kitchen, either.

Later, Stanford confesses his nightlife to Carrie, and his alter ego: Rick9plus.

Sigh.

At least he admits it’s sad, and he’s scared a guy he’s been cybering with wants to meet him and that he’ll be an in-real-life letdown.

Despite the numerous opportunities for judgement, we see a non-shitty side of Carrie who supports her friend. “Be safe, have fun”, she says with nary a hint of derision.

But shitty Carrie (or shitfaced) makes a return and drunk dials Big. He’s in France. But no one’s in his under pants. Something has crawled into Carrie’s, though and she rants and raves about how she’s doing more for the relationship than he is. While I agree with her arguments, she could have chosen another time. This is, however, quite the funny argument, complete with Carrie’s party foul as she spills her martini.

Miranda, meanwhile, is getting head in the cab. Maybe that’s a bit too far. But parked cars are okay, right?

Charlotte makes a return to Buster, who wants to give away some shoes in exchange for rubbing Charlotte’s feet. And this is how Charlotte met a foot fetishist who enabled her bad habit.

Just as Charlotte gets on her high horse over Miranda’s public displays of sex, she gets humbled by the girls for accepting her free high heels. She does the honorable thing and attempts to return them. She can’t, but winds up trying on several pairs of shoes for Buster. It’s a very awkward time.

Later, Carrie greets Big with cheap food that she makes to sound French for being Le Bitch. Big rebuffs Carrie’s offer to move to Paris with him. Then Carrie explodes again because it seems that Big doesn’t even care about the “us” between them and would rather put an ocean between them. And so they break up, despite their love. Their painful love.

Speaking of painful, Stanford has to meet his date from the web. Turns out that the dress code at the club is under wear only. More on this later.

Because Miranda finally gets to have sex with her fling in the bedroom. While his parents watch. Nevermind. Creepy.

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Just as Stanford is about to give up, thinking he was stood up, a cute young guy compliments his undies, which are French, and probably the most French thing in this episode. They hit it off and share a drink.

Carrie is still awake later when Big comes over. Having said everything, they wordlessly make love. Carrie knows it’s over. She says so the next morning and gives up Big to distant Paris.

For the first time in a while, we get a truly good episode with this one. It deftly treats all the characters’ various experiences with fetish in appropriate ways, wether with humor or understanding, and furthers the drama of the plot. I always feel like this one is a season finale, but fortunately there’s more season two left.

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