13 Times 'Sex and the City' Didn't Stand the Test of Time

Answering machines, an ad in the paper and so many more anachronisms.

ByABC News
June 16, 2015, 4:37 AM
Sarah Jessica Parker Stars As Carrie, Kristian Davis Stars As Charlotte, Kim Cattrall Stars As Samantha And Cynthia Nixon Stars As Miranda In the HBO comedy series "Sex And The City" in this file photo from Season 3.
Sarah Jessica Parker Stars As Carrie, Kristian Davis Stars As Charlotte, Kim Cattrall Stars As Samantha And Cynthia Nixon Stars As Miranda In the HBO comedy series "Sex And The City" in this file photo from Season 3.
Getty Images

— -- Seventeen years ago this month, "Sex and the City" premiered on HBO.

At the time, it was groundbreaking for its frank discussion of sex as it related to single women in their thirties.

Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte became mainstays in pop culture, influencing drink choices, fashion, and yes, the way we thought about romance ("He's just not that into you").

However, for those who have caught reruns in the past few years, the series may not seem as cutting edge as it once did.

Here are a few dated references that forced fans to wonder, "How was this ever the way of things?"

1. The ever-present answering machine: Carrie's answering machine had a huge role in the series. There was the time she was screening her calls and only learned that Miranda nearly choked and died after getting a desperate message on her machine. Or the time she bragged that she "deleted Big" before running off to Paris with Aleksandr Petrovsky. Charlotte once tried to get out of a girls night out by saying she was waiting for a long-distance phone call. None of that would happen today. Does anybody like voicemail that much, anyway?

2. Carrie's reluctance to get email: Carrie only decided to sign up for email so that she could write her ex-boyfriend Aiden a letter asking him out again. Her handle was "Shoegal."

3. To that end, Carrie did not want a cell phone either.

4. Carrie made "faux calls": Prior to becoming "Shoegal," Carrie confessed to Charlotte that she'd been making "faux calls" to Aiden -- calling and hanging up. Now, Aiden would have a cell phone and/or caller ID. This plan would not work well, unless she blocked her number.

5. Carrie taught a class at the Learning Annex: It was in person, not online, and it was called "Bright Lights, Date City."

6. Carrie smoked everywhere: This would not be legally possible anymore, and, sadly for her, the one place she could smoke -- Yankee Stadium -- is smoke-free now, too.

7. Speed-dating: Miranda didn't have a date for Charlotte's first wedding, so she went to a speed-dating event and only got attention from a man once she said she was a "stewardess." None of this holds up. None of it.

8. The sheer number of problems that could have been resolved with a text: Carrie blew off Miranda to hang out with Mr. Big, but Miranda didn't get a heads up because she didn't go home to check her machine (please see point #1). Had Carrie just sent a text message, this would have been solved. This is just the tip of the iceberg. They could have made plans via text rather than group calls, exchange numbers with future beaus and so much more, too.

9. No online dating: The women of "Sex and the City" met men everywhere, including Starbucks, the gym and a psychologist's waiting room. But today, it's easy to argue that with the rise in popularity of online dating, some singles are less willing to go out and meet someone "the old-fashioned way." If the series was made today, the women would swipe right on Tinder, send a message on OKCupid, or sign up for eHarmony.

10. No mentions of social media either: Carrie once attended a Dolce & Gabbana party with a Yankees player because she wanted to run into Big and make him jealous. In the end, her plan worked: She was featured in Page Six and sure enough, Big saw it. Today, this would be much simpler and cheaper: She'd simply snap a selfie with the Yankee and post it to Instagram. Done and done.

11. Their news consumption: Carrie woke up extra-early to buy a copy of the New York Times when her book was reviewed and Charlotte did the same thing to get a glimpse of her wedding announcement. And while sure, that still happens, it's more likely that they'd check online first. As for Carrie's forgiving attitude about her unbelievably unflattering New York magazine cover? Forget it. There's no way she'd tell the photo editor, "Next week... I'll be history," because she'd probably already be a meme.

12. Carrie's refusal to shop online: Carrie's excuse for not shopping online was, "Shopping's my cardio." Today, even she'd have to give in to online sales here and there.

13. The women's take on Brooklyn: Miranda almost cried when she and Steve moved to Brooklyn. Things have changed. According to a recent report published by Curbed, rents in the borough are on the rise, due to increased demand.