06/01/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
WHEN WE BEGAN PLANNING OUR SPECIAL issue on Sex and the City back in January, we knew that plenty of our staff members watch the show. "I love the fact that it nails guys and their stupid behavior," says correspondent Natasha Stoynoff, whom we sent to interview Chris Noth, better known as the show's resident bad boy Mr. Big. ("He's tall, dark and broodingly handsome," she says.) And writer-reporter Jennifer Wulff, who was assigned to examine the apartment of lead character Carrie Bradshaw, related to the experience: "It's so realistic. I liked learning that her place—aside from the giant closet—is no bigger than mine." To find out how the HBO series strikes a nerve outside our offices, we dispatched correspondents from our bureaus to take the pulse of women in 15 cities. In Manhattan, Radha Blank, 27, a single writer working at Nickelodeon, says she watches the show because "it pokes fun at the sex lives of women, but also is not afraid to raise the most taboo subjects." In Atlanta, "the show feeds viewer fantasies," says Ernst & Young senior consultant Allston Kendall, 28 and single. "I can live vicariously the life I am not able to live myself." Bethesda, Md., payroll clerk Pamela Niedzwiadek, 24 and dating, says it reflects "a lot of the situations we've all been in—we've all been on horrible dates." And in Miami, JulieAnne Seaga, 32, a divorced decorative painter, points to one of its biggest draws. "I love the clothes," she says.
We also posted a relationship poll on People.com, and it offered further proof that the show is a bona fide sensation. More than 41,000 people answered questions such as "Would you cheat on your steady?" FYI, nearly 75 percent said no. (See poll, page 80.) As Sex and the City's fourth season gets under way, we invite you to take a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite weekend indulgence. Here's to Sunday nights!