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- Evil Is Sexy
- Executive Meddling: An advertising campaign that was equal parts over-the-top, crass and juvenile, scheduling against anniversary episodes of the two biggest primetime soap operas on network television, insane production costs for each episode, a Retool that eliminated half the cast just when the show was starting to develop a long-term arc, and the cancellation of the show halfway through its second season (with many episodes unaired)...CPW is perhaps one of the most important examples from the 90's on how not to run a show.
- Friday Night Death Slot: Played straight and subverted. The show aired on Wednesday nights and couldn't find its footing (keep in mind that this is the same timeslot Lost would make a killing in when it premiered less than a decade later), so it was moved to Saturday evenings for the duration of its second-season run, where the ratings plummeted.
- Guilty Pleasure: And how!
- Hotter and Sexier: Inverted. The show started out as this, and regressed to a milder soap opera-esque drama. (In fact, the character's clothing styles markedly change during the jump from the first to second season.)
- Hype Aversion: With millions of dollars spent on the show, CBS hyped it by continually assaulting viewers with advertisements. The commercials promised that the series would totally change the landscape of television by introducing racy subject matter. There were banner ads on almost every bus in the United States, and massive billboards in major U.S. cities. Multi-page advertorial sections in entertainment trade magazines showcased the cast members and talked about the adult nature of the program. Yet, when it premiered, viewers were reportedly so incensed at being continually hounded by ads for the show that they didn't bother to watch it, which led to it getting trounced in the ratings.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: 15-plus years later, it still hasn't been released on DVD.
- Large Ham: After being attacked by her ex-lover Mark in a hospital room, Carrie runs into the lobby screaming at the orderlies to find him. Her dialogue devolves into this:
Carrie: That man attacked me in my room! Don't let him get away! No, that's not him! Mark attacked me in my room and...there...there...(shrill screaming) YOURENOTDOINGANYTHINGAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
- Magnificent Bastard: Allan Rush, the Fairchild siblings' stepfather, and the publisher of Communique.
- The Masochism Tango: Rachel and Gil (Peter Fairchild's best friend). The way they're written, the two characters are supposed to be totally at odds with each other, yet they keep playing emotional and sexual games with each other over the course of the series.
- Moral Event Horizon: Mark (Stephanie's ex-husband) buys a puppy and leaves it in front of Carrie's room, then (when she adopts it and leaves it in her apartment) puts it in a microwave and cooks it. He then produces a second, identical puppy (when called out for it) in an attempt to make Carrie believe she's going crazy.
- Romantic Plot Tumor: The relationship between Peter Fairchild (one of the main characters) and his girlfriend Alex (a writer at Communique) takes up more and more screentime during the first season, and ends with her accidentally stabbing herself and Peter having to flee the country early in the second season.
- Screwed by the Network: In addition to airing the first two episodes opposite hour-long anniversary shows of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, the network switched the theme of the show in the second season from "the glitzy world of socialites and magazine publishing seen through the eyes of Gen-X'ers" to "Dynasty in New York".
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Even though the show was heavily touted for its "risque" material, the implied sex and suggestive content (CPW's main selling point) looks downright tame compared to modern primetime soap operas like Desperate Housewives and The OC.