Monday 10th January 2021. We are in lockdown, New Years’ resolutions are a distant memory, and everything seems a bit gloomy… but Sarah Jessica Parker just posted the teaser for Sex and the City: Where are they now? The announcement of this 10 episode series provides the answer to the prayers of SATC fans globally, myself included. During 2020, I personally re-watched SATC a staggering 4 times from start to finish, possibly triggering some kind of PTSD for my co-inhabitants every time they hear that jazzy theme tune. To add to my addiction, I also discovered the So I got to Thinking podcast, hosted by Juno Dawson and Dylan B Jones, in which SATC is chronologically dissected and discussed and the question asked, is the show still relevant today? With my obsession at its peak, you would think I would be absolutely jumping for joy at SJP’s hallowed Instagram post. However, I couldn’t help but wonder, will the sequel be all that we want it to be? Will the show that taught us that your girlfriends are your true soulmates still resonate with viewers?
Firstly, let’s address the huge elephant in the room: Kim Cattrall will not be returning to reprise her role as Samantha Jones. It’s no secret that the ladies did not always get along off camera, and we all knew this was coming. However, I can’t help but feel a small pang of sadness. Samantha is an all-time favourite character for many, myself included. Her ballsy and brash way of strutting through life, preaching self-love and pleasure gives viewers a confidence boost. Her sexual escapades have provided us with hours of entertainment, and deep down, I believe we all have a little Samantha within us. Having Samantha not be a part of the show seems almost blasphemous. Can it still be Sex and the City without Samantha Jones? Or does that make it something entirely different? SJP has commented that Samantha is simply not a part of this story, however, this raises further questions, such as will her absence actually be addressed? Many fans are already speculating that the only way around this major plot hole will be for Samantha’s character to be dead, leading to a melancholy tone. In whichever way the show chooses to address Cattrall’s absence, I feel there is still a consensus amongst fans everywhere that the show will simply not be up to standard without her.
Secondly, what will the plot actually be about? The four ladies (well, three in this case) already got their happy ending. Miranda and Steve were married and living in Brooklyn with their son Brady (on another note, is Brady’s name Brady Brady now that Miranda is married?); Charlotte and Harry were also happily married with their daughter Lily on the way from China; and Carrie, (for better or worse) ended up exactly where she always wanted to be: with Mr Big. We have already had a taste of what was next for the ladies in the 2 films. I have to admit, the films, although entertaining, did not strike the same chord that the series did with me. (I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me) Yes, Charlotte’s pregnancy and struggles with motherhood were lovely to see, and yes, the image of Standford and Anthony’s wedding will be forever etched into my psyche, but the drama with Miranda and Steve, Big leaving Carrie at the altar, Carrie kissing Aidan in Abu Dhabi. It just seemed to be drama for the sake of drama. Furthermore, there was no denying the fact that marriage and children somehow diminished some of the sparkle. The thrill of the show was about watching the ladies trying to ‘have it all’; now that they have everything, where is the adventure? Carrie kissing Aidan as a married woman was very different to Carrie kissing Jerimiah in season 2 when she was only Mr Big’s girlfriend. The writers will have to work incredibly hard to come up with something that is captivating, yet different. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am a bit bored of the Carrie and Big drama. I mean, if a man couldn’t be bothered to show up at the altar for me, I would have called it quits there and then, and that’s if he hadn’t have done all the stuff Big did to Carrie in the series. I would like to see that Carrie has matured in her 50’s, and that she’s gained some self-respect. I don’t think I can sit through the same plots (Carrie’s Big-drama, Miranda’s uptight-ness, and Charlotte’s WASPy-ness) replayed again; I want something innovative that demonstrates growth, just as the actresses have grown in real life. Maybe Miranda has now realised her true sexuality, as Cynthia Nixon has in real life? Maybe Charlotte struggles with menopausal complications due to her troubles getting pregnant? We need compelling storylines!
Finally, we all have to ask ourselves, did SATC only work within the context and timeframe it was created in? It’s no secret that the show was not always the most politically correct (case in point, that horrendous episode discussing bi-sexuality), but many viewers will just accept this as it was simply a different time. Despite this, there still seems to be something so captivating yet real about millennial New York. It’s escapism for many of us as the same New York simply does not exist now. There was something so chic about the four women clicking all over New York in their designer heels, running into an eclectic mix of relatable and meaty problems (Charlotte’s pregnancy troubles, Carrie’s affair), and downright hilarious and outrageous ones (Samantha and ‘funky spunk’, Miranda flashing a singular breast to her neighbour). The characters were in their 30’s; they had the grounding points of disposable income, fulfilling careers and stylish apartments, but their lives were otherwise a blank slate. The viewer never knew which way the plot would turn, who the ladies would meet or how things would turn out eventually. However, now that the characters’ lives seem to be established, there are only so many directions their lives can take, Samantha being the expectation to this. Marriage and children are the societal norm for women, so it doesn’t seem as fun and interesting to viewers as attempting a threesome with 2 gay men. During the original series, there was also the notable absence of social media; the four ladies were not hampered with the pressures of Instagram stories and Facebook friends. Will social media be a part of the new series, and more importantly, do we want to see it? Charlotte dancing in Lily and Roses’ Tik Toks, Miranda getting into a Twitter war or Carrie waiting for likes on her latest Insta-post; will this enhance the new series or cloud its original appeal? It will be interesting to see whether viewers warm to the characters as they navigate, not only their 50’s but modern day New York, compared to the glamour and relative simplicity seen in the women in their 30’s and in millennial New York.
Now that I’ve absolutely torn apart and criticised a show that hasn’t even aired yet, I would like to offer my final thoughts: of course I’m excited. I haven’t been looking forward to a show this much for a long time. I am curious to see the direction the writers will take, and having the contribution of Michael Patrick King will surely mean that the show retains some of its original charm. There are some holes which prospective viewers can only wonder about, however, these cannot be addressed in a simple Instagram teaser. Overall, I am glad that SATC has brought it’s Manolos out of storage and there is hope for the series, especially considering the last we heard from the ladies was the questionable second film. Maybe SATC will provide a much-needed boost for 2021. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to binge the series for the millionth time in preparation.