Why Women Still Love ‘Sex and the City’ – And Why They Hate It Too!

Sex and the City was an HBO rom-com television series that ran from 1998 to 2004. Even though the story ended a long time ago, women can’t stop talking about it. And they want more. After the television series, there were two movies. There was talk about a third, but actress Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha Jones, opted out. Now the word is out, a revival series for HBO has been confirmed called Just Like That. All the lead actresses, except Cattrall, will be returning.

Does there need to be a Sex and the City reboot? Or should it be left alone?

A Dedicated Fan Base

Personally, I’m always up for more. Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. I will watch. Even without Cattrall—who was the “sex”—I will watch.

Mind you, I wasn’t a fan from the start. During it’s run, I was leading my own sex and the city life, similar to lead character Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. I was working as a writer in New York City and dating plenty. Who had time for television? Plus, if I wanted to hear about other people’s sex lives, I took great delight in a column called “Date Girl” by Judy McGuire, which ran in the NY Press every week. It was similar to “Sex and the City” but instead of the uptown characters and Cosmos, “Date Girl” was grittier and more down to earth.

It wasn’t until 2011 I caught the show by chance on HBO. I was hooked. I binge-watched the entire series several times.

A Story Women Can Relate To

The show follows the lives of four women. Carrie Bradshaw is the main character who writes a sex column. She resides in New York City and is obsessed with shoes and fashion. While she was supposed to be a modern-day Mary Tyler Moore, critics viewed her as narcissistic—and rightfully so because whatever is going on in the other girls’ lives, Carrie turns it back to herself. You can often see her talking over the other girls during brunches. Carrie is looking for over the top love. She thinks she finds it in Mr. Big, who is unable to commit to her.

Samantha Jones is the sex fiend. She describes herself as “a little bit older” than the other girls and we don’t find out until later, she’s 10 years older than them, making her at her sexual prime in her 40s. Samantha is the one who experiments the most sexually, without caring about love or romance. But this all changes when she meets a hot young actor who works as a waiter in a raw food restaurant. Charlotte York (played by Kristin Davis) is the die-hard romantic; and Miranda Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon) is the uptight workaholic lawyer.

Since all the characters are so over-the-top, it may be impossible to fully connect with any of them. But if you dissect them, piece by piece, you may see a little bit of yourself in one or all of them. If you were truly frank with yourself. And that’s exactly what women loved about the show—the honesty. It was the first time in television history that women discussed sex openly and shamelessly. Brunch topics included blow jobs, penis size, vibrators, one-night stands, affairs, and anal sex. And while each character was vastly different and they had their arguments, in the end nothing came between their friendships. Their connections were genuine. There was not gossip. If they had a problem with each other, it was expressed directly. Even with the revolving door of one-night stands, short-term relationships, long-term relationships, and eventually husbands, the girls stayed together through thick and thin. Many women dream of finding true love. They also dream about true friendships such as this. Watching four women support each other without envy is uplifting and inspiring.

But Not the Perfect Story

Sadly, there were downsides to the show, which many women complained about in news articles and in “Sex and the City” public forums. Here are the more blatant ones:

 

  • These four women were supposed to be independent, but every show was focused on men.
  • Carrie, who wrote the sex column was extremely judgmental about sex. One of her boyfriends was bisexual and that freaked her out; she sex-shamed Samantha for giving a blow job to the delivery man; and she criticized her new boyfriend Aiden for moving too slow, sexually, in the relationship.
  • Anyone who wasn’t white and straight was a stereotype. You had the fashionable gay friend (as well as the bitchy one), the hot-tempered Brazilian lesbian who dated Samantha, and references to Samantha’s Black boyfriend’s huge penis.

 

If the reboot is to be a success, “the focus on three straight white women and their particularly close cultural circle is likely to need a specific rethink for current times” according to a recent article in The Guardian. [Reference 1].

The characters are now older and wiser, let’s hope the reboot will be too!

References

“Sex and the City to return for new series, stars confirm” by Stephanie Convery, The Guardian, Jan. 11, 2021.

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