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Fresh Take or Total Flop? Anticipating the Sex and the City Reboot

I couldn’t help but wonder...can the Sex and the City reboot live up to the hype? On January 10th, 2021, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a video on Instagram announcing the series’ 10-episode revival and revealing its new title, “And Just Like That.” This video, which Sarah Jessica Parker narrates in her  iconic Carrie voice, obtained over 7.5 million views and was showered with comments expressing excitement about the rebirth of this beloved franchise. But when a show like SATC, which has been fiercely loved and idolized for so long, is remade, people often question whether it’s possible to create something as special as the original. For example, what would a revitalization of the show’s New York early-nineties-glamour-chic-career-woman aesthetic look like in COVID 2021? On top of this, in the twenty-three years since Sex and The City aired, what’s considered “okay” behavior in the sex and dating world has changed dramatically. In other words, it’s no longer considered cool to give so much slack to toxic men like Mr. Big, Carrie’s on-again off-again boyfriend and main love interest. In order for the show to satisfy viewers like me, it’ll need to confront the changing times while still maintaining the amazing wardrobe, over-the-top New York elegance, and pure fun that drew me and millions of others in to begin with.

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New Line Cinema

One of the main differences between the SATC reboot and the original is the loss of Samantha, one of the four female leads, whose character arguably held up best over the years. Samantha, played by Kim Cattrall, will not be in the reboot. In an interview with TV Line, HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys stated that Cattrall will not be returning to the show because HBO wanted to “reflect the actual stages of life...Just as in real life, people come into your life, people leave,” Bloys stated. “Friendships fade, and new friendships start. So I think it is all very indicative of the real stages [of life].” While Samantha’s absence is probably a realistic outcome, it still makes me wonder how the show will look without the spunky, passionate character who, unlike the other girls, is always totally unabashed about her sexuality and unafraid to speak her mind. Samantha didn’t want a man to stick around, she just wanted to sleep with him. In the late ’90s, this sort of female character was uncommon, thus Samantha became an empowering and important character for female viewers everywhere. 

This type of liberation speaks to one of the most impactful aspects of the original Sex and The City: it revolved around and amplified female voices and friendship in a time when the television world at large was laser-focused on the male perspective. This is not to say that the show didn’t feature arguments between the ladies, but the cattiness that is often depicted as intrinsic to female friendships is not present. Instead, Samantha, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda always worked through their issues. The episodes often ended with them coming together, gathering in Carrie’s apartment or a classy New York City bar or restaurant, dishing about their love lives and relishing their undying love for one another. Relationships with men were part of these women’s lives, but their friendships with one another were the end-all-be-all. The show may feel empty without the same four women: women who we’ve previously known to be a refreshingly unbreakable posse. One thing I know for sure, the show will certainly feel the loss of Samantha’s unending confidence and witty one-liners. 

Finally, in addition to the loss of Samantha, the new SATC will have to confront the fact that Mr. Big, Carrie’s eventual husband is, for a lack of a better word, an asshole. In the late 1990s, audiences accepted that Mr. Big could make up for his superiority complex and avoidant attachment style with frequent apologies. But those apologies came, more often than not, in the form of expensive dinners, compliments, or cutesy sly remarks—and in 2021, we’re far less forgiving to men who use their money and charm to get what, or who, they want. Mr. Big’s dapper tuxes and witty comments aren’t going to make him a redeemable character this time around. The reboot must confront that it probably wasn’t the best idea for Carrie and Big to end up together because of how poorly he often treated her, even though a part of every viewer was secretly glad they did. Of course, it’s unlikely that their relationship will be depicted as perfect in the reboot, simply because it’s hard to imagine a Sex and the City that doesn’t contain its fair share of Big and Carrie tumult. However, us viewers can only hope that these new fights aren’t resolved quite as tidily, that Mr. Big is finally held accountable for his actions. (He left Carrie at the altar, after all!) 

Luckily, we will not have to hope for much longer. “And Just Like That,” the reboot is confirmed for HBO max’s fall programming and will release sometime before the end of 2021. I’m crossing my fingers that it will maintain the golden allure of this 90’s cult classic while giving us a fresh, modern take on the lives of three women we’ve come to know and love. Regardless, I’ll be thrilled to see the faces of three of the ladies of Sex and the City on my television screen once again.

Tess is a first year at Kenyon College. She is from New York City and is a likely English or Women and Gender Studies major. In her free time she enjoys dancing, bike riding, rewatching her favorite old movies, and writing poetry.
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