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I Love 'Sex And The City' But We Don't Need A Revival — Enough Is Enough

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I Love 'Sex And The City' But We Don't Need A Revival — Enough Is Enough

Like that guy you just can’t shake, no matter how hard you try, because you kinda like him texting you in the middle of the night, Sex and the City is back. Again. And I have feelings about it — strong feelings. 

I loved Sex and the City. I was in high school when it debuted and my sister and I used to sneak to watch it as some of the content, according to our mother, was “a bit much.”

In the six years it was on, from 1998 to 2004, it garnered fans all over the world. Even now, 17 years after it ended, there are still writers moving to New York City to become the next Carrie Bradshaw. I know this, because I was one of them.

I packed up my things in March of 2003 and moved to New York City with one of my best friends. She was going to become the next huge Broadway star and I was going to write the next great American novel. But, after one article covering a blowjob class at the sex toy shop Babeland in 2011, I found myself on a different path: I actually became a sex and sexual wellness writer.

Sex is a topic I’m proud to cover, as a sex-positive woman, but also a topic that pigeonholed me in some ways. It’s hard to branch out and cover politics and other subjects, when your name and reputation are tied to blowjobs and masturbation.

What this also meant, wherever I went in the world, and I mean anywhere, and told people what I do, I always got the same response, “Oh, you’re like Carrie Bradshaw!” A woman at a market in Cusco, Peru actually said this to me as she was selling me alpaca socks, as did a small group of waitresses at a restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as they huddled around me to hear all the stories about New York and what it was like from this almost Carrie Bradshaw person in front of them.

It wasn’t until I moved to New York, the East Village to be exact, that I realized just how unrealistic the show was. Sure, I have a few pairs of Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin shoes (thank you credit cards), but by the time I moved into my own place in 2006, I had a rent that, when I moved out of it in June 2020, had gone up to $2800. And, just for the record, I never found my Mr. Big. Why? Because he’s fiction.

When SATC came to an end I was heart broken. I’d been in NYC for a full year, and my friends and I had a viewing party. When the first movie came out, we were ecstatic and a bunch of us went to the theatre with cosmopolitans (a sugary, disgusting mess of a drink, FYI) in thermoses, prepared to watch it. We were there to visit old friends, characters that had had an impact on us during some of our most formative years. The movie sucked.

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No one can ever say that Sex and the City wasn’t, at the time, groundbreaking. Samantha, the character that won’t be returning to the 10 half-hour episodes that will begin production this spring, was the real eye-opener. Did I know what analingus was before SATC? Hell no. Hell, I didn’t even know sex swings were even a thing.

But the point was SATC focused on something that hadn’t been done before: women’s sex lives and women’s pleasure. Until then it was all dick, dick, dick, and men getting off. But finally here we had a character who was talking about the “funky spunk” of her male partner’s ejaculation and Miranda dating a guy who liked a finger in his ass, way before anal play and prostate massages were even on the menu. These things and so much more, made the show iconic. It also helped that it took place in the greatest city in the world.

But all good things must come to an end. The chapter must be finished, the book must be closed, and it should be put on a shelf. When you walk past it, you have fond memories, but you don’t reread it, because it’s no longer the same. And, if you’ve re-watched Sex and the City in the last few years, you can see that.

I’m not just talking about the four white women lead characters, the token gay friend, or the ignorance in regards to dating bisexual, trans people, and a whole other boatload of topics that, if they were tackled today the way they were tackled then, would be seriously problematic.

While we can say 1998 to 2004 were different times — and they were — you still have to take into account that the show was called Sex and the City and it was about a sex writer and her friends. As far as sex writers go, Carrie was ignorant, prudish, and judgmental. I’m not even going to get started on her selfishness as a friend: things you only truly notice when you’ve been around the block a few times and you’re no longer the 20-year-old watching the show with stars in your eyes.

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This new chapter, or rather the next chapter in the book that was supposed to remain on the damn shelf, will be entitled, “And Just Like That…” a nod to one of Carrie’s often-used phrases throughout the series and the two terrible movies that the followed (the second being far worse than the first).

Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t call it, “I Couldn’t Help But Wonder…” although Parker did include that line in her Instagram post announcing the upcoming show. While little knowledge about the show is known at the moment, SJP, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis will all reprise their roles as Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte respectively. It will center around what it’s like to be in NYC as 50-something women. All three of the women will be executive producers, along with the original creator of the series, Darren Star.

Although there’s part of me that’s curious what’s become of these characters that lived in an unrealistic world in the first place, there’s a bigger part of me that doesn’t care. All three are married, two of them have children, and as for the drink they made famous — the cosmopolitan — are they going to be drinking those at the kids’ playground?

Where will be the awkward dates? The one-night-stands? All that navigating of dating in New York which is no effing picnic. Really, what does it have to offer a new generation? Do 20-somethings want to watch that? Tragically, I’m closer now to 50 than I am to 20, and even I have no interest in it.

So, SJP and gang, enough is enough. You had an amazing run. Your show was paramount in the lives of so many of us and the impact it left is never going anywhere. But to muck it up with the movies and another series just feels like kicking a dead horse. I applaud Kim Cattrall for saying, “thanks, but no thanks.”

It’s time for Carrie to cuddle up next to Mr. Big, in a pair of one of her many Manolo Blahnik heels, and read a book. Might I suggest Nineteen Eighty-Four? There are bigger things in the world right now and something tells me the series is just going to glaze over all that.

I mean, we’re talking about a series that, although being on the air during the 9/11 terrorist attacks never even mentioned them. They just dedicated an episode to the city of New York and, as a New Yorker, that wasn’t enough. But what is enough — seriously, enough — is Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte sitting around a table in NYC during brunch griping about white girl problems.

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Amanda Chatel is a writer and essayist whose work has been published in Shape Magazine, Bustle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post and others. Follow her on Twitter for more.