The BIG news for me this week, (pun intended,) is that Sex and the City is to return!! I am a mega fan and have watched it countless times, (I mean really, probably getting on for 100’s.) When it first aired, I was in my mid 20’s and my friend Alison who lived in New York used to post me VIDEO tapes of episodes, (it was shown there before the UK,) so I could watch it first, good friend! As I went into my 30’s I progressed to DVDs and the episodes only got more and more relevant to my own life.
It’s difficult to remember (and seems weird that it was over 20 years ago!) but at the time, it was incredibly ground-breaking. Women had never been depicted on TV before talking so frankly about sexual relationships, career, money, marriage and life ambitions. It paved the path for more openness which allowed shows like Girls, I May Destroy You and Killing Eve to be born. Sure, there are little things that date it, (Carrie discovers E Mail in season four when she’s dating Aidan!) but they are few and far between. It is sad that Kim Catrall isn’t returning as Samantha, I can’t actually imagine it without her, but still, my excitement is palpable and I can’t wait to see the characters I loved so much now in their 50’s – also ground-breaking! (I hope they don’t shy away from midlife issues like menopause though.)
So, I couldn’t help but wonder… what is it that made it so special? I thought I would share my love for, and reasons why, in my opinion, it’s one of the best TV series ever produced.
Be it the coffee shop, a bar, shopping or just a park bench, the four ladies discussed, divulged and dissected and every aspect of their lives with each other. They may have had arguments and moral differences of opinion, but they loved each other fiercely and would defend each other to the core, without bitchiness and envy which was what we had seen before with women on TV. The different characters represented different perspectives, (I’m sure we’ve all done the ‘which character are you’ quiz!) but their candidness made it ok for the rest of us to freely discuss our own issues with our own friendship groups.
Ah, one of the best things about the show and almost as important as the characters themselves. When I watch it now, the fashion still seems relevant and inspiring, the genius of stylist Patricia Field. It is a wonder that the clothes they wore in the late 90’s and early 2000’s are still desirable and haven’t dated very much at all. Carrie’s were often pushing the boundaries anyway, but I personally love her season six / first film looks, (let’s not mention the second film…!) a lot of Dior inspired full circular skirts and gorgeous heels.
It’s great how fiction can make you fall in love with a city you’ve never been to. The first time I ever went to New York was 2004 when I had a lot of friends who lived there. It coincided with my birthday and one of my best friends bought me a Sex and the City bus tour to go on! Very touristy of me I know, but it was a perfect way to familiarise myself with the layout of NY and see some of those famous and beloved sights I’d seen on screen. On another visit, I took one of my friends and his new husband to Buddakan for dinner as a wedding gift, completely influenced by the first film where it was the setting of the engagement dinner and seemed to me to be the epitome of glamour and cool – and it was – with excellent Asian food as well! I couldn’t live there, but I do have a romantic view and experience of New York which I think is mostly due to the show.
There are so many… I haven’t done the arduous job of adding up how many boyfriends, flings and one-night stands there have been throughout, but from each, the characters have learnt or explored something and we, the viewer have been able to recognise most personalities and situations we may have also found ourselves in. The exploring was mostly done by Samantha of course, (lest we forget the swing, the dildo model or funky tasting spunk…) This outrageous character was pivotal in normalising women enjoying sex just because they wanted to, without entering into a long relationship. Rather than just throw away characters, as the show progressed, some of the men became integral parts of the success, the gay best friend in Stanford, Charlotte’s understanding and warm Harry after the uptight Trey, the rollercoaster of Miranda and Steve and of course, Big and Aiden. Who should she have ended up with? I am a Big devotee, cue much outcry or debate, I’m sure!
Despite the funny and boundary breaking tales of sex, dates and flings, the overriding message for most of the characters is that there is always the hope that they will find love. Charlotte in particular is the eternal optimist, but re-evaluates what love looks like with Harry. The sardonic, realist Miranda eventually succumbs to the love she has for Steve, and even Samantha finds love with Smith, and even though it is a shorter love story than ‘forever’, it is still valid. Carrie of course, spends the entire time looking for love and eventually comes full circle with Big. Although this hope could be construed as wanting a ‘white knight’ fantasy, from women who otherwise have careers and their own money, (with the exception of Charlotte,) I personally think it is more that we all relate to the human condition of wanting to be loved. They’re not looking for a man to complete them, but a man to share a life with, a much-mentioned soul mate, which I think most of us are.
And so, ‘just like that…’ I for one, am looking forward to seeing them again.