It's been confirmed. A Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That, is coming to HBO Max. It’s time to throw our Manolos into the air. Let there be bottomless Cosmos and lounging on beds in restaurants called Bed.
Scratch that. More than likely the show will feature combat boots and green smoothies and designer face masks. After all, it’s the 21st century and we’re muddling our way out of a global pandemic.
Nevertheless, I’m really hoping Corona won’t make an appearance because right now, I want escapism, This Is Us being the sole exception. I have binged Bridgerton exactly one-and-a-half times. Once I’m finished, I may go in for a third viewing. It’s that frothy.
My expectations for the new series are low. Perhaps I just don’t want to be disappointed. I do know one thing: I will dissect every single episode, and I will have a blast doing so. After all, I’ve had over two decades of practice. Not only did I watch Sex and the City the series (I regularly dance to “You Got the Love” from the finale), I saw both movies. In the theater.
Just how obsessed am I?
I plotted out a humorous screenplay based on the official stills and paparazzi shots that appeared online in advance of the first movie while working for mystyle.com, a former E! Entertainment website.
Sure, I had to watch the second film alone in 2010 since no one cared to join me. But I wasn’t bothered. I’d always enjoyed going to movies alone.
I will concede: the best thing about Sex and the City 2 — okay, perhaps the only good thing — is that it managed to earn nearly $300 million at the box office despite brutal reviews. There’s also the fact that the DVD was released on October 26, my birthday.
Still, I don’t regret a single second of it. I’ve missed Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, and Carrie. Yes, I realize I’ll have to settle for a reunion with three of the four characters since Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha, won’t appear in the reboot.
For some, part of the show’s intrigue was the alleged behind-the scenes fracas. In which in one corner stood Sarah Jessica, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, and in the other, a solo Kim Cattrall. Are they or aren’t they friends?
Those whispers grew increasingly loud over the years. I actually didn’t believe the rumors until Samantha, I mean Cattrall, called out Parker for being insincere. Parker had posted a message of condolence to Cattrall on Instagram after Cattrall’s brother died in 2018.
I grew up with my mother’s words ringing in my ears: What happens in the house stays in the house. The whole thing made me a bit uncomfortable. I preferred to think of the four actresses hanging out together in their favorite coffee shop even after shooting wrapped for the day.
Recently, my daughter, who was born in 1998, the year the show first aired, texted me that she was bingeing Sex and the City, followed by the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji.
“I know that show better than any and reference it regularly!” I replied. “Like if I’m talking about something else in life. As in: That’s like the time Samantha blah, blah, blah.”
“I know I remember you covering my eyes and telling me to plug my ears while you watched.” That last text was laced with three laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emojis.
Sex and the City was always my not-so-guilty pleasure. Beyond the frivolity and the fashion, it covered friendship and other universal themes — womanhood and sexuality, career and relationship, and always sex and more sex.
Like Carrie, I once (actually, more than once) traveled far from home, only to discover that a man was too busy, too preoccupied, with his life to find a place for me in it. I, too, have struggled like Miranda with balancing work and career, and thinking I have to do it all.
Similar to Samantha, I didn’t always embrace the love standing right in front of me, deflecting with humor and sarcasm and emotional absence. Like Charlotte, I remained hopeful that one day my prince would come, only to realize that love can show up unexpectedly and in a very different package from the one envisioned.
Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the ways the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
I don’t know if Candace Bushnell, the author of the novel on which the series is based, is familiar with the 13th -century Persian poet. Nevertheless each member of the Sex and the City squad embarks on the very powerful spiritual journey evoked in the epigraph time and time again. Ultimately, this is what binds them, and not necessarily their love of sex, or of the city.
While the show’s topics may have been representational, the primary cast was not. To be honest, I never minded that all four leads were white. Some of my best friends are white women.
When Lena Dunham’s Girls first aired (I watched religiously though not as devotedly as I had Sex), I understood why the television series’ whiteness was such a huge point of discussion for critics and arm-chair sociologists.
However, I found the whiteness to be quite realistic. My experience is that most white women hang out with only other white women, or have only one black female friend. Who works for them (like Jennifer Hudson in the SATC movie). Even in metropolises like New York City. Even in the 21st century.
I balance out the racial monotone by watching Girlfriends and Living Single, which predate these white Girls Just Wanna Have Fun shows.
Writers also tend to write what they know. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of creative POCs, including trailblazers like Array’s Ava DuVernay and MACRO’s Charles King, our movie and TV screens are now more diverse than ever — with regards to race and class and sexuality.
I am both thrilled and relieved to see this. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles from New York in 1994 to work as a staff correspondent for People magazine, I was invited to the birthday dinner of a friend’s husband at a popular restaurant. The guest of honor had once worked for Norman Lear who gifted him with the dinner for six. I was accustomed to interviewing actors, but rarely talked to the creatives who dreamed up what we watch.
One of the guests wrote for a TV show and so I asked him what that experience was like. He described a typical work day. “It’s really cool. I go into an office where I work with guys who grew up in Jersey and played baseball like me,” he said. To me. A black woman.
“That’s the problem with television,” I shot back.
He looked puzzled. I didn’t bother to explain. It used to annoy my younger siblings when they asked me questions about sex or other matters I didn’t want to talk about.
“If you don’t already know, I’m not going to tell you.” That’s exactly how I felt sitting across from this TV writer. I just didn’t think he’d get it.
I have shared this story many times over the years. I have reported several exhaustive stories about race, entertainment and integration (or that lack thereof) in America for publications such as Newsweek, Elle and People. That writer’s comments, more so than all the hours of research and reporting, explain why we are where we are. Yes, I used the present tense. We still have a long way to go.
As I write this, the irony only hits me now: Norman Lear, who was just honored at the Golden Globes, was responsible for so much of my TV-watching hours. His shows were focused on bringing people who did not look or think the same because they grew up together in the same little town.
Black History Month just ended. I champion the blanketing of screens and all media with black and brown people. But I think we ought to be celebrating Black achievement year-round. I know I do.
In the meanwhile, I’ll be dancing and eagerly waiting on the downsized squad of three.
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air.
I know I can count on you.
Sometimes I feel like saying “Lord, I just don’t care”.
But you’ve got the love I need to see me through.
Cause you’ve got the love
You’ve got the love
I like to make stuff...and think about stuff.