And just like that…my favorite series was brought back. 2021 seems to have been the year of epic comebacks. Whether it be the Harry Potter anniversary, or the Friends reunion, fans of these classics sure had their fair share of tears running down their cheeks whilst watching their favorite characters reunite on screen. My personal highlight: a remake of Sex and the City under the title “And just like that…”.
Sex and the City has always belonged to my favorite comfort shows, and I could not have been more excited to hear that the iconic show was going to make a comeback in December 2021 / January 2022. After all, it was the main character Carrie herself who inspired me to start writing!
But enough about my obsession with Sex and the City, let’s move on to the real point of this article – Does “And Just Like That…” live up to its fans’ expectations? Does the show still have its charming atmosphere after twenty years of being resumed? How does producer Michael P. King adapt a light-hearted show from the late nineties to the current society?
Sex and the City 101
And now that the characters have grown older, the problems they are facing in their 50s seem to have gotten slightly more serious.
For anyone who has never watched Sex and the City (first of all, how could you?), here’s a little summary of the main idea behind the show: 30-something Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha spend their lives in New York, experiencing a lot of men drama whilst always being there for each other – a tight friend group any girl dreams of. And now that the characters have grown older, the problems they are facing in their 50s seem to have gotten slightly more serious. But this is not the only thing that has changed…
And then there were three…
The first, rather devastating setback Sex and the City 2.0 had to overcome was that Kim Cattrall (aka legendary Samantha Jones) did not agree to return to the show. Rumor has it she didn’t get along with her co-star Sarah Jessica Parker, and thus decided not to make a comeback to the show. But as they say, the show must go on.
As Sex and the City OG mainly evolves around the lives of the four friends, and with Samantha arguably being the wildest of the four, I was skeptical as to whether the show could go on without her. Fittingly enough, her departure from the show as explained during the first episode is due to her moving to London – after a fight with Carrie. And whilst I’m convinced that Samantha was always a key element to the plot, the producers behind “And just like that…” certainly came up with enough drama for the remaining three friends that one might almost forget about her.
While the Sex and the City most of us knew was a rather upbeat, funny series, the first episode ends with one of the saddest scenes SATC stans have probably ever witnessed (if you want to know what I’m referring to, go watch for yourself!).
Nonetheless, these are not the biggest changes I have personally noticed, which brings me to the main reason for writing this article.
Combining entertainment with inclusivity?
In the 90s, shows like Sex and the City mainly aimed at fulfilling one purpose – attracting viewers by being as entertaining as possible. But now times have changed, and so has entertainment. Movie producers – including streaming services like Netflix – have realized that entertainment can take on another role apart from pure enjoyment: i.e., discussing contemporary issues, addressing stereotypes and featuring minority groups.
If we’re being honest, although they may belong to our favorite shows, most of us white people have overlooked the fact that in our favourite 90s shows, the majority of characters (and at least all the main ones) are white, cis and heterosexual – Sex and the City being one major example. Miranda, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte are all white. And all of their sexual experiences involve cis men.
Now, changing the main characters without changing actors was hardly an option for the new (improved?) version. But producers of “And just like that…” have clearly worked hard to fit in as many minority groups into the show as possible – maybe too many? Please don’t get me wrong, representing minority groups in movies is important. But not to a point where it seems forced! From Charlotte’s daughter wanting to become a boy, Miranda having sex with Carrie’s nonbinary boss in Carrie’s kitchen, to Carrie’s Indian real estate agent, and Miranda (on the verge of becoming a human rights lawyer) publicly defending her black professor… the show features it all.
To me, “And just like that…” has missed the point of becoming inclusive by trying a little too hard.
And while one could never say that one of these topics is more of a priority than the other, cramping all of this into eight episodes seems slightly overwhelming and artificial. It’s great to see that Sex and City is trying to adapt more to our diverse society, but the jump from funny entertainment to societal criticism is extreme. Of course, I don’t belong to a minority group, so I wouldn’t know what it feels like to watch a show full of characters who look nothing like me.
But my point is NOT to not include characters from different sexualities or ethnicities. Rather, one should include them and incorporate them into the plot like any other character without exaggerating the fact that they are different from the rest in any given scene. To me, “And just like that…” has missed the point of becoming inclusive by trying a little too hard.
Edited by Emma Chiaratti