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Sex and the TV

Word is spreading that HBO is reviving Sex and the City almost twenty years after the series ended.  Under its new title, And Just Like That, the show will include its former stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.  But no Kim Cattrall, a.k.a. Samantha Jones.

The Canadian actress has long said she would never return to the role and many media outlets have cited a rift between Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker.  And now everyone’s getting in on the debate of how to handle her absence.  Do they re-cast the role?  Do they find a new fourth girlfriend?  Do they just focus on the three?

But to quote the famous Carrie Bradshaw, “I can’t help but wonder” … do we really need another Sex and the City at all?

The series launched in 1998 when the stars ranged from 32 to 42 years old.  Safe sex was discussed with humour and women were empowered by these strong characters.  SATC gave the modern woman – who wasn’t sure she wanted a home in the suburbs and two-point-four kids but still dreamed of a happy ending – a voice.  Life was challenging and frustrating, and sexual relationships were just another challenge to be managed.

It also glamorized New York life at a time when jobs were aplenty and opportunity was always knocking.  Oh, how things have changed.

After the show ended, all four ladies returned for a happily-ever-after movie in which Carrie got married, Charlotte had a baby, Miranda got marital therapy, and Samantha re-gained her independence.  It tied a nice bow on the stories.

Unfortunately, buoyed by their success, producers tried a second movie in 2010.  This time, tired of dealing with the pressures of life, the ladies took a break in the ultra-rich atmosphere of Abu Dhabi.  Because, isn’t that where everyone goes for a holiday?

Amid the financial fall-out of 2008 in which families were losing their jobs and their homes, the tone-deaf film was panned.  It was clear, their time had passed.

So what makes producers think that TV audiences in 2021 (battling COVID, trying to pay their bills amid shutdowns, standing in food bank lines, and worrying that a civil war is going to break out) want to see three fifty-somethings in designer duds discuss their vaginas?

Sure, dating has changed.  With social distancing, getting close to anyone on any level is a challenge.  And a lot of what SATC focused on wasn’t the orgasm, but the connection between people.

So perhaps there is room for something new here.  But as an admittedly huge fan of the original series, I again “can’t help but wonder” who’s interested in hearing from three white, wealthy, married, fifty-something ladies on the subject?

Unless, that is, the writers are planning on breaking up the happy endings that Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha had finally achieved.  And that would be so much worse for their fans.

Sometimes it’s better to close the book altogether.  Besides, TV already had its Golden Girls, the original Sex and the City.