HBO's iconic series "Sex and the City" has had its share of contoversies over the years, ranging from its racy themes and cringe movie sequels to its upcoming reboot "And Just Like That . . ." Now, the author who started it all is airing her grievances with the franchise.
In a new interview with the New York Post, Candace Bushnell, author of the books that inspired the show, weighed in on a number of issues, first of them being the show's rather unfeminist adaptation. In "Sex and the City," Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her three best friends Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) for the most part center their lives around dating and chitchatting about their relationships over cocktails and brunch. The series is also rife with particularly cringe financial decisions made by Carrie, who often winds up relying on friends or romantic partners to bail her out.
According to Bushnell, "Fiinding a guy is maybe not your best economic choice in the long term," and "Men can be very dangerous to women in a lot of different ways," especially when women rely on male partners financially.
The author also took issue with the series finale in which after six seasons, Carrie's search for love concluded with a fairy-tale ending with wealthy financier Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
"The TV show and the message were not very feminist at the end," Bushnell said. "But that's TV. That's entertainment. That's why people should not base their lives on a TV show."
It's been nearly two decades since Carrie got her happy ending, so to speak, on "Sex and the City," but the franchise didn't die out. After receiving critical acclaim, two sequel films and a prequel series, "The Carrie Diaries," the reboot was a foregone conclusion.
"And Just Like That . . ." will star three of the original four leading ladies from "Sex and the City" navigating love and friendship as women in their 50s.
Of course, not everyone is all that enthused about the show's return: Kim Cattrall, who stole the original show as the perpetually inappropriate Samantha Jones, declined to return to her role early on.
Bushnell defended Cattrall's decision to let sleeping Samanthas lie. "I absolutely love Kim," Bushnell told the Post. "But it seems she wants to do other things, and she doesn't feel like doing the show. Maybe she doesn't want to be that character anymore."
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Bushnell also emphasized that despite its name and the show's emphasis on sex and dating, "Sex and the City" was about more than sex alone, and was more broadly about "the larger idea of what's sexy: Doing business is sexy, being ambitious is sexy, staying up until 4 in the morning and partying is sexy. Power conversation is sexy. Getting to the number-one table in the restaurant — that's sexy."
And while acknowledging the glamour and appeal of New York City, she also highlighted its more harrowing realities, like her experience being unable to "walk half a block without being harassed" when she first moved, and the city's "landmines like Harvey Weinstein."
Overall, Bushnell hardly seems all that excited about the reboot, noting that "HBO's going to make money on it" and "they're going to exploit it as much as they can," while still ultimately conceding she'll be watching the show, and hopes it will run for six seasons like the original. Bushnell herself will star in a one-woman show based on her book "Is There Still Sex in the City?" that will open in New York City next month.
Specific storylines for "And Just Like That . . ." have not yet been disclosed, beyond rumors that Carrie and Big may be headed for divorce, per an alleged leaked script, and Carrie now has a podcast, which certainly tracks in 2021. Many changes will be essential for the show to transition from a '90s and 2000s hit into appropriate fare for 2021, or at the very least, to compensate for the void left by Cattrall's absence. We'll have to wait to see if the reboot is successful in adapting.
HBO Max has yet to announce an official release date for "And Just Like That . . ." but it looks like it will start streaming sometime in December.