Like many New York women of a certain era, Sex and the City was a revelation for me. Even if you were less Manhattan and more middle America, that cast of thirtysomething “singletons” empowered women to do it their way long after Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat in the air. So did they, meaning Carrie and company, make it after all?
As I awaited the first season of the SATC reboot And Just Like That, I was hoping for something that shows the joy and confidence of life as a fiftysomething woman. Instead, I got a lukewarm, overly woke bonanza where Big kicks the bucket, and the once-iconic female friendships feel empty and shallow. And cut to Season Two, when Carrie, the sex columnist, can’t say “vagina” on her podcast, and Charlotte is obsessed with making a MILF list at her teenage daughter’s school. Don’t get me started on Miranda and THAT strap-on. As the kids say, CRINGE.
I like this observation from Vogue, whose young writer is asking for something more than this dumbed-down drivel:
“What about a storyline that celebrates how women can reinvent themselves in their 50s and own it—with no quivering insecurity? Wouldn’t that be more exciting to explore and offer more opportunities for their friendships to shift and mature instead of being reduced to Carrie phoning Che to have a teenage conversation about dating Franklyn? Yes, the women might be facing some of the same scenarios they did in their 30s, but assuming they’d react to them similarly is disappointing.
These successful, previously self-assured, confident, outspoken women have been reduced to timid versions of their former selves. It’s a massive missed opportunity to show that, for the most part, older women don’t give a fuck.”
An opportunity to show young and older women what it’s like to live life in your 50s has been reduced to characters that are hard to like
Adding on new characters like Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury), Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez), and Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) as new friends do little to solve the problem. I doth think they give far too many fucks.
Insecure. Petty. Childish even. An opportunity to show young and older women what it’s like to live life in your 50s has been reduced to characters that are hard to like. Even Carrie, an idol to many of us, is a cranky jerk. Yes, she just lost her husband, but sleeping with her podcast producer, who wears an undershirt to bed while watching cooking shows, is about as exciting as dry toast.
I haven’t seen the whole season, but even Carrie going to retail therapy at Bergdorf Goodman felt uninspired and sad. Charlotte’s prim and proper thing no longer suits her, and Carrie’s outfits lack cool urban chic and feel a bit phoned in. Miranda struggling with the strap-on is an apt metaphor for fashion and friendships that are no longer joyful but maybe even painful.
But besides flaccid friendships and fashion faux pas (did anyone else see that feather out of place on Lisa Todd Wexley’s Valentino hat on the way to The Met Ball or Charlotte’s awful double Burberry moment?), what I miss most of all about the show is the other main character of this iconic story, and that is New York City.
Sure, the fancy restaurants appear, and the aforementioned Met Ball is a milestone, but the heart and soul of the city are long gone from the show. That spontaneous, special 212 sauce was grounding season after season, making it all the more relatable for those who live and love here. Now the city is just as bland as the characters, and New York is many things, but bland is not one. Just last week, I saw a guy pooping in public, followed by Daniel Day-Lewis getting into an Uber on crutches in the West Village. Iconic. So, Carrie, Carrie where did our love go? And is there life beyond (cancelled and departed) Big?
What’s missing most is a love of self
Because the show was always about finding love. Love of friends. Romantic love. Manolo love. But as this magnetic group ages, they all feel lost. And to me, what’s missing most is a love of self. For those of us at a certain age, isn’t that the greatest love of all?
I need characters we can root for. This crew has made it Birkin big but has completely devolved into dusty versions of themselves. From Carrie hiding in her old apartment and faking COVID to Miranda going meek to Charlotte sweating a stupid list, I can’t. This version of the show is not smart. Not stylish. Not remotely sexy. And I’m not buying it. If all l have to look forward to is the return of Aiden (snoozefest) or a cameo from Samantha (I’m here for it), I should probably start re-watching Girls. At least none of those characters were likable to begin with. Where do we go from here, Hollywood? My self-love (and disposable income) are waiting.