I saw Sarah Jessica Parker once, at Timpson in Kensington High Street of all places. I joined a crowd of women craning their necks to see if she was wearing Manolos (she was!). When I told friends, the reactions were mixed — because 22 years after it first aired, Sex and the City still has the ability to polarise.
Cynics will finish this sentence with any number of questions: “…why they are bringing back this atrociously dated, sexist series; how many millions the cast are being paid; how much plastic surgery they’ve had; and how they will explain Samantha’s absence”. Granted, Sex and the City without Kim Cattrall, who is not taking part, feels hollow, like a Spice Girls comeback without Geri Halliwell. I’d rather watch a drama about what went down between Cattrall and Parker.
It is a bold move to resuscitate a show about shopping and shagging that was very much of its time. If Sex and the City taught us anything it was that rebounds are fraught with danger. In many ways it would have been kinder to let Carrie and co stay in the Noughties, to save them from accusations that they are shallow, needy and bad role models, pinning their happiness on their relationships with men. Remember Sex and the City 2 ? You’d probably rather not. I watched it drunk on a plane and it wasn’t even tolerable through a red wine haze (Lawrence of my Labia was the best line). We’ve moved on from SATC’s insecure hysteria; with shows like Girls, Fleabag, I May Destroy You, Pulling and Catastrophe, which all have more depth.
Yet despite knowing all of this, I will be watching the reboot. For all its froth and faults, the first few series were tightly scripted, entertaining TV with characters who came to feel like your friends. You hated them but you missed them when they were gone. I first watched the show at a formative age — 13, waiting until my parents were asleep before switching on Channel 4, or devouring it at sleepovers (until a parent would come down and tell us off with cries of “if your mum and dad knew you were watching this smut they would kill me!”).
Now I am in my early thirties I understand it more — at the moment I particularly relate to the episode where Carrie is fed up with forking out on presents for people because they are having babies and getting married when she is doing neither so she decides to marry herself — with a gift list at Manolo Blahnik.
Sex and the City MK III makes me feel as if an ex from 20 years ago has come back in my life. I have low expectations and I know TV is better now but why not see what they have to offer? If it’s no good I can always go back to the high drama of this series of Grand Designs.