Image: Cynthia Nixon as “Miranda Hobbes,” Sarah Jessica Parker as “Carrie Bradshaw,” Kristin Davis as “Charlotte York.” Source: HBO MAX

The Sex and The City Reboot ‘And Just Like That’ is Here

Major spoiler alert approaching – If you haven’t watched the latest from Sex and The City – you might want to close your eyes. Last week, the eagerly anticipated Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That was finally delivered to our screens. Released on the streaming platform Binge, And Just Like That drops us back into the franchise’s glamorous Manhattan world of cosmopolitans, fashion and sex that we know and love. This time around, things are a little different. The women are older, one member short and finding their footing in a post-pandemic and more culturally aware world. 

Image: Charlotte, Carrie and Miranda are a little older and just as stylish in the revival Source: HBO MAX

We’re reintroduced to the characters as they meet for lunch in a hip upmarket New York restaurant that would fit right into the original series. But as the trio sit down at a table meant for four, Samantha’s absence is painfully apparent. The show explains Samantha’s absence with a falling between Samantha and Carrie, paralleling the real-life rift that occurred between Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker. The pandemic isn’t left unacknowledged either, with the characters quickly referencing social distancing right off the bat. 

Firmly placed in reality, the series is already a little heavier than it’s original and with our main character’s now in their mid-50s, it’s not entirely jolting. And the trio’s older age is what’s excited most returning viewers. Sarah Jessica Parker’s natural wrinkles have been celebrated over social media and Cynthia Nixon’s, albeit professional styled and coloured, grey hair is also refreshing. But it’s not just physical ageing that the show has to contend with. The characters, once defined by their successful mid-30’s singledom, are now wives in long-term marriages and mothers to teenage children. 

Image: The now trio seated at a table for four Source: HBO MAX

This is something that the show always struggled with. Apart from Charlotte, the women were defiantly un-maternal, enjoyed casual sex and fervently discussed their romantic dramas into their late 30’s and early 40’s. In the 1990s, this was incredibly impactful and exciting for women who also didn’t relate to being married with children by the time they turned 30.

While the end of the series-coupled the women up, the films quickly removed them from their news domestic lives with a series of breakups and overseas holidays. But now back in the episodic format the show hasn’t engaged with since 2004, And Just Like That has the opportunity to dig a little deeper into the challenges of long-term relationships, parenting and balancing it all. 

And the pilot episode seems conscious of this. Miranda’s dealing with her teenage son’s unapologetic sex life, Charlotte’s busy supporting her eldest piano-playing prodigy daughter and coming head to head with her gender pushing youngest, and Carrie and Big seem to have finally reached a healthy and happy relationship. That is until the first episode ends with a moment that no one saw coming, Big’s death. With the series leaping headfirst into uncharted territory, Carrie’s biggest problem this time around is not a man or pair of Manolo Blahniks, but grief. 

Image: Carrie back at her writing desk Source: HBO MAX

Where the show seems to struggle is in its attempts to salvage the more problematic elements of its predecessor. Like many products of its time, the original series is not as progressive as audiences of the 1990s may have thought. Looking back, the series lacks any people of colour and subscribes to some offensive ideas around trans and bisexuality, weight and race. The series is careful not to bring these outdated ideas into the me-too and more culturally attentive era its characters now occupy. Unfortunately, the series is so self-conscious of saying the wrong thing that it tries too hard to say the right one. As, Inkoo Kang, for The Washington Post, puts it, “If sex and the city once drove the culture, it’s playing catch-up now.” 

Despite this, the show doesn’t fail to charm and almost effortlessly draws long-time viewers back into its world of designer shoes, over the top outfits and fancy cocktails. From Oscar De La Renta dresses to the famous Manolo Blahnik wedding shoes and the now extra opulent apartments, the series remains escapism even in its darker moments. With two episodes already on Binge, we can’t wait to see what Carrie and the gang get up to next. 

Still, holding onto the original series? Check out the most iconic outfits from Sex and the City.

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