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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Sex and the City’ reboot has fans enraged and wanting more

“And Just Like That” … the showrunners of the SATC reboot (attempted to) avoid comparison by doing the unthinkable.
Photo courtesy of HBO Max
Miranda, Carrie and Charlotte meet for lunch in a post-quarantine NYC.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect Rock’s character arc. We apologize for using the dated term “tomboy” in this article and regret our lack of awareness and any harm caused. This term will be avoided by The Hustler in the future. 

“Sex and the City” (SATC) is one of the few shows that holds icon status in the world of television. The show became so commonplace that its storyline became a part of our shared cultural context. 

It captured the zeitgeist of female friendships in turn-of-the-millennium New York. The “connector” of the friend group, and arguably the protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, is played by Sarah Jessica Parker, who defined the show in her recent Vogue cover story. 

“It’s about finding friendships that matter, looking for work that fulfills you and pursuing love, even when it drags you, bloodied, down the street,” Parker said. 

However, the show, while seemingly simple, meant so much more. These four women represented more than just their individual characters. Their different personalities allowed viewers to recognize themselves and ask the common question: Are you a Samantha? Or a Charlotte? Please tell me you’re not a Carrie … but I can see a little Miranda in you. 

Given that it was an HBO original series, the show had the ability to depict things that were not acceptable on daytime television at the time. SATC had a certain magic and popularity that few others such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends” had—a universality that makes people still watch them today, if not for its brilliant entertainment value, then to understand the vocabulary and phrases referenced into everyday conversations. These shows grew to popularity and fame in a way that I don’t believe exists anymore. Thanks to streaming services and the advent of YouTube and TikTok, there are so many entertainment platforms and shows to watch that there is no longer the same community formed around television—the idea that my mom used to rush home from work every Thursday to catch the latest episode of “Friends” seems like modern mythology. Something about this era of television was special in a way that shows today can’t hope to live up to, and maybe that’s why some cross their fingers and hold their breath when rumors of a “reboot” or “reunion” are sparked. Others groan knowing that any take won’t live up to the original, yet I couldn’t help but wonder: would the series prove me wrong?

Anthony, Carrie and Stanford attend Lily’s piano recital. (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

In HBO Max’s latest installment-release set up, new series release two to three episodes a week instead of a whole season like other streaming platforms, so Dec. 9 marked the release of the first two episodes of the new series “And Just Like That.”

Within the first five minutes of the first episode, we are given the context of where Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are in their lives. First, they are all getting acclimated to a post-pandemic NYC as they run into Bitsy Von Muffling who air kisses Carrie and asks where the “fourth musketeer” (Samantha) is. “Remember when we couldn’t air kiss hello or goodbye?” Miranda promptly asks while Charlotte answers Bitsy’s (and viewers’) number one question after Kim Cattrall announced she would not be returning after her and SJP’s rumored feud. Apparently, Samantha moved to London after Carrie let her go as her publicist due to today’s book business. I understand that writing off a main character is no easy task, but given that Samantha and Carrie’s publicist-client relationship is so menial in the show (mentioned in maybe four episodes), and Samantha is known for her loyalty, this exit was just not a believable or respectful way to do it. 

In a similar vein, Carrie apparently runs a fashion Instagram account as a fun personal hobby, while podcasting professionally. Anyone, I mean anyone, who has watched the original series knows that Carrie does not exactly welcome new technology. She also apparently cooks now which doesn’t deserve more than a sentence. 

Additionally, Miranda left her corporate law career to get a Master’s degree in human rights, which, while more believable than Carrie’s current situation, still seems like a stretch considering Miranda loved her job—it was her entire world. She loved her job so much that she would not have even gone on her honeymoon if Steve hadn’t begged her. Also, in a hilarious turn of events, Brady, Miranda’s son is now a sex-crazed teenager. However, writer Darren Star anticipated adverse reactions by having Miranda say “I mean, we can’t just stay who we were” to Charlotte, who thankfully is exactly where I envisioned she would be—a stay-at-home mom, like she always dreamed, in the same even-dreamier Park Avenue apartment. 

Speaking of apartments, Carrie leads us from lunch to the breathtaking apartment she and Big share; it’s the same apartment from “Sex and the City 2” with a few changes like the Peloton in the bathroom, which we soon find out became Big’s quarantine obsession, along with working his way down the roster of artists in his record collection (I loved that he was still introducing her to new music). 

Did you notice how I used past tense in that last sentence? Well, that’s because there’s no easy way to say this, but Big dies at the end of the first episode. After the entirety of the original series and both films centered around them ending up together, having him die after his thousandth ride on the Peloton is unfathomably cruel. The first episode had me thinking, “Wow Carrie is more mature and grown-up than before. She might still be a bad listener but at least she’s witty and settled into her life.But alas, the writers could not let us have it. Big suffers from a heart attack while Carrie attends Lily’s piano recital wearing her wedding Manolos (another cruel premonition), only to return to Big in his final breaths. 

The second episode centers around Carrie planning Big’s funeral with the help of Miranda, Charlotte and Stanford (rest in peace, Willie Garson). Star is clearly mirroring how friendship previously served as Carrie’s anchor and will continue to be her constant for the rest of the reboot—minus Samantha, who simply sends Carrie flowers with a one-sentence condolence. We also watch Miranda navigate her first days at Columbia as the oldest student in her human rights class taught by Dr. Nya Wallace (played by Karen Pittman).

Carrie co-hosts a podcast. (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

Unfortunately, Miranda fumbles greatly and says all the wrong things, making her seem like an offensive Karen … who also might be a borderline alcoholic? It seems that the writers will use Miranda’s mistakes as a way to incorporate important social justice messaging—something that was lacking, along with diversity, in the original series. Fortunately, Star is including more voices this time around, starting with a more diverse writing staff, per Vogue. I am grateful for not only the greater representation in the cast but also the diversity of voices when it comes to the writers of the show. Oftentimes, today’s surface-level representation results in underwhelming plotlines of minority characters, which can be annoying and even harmful or offensive in some instances. 

Now let’s dive into a lighter kind of change: outfit changes. Thank goodness the outfits are fabulous because, if they weren’t, I would not recognize this show at all. People watch SATC for the fashion alone, meaning costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago had some big Manolos to fill after the legendary Patricia Fields had been booked for Season Two of “Emily in Paris.” Thankfully, Rogers and Santiago thoughtfully picked pieces that reflect the evolution of their characters while still paying homage to their characters’ style. It also helped that SJP kept “every solitary thing” in her personal storage, acting as Carrie’s fashion archive.

In 2008 and 2011, we were given the films as a walk down memory lane. But a new series? That requires an entirely new plotline, which we can expect after the first two episodes. While the original series felt more like a sitcom, with each episode ending with a lighthearted, full circle quip from a musing Carrie, the new series ends with one-sentence cliffhangers that begin with the phrase “And just like that…” In the HBO Max reunion, the creators of “Friends” said they would never make a reboot because that would require a disruption of the happy ending they created for the characters. However, Star disrupted Carrie’s life in the first episode and spent the next doing metaphorical housekeeping, addressing changes in the cast. Now that we know what Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte have been up to, I have a feeling the real new show will begin with this week’s episodes. 

Will the only blemish in Charlotte’s picture-perfect life be that her daughter is a tomboy?* Can we please not hate Miranda? Now that Big is gone, will Carrie move back into her old apartment that she still has the key to? And just like that … I couldn’t help but wonder if the SATC reboot might exceed my pessimistic expectations.

*In later episodes, the viewer learns that this character does not identify as a girl and is exploring their gender identity.

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About the Contributor
Sahanya Bhaktaram
Sahanya Bhaktaram, Former Life Copy Editor
Sahanya Bhaktaram ('23) is studying Communication Studies with minors in Business and the History of Art. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Vasthy Mompoint
2 years ago

Here’s a few things!

Charlottes daughter is not a Tomboy. They are going through one of the biggest topics of today. Exploring gender and what it means in society. That’s not small. It’s huge and a huge cause of suicide in our young people.

One of the the best things about life is that you change. A pandemic would make someone cook. Or make someone consider a life change. A new world where you have to either get on board with how the world puts out art now or not create it would cause someone who hates technology, to embrace it.

I can’t tell if you’re young or older because if you’re younger you’d know more about gender identity but if you’re older you’d know people and life change.

In the end it’s just a show, but as a long time lover of the series and the growth and empowerment of humans had to say it.

2 years ago

Thank you for addressing this. Based on the first episode, I did not anticipate the character’s arc and I am so glad that the show is discussing gender identity. However, I apologize for my ignorance and poor word choice with the use of the term “tomboy.”

As for the rest of the characters’ plotlines, I simply meant to note the differences from the original series. I am a fan of the show as well and agree people should be able to grow and change, but still, Carrie learning how to differentiate between types of fish was a surprise!