More than twenty years after we first met Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, shouldn’t we be glad that our favourite New Yorkers have evolved?
Nobody stays the same, which is itself the premise of And Just Like That, the feted Sex And The City reboot. We mature, we adapt and we eventually flower into the people we were always destined to become. That goes for you and me, but why isn’t this a fate we allow our favourite fictional characters?
Despite being only three in to the series’ 10 episodes, And Just Like That has been slated by many as “cringe-worthy”, “awkward” and “clumsy”; a show with “a mouthful of teething troubles.” My response to this? Show me a person that has managed to escape the inevitability of teething as they grow.
And that’s precisely why criticism of And Just Like That is completely missing the point. Sex And The City began in 1998, when the quartet of lead characters were in their mid-to-late thirties. The show was sandwiched with dates, sex and partying; the leading ladies stumbled in and out of love, clubs and restaurants as though they were on a revolving conveyor belt.
When Sex And The City ended in 2004, fans of the show grieved the loss of their favourite New Yorkers. But rather than standing still, this quartet of dynamic women were never going to – and never will – stay the same. When the franchise’s first film was released in 2008, we saw that, actually, the women had changed, and in many ways for the better. Samantha, the female lothario with an insatiable appetite for sex, was in love and navigating the untrodden path of a monogamous relationship; Carrie and Big finally married, something they’d long poo-pooed as they waxed lyrical about writing their own relationship rules; and Steve cheated on Miranda, who eventually reconciled with him after a brief hiatus from their marriage.
Yet the film didn’t attract nearly half as much criticism as And Just Like That. If anything, people were just glad to be able to check in with their old friends again. To see how they’re doing, and where they’re at.
So why is the same due not being given to And Just Like That? I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was down to ageism. Society has changed irrevocably in the decade since the first film came out, even more so in the years since the much-derided second film’s release in 2010. So why wouldn’t our favourite characters change too? Did we really expect so little of them that we thought these shapeshifting women would be carbon copies of their 30-something selves 20 years later? Of course not.
And Just Like That has hauled Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte into 2021, but it’s done so in the most natural way possible; in a way that’s entirely in keeping with the women that many of us grew to love. Of course Carrie would be on Instagram. Of course Miranda would be questioning her marriage. Of course Charlotte would be traversing the tribulations of mothering two teenage daughters.
“We can’t just stay who we were, right?”, Miranda so pertinently says in the opening episode of And Just Like That. No, Miranda, we don’t stay who we are, and it’s entirely reasonable that the women of Sex And The City haven’t either.
Images: courtesy of HBO and Getty.