I have a confession to make. For the last few nights, I’ve been binge-watching Sex and the City. And I’m absolutely loving it. God, I sound like Carrie confessing, “I’m having an affair with Big.”
But I digress.
While the show could sometimes be annoying (the voice-overs, the puns, Sarah Jessica Parker), watching it during this pandemic, when the entire city is shut down, has made me look at it in a new light.
For one thing, it’s reminded me of all the places in New York City that are no longer here: Jerry’s, Florent, the Art Greenwich movie theater, and, of course, the iconic Twin Towers that open the show. The list of clubs and restaurants that are name-checked (Moomba, Chaos) can send me into a nostalgia K-hole.
Of course, the reason a lot of those places are no longer here (apart from a terrorist attack) is because SATC helped gentrify the city to death, turning the Meatpacking District from, well, a meatpacking district, to a nightclub district, to a luxury co-op district.
SATC launched a thousand Carrie wannabes who came to the city thinking they too could live in Manhattan on a writer’s salary.
SATC ruined everything that was good about downtown, from Magnolia Bakery to the Perry Street townhouse that was supposed to be Carrie’s Upper East Side apartment to the aforementioned Meatpacking District. They all became stops on the SATC bus tour.
Because of that, it’s easy to overlook a lot of really good writing.
The most obvious example is the “I Heart New York” episode, the love letter to New York City that was the first episode to air after 9/11. Carrie’s closing line on that episode (“Nobody talks shit about my city”) has to be one of the best lines ever written.
Another good episode I just saw for the first time had Carrie and the gang going to Los Angeles. The episode starts out with the girls skeptical about going to LA, subscribing to all the usual New York vs. LA stereotypes, but then they find themselves unexpectedly liking LA, before finally hating LA again, all expressed through the metaphor of a fake Fendi baguette bag (“it’s what’s on the inside that counts”). SATC could make these great, clever points and do it while Carrie wears an absolutely stunning sequined caftan.
There’s been talk of an SATC reboot (without Kim Catrall—boo!), but I don’t know if they could recapture the magic they had in the late ’90s/early 2000s. What would an SATC reboot even look like? Four (I mean three) New York City women going through menopause in a hollowed-out, post-Covid New York? No thanks!
Or you could be like me and binge-watch classic SATC.
And, just like that, fall in love with it all over again.