“Sex and the City” Reboot: without Samantha, where’s the sex?
Hollywood is in the midst of producing a neverending list of sequels, revivals, remakes and reboots; meant to tantalize every last nostalgic bone in our bodies and claim every last penny in our pockets, no doubt. Officially joining this stroll down movie-and-TV-memory-lane is none other than HBO’s cosmopolitan smash hit, Sex and the City (SATC).
That’s right, SATC will be making a comeback exclusively on HBO Max (the new streaming service from Warner Media), and while the young kids of today may not remember Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York Goldenblatt and Samantha Jones from Manhattan, these four independent women were some of the very first if not the very loudest female characters to openly talk about the trials and tribulations of love and sex on television.
The show was revolutionary for its time (1998-2004), and the initial craze started with the book, Sex and the City by Candace Burnshell, but the proceeding adapted series was even more sultry and unapologetic, garnering a huge following amongst straight adult women and gay men, specifically. Parts of the show itself haven’t aged very well, however, because SATC was an HBO production for white women, by white women, and while the scripts proved to be engaging and edgy to many, they were also often tone-deaf and problematic.
Still, SATC served its purpose at a time when there was no other show like it on television. A swanky adult “Dramedy” (Drama/Comedy) with enough sex and laughs to hold an audience for six full seasons and two major motion picture spinoffs, all of which gave plenty of nods to the Queer community, as well, beginning with the very first episode where viewers are introduced to Carrie’s gay best friend, Stanford Blatch (played by Willie Garson). In that same pilot episode, a birthday party for Miranda features singing drag queens.
People tuned in every week to watch the hopeless romantic big city escapades of one Carrie Bradshaw (played famously by Sarah Jessica Parker aka SJP). Bradshaw was a single 30-something-year-old New Yorker who erroneously looked for a happy ending in the Big Apple (both physically and romantically), and her ongoing shtick was writing about said sex-capades in her popular column, the titular Sex and the City, which also acted as the show’s narration. Women identified with Carrie, but everyone had their favourites, and who can forget the “Which Sex and the City Character Are You Really?” quiz?!
The show itself served as a love story for the main characters and a love letter to the metropolis they called home. A story about four NYC women searching, finding, keeping and losing love, but not just romantically. SATC was also about the ups and downs of friendships, highlighting and even centering around the special bond between the women of the show. A bond that now seems tarnished with the departure of Canadian actress, Kim Cattrall, who played the hilarious, self-reliant, and sexually-liberated PR representative, Samantha Jones.
News of friction between SJP and Cattrall was long withstanding as rumours of the two butting heads surfaced while filming the 2010 sequel, Sex and the City 2. It was said then that Cattrall was a “diva” on set and held up production demanding more money, but in a 2017 interview with Piers Morgan (via BBC), Cattrall revealed a “toxic relationship” existed between her and her co-stars:
“We’ve never been friends,” Cattrall said. “We’ve been colleagues, and in some ways, it’s a very healthy place to be, because then you have a clear line between your professional life and relationship and your personal.”
Cattrall also took to social media a year later, shortly after her brother passed away in 2018, where she publicly rejected SJP’s condolences on Instagram: “My Mom asked me today ‘When will that @sarahjessicaparker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?’ Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now. Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona.” Catrall also attached a link to a New York Post article entitled, “Inside the mean-girls culture that destroyed ‘Sex and the City.'”
Catrall remained a fan favourite nonetheless, and in many cases, the confident character of Samantha Jones was even more favoured than SJP’s main character, Carrie Bradshaw. Cattrall notably won one of four Golden Globe nominations for playing Samantha in 2001, and was also nominated for multiple Emmy’s – five of them! Though Cattrall never took home Emmy gold, she arguably stole the entire show.
Now, over a decade since the last SATC movie, an official reboot is slated to start filming without Cattrall, which means only three of the original foursome – SJP, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis – will be returning. This leaves the role of the sexually ambiguous, overtly comical and downright fierce Samantha Jones out of the mix.
We can’t help but wonder… if Samantha Jones is no longer a part of the Sex and the City storyline, where’s all the sex? And how will her impactful character be canonically written out of the show? It’s no secret Samantha Jones suffered from cancer; perhaps that is the only logical way to eject her? Women’s health is always an important topic to cover, and amidst this current COVID-19 pandemic, it wouldn’t hurt to use this huge platform to further raise awareness for such an important cause.
SJP herself joined the conversation by replying to a tweet from an American journalist, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, who asked her followers to speculate how Samantha’s character should be written out of the show’s revival:
It would appear SJP is already conjuring up ideas, and HBO Max revealed in a statement (via E! News) that the revival would “follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s,” with no mention of Samantha Jones anywhere…
If we look back to her interview with Piers Morgan in 2017, it appears Cattrall herself already had an idea for how to replace Samantha Jones.
Cattrall told Morgan, “It’s a great part! I played it past the finish line and then some, and I loved it. And another actress should play it. Maybe they could make it an African American Samantha Jones! Or a Hispanic Samantha Jones!”
Considering the lack of diversity within the cast of main characters, Cattrall is onto something! We’d personally love to see Taraji P. Henson join the cast, but not as Samantha Jones. As a fresh new character with just as much charisma if not more than Cattrall herself.
Alas, a release date for the revival of Sex and the City, now called And Just Like That…, will consist of ten half-hour episodes with SJP & Co. filming in NYC in the late spring of this year. And for those Canadian fans wondering, the reboot will be made available to stream on Crave upon its release.
“And just like that… The story continues…”