Do you remember what it’s like to see an old friend? Maybe it’s a friend you haven’t seen in ten years, a friend who calls you up and says they’re in town for a family gathering and wanted to know if you were available for a chat. You haven’t seen them in ages but suddenly all these memories are flooding back into your brain and you have to, no, need to see this friend and catch up.
It never quite goes how you expect it though, does it? They’ve changed. You’ve changed. One or both of you aren’t quite sure how you feel about these changes. And so you stumble through the now semi-painful small talk as you wonder how long it’ll be before you can leave without making your old friend feel like it was their fault.
When you leave, you wonder if you’re going to see them again. Have you changed too much to still be friends? Have you simply grown apart? Can people come back together and just pick up where they left off?
This is similar to how I felt when I heard that there was going to be a Sex and the City Reunion – Kim Cattrall wouldn’t be there, everyone was older, and I had a sneaky feeling that we wouldn’t get to keep all our favorite characters around for very long (but that’s another article for another day).
I think these days, we crave familiarity. We don’t want to start something new only to risk losing it. We don’t want to take a chance on something that might not work out. So we go back to our favorite shows, watch the reboots and reunions, and slip back into our comfy, safe spaces for another thirty minutes or so at a time.
Sex and the City is one of those shows for a friend of mine. I was over at her house when she started watching the new show. Her takeaway was that she missed Samantha (as did I) and that they should not have killed off a major character in the very first episode.
I think this is the mistake that reboots and reunions make: they think they have to up the stakes, make things bigger, better, more emotionally funnier, or more modern. So they kill off characters, shoehorn in new characters, and update the dialogue a bit so it’s less offensive than the original version, instead of really digging into why the dialogue was offensive then and now.
We didn’t want to see death on Sex and the City. We didn’t want to see friends split apart. We didn’t want to see Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw become a lost, lonely, grieving person. We wanted to see Carrie happy. We wanted to know that she and her friends were ok, or that they were headed in that direction at least. Instead of giving us a funeral, they should have had a celebration – celebrating Charlotte or Carrie or Miranda’s success, happiness, etc.
Comfort shows are comforting because we know we can trust them. Sitcoms are typically pretty safe from major tragedies. Unfortunately, lazy writing and greed have taken over and given us the stories we didn’t want to see unfold. We don’t want to be sad when we watch our favorite shows, typically. We want to know that everything will be alright, even if it isn’t right now.
Although I’m unhappy with some of the big story choices they’ve made in this reunion, Sex and the City still got some things right. Friendship and platonic relationships should be given more clout because those are the relationships that get us through our lives, not our romantic relationships (unless we are lucky enough to have a partner or partners who are also our friends). In Sex and the City, friendships are what make Carrie’s world go round. They have each other through all of life’s hardships. Well, except for Samantha, it seems.
I also enjoyed the fact that none of the characters were de-aged. I know some people were complaining about how much older the actresses were, but even if we are a little sad seeing that people have aged, it’s a good thing for older women to be represented. Representation matters. We also don’t need to judge on appearances, and I think the choice to allow them to be their age gives us a chance to accept that everyone gets old but that we don’t have to get old and boring.
Sex and the City the Reunion only has two episodes out so far, so it remains to be seen how the new show will be accepted or rejected by fans old and possibly, new. Because maybe we have to say goodbye to our old friends sometimes – maybe a fond farewell is the best we can hope for. Maybe that old friend will find new friends, and we’ll find new friends, and we’ll think of the old friend fondly but understand that we’ve changed and that it’s ok to move on with love.
If you’re curious about the Sex and the City Reunion show, you can stream it now on HBO Max.