In this, the Golden age of series in which viewers are not only constantly bombarded with new productions, but also subject to remakes of past glories, it takes a special kind of savvy to judge which shows are worth reviving and which sleeping dogs are best left lie.
The first thing is to discern is whether the original tale has still got legs, if its message is still valid today and whether it has anything interesting still to contribute. Then of course the world we had immersed ourselves in before must not be coherently preserved.
And Just Like That, the resurrection of Sex and the City ticks all those boxes, despite the absence of Kim Cattrall as the unforgettable Samantha Jones. The reboot preserves all the spirit of the original, only with more mature characters with the girls’ treatment of a whole new batch of feminine issues plying an equal balance of realism and opulence, but then, we would never have expected it to be any other way.
Much water has passed under the bridge since Sex and the City revolutionized the world of TV shows that shied away from an all-female leading cast on the front line, willing to tackle any subject without mincing its words. This return evidences the many taboos remaining, waiting patiently in the wings to be dramatized, and become part of the conversation and continue moving forward.
“We’re not like we used to be”
Often repeated from the outset, the girls make sure to reiterate the fact just to make sure we know it’s them even though the Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte of 30 years ago are nowhere to be found, the nightclub regulars in constant search for the perfect man, daily brunch taking in all the trendy eateries and conversations where sex and shoes are crucial.
If this is what you’re looking for, then you’d be much better served rewatching Sex and the City (good advice anytime) because in And Just Like That “We’re not like we used to be”.
The girls are now in their 50’s, have teenage children and are the centrepins of conservative families. But that’s now the only change the series has in store for us, as Carrie has opted not to have children and instead enjoys the life that she always dreamed of with her eternal love.
Professionally they’ve had to play catch up with new technologies and have gone from being the best at what each one did to feeling somewhat outdated, not only with all these new tools but also with their mindsets. And this, coming from these girls and everything they stood for…!
We thought Samantha was… but, it turns out no one is essential
20 years ago, nobody could have imagined that out allied foursome could ever become a threesome, but alas, that’s exactly what has happened when Kim Cattrall refused to participate in the reboot citing the already well-known fact that herself and Sarah Jessica Parker cannot stand one another, sad news for fans of the show for whom Samantha was one of series mainstays.
But not to worry, as the return opted for the best way to provide fans with an answer as to Samantha’s disappearance and that is by talking about her so much and so often, it’s like she was present. From the first episode, the girls cite professional reasons and arguments with Carrie (pretty close to the real reasons why) to explain away the elephant in the room, and her presence is felt in every episode throughout, and always at key points.
Had series creators chosen to act like she had never existed would have come as a huge disappointment to fans for whom the unforgettable fourth friend occupies a special place in their hearts. Mentioning her name just once would never have washed for such an iconic group of friends as this. As such, not killing her off keeps the nostalgia in check, without leaving viewers feeling cheated. Sure, her insights and outlook on life are sadly missed, but then what group of friends hasn’t experienced a member becoming distanced from the fold, albeit temporarily?
Shining a light on updated taboos
The absence of one of the key figures in a group of friends is one of the themes And Just Like That deals with, fresh territory for the show, but then they also broach the eternal debate about whether or not to dye grey hair, making men look interesting but disheveled for us women. And let’s be fooled as the physical transformation is another reason for the reboot, by just seeing what the more mature characters look like.
Now the conversation turns to their kids’ relationships, the taboo around mothers watching their chicks fly the nest and feeling the need to make up for lost time, or the decision to not join the ranks of motherhood and striking a balance between doing whatever you feel like and meeting commitments.
Because, at the end of the day, life is not a dress rehearsal and time is precious. That’s it. THAT’S JUST IT and at 50, Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte know it all too well. When life gives you that gentle reminder on any given Tuesday that there are worse things than getting splashed with mud by a passing bus and even though they may all still reside in the nicest parts of New York, they now teach us what it is to fall into hell.
And that’s a relief. Knowing that at 40 our stories don’t just dry up. That there are still challenges to be overcome, taboos to break with, and that we are still interesting, with or without gray hair.