Why I can no longer watch anything Sex and The City

I was one of those people who loved the cable series Sex and The City. Each episode was like a warm hug from four friends who were just as beautiful and screwed up as you, but with better outfits and jobs. The writing, the cinematography, the music… all wonderful. It was the perfect show before Breaking Bad. Hell, it turned me onto Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes?. If you’ve never heard it, go find it, it’s sexy and hysterical.

Then around the fifth season… maybe four?.. the dynamic between Carrie and Samantha shifted. I thought maybe it was just me, but there was a marked difference in the way Carrie’s character treated Samantha. I remember wondering if there was an actual riff between Sarah J. and Kim Cattrall, but I didn’t watch t.v. at the time. The day that it seemed the internet had finally caught up with the rest of the world I searched “Do Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall get along?” And there it was, an article talking about a riff between them (though it really only alluded to Sarah not liking the fact that Kim had penned a book about sex and then no real reason why). So it wasn’t just me. That is the mark of bad acting, in my opinion. When you can watch a movie and not know that the two people don’t get along: good acting. But then, Sarah eventually came to have more control over her character and she was the star of the show with her own character arc, so maybe she wanted a noticeable shift away from Samantha, but Sam’s character stayed the same lovely and carefree friend she’d always been. When Carrie cheated on Aidan and asked Sam if she was going to judge her – even just a little – she didn’t. “It’s not my style.” And Kim played her so well.

A theory developed in my mind that it was pregnancy that changed Sarah’s personality – not just on Sex and The City, but in a few movie roles she started taking after the series ended. She was one of the bubbliest and cutest actresses in the business. And maybe she just grew up, which is great, just not necessarily a great career choice when you essentially play yourself in every role you take. Jack Nicholson plays himself, as do many actors, but it was the bubbly part of her personality that made her fun to watch. Once she started acting more grownup, she started coming across as more stuck up. Definitely stuck up and judgmental towards someone who was supposed to be a good friend on the show. It was confusing!

Then came the day that I bought Season 6 of Sex and The City and watched every episode on the disc just to find that the company was making you purchase the final season in two parts. That was infuriating. Talk about taking advantage of the fans. I almost didn’t buy it out of spite. I did buy it – they knew we would – but I hated myself a little for buying it. It was a slap in the face. “Hey, we know you’re an avid fan, so we’re going to choose a cash grab that let’s you know we don’t really care about you at all.” Thanks!

Then there were the movies. Everyone is kind of settled in their relationships, which is not all that interesting. (Are we really supposed to believe that Carrie and Mr. Big won’t get married/stay together and that Miranda and Steve won’t make up when we all know movies are supposed to end on a positive note? – except for Sam and Smith who do break up!!) And they spend the majority of their time not in New York at all. Mexico, Dubai… Hmm… And during the housing crisis and a time of financial upheaval for a lot of people, the movies felt very out of touch. Much like the season 6 cash grab; not really caring about the fans.

And now there’s a new series that has completely excluded Sam by killing her off. And you know, that was the magic of Sex and The City. That I can be upset at someone as if they are part of my circle of friends because they’ve treated one of our mutual friends badly is what made the show so good. If Carrie and Miranda fought, you wanted to crawl through the screen and gently nudge them to reconcile. You could find yourself talking to the screen. “Guys what are you doing?!” It was that good.

But I can’t watch it if Sam’s not there. It’s become the elephant in the room, and knowing that they didn’t get along has ruined the show for me. If they’d managed to maintain chemistry despite that, I’d still watch it marveling at the actors’ professionalism and acting abilities. But I can’t even watch episodes after the chemistry changed, let alone a new show, knowing that the animosity was so thorough that they killed her off. The veil has been lifted and part of me feels the company is still ripping off their fans. That is some cold ish! Recast her character. Sam was so important to the group. They each embodied different women in our modern world: the independent and argumentative woman who stood on her own, the old-fashioned woman who wanted a home and family, the sexually independent woman who really didn’t want to be tied down, and the wide-eyed woman who tested relationships and wanted to make them work if they were fun, challenging and reciprocal. And Sam was special because she was unapologetic and older and looking absolutely fabulous at the height of the original series’ popularity. What the actual @#$%! And I guess it really comes down to knowing HBO doesn’t care about you or me. Showtime killed of Dexter recently, but they were responding to fans’ frustrated feelings about the Dexter Season 8 finale. I’m grateful for their care in revisiting that franchise.

I do think the new title is appropriate. It’s open-ended with an ellipse that can follow with so many thoughts. And Just Like That…

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