Long after Liza Minelli’s cameo appearance in Sex and the City 2, I picked up my cell phone and began to text. A sign? Definitely. The text message about Cristiano Ronaldo’s Vanity Fair cover was more entertaining than the adventures of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte in Abu Dhabi.
There was a time when Carrie Bradshaw was flat-chested. That was 12 years ago when Sex and the City first aired on HBO and introduced us to four refreshingly realistic female characters – Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. As someone who wasn’t “allowed” to watch Sex and the City (but did anyway), this series played a small but critical role in my understanding of how women are represented on television. These four women were successful and flawed. They struggled to balance careers and family. Their marriages and relationships failed. But no matter what they always stuck together.
With the second Sex and the City movie set to premiere on May 27, I’ve started contemplating the development of these four characters. How have they changed since we first met them?
For starters, the production costs between the series and the movie franchise are definitely higher. Just compare the first season DVD cover to the poster for Sex and the City 2. Carrie suddenly has cleavage (and opera glasses? Maybe to see that Big is terrible for once and for all).
Of course characters, especially those who have existed as part of our cultural dialogue for as long as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, have evolved over time. This happens to real women too.
What is perhaps most apparent from this picture is how Sex and the City has developed into a franchise and a star vehicle for Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie Bradshaw is Sex and the City.
The first season of the series emphasized the friendship of these four women. In its current installment places Carrie and her relationship with Big at the center. The other women have fallen into the background, relegated to being Carrie’s sideshows and lesser narratives. Most strikingly with Miranda.
As a young woman coming to terms with societies traditional expectations for women (children, family) is never simple. Miranda’s struggles were always most relatable to me. I could see my future in Miranda’s story. She was one character with an impressive career built from her academic and professional accomplishments, who then becomes a working mother. Her presence was always an anomaly and a gift to this franchise. With the Sex and the City films though, Miranda’s marriage and status as a working mother are simply background noise while we’re told that Carrie’s venture into the wedding industrial complex and her search for true love is what matters.
I am no longer a starry-eyed teenager dreaming of my future. While I love that Sex and the City is female-driven star vehicle (and earnestly support it for that reason), I accept that this franchise does not reflect the story of all women. SATC always has and always will be a fantasy of the American female experience.
The extended trailer for the Sex and the City sequel is finally here. I know, you are all incredibly excited. It turns out the sequel is taking us exactly where we would expect it to. Miranda is a successful working mother, Charlotte is overrun by her kids, Samantha is getting older (there is no hiding it now) and Carrie is stuck somewhere between crazy sex and kids.
Naturally, the girls need to take a break from their New York City lives. So they head to Abu Dhabi, or as I now like to think of it, “Aladdin but with cocktails.” Again what you expect will probably happen: Charlotte gets a much needed break, Miranda is just kind of there, Samantha has a wild affair, and Carrie contemplates her relationship with Big because…Aiden’s back. Oh lord.
Watch the new trailer and tell me what you think. Are you excited for this sequel? Liza Minnelli (!) does make an appearance. Or are you just waiting for the franchise to wander off into the desert sunset?
Why the second Sex and the City movie, of course. I feel as though I have blinded by gay magic and how this promotional poster has ignored the fact there are three other characters in the movie. Ugh. Why am I even investing my concern and time on things like this movie?
I’m going to watch Friday Night Lights; Lyla Garrity is back in Dillon.
Unfortunately for us, there is going to be a sequel to the Sex and the City movie.
Why? What are they going to do? Big and Carrie are married so I can only think of three scenarios: One, Big will die and Carrie has to depend on the comfort of her friends; Two, Samantha will have a have a breast cancer reoccurence and she will die; or three, Carrie dies.
Hopefully it is the third scenario and they don’t turn Sex and the City into a trilogy.
While I was excited – perhaps overexcited – about the first Sex and the City movie when it was released last May, but I feel as though the series has run its coarse. Moreover, with this latest chapter of the SaTC franchise, the women’s film has officially gone seven feet under, with no hopes of resurrection.
Back in September, I wrote an article for The MH News about how women’s films have died. “The death of the woman’s film”, as I have aptly named it, is a topic that has very much been on my mind, especially after the horrible remake of The Women. Although I haven’t completely fleshed out my ideas on the topic – the article is a very rough start to my possible senior thesis topic – this Sex and the City sequel will definitely provide me with a compelling layer to my research.