And this time, it’s a lot older and a little less White. In other words, closer to reality — finally.
It’s a worthy shift. As much as “Sex and the City” — which debuted 23 years ago (!) and ran for six seasons (with two film adaptations) – defined New York for a certain subset of the population — White older Millennial women, of which I am one — it never quite lined up with real-world New York City, or at least not with the New York I’ve ever lived in.
It’s also a choice to make a television show that imagines New York as a dominant-White town. And it’s laudable, if ridiculously overdue, that the people behind the “Sex and the City reboot have recognized that initial folly and are, at least in some small ways, correcting course.
This is still not a show with a cast as diverse as the city it’s set in. But it’s an important turning point because these casting shifts in such a valuable asset as “Sex and the City” reflect how much the expectations of viewers and critics have changed.
And these more-diverse-than-ever viewers also have more of a voice than ever before, having spent the nearly two decades since the show’s debut growing up and grabbing metaphorical megaphones, whether that’s on social media or in media jobs.
Since its inception, “Sex and the City” seems to have inspired more hand-wringing and hot takes about a television show’s impact on women, singlehood and sex than just about any other (only Lena Dunham’s “Girls” has prompted such a bottomless well of critique).
Was it radical in its open discussion of women’s sex lives, or was it heteronormative in its focus on straight women with pretty vanilla tastes in bed? Was it feminist with its work-hard, play-hard female characters… or covertly traditional in each of the characters’ pursuit of men and most of all their desire for a partner?
My guess is that the reboot won’t have quite the cultural salience of the original. The casting changes strike me as unlikely to make a show (even if beloved) with a dated premise feel fresh and new.
But from a cultural standpoint, the changes in this latest “Sex and the City” iteration are good ones. They reflect back at us a nation unsatisfied with a racist status quo, and a growing recognition that women continue to exist as full human beings after 40.
It’s not all that radical, and television remains far out of whack with the realities of a more diverse America. But it’s progress.