I loathed Sex and the City when it first aired in It was all a bit hateful. Their narcissism off the scale. Their taste in sexual partners baffling; if the Wall Street bachelors with their fat wallets and even fatter heads were an honest sample of what Manhattan has to offer, I would stay put. Of course, I never missed an episode. Not a single one. One of the many wokecharlotte memes that have recast the character as a voice of contemporary identity politics But slowly the women seduced me.
Or maybe I just grew up, and realised that for all their screeching selfishness, the characters were in fact some of the more cleverly drawn on screen. Mainly the show won me over because it was funny. It was one of the biggest audiences then claimed by the network channel HBO and its passing was sorely felt.
Twenty years later, SATC is just as widely available as ever, consumed, downloaded and endlessly repeated on television networks. Which is weird, because as the story of four white heterosexual women in a world before Tinder, SATC would seem to occupy a cultural landscape now completely changed. The show was pre-crash, pre-Instagram and squeamishly naive to the diplomacy of inclusivity around the corner: SATC should have slipped out of style.
Yet its fans, many of whom were still wearing gym slips when the show first aired, have ensured it a shining afterlife. Twenty years on, the conservative Waspy Charlotte has today been rebranded on Instagram as wokecharlotte , a prim interpreter for the new vocabulary of awareness; Samantha remains a pin-up of sexual emancipation, and Miranda is a late-onset lesbian who is running to be mayor. Actually, Cynthia Nixon, the actress who played Miranda, is the one with gubernatorial ambitions but her intended candidacy was literally written into the show.
The Instagram account everyoutfitonsatc with its half-million disciples is an entire sub-genre of fashion history alone. Over the years, the four women have been granted a collective maturity. And even while those regrettable attempts to update them for the big screen were hideously wide of the mark, the show has been assured new relevance and meaning by the SATC tribes online.
Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes in the show's pilot Even the show itself feels current. I watched dozens of episodes in the wake of its 20th anniversary last week, and still found them sweetly prescient.
Once upon a time, Carrie got dumped by Post-it. While the means of communication have changed, the themes and heartaches have stayed the same.
In blazing a trail for the modern single woman, the SATC girl squad inspired a squillion sororal imitations. Very few have been any good. Most vehicles seeking to dramatise jollies with single women tend to reduce the cast to shrieking caricatures. The scripts were a finely tempered calibration of crude. Watched now, the SATC women seem surprisingly sophisticated. Their dramas more poignant. As Big would say: Follow Jo on Twitter jellison or email her at jo.
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