2021 has already proved to be an intense year, but things are looking slightly better now that it’s been confirmed that Sex and the City will soon be back! On Sunday night (10 January), stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis all confirmed that their beloved characters will be returning in a 10-part limited series titled Sex and the City: And Just Like That…
Noticeably absent was Kim Cattrall, also known as Sex and the City’s scene-stealer Samantha Jones. What happened between the actress and the rest of the cast for this to end in a Samantha-free revival?
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Sex and the City: And Just Like That… will act as a follow-up to the original show and its two spin-off movies. In a statement, the series was described as “following Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Nixon) and Charlotte (Davis) as they navigate the complicated reality of life and friendship in their fifties.”
Cattrall, who portrayed sexually adventurous and legendary Samantha Jones, has been very public about her desire to put the franchise, her co-stars and her character behind her. The actress will not be participating in the revival, which will begin shooting in New York in late Spring 2021.
In recent years, Cattrall had distanced herself from the show and more specifically from co-star Parker. While the show’s original run was trailed by tabloid stories about the cast not getting along, it was only in 2017 and 2018 that any sense of public cordiality between Cattrall and Parker completely disappeared.
In 2017, Parker confirmed that a third Sex and the City movie was not going to happen, despite prior rumours to the contrary. “It’s over,” she said while attending the New York City Ballet Gala. “I’m disappointed. We had this beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, joyful, very relatable script and story.”
Davis, who portrays Parker’s on-screen best friend Charlotte, added on Instagram: “I wish that we could have made the final chapter, on our own terms, to complete the stories of our characters. It is deeply frustrating not to be able to share that chapter with all of you.”
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Soon after, in an October 2017 interview with Piers Morgan, Cattrall implored Sex and the City’s creative team—who had previously been taken to task for the series’ poor track record on diversity—to recast the role of Samantha with a non-white actress. “It’s a great part,” she said at the time. “I played it past the finish line and then some, and I loved it. And another actress should play it. Maybe they could make it an African-American Samantha Jones, or a Hispanic Samantha Jones.”
Cattrall added that Parker “could have been nicer” about her refusal to appear in the sequel. “It’s quite extraordinary to get any kind of negative press about something that I’ve been saying for almost a year of ‘no’ that I’m demanding or a diva,” she said. “The answer was always no and a respectful [and] firm ‘no’. I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects. To be thought of as some kind of diva is ridiculous.” She also added that the show’s four stars were “never friends” during the original run of the show.
As a response, in an interview in February 2018, Parker answered calling the claims “upsetting,” adding: “That’s not the way I recall our experience.” Days later, Cattrall made their unfriendly relationship clear to everyone. After Parker wrote a comment of condolence on Cattrall’s Instagram in the wake of the death of Cattrall’s brother, the actress posted a photo of a message that read: “I don’t need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker.”
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In the post’s caption, Cattrall recalled a conversation with her mother, who allegedly asked: “When will [Parker], that hypocrite, leave you alone?” Cattrall then accused Parker of “exploiting our tragedy to restore [her] ‘nice girl’ persona”, adding: “Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now.” Parker has never publicly addressed Cattrall’s comments.
Cattrall’s Instagram post also directed her followers to a New York Post article titled Inside the mean-girls culture that destroyed Sex and the City, which described how, according to anonymous sources, Cattrall was left “out in the cold” by Parker, Nixon and Davis during the show’s original run, and that she was unhappy she never achieved pay parity with Parker.
Fast forward to 2020, when Cattrall revealed to The Los Angeles Times that she had “no regrets” about any of her comments about Parker or a potential Sex and the City 3. “I feel that that was then, and when I look at what’s going on around me, I just don’t have any regrets.”
But, despite all this drama, rumours of a show revival persisted. Now, after weeks of rumours about a forthcoming deal with US streaming service HBO Max, the revival has finally been confirmed. As for the character of Samantha, it remains unclear how she’ll be written out of the series. While some fans have speculated that she may be killed off (one tweet theorised that Carrie may murder her), Parker’s recent interaction with author and journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner suggests it won’t be quite as grim.
Cattrall has yet to comment on news of the revival, but one thing is for sure, this revival won’t be the same without Samantha.
Picture this: Parisians wearing berets, romantic scenes at every street corner and an omnipresent Eiffel Tower. This is what you’ll get watching Emily in Paris (or any other American series or movie taking place in Paris). As lovely as it may sound to some, let’s be honest here, this is not what the Parisian life is about. I should know, I grew up there. Here’s why Emily in Paris only deserves a one-star review—buckle up, you’re in for a treat.
Emily, who’s originally from Chicago and works for a marketing firm lands a job in Paris after her boss falls pregnant. Within four minutes of the series starting, Emily has already moved to the city of love in a ‘chambre de bonne’, the top floor flat where maids used to sleep. While chambres de bonne are infamous for being no bigger than a shoebox, Emily ends up with a decent loft. Already, something doesn’t look right here, but for the sake of it, I won’t linger on the price of Parisian flats. There’s one other problem left: Emily doesn’t speak a word of French.
Not to worry though, the season-long running joke somehow gets solved by Emily’s ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. In no less than the first three episodes of the show, Emily has already encountered all the French stereotypes you can think of: chain-smoking, wine before lunchtime, rare meat, handsome men in expensive suits talking openly about sex, croissants so good they made Emily have a mini orgasm and a hatred for American culture like no other.
What did the French do to deserve Emily in Paris? The show mostly consists of Emily not only encountering French clichés, clearly found on Wikipedia, but she adjusts them the American way too. In other words, Emily spends her time in Paris teaching her friends, colleagues and lovers a thing or two.
In a similar Carrie Bradshaw-esque approach—after all, Emily in Paris was created by Darren Star, who also brought us Sex and the City—people, French people in this case, either hate or fall in love with Emily. It must be her tone-deaf charm, along with her ‘plouc’ attitude; so wholesome!
At times, viewers might even feel bad for the American stuck in Paris with aggressive, borderline predatory French people. It can be easy to forget that while she may be labelled as tacky, Emily still has the privileged experience of a slim, white woman. Emily in Paris is just another American interpretation of the city of lights, one that is blatantly whitewashing the diversity of the capital.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, creator Star said he wanted to show Paris in a really wonderful way, and intended it as a “love letter to Paris.” Instead, he romanticised the city while also insulting its infamous residents. Poverty was obviously completely erased from the streets, when homelessness in France is in fact a significant social issue. The idea that everyone in Paris is rude is just not true. The idea that you can walk around freely and without a care in the world while wearing a head-to-toe Dior outfit is definitely not true either.
Emily is quick to accept unsolicited lingerie and kisses from older male clients (even in France, we call this sexual harassment), presumably because ‘that’s just what French men do’. Yet, Emily is utterly shocked and offended when a guy she has been flirting with all night tells her he likes “American pussy.” Granted, that’s probably not the pick up line she expected from a Parisian boy…
The final episode of season one sees a love triangle, which Emily is involved in, bien sur, getting broken up in a way that is supposed to be romantic but feels more like your typical betrayal. One thing Emily in Paris got right? No, cheating is not part of our cultural heritage, but I would be lying if I said it isn’t a common aspect of dating in Paris. Nice one Emily.
Emily in Paris has nothing to teach viewers about what it’s truly like to be a young person that lives and works in Paris (or anywhere else really). Posting a few selfies with the Eiffel Tower won’t make you Insta famous, we all know that. Why did I watch the whole show if I hated it so much, you wonder?
First, because every once in a while, it’s nice to numb your brain with some well-deserved American imperialism. And secondly, well because, that’s what Parisians do, we love to hate! C’est la vie!