Panic. That’s all a fan can feel when the media extrapolated from a Sarah Jessica Parker Instagram post that a new Sex and the City movie was on the cards.
SJP posted a picture of herself emerging from Bloomingdale’s in a white dress, and metallic heels.
“Well. I guess the cat’s out of the (little brown) bag,” the Emmy winner teasingly captioned the photo. “As usual, we will keep you posted on every detail as we are able. I’m under strict gag order until then. Xx, Sj.”
Warner Bros. said the image wasn’t related to a movie, so what is it—a new shoe line SJP is creating?
Clearly, the post threw The Daily Beast into a fever itself—mostly a fever that if they are contemplating a third movie, and there is nothing we can do to dissuade them from doing so, then please let it be many leagues better than the absolutely appalling second film.
Some free advice for SJP and crew:
Travel with caution to foreign climes, and—if you must—try not to appear like racist morons.
In the second film, the four women went to Abu Dhabi (or Morocco doubling for Abu Dhabi). There they made stupid, racially off-color jokes whose gross, clod-hopping insensitivity would have had even hardline anti-Muslim zealot Pamela Geller weeping in the theater. “Did Samantha just say that a veil cuts back on the Botox bill?” Geller probably wept. She did, Pamela. She did.
Stay in New York.
Really, it’s your key selling point. The second movie took the women to the desert, and in the weirdest scenes became a glossy advertorial where they trouped from room to room in their palatial digs gasping and cooing over furnishings and views.
There is no need for this. The women should stay in New York, where—given all the ridiculously priced real estate, the transformation of city streets into dreary glass and steel, and the cupcake industry implosion—there is much material for attempts at jokes at least.
Of course, not all New Yorkers want them back.
One of my colleagues said of a potential third film, “No way. Those women destroyed this city. Fucking Meatpacking District bullshit.”
So, erm, Wichita, do you want ‘em?
Allow the women to age.
The second film featured a group of women in their 40s and above being shoved into 20-something clothes, or even just insane clothes, and looking like demented drag queens dressed by vindictive clowns.
If clothes were a focus of Sex and the City, the series, then yes they will be a focus of the films—but this love needs to cease being orgiastic.
The driving influence cannot be: “She’s wearing orange, so she’s wearing green, so she’s wearing purple, so she’s wearing blue. Put necklaces and chains on all of them.”
We’re in danger of Sex and the City 3 being Fashions by Baby Jane Hudson.
Let the women act their age.
Also, please no more Manolo jokes. The shoe thing only worked in the original if we suspended disbelief that Carrie Bradshaw was supposedly a struggling writer who could afford $500 shoes. Now it just seems ridiculous.
But then, as the movies proved, Sex and the City has become its own camp in-joke, with the ballast of hyper-consumerism.
So we should expect more shoes.
Please, no more Carrie and Big drama.
The last HBO episodes of Sex and the City almost ruined the feminist vein it boasted. “The girls”—even Miranda, for goodness’s sake—sent Big to Paris to “rescue” Carrie from Alexander Petrovsky. “Go get our girl,” said Miranda. I remember this. I watch it on repeats. It makes me retch every time.
By any measure, Big was an abusive twat of a boyfriend.
a) worked with light sculptures
b) had the worst brunch friends, who were snooty about Carrie writing a sex column (as if! every word a Pulitzer-winning gem, we’re sure!)
c) talked down New York in favor of Paris—despite being cautioned not to by Steve
d) left Carrie alone in Paris long enough for her to step in dog poop, be hit by some French poppet on her daddy’s shoulders, and see a bunch of French ooh-la-la ladies having a gossipy “sex and the citay” chat in un café, making her feel all homesick for the times she, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha had talked over each other, and not really listened to what the other was saying over breakfast.
So Petrovsky was a jerk who’d never let his intense, forbidding sperm be part of a Bradshaw baby.
But Big never committed, yanked Carrie around so much her stringy arms almost gave way, and was generally the most toxic of bachelors to walk the face of the earth.
Yet in this supposedly feminist, sisterhood-celebrating show, he was supposed to save Carrie—not her girlfriends, not the power of female friendship, the whole point of the show. And from this moment on, the movies become about Big and Carrie, and their super-dull relationship, Big restored to “jerk” status to heap more misery on her, either because he cannot commit (first film) or because he’s an inattentive shlub (second film). So we got to thinking: Is anyone sane actually rooting for this couple to be together?
Spare us the terrible puns.
The show’s trademark puns were never as witty as they thought they were, though Carrie’s response to Big fleeing New York for California because he’s tired (“If you’re tired you take a napa, you don’t move to Napa”) was funny in its context and delivery.
Indeed, it’s downright hilarious when compared to a line Carrie feeds Big in Sex and the City 2, when he complains that there’s no food in the house: “You knew when you married me I was more Coco Chanel than Coq au Vin.” Ugh.
Like everything else in the films, the quips are so heavy-handed and juvenile that they’d provoke an eye roll from your tween daughter.
When the girls arrive in Abu Dhabi, Miranda reminds them they have “a lot to do in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Do!” Carrie later calls for an “inter-friend-tion,” and when everyone gets a bit glum, Miranda decides to “turn this inter-friend-tion into an inter-fun-tion.”
Samantha’s reference to a handsome hotel guest as Lawrence of Arabia quickly devolves into “Lawrence of My Labia.” Charlotte’s attractive nanny is nicknamed “Erin Go Braless.” An Arab ruler is “one chic sheikh,” and a tent in the desert where rugs and other exotic treasures are sold is “Bedouin, Bath and Beyond!”
It couldn’t be worse. But if the third movie follows the same pattern as the first two, it will be much, much worse.
Quit the attempts at raunch humor.
While the HBO show occasionally sold us on cheap laughs and dabbled in raunch humor, flatulence jokes were few and far between. When this kind of humor did make an appearance, it was—for the most part—deftly handled.
Gags about lady troubles shattered taboos that have long prevented women from discussing them, whether with their doctor or with friends.
In Season 4, when a prudish Charlotte tells her friends that her doctor has essentially diagnosed her with a “depressed vagina,” insisting that there really are symptoms, even she laughs at Miranda and Carrie’s giggling reactions (“Like, what, it can’t meet its deadline? It always wants to go to Krispie Kreme?”). Charlotte has vulvodynia and is suffering from persistent nether-burning and itching. Vulvodynia is actually a serious condition, but the humor works because Charlotte is so averse to any kind of graphic talk, especially when it comes to bodily functions.
But the films have been completely inept at raunch. Playing on Charlotte’s prudishness again, the first film shows her rushing to the toilet in one scene (she swallowed bad tap water at their resort) and failing to make it.
The gross-out sound effects are cartoonishly loud and unfunny, as is Carrie’s voiceover pun that Charlotte “Poughkeepsied” herself. Bridesmaids later succeeded in this arena, but Sarah Jessica Parker is no Kristen Wiig.
Fewer Disneyfied happy endings.
One of the reasons we liked the show was that it gave us more emotional truths than happy endings—until, of course, it gave us a mawkish happy ending.
The films don’t even bother with emotional truths, banking on commodity fetishism instead: shoes, shoes, and more shoes. When Big leaves Carrie at the altar in the first film, you’d think her reaction would be slightly more complex than “How am I going to get my clothes?”
The old Carrie would have given us genuine emotion and emotional intelligence. But the films have turned the ladies of Sex and the City into Desperate Housewives whose first-world problems are the stuff of parody. Then they wrap up the trite, tedious storyline in expensive ribbon and send us away, dissatisfied, with a fairytale happy ending.
Bring back the sex.
The films present a dated stereotype about women and aging: that they’re sexless, resigned to drying up yet determined to look like they did when they were young and reckless.
But we could certainly do with one less tantalizing shot of Carrie’s latest designer purchase if we got to see her rolling around in bed with someone—preferably not Big.
The films could use some tension in the form of an extramarital dalliance or two. Really, the show was far more entertaining when its characters actually had sex.
Remember Charlotte’s night with “Mr. Pussy”? Miranda’s marathon sex with her running buddy? Samantha once had so much sex that her neighbors called her a “tart” when a burglar was caught on surveillance camera entering their building behind one of her many paramours. At this point, Carrie’s jackrabbit sex in Season 6 is better than no sex. What happened to the show about women on top—often literally—shattering conventions and refusing to be reined in?
More random desires.
Please avoid news events and politically referenced jokes: e.g. “ISIS guys. They’re total downers. I almost felt like throwing myself from the roof after one of their parties.”
There needs to be more Candice Bergen and Amy Sedaris, and Berger (Ron Livingston) should return. In a radical move, there could be black characters that aren’t working for Carrie (not just driving her around after her book launch, sorting her life out as an assistant…), agelessly hot Steve should play basketball, shirtless, a lot. Samantha needs to be banned from saying “fabulous.”
Miranda should complain about the L Train. The return of Kyle MacLachlan. The return of Bunny.
Or, y’know, you could just let it die.
Fans of the show are fans of the show. We watch the reruns, we really look forward to certain episodes, like when Carrie flips over the little vase of carnations Berger has left behind after he has left her the final time, “BY POST-IT.”
The one where the women go to the Hamptons for that dreamy wedding between Bobby Fine and Bitsy von Muffling.
The guy who swears at Charlotte in bed.
Natasha discovering Carrie and Big’s affair—“I see you…”
So if you bring Sex and the City back, bring it back good, with its early brains and smarts, with the women’s brains and smarts intact.
The films, especially the toxically awful second one, are in danger of obliterating our love of this show, or showing it at its worst.
Really, we wouldn’t mind if you just let it lie. Let it die. Off it goes to rerun TV heaven, we’re all happy. Sex and the City can be peacefully dead: better that than killing it brutally by making another movie as awful as Sex and the City 2.