Diehard fans know that there’s a Sex and the City quote for everything. For instance: When HBO Max announced its SATC reboot, And Just Like That..., would debut without Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones, I couldn’t help but wonder why they would ever attempt such a foolhardy plan. But then I remembered a quote from the sex-positive sage herself. “Men cheat for the same reason that dogs lick their balls,” Samantha once told her friends. “Because they can.”
As teased in a short video clip, And Just Like That... will reunite SATC fans with Sarah Jessica Parker’s famed New York Star columnist Carrie Bradshaw and her best friends Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis). Based on SJP’s coy Instagram comments and, personal conjecture on the part of this writer, Chris Noth—who played Carrie’s primary love interest Mr. Big—seems likely to return as well.
But Samantha—the Sex and the City character who actually loved sex the most; the loyal friend who once fished a diaphragm out of her friend’s vagina with a fresh manicure; the one person Carrie was able to tell about her affair with Big; the woman who says things like “Nipples are huge right now,” and, “I’m a try-sexual. I’ll try anything once”—will be missing.
Samantha, a powerful PR executive who unapologetically loves to get it on wherever (and with whomever) she likes, was one of the things that made Sex and the City truly great, even radical. Despite being the show’s designated sex columnist, Carrie spent a lot of her time agonizing over sex; Miranda, the show’s only redeemable character in terms of actual humanity, spent a lot of time either not having it, or having it with men too repulsive to enjoy it with, until she and Steve finally settled down together in (gasp!) Brooklyn. Charlotte—the ultimate WASP who, we must never forget, canonically eats ass—nonetheless spent a lot of time twisting her mind into a pre- or post-coitus moral pretzel. Samantha, on the other hand, was the one who spent most of her time actually fucking—and had a wonderful romp doing so. How, then, is this show supposed to function without her?
That HBO Max would attempt a revival without the character who put the “Sex” in “Sex and the City” should not surprise anyone at this point, given the reboot craze that has taken hold particularly in the past five years or so. Unlike many of those projects, however, at least one cannot accuse the Sex and the City revival of being unwanted.
Fans have spent years clamoring for a third movie, even as Kim Cattrall has publicly flamed her former co-star Sarah Jessica Parker. A few years ago Cattrall shut down the notion of ever returning to her fabulously horny character, telling Piers Morgan, “Me playing her, that I can assure you will never happen. For me it’s over; it’s over with no regrets.”
That didn’t mean Cattrall wanted the franchise itself to come to a dead halt. Regarding the prospect of a third SATC movie, she told Morgan, “I want them to make the movie, if that’s what they want to do. It’s a great part... Maybe they could make it an African American Samantha Jones, or a Hispanic Samantha Jones?”
It’s unclear how And Just Like That... will fill the gaping, Samantha-shaped hole at its center. But even with Cattrall’s blessing, it’s hard to imagine the series recasting her role. (That being said, however, we can only hope that the show adds a lot more non-white roles of true significance.) More likely, we’ll get a line of dialogue explaining her absence—like how The Conners explained Roseanne Barr’s absence during its premiere—or one of those one-sided phone calls Fuller House used to explain Michelle Tanner’s disappearance. Whatever they do, one thing remains certain: Whether this revival finds a way to live up to the original or not, it won’t be the same.