As a Sex and the City revival was announced, I couldn’t help but wonder how the show would land in 2021. Would Gen Zs find it as relatable as Millenials? I put my investigator coat on and started my search.
The original sex and the city first aired in 1998, the same year Titanic won 11 Oscar awards and Google was founded. Feeling like this was a long time ago, I was curious as to whether the show would still be culturally relevant. That’s when I asked two Gen Zs, Raquel and Joana, who had never watched the show, to watch Sex and the City and review it for us.
Full disclosure: I am a 28 year old lesbian who not only loves Sex and the City but has also read everything there is to read about the show. Yes, that includes all the “Which Sex and the City character am I?” quizzes. So I was not only curious about what I would find but also apprehensive and a little ashamed - it is camp culture after all.
Anyway, it’s time to dive into what our Gen Zs thought of the episode that sparked such public acclaim 24 years ago! Would they like it with the same fervor? Would they find it bold, funny, up-do-date? I mean, does anyone still even care about Sex and the City?
Sex and the City - The Pilot
In the opening scene we meet one of Carrie's friends. She had been dating a guy for two weeks, only to have him go MIA. Carrie’s curiosity fuels the whole episode: How can men do that so easily? And why, on the other hand, can’t women do the same?
Joana: The first five minutes bored me already.
Wait wait wait. Luckily for us, Joana kept watching.
Joana: ‘How to say you were ghosted without saying you were ghosted’. Nothing has changed: ugh, men.
I’m almost sure the word ghosted didn’t have the same meaning in 1998. The very first sex scene involves a man going down on a woman. And so does the second.
Joana: Bold, even today. That’s the thing... We talk about it in our circles of friends, but that is not something we see on TV shows. It’s like it never happens, as if women always have to go down on men instead!
Meanwhile Charlotte, the hopeful/hopeless romantic, goes on a date and, instead of listening to her BFFs, she decides not to have sex in the first date. She thinks that if she does that, he will get that she’s looking for something serious. Much to her surprise, he ended up parting ways to go clubbing.
Raquel: He was quite blunt about going out anyway, even though he understood her right to say no.
Later on, Samantha finds the same guy at the club and they spend the night together:
Raquel: Love that she is doing it just because she can, but I sense she starts to regret living that way?
At that same club, Samantha also glimpses a stranger Carrie bumped into on the street (Mr. Big) and is very straightforward about being into him. Although Samantha doesn’t notice, Carrie and Mr. Big have a lot of chemistry.
Joana: That is HOT! Hope we get to see more of that, they reaaaally hit it off.
Meanwhile, Miranda gets set-up on a date by Carrie with a socially awkward, curly haired friend of hers.
Raquel: Loved the nerdy-guy. He seems to be very sweet and nice. But he isn’t “a bad boy”, that’s why he doesn’t have many women around!
I’ll spoil just a little bit for you - they do go out again. To know the rest you’ll have to watch the rest of the series yourself...
Sex and the City - The verdict
Joana and Raquel do not hold back:
Joana: It just isn’t my kind of show. I usually go for crime shows. It was entertaining, though. Miranda was the realest to me, focusing a lot on her career.
Raquel: I’m actually binge-watching it! I can see why it was such a hit back then. I liked Charlotte, the quiet one.
I appreciate their bluntness. For anyone who’s going to watch the show in 2021, there’s a few caveats to add: 1) the cast is oh so white. And 2) also oh so mainly straight.
Nonetheless, my final question: is Sex and the City still relevant today?
Raquel: Definitely. I mean, the aesthetics look a bit retro by now, but we need to talk more openly about sex.
Joana: Sex’s still a taboo and they were already approaching it in a light and fun way. And I looooved the connection between the friends!
Word. Even if it doesn’t say it in the title, Sex and the City is a show about true friendship, and isn’t that timeless? About being there for your friends whether that means setting them up on dates or listening to their rants; it is about building your affinity family in a big city while hustling for the career that you want, and yes - having as much sex and as many relationships as you want along the way.
Sex and the City - The take away
Looking at it in 2021 might remind us of the “woman who has it all” myth, but in 1998 it was a breath of fresh air that a TV show centered around not one, but four female protagonists. I later asked Joana and Raquel if the show reminded of other popular shows: a resounding no. And that’s exactly why Sex and the City is still relevant today.