When Sex and the City Returns, Will It Finally Get Queer People Right?

For those who still watch the original series whenever they’ve got five hours to waste away on the couch, it’s not hard to acknowledge its wrongheadedness while enjoying its tenacity and extreme watchability. Much like its descendant Girls, SATC drilled into even the most sharply critical millennials that it may be useless to try to untangle those characteristics—and anyway, it’s all just television, right? Who doesn’t enjoy an elevated mess?

To those outside of queer communities, such a reading may come as a surprise; how could Sex and the City get gay people so wrong? How could its openly gay writers—primarily creator Darren Star and executive producer Michael Patrick King—sorely misrepresent a group they’re a part of?

It’s this age-old mix of gay patriarchy and white supremacy that adds a layer of trepidation to anyone anticipating HBO’s limited-series revival of the show. Star, now helming the popularly hate-watched Emily in Paris, is out, while King, who wrote and directed SATC’s critically maligned but lucrative film sequels, is in. Star and King worked alongside each other for years on the original series; in the interim, King produced the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which received . The skill it will take to issue a reboot that is self-aware without being self-conscious requires more than experience or self-help revelations—imagination is essential.

But And Just Like That… will be a fresh creation, existing firmly in the present—a present where, for example, Cynthia Nixon is now . It’s unlikely that she, at least, would sign onto And Just Like That… if its scripts were as cavalier about queer issues as the original series so often was. Could a reprisal force King to examine how his characters’ flaws were often rooted in an anti-queer mentality? Or will the new series simply paper over the show’s history by making Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte paragons of midlife emotional and moral growth? Perhaps, in the end, our fan fiction about could come to fruition—as an audience-pandering plot that atones for Sex and the City’s past sins.

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