Sarah Jessica Parker Is Right: We Need More 'Sex' in The Future, But Not The Past02/20/2011, Rebecca Macatee, Popeater
Pop-Ed: When I was 21 and first moved to New York City, I wanted to be just like Carrie Bradshaw. I headed to Macy's and bought the comforter she had on 'Sex and the City' -- it's Calvin Klein's "Bamboo Flowers," if you were wondering -- and hit the town with expectations of lavish parties and Mr. Bigs and Aidens on every corner.
But as any New Yorker can attest, the 'SATC' lifestyle isn't a reality for most. I quickly found that no self-made Manhattanite under 30 has a walk-in closet, and no freelancer anywhere can afford Manolo Blahniks. And as adorable and witty as she was, even Carrie wouldn't have endless suitors knocking down the door of her $750 a month brownstone on the Upper East Side.
Still, I loved Carrie. I loved that she was a free spirit, a proud New Yorker, a passionate writer, a true friend and always the ultimate single girl. And like me, and so many others, Carrie hit rough patches in her professional and personal life, but with her feisty resilience, she kept right on pushing through.
It really hit home for me when Carrie talked about her early days in the city, when she used to "buy Vogue instead of dinner" because she "felt it fed me more." The label-loving lady even used to "wear Candies and ride the subway," according to her BFF, Stanford. And in 'SATC 2,' Carrie revealed that she met Miranda while working in the dress department at Bloomingdales. Even my curly-haired, sharp-tongued idol wasn't always getting $4.50 a word to say her piece.
So as cliché as it might be, I project myself onto Carrie and see a lot of the shoe gal in myself. I've taken comfort in the fact that as fabulous as Carrie Bradshaw might be, I've only known her character in her 30s and beyond. So basically, that whole vague time period before she was quite so sure of herself and writing her own column and landing book deals, she very well may have lived a life not unlike my own. And I think a lot of people feel this way and see themselves in Carrie and her past, which is why her character is so universally appealing.
In an interview with the LA Times blog 24 Frames, Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress who has brought Carrie to life since 1998, says there's definitely "a third story to tell," but "maybe not now. Maybe in five years."
While the actress claims the desire to wait comes from her need to be challenged in her work, I have to wonder if a part of it comes from the not-so-fabulous reception of 'SATC 2' at the box office. The franchise has always been for the fans, not the critics, but many ardent 'SATC' lovers, myself included, were less than thrilled with the second film.
I've rejoiced in seeing Carrie's writing bring her success financially and personally, and I was ecstatic when things finally seemed to be working out with Big. As time goes on and Carrie continues to mature, so should her lifestyle. But with an Abu Dhabi backdrop and so much emphasis on the over-the-top posh setting, the sparkling personalities and dynamic of the four girls was somehow lost in the glitz. 'SATC' has always walked a fine line of believability, but the extravagant, $20,000 a night suites in the Middle East seemed to push 'SATC 2' far beyond anything resembling relatable.
Parker admits that when she first heard about a 'SATC' prequel -- with Blake Lively playing a 19-year-old Carrie -- she "was like, Wha-a-a-at?" The actress says she's not opposed to a "Sex and the City-type story" with 20-somethings, but she doesn't feel like it should feature specific 'SATC' characters whose backgrounds have already been explained to a degree in the TV series and the movies.
"There are a lot of important and interesting stories that 21-year-olds can tell," she says. "I don't begrudge any 21-year-old the opportunity to tell their stories ... But I don't think we can pretend to go back. It's creating two histories. It's like, 'Oh I didn't know that about Carrie Bradshaw.'"
She's right. I know Carrie Bradshaw, and her past is some combination of what Sarah Jessica Parker has relayed to me through her character up until now and what I project onto her struggling early days in the city. I love Carrie because she wasn't 25 and running her own business like so many other fictional New Yorkers. She had some nitty-gritty groundwork to do to establish herself in her love life and career, and however great Blake Lively might be, no one other than SJP can do justice to this iconic character.
And let's be honest, to make Carrie's early days in the city fit for the silver screen, the struggling writer and not-so-polished fashionista is going to have to be written way too glamorously. The real Carrie is right. There's room for 'Sex' in the future -- albeit, a little more down-to-earth -- but we can't go back in time with a different Carrie Bradshaw. After all, replacing Carrie with a 20-something, naive girl is the exact antithesis of everything 'SATC' stands for. Don't make me have to start referring to Blake Lively as "the idiot stick figure with no soul."