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After 20 years, Sex and the City is finally no more ... we must grieve and celebrate in equal measure

By Rachael Revesz

Have you heard the news? Sex and the City is over. O-V-E-R (For true fans, you will know that I am quoting party girl Lexi Featherston from season six, who lit a cigarette, tripped over her stilettos and plummeted out of a window).

It took exactly two decades for the secret to be let out of the bag, but the SATC cast - Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristen Davis and Kim Cattrall - don't like each other much.

Cattrall laid down the gauntlet this week, responding to Parker's condolences after the death of her brother. "I don't need your love, or support, at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker," she wrote on Instagram.

We thought they had been friends since 1998, but Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are not the cosy, brunching foursome whose friendship and intimacy was sought after and imitated around the world. It was escapism at its best and that means it's hard to reckon with the fact that the show wasn't real in the first place.

SATC was a product of its time and it was also before its time. The show was part of the cultural zeitgeist of 1990s New York, when abortions were (and are still) contentious and women worried about their biological clocks while poring over the wedding section of Sunday's New York Times.

Yet, there were serious flaws, which are cringeworthy and embarrassing in 2018, let alone around the turn of the millennium. In the melting-pot that is New York, the entire cast was white and mostly rich. Bisexuality was dismissed.

To be pedantic, there was also nothing explicitly groundbreaking in the show. Decades before it aired, Dorothy Parker had already written her ode to the woman who waits by the phone for a man to call, and a woman had tried to run for president long before the cast were even born.

What was 'new', however, was the four women's freedom to talk about whatever they wanted - awkward sex, quiet sex, bad sex, good sex, abortions, careers - on cable television.

Over six seasons, the show was impossibly unrealistic - Carrie earned $4.50 a word at Vogue as a freelance columnist and lived in a brownstone apartment on Perry Street - but it was also real, as the writers borrowed stories and plotlines from their own lives.

After being targeted late last year by the Daily Mail for "making demands" and stalling the third film, Cattrall told Piers Morgan that there had never been a deal. She said that, as she reached her sixties, she decided she was going to cut ties from the brand and make her own choices. What we had thought to be sexist rumours about women's "catty" behaviour turned out to be a real and unresolved feud.

But who could be surprised Cattrall wanted to call it quits? The films were incredibly damaging to the SATC brand. In the second film - a musical farce - Samantha angrily brandishes a pack of golden condoms as angry Muslim men shake their fists and Carrie pokes fun at a woman in a burka eating chips. Gone was the sharp, witty repartee, replaced with diamond rings and Cheshire-cat grins.

Cattrall has revealed she felt isolated by the cast. She lost allies along the way, when her friend and producer, Darren Star, was replaced by Parker's friend, Michael Patrick King. By the final episodes, it was reported that nobody spoke to her in the make-up room.

What is really sad is that, having once presumed Cattrall and the cast would look back on SATC as some of the happiest times of their lives, Cattrall may see it as an enormous sacrifice.

In fact, she is doing me and my generation a favour. Googling SATC locations took up too much time in my life. I recognise that my investment in the characters, my longing for New York City, is akin to clinging on to something that does not exist and that, who knows, is preventing me from fulfilling my true potential.

If Cattrall can move on, then so can I.

Belfast Telegraph


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