Early Sex and the City was a fantastically snappy, well-written simulacrum of what it was like to be a young, ambitious woman in turn-of-the-millenium New York City. Even though they were two-dimensional representations of four different "flavors" of women, the trials and dialogue of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda had a wonderful taste of the real. Women related (hell, men related) to the characters always being thisfar from successfully juggling romance and professional success and still caring for and respecting themselves and each other no matter what. We loved it. Then, it got all up in itself.
Once Sarah Jessica Parker—a talented comedic actor who was always alluring but refreshingly far from Hollywood glamour—became a producer and a bonafide star, her character swiftly evolved from an authentically witty, realistically insecure, and winningly odd woman to a shallow, willfully un-self-aware worshipper of pre-9/11 excess and unchecked self-regard. As other characters grew, becoming more interesting, Carrie regressed, losing her intelligence and charm. Remember how she needled some friends into reimbursing her for a pair of $485 shoes stolen from their house party? Really, what kind of person does that? Remember what she said when Aidan finds out she's been cheating on him with Big? "You have to forgive me." Really, what kind of person says that? Clearly, we took this very seriously.
Though the final episodes of the series found Carrie at her most detached from the reality of her ever-growing audience, Sex and the City still ended on a high note (if you gloss over the slap Mikhail Baryshnikov gave Carrie—she certainly did). It was a good time to call it a day—the '90s were long over and we'd had our fill. If there was little need for the tinny, materialistic Sex and the City movie, then its sequel was exponentially more useless and, honestly, degrading. A franchise that had started out treating modern women as the striving, imperfect, beautiful creatures they are had reduced them to nothing more than rapacious consumers. Sex and the City 2's junket to Dubai was an aggressively unfunny, politically callous demonstration in product placement. Style—in its basest form—had killed the wonderful substance of these characters.
So, how could Hollywood squeeze more profit out of a franchise whose actors are too old to appear in the superficial world they helped create? To this end, Candice Bushnell (who had long ago become a two-dimensional character) "rebooted" her protagonist with The Carrie Diaries—an origin story not all that different from James Bond's Casino Royale (if you replace the international intrigue with crushes and the guns with notebooks). We didn't read it. We didn't want to hang out with Carrie "Go Get Me A Better Engagement Ring, Aidan" Bradshaw anymore.
Now that The Carrie Diaries is headed for television in a series that will quite clearly be in the mold of Gossip Girl, we aren't setting our DVRs. The idea of positioning what Carrie has become—amoral, spoiled, and product-obsessed—toward a younger demographic is, frankly, gross. Television needs another teen with a bottomless closet and an empty soul exactly as much as it needs another reality show about people who aggressively bid on the contents of abandoned storage lockers (it already has two). Unless the producers can catch a bit of that early season, curly haired magic that first began our affair with Carrie, we have no need to see is her as a petulant high-schooler. We had enough of that in season six.
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