Ninety-four episodes, eight Golden Globes, two movies and years later, it's safe to say we know the leading ladies and golden girls of Darren Star's famed HBO drama Sex and the City: writer Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker; lawyer Miranda, played by Cynthia Nixon; art historian Charlotte, played by Kristin Davis; and publicist Samantha Jones, played by Kim Cattrall. But perhaps the show's most alluring and timeless star? New York City itself.
To New Yorkers and many other people on the planet it's clear that making "City" a proper noun in the show's title is the only way to tip a tiny, tiny hat to the intoxicating and exciting premise* that is New York. It's so big it doesn't fit in words or onto postcards. It's so big it's not just a regular noun. As writer Marilyn J. Appleberg once wrote, "More than anything, New York City is a city of superlatives." But what if the cosmopolitans were verres de vin, and the ad for Carrie's column was on the side of a double-decker bus? Would the show be as sexy without its city?
This question has been on my mind ever since SJP said she's certain there's "one more story to tell" with the Sex and the City franchise -- only, "not as a prequel and not now." You could say that I have been waiting with breath that is bated (SATC fans, see what I did there?); wondering what drama the third installment in the film series will bring and if it would be set in another far-flung locale (please, no). Admittedly, after the first and second films have taken us to Mexico, Abu Dhabi and back, I've been nervous. Haven't you?
Much like an actress can be forever typecast or tied to a character, shows can become inexorably and inextricably to their city. When much of the show is an ode to the grit, glamor and dynamism of one city, characters -- and viewers alike -- become rightfully disenchanted with otherwise perfectly lovely cities or locales. See: the girls' escape from New York in Season 3; Carrie's attempts at country living in Sex and the Country; Samantha's boredom with Los Angeles; Carrie's failed Parisian attempt with the Aleksandr. As she says wisely to Big in the season finale, "Take me home."
Let's just hope that this next time around, the writers keep her there.
*Disclaimer: I know the show was largely filmed in California