The 63-year-old writer, who penned the columns that inspired the original ’90s series, had a hard time seeing herself in the modern version. “I’m really startled by a lot of the decisions made in the reboot,” she told The New Yorker in an interview published on Wednesday, February 16. “You know, it’s a television product, done with [And Just Like That creator] Michael Patrick King and Sarah Jessica Parker, who have both worked with HBO a lot in the past. HBO decided to put this franchise back into their hands for a variety of reasons, and this is what they came up with.”
Bushnell continued: “I mean, Carrie Bradshaw ended up being a quirky woman who married a really rich guy. And that’s not my story, or any of my friends’ stories. But TV has its own logic.”
The Connecticut native’s book was used as the basis for Sex and the City and its subsequent movie adaptations. While she wasn’t involved in the creation of the new HBO Max series, Bushnell previously opened up about original star Kim Cattrall‘s choice not to reprise her role as Samantha Jones, a fan-favorite character.
“You know what, I think it’s fine. Kim is a grown woman. She is 64 and she’s made a decision that I’m sure she has 10 very good reasons for and I respect her for that,” she told Page Six in January 2021, shortly after the revival was officially confirmed to be in the works. “I also think it will be interesting. But I also know there’s a lot of interesting characters like [Cynthia Nixon‘s] Miranda. We are all Mirandas. Miranda is an interesting character — but I don’t know what they’re gonna do.”
Parker, 56, and Nixon, 55, both returned as Carrie and Miranda, respectively, along with Kristin Davis as Charlotte. When And Just Like That premiered in December 2021, it was met with mixed reactions — and the skepticism only continued as the season went on. Viewers were particularly thrown by Miranda, who separates from her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), and decides to move across the country with new flame Che (Sara Ramirez).
Despite the criticism, the Gilded Age actress was proud of her character’s arc and defended the show itself against questionable reviews.
“If I could do anything differently, I would have made sure we said to people in letters 10 feet tall: This is not Sex and the City,” she told Vogue earlier this month following the season finale. “If you’re looking for Sex and the City, you should watch the reruns. This is a new show for this moment and for the moment in these original characters’ lives.”
Nixon asserted that a “feminist show” wouldn’t allow its characters to move through life without problems, adding, “I don’t want to watch that. [The point is] to show women and our struggles and our dreams and our foibles. You don’t always know where you’re going. Those are the people that I’m interested in, not the people who are playing it safe.”
Bushnell, for her part, returned to her original SATC characters in her 2019 book, Is There Still Sex in the City? She even penned a pilot based on the book, which explored the ups and downs of starting over after divorce at age 50.
“I sold it right at the end of 2018. If they’d done it really quickly, it would’ve been so right for the pandemic: it was about women who’d moved out of the city, who were dating — younger guys, but also someone who says he’s 75 but is actually 87, which is a real thing that happened,” she told The New Yorker. “The pandemic happened, and the project fell apart. But I’m going to retool it. I have all these ideas, being back in the city, meeting people of all ages.”
And Just Like That has not officially been picked up for a second season, but HBO exec Casey Bloys recently told Deadline the network is “feeling good” about the show’s future.
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