7 Moments from the Original ‘Sex and the City’ That Have Not Aged Well in 2021

sex and the city 2021

Once upon a time, a 20-something woman decided to re-watch an iconic TV show about sex, love, and relationships in the city…

I grew up watching Sex in the City. I remember being enthralled by this story of four vivacious, strong and (mostly) independent women. I love that they smashed stereotypes, challenged perceptions, and weren’t afraid to tackle taboo topics like sex, dating and *gasp* female masturbation.

With the show’s next instalment of And Just Like That… coming out, I figured it was a fabulous time for a rewatch.

Unfortunately, watching the show in 2021 is a very different experience. Allow me to explain.

When Carrie discovers a man is secretly filming the women he’s sleeping with…

Carrie interviews a guy who, for some reason, shows her his collection of personal sex tapes. Carrie asks if they know they’re being filmed—and when he responds “maybe”, she narrates that she “did the only thing she could do”—ask: “do you have a light?”

Are you serious? I don’t know if this was acceptable in the 90s (I’m assuming no???), but it sure as hell isn’t acceptable now. You can’t film someone without their consent, especially during such an intimate moment. It’s a huge betrayal of trust, not to mention illegal. And the fact that Carrie’s only reaction is to watch and smoke is, quite frankly, revolting.

When Miranda pretends to be a lesbian for a promotion…

Miranda’s colleagues set her up on a blind date — with a woman. Despite the fact that Miranda isn’t into women, she goes along with it. She even asks the woman to be her date when Miranda’s boss invites them back for dinner. Later to her friends, Miranda says “I’m determined to make Partner in this firm, even if I have to be a lesbian Partner.”

So, she’s pretending to be gay, dragging this poor other woman into her web of lies, and Miranda’s justification is she might get a promotion? I think this was supposed to be comical back in the day, but now it just seems gross. LGBTQIA+ people aren’t your props.

The “blow job tug of war”…

Charlotte tells the gang she just doesn’t like giving blowjobs, much to the group’s horror, who explains the “blow job tug of war” as a dating ritual. It’s when you’re with a man, and he keeps forcing your head down to their crotch area, obviously with hopes of getting a blow job. It’s referred to as a tug of war because, for some reason, they don’t understand the word “no” and keep pushing.

“Some guys don’t give you a choice,” Miranda tells the group.

What’s worse is that Carrie laughs, and says: “Well, that’s just bad behaviour.”

Bad behaviour is an understatement, Carrie! This is sexual assault. And the fact that they’re all so blasé and accept it as a normal fact of dating is frightening.

Later, Charlotte talks to her man about blow jobs, asking: “You want me to do something I don’t want to?”

“You’ll get used to it,” he responds.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. How was no one in the show remotely bothered by this?

When Charlotte asks a guy to stop taking his anti-depressants…

One of Charlotte’s lovers explains he was a wreck before medication. They help, but they do impact his sex drive. While Charlotte is initially ecstatic he’s not pressuring her into sex, when she learns it’s caused by medication, she asks: “Will you ever go off your medication?”

He says no. She asks again, sweetly: “Not even for me?”

Hold up. Anti-depressants are life-saving. Are you seriously telling me Charlotte would rather this guy be in a bad place, just so he’s able to bang? You shouldn’t be asking anyone to go off their medications, and certainly not as some kind of sign someone cares. Toxic as fuck, Charlotte.

And FYI: people on anti-depressants still can have sex and a roaring sex drive. It’s pretty disappointing the show’s first mention of medication is to frame it as a bad thing and a challenge for Charlotte to overcome. Urgh, please.

When Carrie gets mad that Big wants to watch TV…

Carrie’s horny and wants to seduce Big, so she goes over to his house while he’s watching a fight on TV. He tells her no, but she keeps going (gross). He tells her no again, and Carrie gets mad and leaves. She even waits outside the door to see if he’ll come after her and expects an apology message on her answering machine when she’s home.

Um. I’m sorry but the man doesn’t owe you sex, Carrie. Just like you don’t owe him sex. Let the man enjoy his goddamn show. No means no for him, too. You definitely shouldn’t be “expecting” an apology. If anything, you should be apologising.

When Charlotte is shocked her dog . . . acts like a dog…

Charlotte says she’s finished with men, so, she gets a dog. And of course, said dog… behaves like a dog. Charlotte for some reason brings him to brunch with the girls, holding him like a baby and gets mad at the fact that he’s chewing her purse.  He’s already eaten four pairs of shoes.

Later, she returns home to see the dog has ripped up her sheets and pooped inside: so she gets rid of him.

What did you think a dog was going to do cooped up in an apartment? It’s a dog, not a prop, Charlotte. If you’re not prepared for a dog to act like a dog, DON’T GET ONE. Pets are family. And she just gets rid of it like trash, despite previously saying she loved him.

When Carrie’s friend is in an abusive relationship…

Carrie visits her friend Susan Sharon, who is terrorised by her husband. He comes roaring into the room, swearing that it’s past 9pm. As Carrie leaves, we hear the pair screaming at each other. Carrie giggles, narrating: “Could Susan Sharon’s marriage be that bad? Or was their fighting a kind of foreplay?”

“It’s like I was in house arrest and suddenly I’m free,” Susan says later after leaving her man, yet most of the characters are rude and unsupportive, especially as she questions whether she made the right choice. Carrie just doesn’t want to get involved—she’s more preoccupied that Big sent her flowers for her birthday.

This storyline takes up less than five minutes of the episode, and no one seems bothered. It’s so jarring. If your friend was clearly being controlled and abused, wouldn’t you help? Wouldn’t you see the red flags and help them leave? Wouldn’t you assure them they made the right choice? Comfort them?

Of course, Susan does end up getting back with her husband. We’re supposed to feel happy her “tyrannical” husband now screams at the dog (Charlotte’s old dog) instead of her. This episode leaves me feeling sick to my stomach.

Let’s just hope And Just Like That… is better.

Zoe Simmons is a Melbourne journalist, copywriter and editor. When not writing articles or working on her copywriting business, you can find her writing her first book on her hometown’s survival in the Black Summer Bushfires. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn for more.

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.