Getty ImagesRon Galella, Ltd.
This year marked the twentieth anniversary of Sex and the City‘s debut. Even the most committed Sex and the City fan might have felt fatigued by the amount of celebration that milestone warranted, from a book (Sex and the City and Us by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong) to cast and crew reflections. Add the ongoing speculation about a third movie and the instant availability of the entire six seasons for marathon viewing, and it seems like the HBO classic has never really gone away.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
But don’t let that seeming ubiquity stop you from tuning in to James Andrew Miller’s deep-dive podcast about SATC. Part of his long-running Origins podcast series, which has delved into the beginnings of other pop culture behemoths like Saturday Night Live and ESPN, the Sex and the City chapter spans three episodes that will be pure joy for any fan of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.
Perhaps the most immediately appealing thing about Origins is hearing the voices of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon as they talk about the show that changed cable television forever. (Kim Cattrall declined to be interviewed for the podcast.) Because we’re so used to the cadences of Parker-as-Carrie hashing out a dating tragedy or Davis’ exclaiming over an underwhelming sexcapade, it’s both comforting and exhilarating to hear the actresses divulge behind-the-scenes facts and reveal through their anecdotes that, to this day, they love the show as much as we do.
Other interviewees include creator Darren Star, executive producer Michael Patrick King, Willie Garson (Stanford Blatch), Chris Noth (Mr. Big), writer Candace Bushnell (who wrote the book the show was based on), and costume designer Patricia Field. Their perspectives build a picture of a zeitgeist-triggering production that brought women’s conversations about sex to mainstream entertainment with such focus, and turned HBO from a predominantly-sports channel to the home of prestige dramas it is today. It’s stunning to remember that, in 1998, when the show debuted, film stars just didn’t do TV, and that it was a matter of persuasion to land Parker in a cable central role. “I panicked and I was like, ‘I want to maintain my life. I like doing a few plays a year and a movie, and maybe a TV movie of the week,’” she tells Miller. “All of a sudden it felt like somebody was holding me hostage or something.”
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Of the three Origins episodes devoted to Sex and the City—the first clocks in at almost two glorious hours—the final is likely to get the most attention. That’s because it covers the dream of a third Sex and the City movie, and its subsequent disintegration, as well as the social divide between core cast members. “As the show progressed, the characters, everybody grew, it became a family,” King tells Miller. “Kristin, Cynthia, and Sarah Jessica became one group, and Kim never joined mentally.” Teases about what the third movie could have been—from a script that some interviewees enthuse over to the revelation that SATC 3 would have killed off Mr. Big—will likely make fans feel a little melancholy.
But whether it’s King retelling the story of Carrie’s Versace dress from the final season (“It’s Versaceeeeeeee,” he croaks, neatly imitating Field) or hearing Nixon talk about her most memorable role now that we’ve seen her re-enter public life in politics, Origins is an intimate way to revisit a show that remade the television landscape. Tiny details about line readings (who can forget “Abso-fucking-lutely”?) and surprising personal stories that made it onto the show (“She can reach me but I can never reach her” is from Noth’s own life) will satisfy even the most rabid SATC enthusiast. Most of all, being able to hear the obvious commitment many of the cast and crew had to the franchise as a whole means lovelorn fans won’t feel so alone in a Sex-less world.