Pop Culture

How Long Will Sex and the City Stay Relevant?

As I mentioned last week, I went on a quick jaunt to New York City. I lived there for grad school, and then went back six months later for an internship. I hadn’t been back since I left for good more than a year ago, so when one of my NYC friends invited me to her wedding, I knew I had to go back, not only to see everyone, but to soak up the city again.

One thing that stood out to me was that despite this being 2011 (almost 2012!), several years after the show ended, I still heard tons of people commenting on Sex and the City. We were in line for a drink and I heard someone say, “This is so Sex and the City!” I heard one woman wistfully proclaim, “I want to find my own Mr. Big.” Even one of my friends said the hotel I was staying at “was just like Sex and the City.” I think my head might have exploded if I was in the vicinity of a Magnolia Bakery or Manolo Blahnik store.

Now, I am a fan of the show; I find it entertaining, with equal parts fluff (the clothes, shoes, and accessories) and seriousness (Samantha’s cancer, Charlotte’s difficulty conceiving). I especially enjoy watching it on lazy Sundays. But it can also be an unrealistic portrayal of the city and life there, especially when you take a look at Carrie. The movies, I think, are even worse; those are parodies of what fans turned the actual show into.

My question is, how long will the show stay relevant? Are we going to see bright-eyed, twenty-somethings flock to the city in 2030, exclaiming, “I’m such a Carrie!” When I visit, will I always hear people commenting on how Sex and the City everything is? Do I have to start the trend of saying, “That’s so Seinfeld!”?

I’m always curious about what turns shows from hits to obsessions. Not-so-oddly enough, the Golden Girls is similar to Sex and the City in that it’s been off the air for years (although much longer than SATC) and still has a rabid fan base. Just look at the Betty White resurgence over the past few years. However, young people aren’t taking it one step too far and migrating to Miami and devouring cheesecake.

Although the last episode of Sex and the City aired in 2004, there are endless repeats on E!, the Style Network, and probably other channels. I guess it will remain relevant as long as these re-runs air and the movies keep coming out, but I think it would be nice to have a new – and much more realistic – show capture people’s imaginations.

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

4 replies on “How Long Will Sex and the City Stay Relevant?”

I think 2008 meltdown (the beginning of our recession that will not end…) was the nail in the coffin that made it irrelevant.  The uber consumption humor and appeal reflected a time of great economic growth that existed at the beginning and into the series.  I suspect, but have no scientific data, women of their resources (economic and educational) are not anywhere near as desperate to get a guy to marry them as they were in the show.  The lack of women writers and perspective was always an issue, but more so as times have indeed changed…..

I think it will be a reference point until the next show that captivates comes along. As someone who really isnt a fan of the show, I think that when it aired, it was a breath of fresh air, much like the golden girls and in that case, it made certain aspects of some women’s lives more visible (openly talking about sex,the decision to have kids, weird guy issues). So in that sense, it was really cool in what it was presenting.

I think the further it went on, the more superficial it got and it became sort of the antithesis of what it started out as – not that it was a beacon of feminist television, but it definitely catered to more of a lifestyle brand then a way of being. I think its especially become watered down now that its accessible on stations like TBS where what did make it very edgy is now censored. I think there’s a desperation to make it last as long as possible to milk them $$$. To me the show became more about consumerism than anything (especially with the movies)

But yea, as an NYC-er, and not that I really have a claim on how people experience this place, it always makes me a wee bit agitated when folks come to the city and rush off the Magnolias (hello babycakes is down the street and its 2x as good, 2x as cheap and no long lines) and want to have this SATC experience, which really, unless you have major bucks, no one in NYC really lives like. I don’t hear it as much now, but when the show was still on, I used to get asked where the “Carrie stores” were. What does that even mean?


I’m not sure that Sex and the City is supposed to be relevant anymore, in the sense that they’re not really trying to pull in a younger fanbase.  They seem to be content with keeping their audience of women who watched the show when it aired, which is a very sizable demographic anyway.

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