Sex and the City and Us- Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda & Samantha. What fabulous legends they were, still are actually! I'm pretty sure the reason why I love cosmopolitans so much is because of Sex and the City. What a revolutionary show this was and this book tells us exactly why.
Sex and the City and Us by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong tells the stories behind the stories. As a television historian, she tells us how SATC was born and how it went to become one of the most significant, daring, and feminist shows that has aired on television. If you don't already know, the idea of the Sex and the City TV show came from a simple column in the New York Observer magazine by writer Candace Bushnell called 'Sex and the City'. From then on it began to attract major attention as the weeks and months went by, so much so that it was picked up by TV producer Darren Star, co-creator of the '90s hit show 'Beverly Hills 90210' & '00s show 'Melrose Place' (remember 90210?! ah mem'ries). Then Badabing badaboom, the show was born. It aired on HBO's cable network as it allowed for more freedom to shoot on location in NYC and the the show's content could be as provocative without the filters that come with other commercial networks.
If you are a fan of SATC and love all things Big and Aidan, Carrie, Miranda, Samantha & Charlotte then read this book! It is filled with the whole history of how the show was born, how the episodes came to shape, where the ideas came from. It's actually endless, but so so juicy and good to know!! I feel so much closer to the show and probably love it even more after reading this book. It takes you through the very beginning with the author and creator of the idea, Candace Bushnell, to hiring the actors, writers & producers for the show, and then some. I liked how the book went through the various seasons, and explained key moments that changed the way we viewed TV and became exposed a different side to life and dating that we never really saw on television before this show. SATC took a lot of risks and the author truly did her homework in getting incredible details of the stories behind the scenes.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is an excellent writer, I loved how the book flowed very well throughout the chapters. It could not have been an easy book to write so I do admire that she kept in style with the vibe of Sex and the City in her writing, it really felt like I was being taken back to the show and episodes. Very clever. You could also tell that she herself, is a self confessed SATC fan which shows in her writing. I liked that she also showed the negative sides to the hit TV show in terms of lack of diversity which I found to be a major downfall for the show. She also highlighted about how privileged the show had been depicted as. It mostly showcased the elite of NYC and was not realistic for real women and men unless your lucky enough to be from that very specific bubble. You basically saw no people color on the show, only a couple of times but even then, it was shown in an almost negative way and wasn't enough to depict that yes people of color could have a similar lifestyle. It totally lacked this in the show and was one of it's flaws. Especially at that time during the airing of seasons, there were many endless people of color that could have featured in the show, from supermodels, to designers and entrepreneurs, it could have seized the various opportunities, and I liked that the author touched on these core issues. It's funny because till this day, the only other TV show that depicts people of color in a positive similar way to SATC from my memory, was the show 'Girlfriends' starring Tracee Ellis Ross, and 'Living Single', back in the 90s with the awesome Queen Latifah, both shows depicted strong, independent black women doing it for themselves in the city but never gained the same traction as SATC did, kinda sad, it would be nice to see a similar show made but with real diversity because the world ain't all white, amirite?!
Having said all that, the show itself was somewhat revolutionary. It gave women a voice in sexuality and feminism. Teaching us that we don't need a man to get through life and can choose this lifestyle of having a career and being successful and choosing yourself instead of that social pressure to find a man to make you happy. So many women these days would rather live 'the single life' which is now seen as a positive and something that most traditional women envy, the freedom to do whatever the hell you want without anyone judging you. SATC gave us the vision and empowered us, even though it was sort of aimed at predominately white, privileged women in a specific area, it still did in some ways change TV viewers' opinions and the attitudes of what women can do and be.
I will always love SATC and I love that the author quoted some pretty epic lines in it. Mine is probably at the end of season 6 when Mr Big finally gets his shit together and runs to Paris to win Carrie back. He finds Carrie and declares his love to her by saying..
"It took me a really long time to get here. But I'm here Carrie, your The One."
(Queue tears)...goddamnit Big! Took you long enough! Jeez. Although, a big part of me would have wanted Carrie to not have that typical rom-com happy ending. Life ain't all peaches and cream and sometimes things don't work out like that, but also, that girly part of me was like Yasss Big Yasssss!! Bring our girl back to NYC (as Miranda had quoted to Big)!
Ah, long live SATC.
If you've watched the seasons, movies and read the books then you best add this juicy book to your reading list. Click Here for a link to Sex and the City and US by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong on Amazon Books.
P.S- Check out my buddy Nicole's new podcast called Shelf Life, it's a great podcast! Click this link below-
Nicole interviews the author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong on her book 'Sex and the city & Us'.