Twenty years ago today, HBO premiered Sex and the City, and the show hasn’t really left the pop-culture consciousness since. Indeed, there was talk of a third movie version of the franchise as recently as last year, until, well, you know what happened… Now, with two costars no longer on speaking terms and, more important, a third running for governor of New York, it doesn’t seem we’ll ever get another installment with the original girls.
Of course, it’s 2018, and Hollywood has a tried-and-true method for squeezing more juice from a franchise you would have thought has run it’s course but whose audience still can’t seem to get enough: a reboot! While the original TV series remains popular on streaming services and in reruns, a lot has changed since the show premiered. Our sex is different. Our cities are different. Our expectations of TV are certainly different. We’re not entirely sure the idea of a Sex and the City reboot is wise or necessary, but we have to imagine someone in Hollywood is going to have the discussion eventually. So why not do a little daydreaming and throw in our humble ideas of what that might look like?
How do you solve a problem like Carrie Bradshaw in 2018? Even in 1998, the economics of the character hardly made sense. It’s been decades since we could even pretend someone could afford a Manhattan apartment on the revenue of writing a single newspaper article a week, and at no time could we ever imagine that person still indulging in luxury shopping binges from time to time. No, this Carrie has to have known struggle beyond swapping out dinner for Vogue that one time. In 2018, Carrie still comes to New York to work as a writer, but before the show starts she’s clearly gone through some ups and a lot of downs. She was laid off from her first three circa-2009 jobs either because the companies folded or they downsized. She spends time cranking out weekend content for Broadly and as an associate editor at Fashionista, and she briefly had an actual print job at Blender. Of course, she even wrote a few Thought Catalog essays back in the day. Afraid she’s burning out and losing her passion for writing, she still gets a thrill out of her anonymous Tumblr blog, where she bluntly answers reader’s relationship questions. That leads to a bylined relationship column at Jezebel, which leads to an entire podcast in which she delves into her own relationship issues and those of her guests. Things are actually going well. Her Patreon has a few thousand supporters, the podcast is stuffed full of ads for Casper mattresses and Quip toothbrushes and the likes, and she frequently does live appearances and the college circuit. Indeed, she’s moved out of her Bushwick apartment and into an apartment on the Lower East Side—which she shares with her roommate, Stanford Blanch (played by Jonathan Groff, or maybe, better yet, John Early).
Style-wise, while this Carrie still appreciates a good high heel when it’s appropriate, her real weakness is her sneaker collection. But her style isn’t total hypebae. She’s still got a mix of high and low going on, and appreciates a good vintage find as much as a high-end designer item on deep discount. She’s fluent in all the Insta-girl brands as well, and has twice been put on the Mansur Gavriel bucket-bag waitlist. There are a lot of fast-fashion items in the closet too. Of course, 2018 Carrie shops at Zara and Asos.
Oh, right, 2018 Sex and the City also corrects one of the biggest oversights of the original series: This Carrie Bradshaw is implicitly a Gemini.
Dream Castings: Jessica Williams, Elizabeth Olsen, Awkwafina, Gina Rodriguez.
In 2018, Miranda doesn’t move to Brooklyn; she already lives there. It’s all she could afford after disappointing her father by not following him into corporate law, but rather doing legal work for nonprofits. Besides, Brooklyn suits her, as she leans the most hipster of the girls anyway—not in the “used to do coke in the Misshapes’ bathroom with Carrie when they were undergrads at NYU” way, but in the “goes to the farmers’ market, has a fixie, and loves Sleater-Kinney” kind of way. Formerly considering herself straight, at the beginning of the series she’s still recovering from an intense 18-month relationship with a woman that ended badly. The last straw came when the girlfriend missed an important work function Miranda had asked her to. The girlfriend swears it was because the trains were broken (if only someone would fix the damn subway), but Miranda was done. She isn’t sure quite sure how to identify anymore, or if labels even matter.
Dream Castings: Ellen Page, Tessa Thompson, Gillian Jacobs, Aubrey Plaza.
Charlotte met Carrie when they briefly both had internships at Marie Claire, but ultimately Charlotte decided magazines were too unstable for a girl like her, so she used her art history double major instead and works at Sotheby’s as an associate in the Old Masters department. While the original Charlotte was teased for being the most prudish, this Charlotte also has to deal with being the most basic. Yeah, she loves to grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte on her way to SoulCycle, and if she hears one more quip about it she’ll explode. Fittingly, while 2018 Charlotte still has a WASP-y flair to her wardrobe, she’s also the one you’re most likely to find in Athleisure. With a sheltered background, she’s the least “woke,” of the bunch. Not that she means any harm; she just can’t seem to catch up. Somehow, she still has the coolest gay friend of the bunch in Anthony (played by the stand-up comedian Joel Kim Booster), and also has a secret life as an occasional stoner, a quality that still doesn’t elevate her from her basic-ness. Her main reason is that alcohol is practically a carb.
Dream Castings: Emma Roberts, Dianna Agron, Brittany Snow, Alexandra Daddario.
Samantha was the most ahead-of-her-time character on the original, so how do you update her for 2018? She still has to be the oldest and most confident of her group, and, yeah, after getting her start as a party promoter on New York’s queer and club-kid party circuits, she still has her own PR agency. But perhaps this Samantha is a bit more of an activist in her own way. She wears her power feminism proudly as a label, and is even less afraid to call men out and put them in their place. Her agency still has fancy clients, but she does a lot of pro bono and charity work as well, for both queer and feminist causes. In 2018, it’s not enough for a woman like Samantha to fight for her own right to live, love, and fuck how she pleases (the original did that for her); nowadays, Samantha fights for the right for everyone to live, love, and, most of all, fuck how they please.
Dream Castings: Krysten Ritter, Naya Rivera, Issa Rae, Christina Aguilera.
Episode 1: “Happily Ever After”
Despite her relationship podcast hitting the top of the iTunes chart, Carrie realizes her own love life is more of a mess than it’s been in a year after the seemingly nice guy she met at Union Pool ghosts her. Miranda realizes she’s still not over her ex when she bumps into her at a matcha place. Charlotte seems to be the only one with her love life in order, but then, in the middle of her engagement party, she discovers that not only does her investment banker fiancé have Tinder downloaded on his phone, but he was flirting with girls on it as recently as that morning. Samantha convinces the girls that they should stop caring about what society expects, and persuades them to live their lives without worrying about labels, expectations, or conventionality.
Samantha’s Quip: “Honey, just because I fought for marriage equality doesn’t mean I actually think anyone should ever get married.”
Episode 2: “Identities and Influencers”
Carrie accidentally blows her rent on a pair of rainbow glitter Gucci Rhyton sneakers, and explores the idea of becoming a sugar baby. After Samantha’s PR firm opens a social media division, Charlotte is inspired to attempt to become an influencer until she’s almost run over in the middle of the street during an Instagram photo shoot. After finally coming to terms with the label “bisexual,” Miranda has an explosive one-night stand with a nonbinary bartender named Steve (played by Asia Kate Dillon) that has her reconsidering her identity once again.
Samantha’s Quip: “Pansexual? Honey, I’ve slept with the entire kitchen.”
Episode 3: “My DMs are Open”
When Carrie starts dating a man in a polyamorous open relationship, she can’t help but get jealous and wonders if she’s not quite as liberated as she thought. Charlotte discovers that the man who slid into her DMs was catfishing her, but after hunting him down she agrees to go on a date with him anyway. Miranda wonders whether her lube is ethically sourced and organic. When Samantha finds out her favorite neighborhood gay bar has banned women to hold a jockstrap night, she returns next week to burst past the bouncer in a jockstrap of her own to applause.
Samantha’s Quip: “Honey, relationships are like windows. They all open eventually.”
Episode 4: “Finsta Gratification”
Carrie goes out on what she thinks is a date with a young real estate investor who at first seems like the man of her dreams—tall, handsome, powerful—but he spends half the time glancing at his phone. Fed up, Carrie catches a glimpse of his screen and discovers he has a finsta account with the username @MrBig. The girls do some snooping, and the accounts he follows give Miranda an “alt-right vibe.” At first Carrie doesn’t want to believe it, thinking if she could just get him away from his phone they could really connect, but after she bumps into him at the Fresh Kitchen in Midtown and he mumbles something under his breath about customers speaking Spanish, she suddenly gets sullen as she realizes Miranda’s suspicions were correct. In 2018 Sex and the City, @MrBig is a one-episode character never to be heard from or seen again.
Samantha’s Quip: “Honey, it’s 2018. Punching a Nazi is the new going to SoulCycle.”
Episode 5: “The Real Bottoms of New York City”
Charlotte attempts to set up Anthony and Stanford but is shocked to find out not only that they’re both “bottoms” but what a “bottom” is. Carrie accidentally breaks the number one rule of her podcast: Never hook up with a guest. Miranda bumps into Steve at a co-op and is stunned to learn that while they’re sexually open, they are only romantically attracted to men. After Samantha dramatically tells off a date who doesn’t believe bisexuality is real at a fancy restaurant, Andy Cohen, who happened to be nearby, offers her a spot on Real Housewives. At first, she’s offended, thinking she’s too young, but after reading how much money Bethenny Frankel made from Skinny Girl Margarita, she agrees to appear on one episode as an audition, only to back out when she runs into Sonja Morgan at a poetry reading the night before and realizes she’s actually far more intellectual than she appears on TV. She just dumbs it down for a paycheck. Samantha can’t lower herself.
Samantha’s Quip: “Honey, I’m sexually liberated, socially activated, and—I’m sorry, Andy, I just can’t do this. It’s too ridiculous, even for me.”
Episode 92: “Breaking the Glass Ceiling”
Samantha is managing Miranda’s campaign for governor of New York (with Steve, New York’s first potential first nonbinary-identifying spouse, by Miranda’s side). Charlotte hasn’t just found the man of her dreams, she’s found both of them, and they all get married in one commitment ceremony. Carrie has given up on finding happily ever after and is raising adopted twins with some occasional Full House–like help from her friends—though when she takes a meeting with Netflix about turning her podcast into a TV show, she hits it off with a cute set designer named Aiden and agrees to get a drink with him afterward.
Smantha’s Quip: “Honey, you can’t even trust a man to get the job done in the bedroom. Why would you trust one to get it done in the State Capitol?”