Sexless and the City returns to our screens | Films | Entertainment

Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker are seen attending a private celebration for the 'Sex and The City 25th Anniversary' Party in Do

The trio are back (Image: Getty)

It’s been 25 long years since the women of Sex and The City first slipped into their Louboutins, donned their Gucci bags and shared their often shocking sexual exploits with the world.

They return tomorrow, older if not wiser, for the second season of the spin-off series And Just Like That… facing challenges befitting their ages.

“What do I want?” asks Sarah Jessica Parker, 58, who stars as sex writer and blogger Carrie.

“How important is romantic partnership? How important is companionship? What do I need to sustain myself and keep my life interesting? How do I find contentment and joy? You get to choose more than you used to when you felt compelled by rules or ideas or obligation.”

Sex is no longer the most pressing concern for Carrie and her friends.

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As Parker explains, it’s more about making sense of their lives. “It’s radical to say,” she adds. “Maybe I don’t need any of that stuff any more.”

Parker and her co-stars, Kristin Davis, 58, who plays prim socialite mother Charlotte, and Cynthia Nixon, 57, who plays hard-nosed lawyer Miranda, revealed last week how all these questions are haunting their own lives.

British-born Kim Cattrall, 66, who played sexually voracious publicist Samantha for six seasons and in two Sex And the City films, makes only a brief cameo appearance in the new series, her relationship with Parker tainted after years of feuding.

Much has changed since the quartet’s beginnings. A quarter of a century ago they would sit around chic restaurant tables nibbling their salads while devouring uncensored tales of their latest sexcapades.

In the last season of And Just Like That… they were more likely to be discussing Carrie’s widowhood and hip surgery, Charlotte’s struggles with parenting, and Miranda’s alcoholism and sexless marriage.

Parker, who has been married in real life to actor Matthew Broderick for 26 years, still empathises as the friends, this season, ask themselves the type of existential questions that many women may be deliberating after their children have grown up or their career has peaked.

The loss of Carrie’s husband, Mr Big, played by Chris Noth, cast a pall over the spin-off’s first season, and Parker admits the grief lingers.

“Carrie is pretty buoyant this season, but loss kind of reveals itself, when you think you are recovered,” she explains. “It takes time to figure out how to resurface as a friend, as a woman, as a romantic person, simply in your community.

“I’ve witnessed this personally, inside my own home recently. My father passed unexpectedly recently, and for my mother it’s been very hard to make sense of. She’s been super noble as she’s tried to navigate through the loss, but there are times that it is inarguably painful, really painful. But that doesn’t mean that she’s not without joy, and she has great days.”

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Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis

Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis (Image: Getty)

Kristin Davis, in real life a recovering alcoholic and single mother to two adopted children, admits that she relates to her character Charlotte, questioning whether a life dominated by motherhood is enough for her.

“When you’ve been so focused on having children and being a mother, being a wife, then at a certain point you realise, ‘Oh, I have all this extra energy, and am I really fulfilled?’” she says. “And then I’m pouring too much energy into those children, like trying to live through them, which is not healthy for anybody, obviously. So I do really relate to that .”

While Sex and the City unashamedly discussed sex, Davis confesses that she isn’t as fearless in real life. She freaked out when her young goddaughter turned to her recently to talk about sexual issues.

“I was like, ‘I can’t. I know I’m supposed to be the cool auntie that you could talk to, but I’m dying right now. I’m dying! I can’t hear about this.’ She was 18 or something. So I struggle.”

While the show’s characters are sensually awakened, Davis can’t imagine her 11-year-old daughter Gemma Rose ever having a sex life.

“I look at my daughter, and I’m like, ‘Oh God, no one will be good enough for her. No one.’ So I have some growing to do.”

Cynthia Nixon, whose character Miranda left her husband and plunged into a lesbian romance last season, welcomes the new opportunities for self-discovery that come with maturity.

“This time in a woman’s life, in the 50s and beyond, it can be almost like a second adolescence,” she says. “A lot is happening with your hormones, but also in the same way you’re trying to figure out who you are.

“Women have often gotten to the point in their career where they’re having success, and they wonder: Is there something more they want to do? If they’re unhappy, maybe there’s still time to make a change.

“It’s a time to really focus on your life, but hopefully with a little more wisdom than you had when you were an adolescent.”

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker (Image: Getty)

Nixon, who has two grown children from a 15-year relationship with teacher Danny Mozes, and a daughter by her wife of 19 years, Christine Marinoni, has been working to change society as an active campaigner for gay rights, legalising marijuana and in 2018 unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of New York.

She says: “The election of Donald Trump and the Black Lives Matter movement and the Muslim ban and xenophobia that Trump uncovered and fostered in this country fanned the flames of the stuff that made me and Miranda see: If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.”

And Just Like That… continues Sex and The City’s original path of challenging perceptions of women in Western society.

“We’re a feminist show, but we’re not showing that women are fantastic,” Nixon adds. “Women are fantastic, and sometimes not so fantastic, and sometimes self-destructive or self-deceptive or whatever. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love them and identify with them.”

She is proud that Sex and the City “erased the virgin-whore line” which dictated that “there are nice girls who don’t have a lot of sex or aren’t that interested in it, and then there are voracious sexual beings who have a label on them: ‘Slut’.”

Instead, she claims the series made it socially acceptable for women to have healthy sexual appetites. “We’re actually perfectly lovely people, women who are deeply interested in sex with a lot of different people.”

Kim Cattrall’s absence hangs over the second season, only emphasised by her brief cameo appearance in this year’s finale – filmed in New York without her seeing or speaking with any of her co-stars. Cattrall quit the core quartet amid rancour after rejecting the script for a third Sex and The City movie in 2017, and had a public falling out with Parker.

She was not invited to join And Just Like That… and Parker says of Cattrall: “She made it clear that wasn’t something she wanted to pursue.”

The cast were happier without Cattrall, claims Nixon. “Everybody who was there really wanted to be there,” she says, instead of “walking around on eggshells with someone who’s unhappy for reasons that are hard to even understand”.

Cattrall’s cameo ends the series with Samantha planning a reconciliation with Carrie.

But insiders warn that fans hoping for an eventual reunion of the original quartet shouldn’t expect the rift to be healed just like that.

  • And Just Like That… debuts June 22 on Sky Comedy, NOW and Amazon Prime Video

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