- Sex and the City -‘Emily In Paris’ Is What ‘And Just Like That’ Should Have Been
Growing up, Sex and the City wasn’t just a TV show — it was an identity, a not-so-guilty pleasure, and consisted of a foursome that I considered my second friend group in college. The show lingered so perfectly in a world of novelistic relationships and bold choices, yet dipped a toe in enough realism to make me feel like I was part of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte’s crew.
I really only expected two things from the reboot. First, that it would be a sublime palette cleaner to wipe the lackluster experience of SATC 2 away. Second, that And Just Like That would be a nostalgic transportation back and continuation of the original series. Steamy romance, wisdom at the heels of fabulous mistakes, and a levity of escapism wrapped in pop culture.
But the premiere dropped and just like that, my hopes were shattered (not to be dramatic, or anything). Episode after episode, I was sorely disappointed and minimally entertained by the heavy and forced storylines unraveling before me. It turns out that the same ladies I used to identify with (“I’m a Carrie!”) were now a cautionary tale about aging in a city that apparently only values its youth.
Cut to the release of Emily In Paris Season 2.
Mostly because I was curious to see if this new Alfie guy was truly as dreamy as Twitter was saying, I turned on Episode 1 for some background noise. Straight out of an Instagram meme, I ended up binging the entire season in a single day.
My heart ached to be in Paris, and I was officially swept up in Emily and Savoir’s inconsequential youthful universe (which yes, I can acknowledge is void of realism — but in the most fashionable way possible). At the core of it, Emily In Paris felt like the perfect cocktail of escapism and decadent aspiration.
And that had me wondering — was Emily In Paris what I thought AJLT would be?
Let’s compare apples to pommes. While I was getting cringy vibes from Carrie podcasting, I was salivating at the ambiance of Gabriel’s new restaurant. While I was appalled by the guy Brady grew up to be, I was enthusiastic about Mindy redefining who she was abroad. While I was frightened by Carrie’s hip surgery, I was invested in exploring Sylvie’s youth.
To summarize, Emily In Paris was deliciously dainty yet avante garde, while AJLT felt like a punch-in-the gut catfish that failed to satisfy my taste buds.
Despite being light and breezy (or, perhaps, because it is light and breezy), Emily In Paris has had such a fun and giddy social impact. My group chats were exploding with an Alfie versus Gabriel debate… replacing the old conversation of Big versus Aiden (and even Steve versus single Miranda, or Harry versus Trey).
I mean, I swear, if worlds could collide, Carrie would look at Emily and think “she reminds me of myself when I was younger.” Much like Carrie once upon a time in SATC, Emily is a maximalist in love, work, and fashion. She pushes the boundaries and always feels part of the Paris landscape, the same way Carrie used to feel like a symbol of NYC.
Now, in AJLT, it feels like Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte are all on this uphill battle trying desperately to fit in. Miranda said it best to Carrie: “Wow. Instagram. Podcast. I guess you’re passing as younger too.”
And it’s not that I'm against the SATC/AJLT cast growing older — I get it, everyone ages. It’s more about how they now portray themselves socially, their present-day personal struggles, and the conversations they’re having. In a weird way, it feels like during the years we didn’t see Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte on our screens, they somehow turned into everyday people and fell out of vogue. The rise and fall of NYC it-girls, if you will.
Interestingly, as we know, both are Darren Star productions. With that being said, I do wonder if these two shows are separate odes to life in two completely different ways: one as a wishful illustration of a fantasy we long to find ourselves in, and the other a closer depiction of real life as we know it.
While we wait to learn if AJLT will return for a second season, if you’re in search of something blissfully sexy, I suggest indulging in the life of our favorite Chicago transplant abroad. So here’s to Emily In Paris — the new embodiment of freedom and inconsequential mistakes, and a world filled with frivolously entertaining plights.