We all still share some residual nostalgia toward shows from the ’90s that introduced cultural trends. Carrie Bradshaw’s popularization of certain fashion brands and Rachel Greene’s signature haircut are just a couple examples of trends that encapsulated the decade.
However, despite all the jokes amongst friends and romance tribunals, ’90s shows are prejudiced and white-washed — so the news of some being rebooted isn’t cause for celebration.
“Sex and the City” — a show set to be revived — follows four middle-aged women living in New York City in the ’90s and each of their love lives. However, the original show took a sexist, homophobic and racist stance toward social issues.
The four characters — Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda — all deal with their own poor romantic decisions while managing careers. Miranda, the epitome of a “career-woman,” is told her lack of sexuality correlates with her professionalism.
But, the two are not mutually exclusive. Women can have a career and still be beautiful and attentive to their appearance, if they choose to do so.
Another problematic aspect of “Sex and the City” is the portrayal of bisexuals. Carrie dates a bisexual man, but she questions whether that sexual identity even exists because how could someone possibly be attracted to two genders? That kind of dialogue is extremely problematic and biphobic, and it should not find its place in television — especially not in a cult-classic.
The list of problematic conversations goes on and on, but what is most important to remember is the show is going to be adding another season.
Hopefully, this bonus season will not follow the same problematic situations that the movies from 2008 and 2010 detail, but it will instead discuss the modern evolution of feminism and sexual identity.
Unfortunately, I do not believe these progressive ideologies will translate into the show, simply because the characters themselves have become bigots and it seems impossible for them to change.
There is also talk of “Friends” having a reunion due to fan demand. The immensely popular show, which ran for 10 seasons, follows six white friends through their comedic city adventures. While the problems may not be as blatant as the ones from “Sex and the City,” there are visible issues present in the show.
First, there is a noticeable lack of Black leads. The show only has Black characters who are there to support one of the main six’s storylines. For example, Charlie, a paleontologist introduced in season 9, is used to establish a rift between Ross and Joey. Her character seems to move on from the main six in the middle of season 10, when the writers decide to no longer make her a suitable love interest for any of the main characters.
We, as the audience, aren’t supposed to like Charlie because she ultimately causes problems with the main characters who we are most familiar with. Having the few Black characters be intentionally unlikeable eliminates any possibility of equal racial representation.
Secondly, the sparse LGBTQ+ representation is shown through Ross’ ex-wife Carol and her partner Susan. Although they were essential for Ross’ character development, Carol and Susan were ultimately teased for their romantic relationship.
The main six perpetually whined and joked about Carol being a lesbian. The two women also disappeared after Ross began his relationship with Rachel, indicating that they were only there to cause tension for Ross.
The show should not be rewarded for failing to represent non-white and non-straight characters. Society — and specifically New York City, where the show is set — is so much more diverse than the cast of “Friends” lets on, and it should reflect the fact that these diverse relationships and identities do exist.
If a show from the decade of “Sex and the City” or “Friends” is getting rebooted, we should demand that they recognize the stereotypes perpetuated through their scripts. I understand the sense of nostalgia that comes from watching older shows, but we need to recognize how problematic representation was in previous decades, and still is. These two shows are fan-favorites, but they also fail to be accepting of all of their fans.