Sarah Jessica Parker thinks ‘SATC’ looks tone-deaf today because of race

Sarah Jessica Parker unveils her dedicated beach closet during the 44th Deauville American Film Festival

Here are some photos of Sarah Jessica Parker at the 44th Deauville American Film Festival, where she was promoting Here and Now, her latest film. Call me crazy, but this is the best SJP has looked in years, right? Good makeup, her hair isn’t annoying me and she just looks great overall. Very suspicious! Ha. Anyway, while SJP was in Deauville, she ended up reminiscing about Sex and the City, because it would not surprise me at all if she was still trying to make a third film happen. Only SJP think Sex and the City doesn’t hold up, because of the lack of diversity.

She thinks the original SATC looks “tone-deaf.” “You couldn’t make it today because of the lack of diversity on screen. I personally think it would feel bizarre.”

The idea of rebooting it with a new cast: “I don’t know that you could do it with a different cast. I think that’s radical and interesting, but you can’t pretend it’s the same. It wouldn’t be a reboot as I understand it. If you came back and did six episodes, you’d have to acknowledge the city is not hospitable to those same ideas. You’d look like you were generationally removed from reality, but it would be certainly interesting to see four diverse women experiencing NYC their way. … It would be interesting and very worthwhile exploring, but it couldn’t be the same.”

Thoughts on Me Too: Parker prefaced her comments by acknowledging she might “get in trouble for this,” calling it a post-feminist movement. “I take comfort in that movements take time, and I don’t see it as a feminist movement. I look at it as a humanist movement, because it’s not just about women in the workplaces, it’s [about] the LGBTQ community.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I have complicated thoughts on what she says about Sex and the City. On one hand, she’s right that there are parts of the show that seem so dated and tone-deaf, absolutely, and not just about diversity. On the other hand, the second film was the most tone-deaf nonsense I’ve ever seen in my life. It was one of the biggest cringes I’ve ever had throughout a film. The second film makes the TV show look classic and ageless. I also think it’s weird to talk about SATC like it’s so far removed from everything that’s happening now – the show ended in 2004. The second movie came out in 2010. In the years since, there are still plenty of TV shows and movies that are just about white people, so this whole “it could never be made today” argument falls flat.

As for what she says about feminist movement versus humanist movement… I get what she’s trying to say. But I just feel like that kind of word-parsing completely misses the point of what the movement is really about.

44th Deauville American Film Festival - ‘Here and Now’ - Premiere

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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80 Responses to “Sarah Jessica Parker thinks ‘SATC’ looks tone-deaf today because of race”

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  1. Lila says:

    Um not just today, Sarah… Black, Latino, & Asian Americans have been a staple in NYC for over a century. Even in 1998, there should have been more than just “a black boyfriend”, a “Latin lover”, & a Lucy Liu cameo on the show.

    • Clare says:

      Right? This is crazy. The last film was made in 2010, not 1910.

      8 years ago this woman was knee deep in mocking and othering anther culture through film, and now she’s going to pretend like that was ‘another time’?

      Please take a seat.

      • Char says:

        I couldn’t heplp but wonder if SJP discovered nobody is into the third movie she was trying so hard to make happen months ago and is now trying to save face with the “tone deaf” comments.

    • Jenvv says:

      Agreed, it was tone deaf then and it’s tone deaf now. It was the epitome of white woman BS and not as sexually forward as people might think it was. Case in point check out @everyoutfitonsatc

      • Annaloo. says:

        Not only was this was every show that came out of 90s NYC: Friends, Seinfeld, SATC,…and we’ve just had Girls . .

        I just watched SJP on Two Dope Queens.. it was something, esp when they told her she could ask anything she wanted to know about black hair. I was cringing, yet also feeling for her. Everyone was a good sport about it, and I m glad that she acknowledges the “tone deafness” of SATC at the time.

      • TandemBikeEscapee says:

        No wonder I never watched television and was annoyed when people I knew planned their wks around these series. Seriously. I wasn’t fIng interested in friends, 90210, seinfeld. Zero interest. I watched SATC when sick and thought it was a good “girl bonding” thing for rich white women, but watever.

    • Shae says:

      exactly, the show was called out for being tone deaf then.

    • snappyfish says:

      If I’m not mistaken, she was an executive producer on both the series and the movies. So its “tone-deafness” would fall directly at her feet. I really have found myself to loathe her as time goes on

  2. Nancy says:

    As if….SATC with a different cast. Over her dead body. My mom will give me the side eye, but this is one unfortunate looking woman, probably from her elitist attitude.

  3. Rando says:

    The self obsession of the main characters inspired white feminists everywhere to be extra self absorbed so it is problematic for a whole list of reasons including but not limited to racial insensitivity.

  4. perplexed says:

    NYC must have been diverse back then too.

    • Bella Bella says:

      It WAS. This is an inane comment on her part. If anything, NYC was more diverse. Her show was for people who never took a subway, never walked down a street and and never ate in a restaurant or shopped in a deli or grocery store apparently, because one thing NY was, especially at that time, and especially downtown and in the Upper West Side and Brooklyn, where at least three of the characters lived, was diverse. You cannot help but notice the incredible mix of skin color unless you spend your life jumping into cabs from your front door, and even then you must not look at your driver. It was a fantasy. I can see none of them *knowing* any people of color, because plenty of white people live that way, but not even living amongst was crazy.

  5. Chaine says:

    I was never a fan, tried repeatedly but could not get into the show. The characters weren’t relatable for me and not even that likable. They always seemed aging and desperate and not that funny.

    • Nancy says:

      I couldn’t make it through one episode. I always found SJP to be odd, not just in appearance, but overall annoying. This is the role she will be remembered for, but if I had to watch her, it would be as the nerdy sidekick, not the femme fatale.

    • Wilma says:

      Yeah, I really disliked this show when it aired and my flatmate had viewing parties. Like Girls, this is a show that does not speak in any way to my life.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I actually found the show insulting to women. It came across as if the person who created it hated women, and wanted to portray women in the worst possible light: shallow, dumb, materialistic, self-absorbed, entitled, gold-diggers, etc. I was VERY surprised to learn the person who created the show was a woman. Why would a woman want to mock other women that way? Anyway, I’m glad SATC is finally dead.

  6. Astrid says:

    I never really got into the SACT show and neither with the Friends show. I was a little jealous of the improbable life styles.

    • Nancy says:

      I wasn’t into Friends in real time, but watch the reruns all the time and find it much more funny at my age now than when it first aired. Hated Lisa Kudrow, now I appreciate her humor, Jennifer as well, and they are the two that won Emmys.

  7. Robyn says:

    My thoughts exactly. It wasn’t that long ago. She made it during a time where diversity was a part of our consciousness and responded by casting one African-American Oscar winner. I often think she is the quintessential pseudo-intellectual. She takes herself to seriously and talks way too much about SATC

    • keis says:

      And Jennifer’s character seemed so deliberately “ethnic” in how she was written that I found myself cringing when she onscreen because it so obvious that she was put there to be “ethnic.”

  8. SWP says:

    She’s right about one thing….the show REALLY doesn’t hold up.

    • Lex says:

      Lack of racial diversity is one problem but what stands out far more to me are the horrific homophobic and transphobic comments and themes throughout and just how anti feminist the whole show seems now. Same with Friends. It’s atrocious.

      I am a privileged liberal 20 something though who went to a great all girls public school so I wouldn’t be the target market these days for a show about 4 man-obsessed idiots with barely anothet thought between them…

      • Kay says:

        I think you are the perfect target. If SATC was about anything, it was about privilege and the benefits of having gone to a great school (especially Charlotte and Miranda).

        The show wasn’t just problematic because of whiteness and homophobia, but also because of its complete insensitivity towards the deep rooted issues of class and privilege that are such a big part of American society. The show was marketed to people of your demographic. The characters made literally no reflections on their own class position, and they often treated manual workers – cab drivers, waiters, doormen – like crap.

  9. LORENA says:

    She was by far the worst part of the show, Carrie Bradshaw was extremely annoying and tone deaf.

    • jessamine says:

      For a supposed celebrated writer/sex columnist her character was not written as a particularly interesting or sex-positive person.

      • Tiffany says:

        Candice Bushnell has said in the past that the tone of Carrie completely changed when SJP became a EP on the show. Carrie’s life and the character was a bit darker and more sex positive but SJP has very specific clauses in her contract (no nudity, and certain camera placement when she did have to show skin which lead to no sex scenes) that would have made it impossible for the character of Carrie to be brought to the scene as written by Candice. It just felt like a product placement/fashion show after awhile.

    • minx says:

      You can google a bunch of articles about “Why Carrie was the worst.” Talking about what a bad girlfriend, friend, and bad all around person she was.

  10. Marty says:

    Look, the way PoC were represented in that show, the very few times they were shown, was not great. But it was overall a very good show and I enjoyed it. However, it is 2018 and better representation is a must going forward.

  11. Bug says:

    I think she looks like hell. Her eyes are still slits in a sea of black.

    • minx says:

      I would love to give her a makeover…shorter hair, parted on the side, get rid of the black roots. Better eye make up. Go easy on the cleavage.

      • ann carter says:

        right? once you reach a certain age, put those girls away.
        AND they knew perfectly well what they were doing. I got the feeling it was a “no community will dictate terms of our story-telling thing.” Look at all the talk about being politically correct in the episode in which Samantha dates black record executive with less than open-minded sister. I would submit for your consideration, the last line uttered about him. They weren’t tone-deaf, they were deliberate.

      • Amelie says:

        SJP had short hair while she was on Sex and the City for awhile and I personally think that cut was the best she’s ever looked. Long hair elongates her face and her strong features.

      • Suzie says:

        Minx, thank you!

        And btw, can someone please explain to me why someone who clearly loves fashion and looking good has this dark root thing happening? And now with gray peeping through? I don’t understand–it is supposed to be pretty? Or cool/hip? To me, it drags down her hair and hair volume, making it look flat–and also like she is 4 weeks (6 weeks?) overdue for a visit to the hairdresser.

        Or does she go, and just get color about four or five inches from her part? Is this a NYC thing?

      • minx says:

        Susie, I don’t know…she’s had the dark root thing going on for years. She did it near the end of SATC. I just don’t get it, it’s unflattering and cheap looking.

      • Lex says:

        Heavily disagree with the notion that boobs aren’t age appropriate after a certain age. No no no. Flaunt em till you die if that’s what makes you happy! Work it!

  12. Lala11_7 says:

    I don’t have an issue with the SATC series…truly I don’t…but that SECOND MOVIE?!?!?!? No Sir!!!!

    • Jegede says:

      I’m biracial – Brit/Nigeria – and enjoy it too. Always have

      I see it as a like ‘Golden Girls’ through the looking glass.

      I plop it on the DVD whenever I’m on a downer.
      YES, even the movie!

      I actually prefer that these NY show reflect the reality. For how multicultural these so called cities appear; the truth is they’re also segregated.

      It’s not all we-are-one harmonious existence.

      • Lala11_7 says:


      • Carnivalbaby says:

        Yep. I’m with you @Jegede

      • Nancy says:

        Golden Girls through the looking glass, perfect. I think I may have watched, had it not been for SJP. Even on a dare, I can’t imagine she being seen as attractive or sexy. I think the real person comes through too much in her character which ruined it for me. I see a lot of woman share my opinion of her, but there has to be so many who disagree since the show was popular in its day.

      • KB says:

        The US is very much still separated by race. That part of the show was accurate

  13. Meg says:

    she’s playing with her hair in nearly every picture.
    I personally have a hard time watching SATC now except for a few episodes here and there whereas years ago I could binge watch entire seasons.
    Big is awful to her and watching her treat good guys so poorly in favor of big never made sense to me. the performances are great though, they put kim catrall in ridiculous situations and she was great.

  14. OriginalLala says:

    For years she has been declaring that she is not a feminist and is a humanist so Im not surprised that she would ignore where the Me Too movement comes from (a WOC talking about women and how common being sexually assaulted is)

  15. Mumbles says:

    The crass consumerism of that show is also distasteful. It was a bit much then too.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      True…but I saw that reflected even in my own life…I remember in the 80s…when ALL OF A SUDDEN…kids in my high school were ALL ABOUT the Louis Vuitton and Gucci and Guess…etc…and it never stopped over the years…it just ramped up….which is why I enjoyed SATC so much…because THAT crass consumerism which is tacky…that was reflected in my real life…


  16. Lena says:

    That’s not what humanist means. Humanist means that you don’t center your worldview around a supernatural relevation but rather around science, that you believe in human agency and science rather than something like karma or the prosperity gospel or something else that believes that there is some kind of divine punishment/reward at work in the world. There are some humanists that are feminists and some that are women hating assholes. It’s kind of like saying, I am not a feminist, I am a Christian. Those two things have nothing to do with each other, you can be both or neither.

    • C-Shell says:

      Thank you, @Lena! Every time I read an article about SJP, and her quotes, I shudder at her pseudo-intellectual pretensions. She knows f*ck-all about what she’s talking about, including any so-called reboot of SATC or movie sequel. And, no, she does not look good, but maybe Kaiser’s comment was qualitative on the spectrum of SJP appearances and not as compared to other women celebrities. Sorry, I probably shouldn’t have clicked on this one; SJP annoys me so much.

  17. Beachbelle says:

    HBO is remaking it with a different cast as we speak and it’s called Insecure. It’s way better than the original SATC btw.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      And TVLand did the same thing…USING DARREN STAR WHO DID SATC…AND it’s filmed in NYC….and it’s called “Younger” and it’s PRETTY DARN GOOD TOO!

  18. minx says:

    Please, make her stop.

  19. Andrea says:

    I agree with her… The show took off because there was nothing like it at the time. This show dealt with female sexuality in a way that I do not recall ever seeing on TV. Obviously it wasn’t perfect. Everything can be improved. Looking back the lack of diversity or the stereotypical roles are very obvious. I still watch re-runs late at night and its still enjoyable. But we don’t need a reboot. There are other shows out now that deal with female relationships… Insecure is one that is extremely entertaining and enjoyable to watch. I can’t stand reboots some things should be left in the past.

    • KK2 says:

      I agree. I don’t think she was saying that the city had become more diverse, but that audience and cultural expectations had change such that more diversity would be expected now. She doesn’t suggest that is a negative change either, in my reading, just that the cultural environment is different. SATC was groundbreaking in its portrayal of female sexuality, but it would not be groundbreaking anymore. TV has changed so much so fast in that regard that it is almost crazy to think of it. Remember the scandal surroudning Dawson’s Creek, because Joey spent the night (platonically! fully clothed!) in Dawson’s bed? And the show had the gall to suggest teenagers have sex? Times have changed a lot, for the better. That’s basically what I read her comment to be.

      I agree with most commentators about SATC- I enjoyed it at the time and it felt so edgy, but it doesn’t hold up well on rewatch for a variety of reasons.

  20. silo says:

    Oh please!! SJP has her head in the sand. People were complaining about the lack of diversity in SaTC in 1998. I remember the controversy because NYC is filled with so many different people that there is no way that a working woman, in the NYC part scene, would have no friends of color. SJP is just trying to focus attention to her SaTC plight again. *yawn*

    And SaTC 2 is the most racist and bigoted movie for a progressive NYC elitist who claims to be a humanist . And what they did to Samantha’s character makes me cringe. No way would a professional woman lose a million dollar account for some guy.

    • Jess says:

      What, a woman can’t just happen to have 3 white girlfriends? Would you complain the same about a black woman having black girlfriends (like “Insecure”)? Again, I’m NOT comparing black and white experiences in USA, they are obviously different. I’m comparing the probability of things happening to you. What if you happened to make friends with 3 white women in the 80s and still going strong with your friendships?

      • silo says:

        SaTC has been around for 20 years and in those 20 years there has been no continuous friends of color. In NYC, that would never happen.

      • Jess says:

        @silo, I’ve lived in NYC for the past 3 years and I ONLY have friends of color (I’m an immigrant and I just happened to not make any white American friends). But I still don’t get what the problem is. According to the storyline she made friends with them in the 80s, they go way back. And there are lots of POC in SATC in secondary roles. I don’t get why Carry can’t have her own experiences. You can live your whole life in NYC and not speak a word of English (like many people in historically Chinese neighborhoods), why can’t you happen to have 3 white friends? I think most people don’t realize what a “NYC experience” is. Yes, if you work for a multinational huge company you will have a chance to meet lots of different people from different backgrounds. Carry was working from home and barely left her block. Plus, she wasn’t the most progressive person either, bisexuality made her confused, lol

  21. chinoiserie says:

    Her make up looks good but her hair flat and yellow and her face pretty gaunt and maybe she also has fillers. So I would not say she looks best in years. But I love the dress, even if its too low cut for me.

    And the feminist movement has taken other caused under its umbrella which it should not do. There should be just a pro-woman movement which there currently is not.

  22. Jess says:

    While there’s plenty of moments in SATC that would make me cringe today (my 20 year old didn’t know any better), I disagree about diversity. What, a woman can’t just happen to have 3 white girlfriends? Ridiculous.

    • Tiffany says:

      The title of the show was Sex and The City. NYC was also to be a star and the show all but stated that NYC does not have anything other than white people.

    • Iknow says:

      That’s not the point. Her choice of friends was never the issue. The issue, along with Girls, was that in a city, world renown as a melting pot, the ancillary characters were not diverse. And when they brought in a person of color, they were offensive caricatures – Samantha wanting to sleep with a black guy because (insert sexual stereotype).

      • Jess says:

        I agree that modern NYC is very diverse (which makes it one of the best cities in USA), but at the same time – she’s allowed to have her own experiences. You can be Chinese American in NYC and mainly hang out with Asian people and have only those experiences. One of my best friends in NYC is a Chinese American and I’m literally her only non Asian friend. Carry didn’t even have an office job (where she potentially could meet more diverse friends).

  23. Elle says:

    Lol. Why are people here so upset about her diversity statement? As much as people may have complained about the lack of diversity in the show back then there was supposedly no room for it in White America’s consciousness. Back then it was standard thinking by TV execs that diversity does not sell. Now, it has been proven that there is room for diversity in TV, and ratings will still be high. A SATC reboot with only White people would be awkward because it wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the table. Which is the point of SATC, to be progressive.

  24. Mel says:

    I still watch repeats when I have nothing else to do, I just see now how ANNOYING and ridiculous Carrie is. She sabotages any decent relationship she has because she seems to enjoy men who keep her at arms length.The Russian was rude, self-centered and treated her friends poorly and she thought nothing of picking her life up to trot after him. Her marrying Big was the dumbest thing ever. After all the years of jerking her around, you’re finally getting married and he decided to leave you at the altar because he can’t reach you on the phone???!!! No sir, keep going, and I would have never talked to him again much less bothered to marry him( notice how it ended up being all about what he wanted in the end). UGH.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      Okay…the Big thing…I didn’t trip about…cause timing in relationships…is JUST as important as anything else…and I thought it was more of an “I’m older and you got some growing up to do” situation regarding her and Big’s back in forth in the series…and honestly…in the movie…he WASN’T trying to leave her at the altar…he just needed to talk to her…a conversation that should have happened WAY BEFORE…but hey, that happens in real life too…however, like YOU stated…she self-sabotaged by going COMPLETELY TO THE LEFT (which I didn’t trip on her about either…cause…I probably would have reacted the same way)…which is why I appreciated the first movie because it deconstructed everything really well…and why I was so BLOWN AWAY regarding the second movie…because…it’s…SO….LAZY…like EVERYBODY WAS OVER IT!!!!

    • Veronica S. says:

      Part of the issue with the Russian was that he was very good at being charming and attentive in the early stages, and then his less flattering personality traits came out after the thrill of the chase wore off. So while it seemed superficially dumb of her to run off with him, the show made a fair point about being cautious about doing so and what you sacrifice for a relationship because of how people change with circumstances and time.

      But to be honest…I’d have probably picked up and trotted off after him, too, if it gave me a chance to experience living in a new country, lol. One of my closest friends actually did that with a guy mainly because it gave her a chance to live in Ireland for awhile.

  25. Veronica S. says:

    Confession: I really loved SATC. It was ridiculous and definitely problematic in some regards, but there isn’t a lot of television centered purely around female friendships, and it was just ridiculous enough to get attached to it. I agree the second movie was terrible, and I wasn’t thrilled about the first one, but the show I have very fond memories of even with it’s problems.

    The statement is actually more self-aware than I usually grant her. The show did have a diversity issue and would probably need to be updated today, but the other part of it, which would kind of undermine the fun aspect, is that the conspicuous consumption probably wouldn’t go over as well with viewers now. It would have to undergo some political shifts, too.

  26. Kristic says:

    I still love it as a guilty pleasure and view it almost as camp now. I’m so not here for women with a voice who play allergic to the term feminist. Can SJP please watch RGB?!!!

  27. Leapin' Lizards! says:

    Oh please. Plenty of people called out SATC during it’s original run for its misogyny, stereotypes and lily white casting – in NYC one of the most diverse places in the country. The show was always problematic on a certain level, but at least it was funny and fun otherwise. That said, I hope it never comes back. That was then, this is now.

  28. Michel says:

    Y’all are pretty rude. SJP is an intelligent woman who at least is trying.

  29. perplexed says:

    I think the old episodes hold up okay in terms of humour. It’s like watching Friends — something about it kind of makes you laugh. Nothing seemed realistic, but you’d enter someone else’s humorous imagination for a while. It was that second movie that was the WORST though.

    Carrie did seem restricted to her own world-view so on some level her having only white friends seemed realistic. And I have seen friend groups where there is a fair amount of segregation going on — both in terms of race and money. Affluent people hang out with other affluent people (or people who live off their credit card like Carrie hang out with other affluent people). What was strange about the show in terms of diversity was that when she’d walk into a store or down the street everybody else seemed to be white too (I think).

  30. Teresa says:

    I completely agree with you, Kaiser. The 2nd SATC movie was the epitome of tone-death.
    Like you I was cringing so hard while trying to watch it. Had to stop many times and literally scream at my screen.
    But I give it to SJP – she has to say relevant and talking about SATC still makes headlines.

  31. Digital Unicorn says:

    I watched the first couple of series and then lost interest as the characters changed into people that I could not relate to – it became very very Carrie centred and she always annoyed the fk outta me (was more of a Samantha and Charlotte fan). I would dip in and out of it but it stopped being a show I would make the effort to watch. In my opinion it started going downhill when SJP became an executive producer with direct input and control over plots – she made herself the centre/plucky heroine of the show but to me Carrie became a whiney, spoiled brat that I wanted to slap, repeatedly. Carrie became a reflection of who SJP is in real life – not a nice person.

  32. Lens horne says:

    I liked the show. Just mindless. I never thought she was attractive.but she worked well in that role.

  33. Yes Doubtful says:

    I love SATC…it’s one of my favorite shows and I loved the first movie. I could relate to a lot of their feelings when I entered my 30′s as a single woman (still am). However…there was definitely a big problem with how they dealt with the few minorities they had on the show. Remember when Sam dated a black man and the sister was made out to be a villain, the man weak and Sam was the victim? It was such an awful, embarrassing story. And then the 2nd movie was one big embarrassment. I can’t believe that got green lit with all the stereotypes and racism in it.

  34. SJhere says:

    Will SJP ever accept that SATC is over? Honey, it’s over!
    Move on, forward onto anything, find a new interest. Geez. SJP made a fortune from this show, isn’t that enough? Let it go!

    If anyone Chris Noth has every right in the world to try to hold onto his SATC years. He was so good looking in his prime as Big. Tall, dark and handsome with the NY attitude to bring it.
    These days, even Noth has kicked back as he has aged.

    For the record, IMO, Kim C. as Samantha was the true heart of that show. She was the IT girl and had plenty of talent to make you want to root for Samantha.

  35. Ikki says:

    the devil works hard… but that push up bra works harder

  36. Karen says:

    Watched it so many times and it never fails, now the focus is visuals, which are excellent, the styling is classic, great viewing with the sound down.
    The stories are a little stale in retrospect, we value our bodies and emotions in a way that the show only began to explore in the last movie.
    The race issue… Well, I thought it was pretty liberal, it wasn’t about girls who live in a society that was multicultural and as a mixed race person I can testify, the racism ‘Samantha’ encountered when falling for the guy with the very bitter sister is/was real, racism happens everywhichway and it was nice the story opened that reality for consideration.
    The girls were never racist, ever, they were real dignified NY community characters, highly commended for etiquette, but the only place there was a massive fail was the dinner table scene with the Russian artist and that was appalling, in fact that scene changed the take on SATC, it never quite recovered character dignity after that.
    The most difficult storyline to swallow now is ‘Carrie’s’ incredibly immature attitude with ‘Big’. How did we ever put up with that?
    Signs of the times.