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December 9 will see the global premiere of And Just Like That, the new name for Sex and the City. Photo: HBO GO

5 Sex and the City Asian-relevant moments from the original series, from Lucy Liu to a dim sum pun to a request for sex in exchange for money

  • And Just Like That, the new Sex and the City series, premieres on December 9 – here are five cringeworthy to noteworthy Asian-relevant moments in the original
  • In one episode, a character is thrown out of a flat by an Asian woman named Sum – and a dim sum pun is made. In another, Lucy Liu makes a stellar cameo

With reboots being the cultural trend of the moment – Dexter, Frasier and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are all primed to be discovered by a new generation of viewers – it’s perhaps not surprising that anticipation runs high for the return of Sex and the City, a romantic comedy-drama series that defined television in the late 1990s.

December 9 will see the global premiere of And Just Like That, the succinctly titled new name for SATC, a 10-episode limited series on HBO Max.

Kim Cattrall, who played the sexually adventurous Samantha, is the only one of the quartet of glamorous, accomplished women led by journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) not returning for the reprise. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) are both back as Carrie’s BFFs.

The trailer also teases the return of favourites like wealthy financier Mr Big (Chris Noth), level-headed bar owner Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) and the fast-talking wedding planner Anthony Marentino, played by Mario Cantone.

For the first time in the history of the franchise, there will be a South Asian in a significant role. Sarita Choudhury will play Seema Patel, a powerful Manhattan real estate broker. Choudhury, who is of British-Indian descent, has been in thriller series Homeland and US drama Little Fires Everywhere.

Despite the original show’s acclaim (it won multiple awards, spawned two films, and made tulle skirts for adults a thing) in retrospect it was rampantly out of touch with real life. The four best friends are white. Their husbands/boyfriends are white. In the mind of series creator Michael Patrick King, New York – where the show is set – is made up of white people.

Hong Kong composer Leon Ko’s ‘Chinese Sex and the City’ adaptation

In the diversity-friendly television landscape of today, the show would not have a chance of lasting the six seasons it did, especially given some of the culturally inappropriate portrayals of Asians and other races.

Here is a reminder of some of those in the former SATC. Some are cringeworthy, others less so – but expect to see the reprised series do a lot better.

Lily Goldenblatt

In the original series finale, Charlotte and husband, Harry (Evan Handler), adopt a baby from China and name her Lily Goldenblatt. In the new series, she’s a graceful teenager, seen for a moment in the trailer masterfully playing on a grand piano (naturally). The current role of Lily is inhabited by Cathy Ang, a Chinese-Filipino-American singer and actress previously seen in the Netflix movie Over the Moon.
Actress Lucy Liu made a stellar appearance in season four of Sex and the City. Photo: HBO


In an example of utter tone-deafness, in an episode entitled The Caste System in the original series, Samantha is thrown out of her lover’s flat by his Asian helper, Sum. As that happens, Carrie’s voice-over says, “she wasn’t so dim, that Sum”. In the same unfunny pun vein, in an episode featuring a magazine editor played by Candice Bergen, a South Asian documentary editor says “I get final Cal-cut-ta”.

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu makes a stellar appearance as herself in season four. She’s hired Samantha as her publicist, and promptly fires her when she learns that she used Liu’s name to land an Hermès Birkin bag. The scene was considered one of the series’ best cameos.

Two Asian stereotypes

Two of the most jarring stereotypes occur in scenes where a Japanese businessman offers Carrie money for sex, and when Charlotte, in preparing for adoption, is told she may end up with a “Mandarin baby”. It’s probably safe to assume that Lily won’t be called a “Mandarin girl” in the new series.