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.
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.
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”.
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.