Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Review: Sex and the City and Us

Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

By the bestselling author of Seinfeldia, a fascinating retrospective of the iconic and award-winning television series, Sex and the City, to coincide with the show’s twentieth anniversary.

This is the story of how a columnist, two gay men, and a writers’ room full of women used their own poignant, hilarious, and humiliating stories to launch a cultural phenomenon. They endured shock, slut-shaming, and a slew of nasty reviews on their way to eventual—if often begrudging—respect. The show wasn’t perfect, but it revolutionized television for women.

When Candace Bushnell began writing for the New York Observer, she didn’t think anyone beyond the Upper East Side would care about her adventures among the Hamptons-hopping media elite. But her struggles with singlehood struck a chord. Beverly Hills, 90210 creator Darren Star brought her vision to an even wider audience when he adapted the column for HBO. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha launched a barrage of trends, forever branded the actresses that took on the roles, redefined women’s relationship to sex and elevated the perception of singlehood.

Featuring exclusive new interviews with the cast and writers, including star Sarah Jessica Parker, creator Darren Star, executive producer Michael Patrick King, and author Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City and Us brings us a both a critical and nostalgic, behind-the-scenes look at a television series that changed the way women see themselves.

I was such a huge fan of the Sex and the City series. I have watched them all and even the movies; Carrie Bradshaw is my ultimate favorite and I always admired all that she stood for. When I saw this book being published, I just knew I had to review it on my blog. I am so glad I read it and here are a few thoughts I had while doing so…

There are so many details in this book for people who are pursuing a career in writing, directing, or producing TV shows. Armstrong provides so many wonderful anecdotes behind the making of the show and this book is truly for hardcore fans – you will learn some of the ins and outs and reasons behind certain things that took place throughout the shows running six seasons. But more than unveiling the secrets behind the show and the characters, you will learn how a hit show is made. This is my first read by Armstrong but it is my understanding that she has written other books that look at hit TV series and she is one of the best for doing so. Her writing shows just how much she researched the topic and reading the interviews was my favorite part!

Everyone involved with Sex and the Cityhedged their bets. But when the show premiered on HBO in June 1998, it would do more than become a hit television show. No one, least of all its own cast and crew, saw it coming.

By the third season, Sex and the City’s writers and directors knew what viewers wanted, and they knew how to give it to them. Sometimes it was the impossibly luxe lifestyle. Sometimes it was the characters’ intimately embarrassing moments. Sometimes it was romance. In a few magical moments, it was all three.

The fashion helped define the characters, from the tulle skirt in the opening sequence to Carrie’s crop tops, Samantha’s siren dresses, Charlotte’s classy chic, and Miranda’s power-bitch suits. The time spent on the stars’ looks was not to be questioned. 

Sex and the City had formed its own economy, and it did not come cheap.

It was so great to reminisce about this TV show that stole my heart so long ago. I had laughs while reading and ultimately found myself wanting to binge watch the show all over again. I loved the background about the setting, the fashion, the food, and the impact that these four women made on the world. To any fan or to anyone wanting to see what this show is about, this book is a great resource – you are sure to learn a lot and have fun while reading it!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Simon & Schuster in exchange for my honest review***

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