In a smart, incisive new interview with the Daily Beast, Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell talks about what a middle-age Carrie Bradshaw would be up to, including running for mayor—and not running after Mr. Big. Is middle-aged Carrie Bradshaw off enjoying a second act somewhere as a self-confident career woman?
Bushnell has regrets about the second movie, in which the gang goes to Abu Dhabi (incidentally, one of the absolute worst movies I’ve ever seen in the theater):
If it were up to me, the second movie would have been Carrie Bradshaw decides to run for mayor and Samantha helps her. It would get into some real issues of what happens when you’re part of a relationship and the woman is ambitious. What does that do to her relationship with Mr. Big? To me, that would be interesting. But they were not going to go there.
Does that mean Carrie would have quit writing her newspaper column? “In real life, it doesn’t seem realistic to me that character would be writing that column for 15 years,” says Bushnell, who started out as a newspaper columnist herself. “It doesn’t make sense!”
Asked whether there will be a third Sex and the City movie, Bushnell says:
Look, Sarah Jessica Parker is 47. I think with the second movie, Carrie Bradshaw couldn’t be an ingenue anymore. But I think they were stuck doing what the audience wanted. Realistically, a middle-aged woman who was married without children would be much more focused on her career and less focused on this Mr. Big: “Does he love me?” … “Does he still not love me?” I mean, I think it was coming to the end of what they could do with the character.
On the show’s popularity and the longevity of its legacy:
It tapped into this idea of single women in their 30s. In the 1990s there was an explosion of single women. These were women who had come to the city in the 1980s, as part of “the working girl.” The ’80s was all about this idea that women could have it all. You could have a career, and you could have a husband, and you could have children. Then all of a sudden, you had the 1990s, you had all these women in their 30s who had the careers but had not managed to find a husband, and they were single. And there really was no model for how to live your life and even what this life was. It was a lifestyle where women were very reliant on girlfriends, and it was this idea that when you come to the city, you make a new family. That’s what Sex and the City was really about. And now, as time goes on, the idea of women delaying marriage, having careers, has become in a sense mainstream. So for young women, it’s a passage in their life that they relate to.
She also says she doesn’t think Carrie and Big would have stayed together, which strikes me as astute, and makes me wish Bushnell had been more involved in the terrible movies. If you loved the show, or love-hated the show, read the rest of the interview here.