For the past year, I’ve heard some of mainstream media’s favorite female white-led shows are getting reboots. From Gossip Girl to Sex and the City, these shows were popular for their time and sent some of their cast members straight into stardom. While they were insanely successful for their time, these white-led shows do not need a reboot or a reimagining. These shows highlight a huge lack of representation across the board that is overshadowed by the love for them.
Gossip Girl revolves around the lives of Manhattan’s elite: the children of politicians, socialites, and millionaires who bond at Constance Billard and St. Jude’s, schools that are segregated by gender as well as social class. It’s obvious that despite promises that the show will be more inclusive, we do not need a remake of it.
Higher social classes in Manhattan have yet to be as diverse as the show promises it will make them, and representation among a ruling class still doesn’t leave much room for plotlines. If the real life demographics don’t match what the show is trying to portray, the effort is moot. While we appreciate the effort, Gossip Girl’s entire plot did not revolve around being relatable for its viewers, so having this come back attempt to be is completely unnecessary. The white-led casting of the original series might have been a hit back in 2007, but in 2021? We’re looking for more representation.
Another show set in Manhattan, Sex and the City took the 90s and early 2000s by storm. Imperfect protagonist Carrie Bradshaw brought us along to brunch, heartbreak, and navigating her love life through all six seasons of SATC (and two sequel films if you can believe it) with her trusty group of friends. Sipping cosmos with the girls and casually throwing out homophobic slurs doesn’t age well though, and neither does the problematic determination to keep this franchise alive through its latest attempt entitled And Just Like That, due out later this year.
After a failed attempt at a prequel to the contents of Sex and the City entitled The Carrie Diaries, I do not understand why the showrunners don’t get a simple message: Sex and the City was not a good watch past its prime. Carrie’s finances made no sense, she doesn’t appeal to the more empowered viewers of television today, and without key characters like Samantha or Big returning to this reboot, it can’t even ride the coattails of nostalgia to attract original viewers of the show. The movies were problematic and racist (why shoot in Abu Dhabi if disrespect to the culture was more the theme?), and the failures the casting directors made in representing marginalized communities doesn’t bode well for future opportunities of quality diversity on the show. The white-led show was insanely popular but leaving Sex and the City in 2010 is the right move here, believe us.
If anything deserves more screen time in this age of constant reboots and remakes, it should be quality efforts with real representation at the helm. In 2019, overall representation of Latinos was 5.5 percent on television. The problem with this number? Latinos make up almost 19 percent of the United States population. This is a huge gap in representation, especially when we are misrepresented on screen and still cast in stereotypical roles. With quality television shows like One Day at a Time being canceled while white-led shows like those above consistently get second, third, and fourth chances, the choice Hollywood has made to limit real representation for Latinxs on screen cannot be ignored.
This media blackout on the realities of Latinx lives in the United States is a bridge to be mended. It cannot be fixed with supporting roles on media releases centered on white leads. Instead, we must support the efforts of diversifying production teams and executive leadership in the media industry to represent us and have it be reflected in releases. Only we can be trusted to guide our narrative authentically.
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