Emmys 2012: Sarah Jessica Parker Talks 'Girls' Comparisons

David Slijper
Sarah Jessica Parker

The "Sex and the City" star sounds off on the heir apparent to Carrie Bradshaw: "It's a very different show."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Sarah Jessica Parker knows that for millions of women of a certain generation and aspiration, she forever will be Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City's emotionally raw magazine columnist who teetered around New York City in her Manolo Blahniks, a Fendi Baguette casually slung over one shoulder.

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Suddenly, thanks to her, designers became household names, even if many viewers couldn't afford such luxury items. "The fashion was exciting," says Parker. "But what was unique and special was that the language was so new -- and I don't mean the salty, ribald, provocative stuff. A woman like Carrie was unlikable to many people in terms of how she spent her time, how she spent her money, her personal choices about children and marriage and affairs. But there was a human-ness to her that people connected to."

It has been nearly a decade since SATC wrapped its groundbreaking six-season run on HBO. But the show -- a shockingly honest portrait of friendship, sexual adventure and emotional unfulfillment, an NC-17 version of recently departed former Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl writ large on the little screen -- is having a new-millennium moment.

Lena Dunham's Emmy-nominated HBO comedy Girls, in which grimy Williamsburg in Brooklyn is an appropriate recession-era stand-in for SATC's stock-market-surging 1990s Manhattan, has inspired next-generation comparisons. "It's a very different show," says Parker. "But the similarity is in the intimacy of the conversations among women."

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When it's pointed out that her portrayal might have had a little something to do with bringing Carrie to life (and her six Emmy nominations for lead comedy actress, including a long-awaited win in 2004), Parker demurs: "Well, that's not for me to say," though she admits finally that winning was "the perfect punctuation point for what was an extraordinary experience."