Billy Eichner is honoring the cultural impact of “Sex and the City” on the queer community.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the “SATC” premiere, Eichner spoke with People magazine about the impact of seeing real gay bars onscreen in the New York City-based HBO series.
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“My girlfriends and my gay friends were the exact right people to be pulled in by ‘Sex and the City,'” Eichner said. “I would have people over to my apartment every Sunday night and we would watch it religiously. It was one of the only shows that created what, at that time, felt like a more authentic — not perfectly authentic — look at gay men and our relationships with women.”
The “Bros” star added, “The conversations the women were having felt like conversations that I was having with my friends. You just never saw them depicted that way. It was representing women and gay men, to a lesser degree, but to much more of a degree than existed in TV and films at the time.”
Eichner recalled one of his earliest “SATC” memories of seeing Stanford (Willie Garson) going to a gay bar in his underwear.
“You did not see many shows at that point that had scenes at gay bars, let alone with guys standing in their underwear for Underwear Night. The fact that Stanford was going to gay bars felt so radical and really pulled me in,” Eichner said. “I immediately knew, because I’d been there several times, it was shot at an actual gay bar in Chelsea in New York called Barracuda, which is still there. I’ve been to that bar with my friends, but to actually see it on TV in a mainstream show starring Sarah Jessica Parker on HBO, I took notice. This is before texting, but I remember calling my friends — both my girlfriends and my gay friends — and saying, ‘You guys have to watch this show.'”
Eichner credited “SATC” for inspiring his film “Bros,” saying, “‘Sex and the City’ is really one of the great modern romantic comedies, even though it’s a series. It’s that mix of fantasy and reality, which is what the great romantic comedies are.”
And Eichner’s rant about movie “Sex and the City 2” helped propel his web series “Billy on the Street” into a TV show.
“The one that went the most viral was the one that I did where I went out and defended ‘Sex and the City 2,'” Eichner said. “I genuinely loved the show so much and was willing to follow it anywhere. The head of Funny or Die at the time, who’s now the CEO of Funny or Die, Mike Farah, that’s the video that inspired him to email me and say, ‘Hey, I really like what you’re doing. We should work together.’ I said to him, ‘Well, what if we try to turn this into a TV show?’ So it had a very specific, hugely influential moment in my life.”
“Sex and the City” sequel series “And Just Like That” returns for Season 2 on June 22.
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