As I lit my gingerbread-scented candle and settled onto the couch, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Will this Sex and the City reboot be total trash?” I mean, let’s face it, HBO Max’s long-anticipated And Just Like That… miniseries already had a few things working against it. Was part of it the fact that the last Sex and the City movie was an absolute hot mess? 100 per cent.
But the main reason most OG fans were apprehensive about this new series, myself included, is because it would no longer include the iconic, the legendary, Samantha Jones (played by Kim Cattrall). That being said, the news didn’t come as a surprise since Cattrall had stated in an interview with the Daily Mail back in 2019 that she would never return to the role of Samantha. She’s clearly kept her word and, honestly, I have no choice but to stan a queen with the courage of her convictions. Sam Jones was, and always will be, that b*tch.
I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Will this Sex and the City reboot be total trash?’
I have to admit, though, there was still a part of me that hoped Samantha would grace us with her presence at some point during the first two episodes, but instead I was met with a slew of other less enjoyable surprises. Peppered throughout the first installments were a range of emotional highlights including WTF moments, nostalgia, genuine comedy and enjoyable interactions — and, of course, we can’t forget the woke moments. Here are my main takeaways from And Just Like That… as well as a few predictions for what I think is yet to come. Big spoilers ahead (pun most definitely intended).
The ‘Big’ thought: let’s talk about that Peloton ‘incident’
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re well aware of the untimely death of one of SATC’s male protagonists. Mr. Big, AKA James John Preston (does this mean his nickname could have been ‘JJ’ like the two-bit gossip columnist Samantha bangs in the bathroom at Richard Wright’s black and white party?), dies at the end of the first episode.
I’m not going to lie, I literally bawled my eyes out when Big died. Like, real tears were shed at Big’s post-Peloton cycle heart attack. It wasn’t until I calmed down that I was able to reflect on what was really bothering me.
Big dying serves as a reminder that we are all mortal and the people we love more than anything in this world will inevitably die one day (too dark? sorry!). If you think about it, this is the only reason why this scene is upsetting. Big was an emotionally unavailable f*ck boy who only committed to Carrie after he was washed up at 55, only to leave her at the altar. Sick. Then he dies early? Awesome! Thanks for literally nothing, I guess. Excited to see how she spends her inheritance. More gloves? I certainly hope not.
On an even more disturbing note, I think it’s glaringly obvious that Carrie should have called an ambulance immediately when she came home to find Big slowly dying. Instead, she screams and literally pushes the poor man into the shower, absolutely ruining her Manolos (the real tragedy here). As he dies in her arms the audience hears a voiceover from Carrie going, “And just like that, Big died.” Sorry, what do you mean “and just like that”? This is not an instance where it makes sense to use this playful phrase. You didn’t just flip over the perfect pancake, your husband literally died in your arms. Ugh. But let’s move on…
Real talk: Samantha Jones deserved better
Early on in episode one we find out Samantha is still alive and well, despite rampant internet rumours she would be killed off in this new chapter. As Carrie and Miranda are walking to Carrie’s new podcast gig (lol, so modern!), Carrie talks about how Samantha fled after a falling out between them when Carrie fired Samantha as her publicist. First of all, no. Samantha Jones was wildly successful and established long before Carrie even got the slightest ounce of fame. Let’s not forget she was Lucy fricken Liu’s publicist, not to mention she literally invented Smith Jerrod and handled his career for years. Are we really meant to believe that Samantha was so deeply offended by Carrie not needing her PR services anymore? I think TF not.
Cheers Samantha, hope you’re having a Cosmo in a cozy London pub having a fabulous time.
First of all, Samantha is likely close to retirement anyway and probably has a million other things to do and people to sleep with than manage PR for Carrie’s podcast and fashion blog career. Give me a break. But what really shook me to my core is how they had the audacity to have Samantha not even show up for Big’s funeral over some petty work BS. Instead, Samantha sends flowers to go on top of the casket with a note that simply said, ‘Love, Samantha.’ WTF? There are so many things wrong with this and all I can really say is the writers on SATC always did Samantha dirty, and they kept that tradition alive. Cheers Samantha, hope you’re having a Cosmo in a cozy London pub having a fabulous time.
Welcome to 2021: let’s talk about that ‘woke’ scene featuring Che Diaz
We all knew Carrie’s career would inevitably evolve since we last saw the gang. In the original SATC series, Carrie writes a weekly sex and relationship column for the New York Star (how she afforded Manhattan rent and her luxe lifestyle still remains a mystery). While the themes explored in the original series were seen as progressive for it’s time, anyone watching the series for the first time now would likely find the show outdated and even problematic at times. Not only was sex discussed solely through a white, cis gendered heterosexual female lens, there was also a blatant lack of representation throughout the show.
Jump forward 20 years, Carrie finally enters the digital media landscape and it seems like the show is looking to right their previous wrongs when it comes to representation and discourse around sex. In And Just Like That… Carrie has an Instagram account where she showcases New York street style and is a regular guest on a sex and relationship podcast hosted by the self-proclaimed non-binary diva, Che Diaz (played by Sara Ramirez).
Now, let’s talk about this podcast shall we? I’m all for approaching conversations about sex and relationships through an intersectional and sex positive lens (it’s really the only way these conversations should take place), but something about this podcast scene just felt cringe to me. Instead of giving audiences a nuanced, entertaining and informative dialogue about sex, the constant “woke moment” interruptions felt like the show was pandering to a much older, out-of-touch audience and, in some ways, I suppose they were. But it still felt like overkill to me.
I would have liked to see the show be the change it wants to see, as opposed to overtly trying to teach. Sometimes there is no need to point out how you’ve evolved. Just evolve, be better and normalize inclusive sex positive discourse along the way.
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Excuse you: why is Miranda a “Karen” with a drinking problem?
Remember when you and your friends would ask each other which character from Sex and the City they would be? Everyone would boldly proclaim themselves as someone other than poor Miranda. People would always say, “I’m such a Samantha,” but it wasn’t until we got older that many of us started identifying more with Miranda. In many ways, Miranda was the only mildly relatable woman on the show. I think, after watching these first two episodes, many of us are ready to revert back to our anti-Miranda self-identification phase.
Miranda Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon) is a Harvard-educated New York lawyer, yet she’s now depicted as an absolute bumbling idiot. From her comments about her Black professors braids to the over-the-top white saviorism, Miranda exudes major “Karen” energy. At first, I felt disappointed in Miranda and the writers. Miranda was smart and outspoken. I never would have expected her to act so cringe, especially when it came to interacting with women of colour and exploring topics of race. Upon further reflection, I felt like this was perhaps a strategic move on the writers’ part to encourage audiences to challenge how they think about race. They took a woman who is extremely educated and well-respected and showed us that even she can make mistakes when it comes to race. I hope all white women watching this show are able to acknowledge that being smart is not synonymous with being unproblematic (and even racist) and there’s always room for learning when it comes to race and identity. I think we’re going to see Miranda evolve throughout the rest of the series and I hope her growth inspires others to do better as well.
I felt disappointed in Miranda and the writers.
My prediction? Miranda will develop a serious drinking problem. We can already see this slowly developing as she slams back a glass of vino before class (PS. WTF is Chablis and where can I get a taste?) and then a neat bourbon right before she speaks at Big’s funeral. While these two instances are not necessarily indicative of alcoholism, the focus on Miranda’s growing dependency on booze leads me to believe there is trouble afoot. A Karen and a drunk? This even more sad than that time she was obsessed with that “Eat Me” man in the sandwich suit.
Sex scenes: Mr. Big’s masturbation performance
Was I the only person who was disappointed with the lack of sex in the first two episodes? The one thing you could count on in the original series were hot, sometimes weird, sex scenes (not a day goes by where I don’t think about Samantha and Smith’s post-raw food sex fest when the chair was on her bed). The only sexy moment we really got was between Carrie and Big when she asks him to masturbate for her. I didn’t take Carrie for a voyeur, but in efforts to “step her p*ssy up” she decides to have an open conversation with Big about masturbation which results in him doing his thing in front of her. I kind of loved this moment for Carrie because we finally got to see her be a little dominant and more overtly sexual. I do think it’s a little sus that she and Big waited years into their marriage before talking about masturbation, but hey, like Carrie repeatedly says in the show, “we can’t stay who we were.” This is good news, seeing as I’m still trying to be J.Lo.
Health check: so, is Steve OK?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Steve Brady (played by David Eigenberg)… until he cheated on Miranda and then I was like boy bye. I shouldn’t joke about this, as he very well might be the next male protagonist to bite the dust in this series. Here’s my hot take: Steve winds up with early onset Alzheimer’s just like his “ma” and Miranda has to put him in a long-term care home. Miranda and Che’s friendship will continue to grow and eventually the two will fall in love and Miranda will embrace her queer identity on screen. Happily-ever-after for everyone, except poor Steve-o. Think about it: not only is Steve losing his hearing, it seems that he’s losing his cognitive functions as well. I implore you all to rewatch the first and second episode and examine how confused Steve looks all the time. I’m telling you, something’s not quite right.
A few other thoughts I had watching ‘And Just Like That…’
There are a few honourable mentions that didn’t quite make this list…
- I need to know more about Anthony Marentino’s skincare routine. He looks flawless.
- Lily Goldenblatt has the tendency to ruin Carrie’s life in the most random ways
- Big’s secretary Gloria absolutely deserved a front row seat at that overly curated funeral
- Why did Charlotte’s friend Lisa Wexley (who is unfairly stunning, btw) ask the girls for a cold French fry? There’s truly nothing less satisfying than a cold fry.
- Overall, I give the first two episodes 3.5 Peloton bikes out of 5. I’m looking forward to seeing the cast continue to grow and evolve while challenging some of the harmful narratives presented in the original series.
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