The long awaited “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That” wrapped filming recently. With all the behind the scenes drama between actresses Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the rest of the cast, I couldn’t help but wonder: was it all worth it? For nostalgia alone, I’d say yes. For the actual storyline and character development, I’d say not really.
After years of buildup and behind the scenes drama, the third “Sex and The City” installment finally found a home as an HBO Max reboot. I anxiously awaited for my fabulous friends (minus Samantha, of course) to grace my screen once more and whisk me away on fun adventures, gorgeous couture, and glamorous peeks into the NYC lifestyle so I could live vicariously through them once more. With the three returning women Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) we also meet four newcomers in Che Diaz (Sara Ramierez), Seema (Sarita Choudhury), LTW (Nicole Ari Parker), and Professor Nya (Karen Pittman) who finally bring in a glimpse of the infamous melting pot of diversity in NYC that the original series was so criticized for lacking.
I loved the newcomers, especially Seema and Professor Nya, because as a childless millennial, I can identify with their struggles on fitting in when you’re expected to be at a certain place in life by a certain age, yes, even in 2022. I found myself gravitating towards Professor Nya’s struggles with coming to terms with the fact that she did not want children and having to accept the consequences of that decision. I also found Seema very relatable when she disappointed her parents by remaining single even though she has a fabulous life. Because let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to please parents no matter how successful or happy you are if you don’t fit a certain image they had of you. LTW was very glamorous and a perfect fit as Charlotte’s fellow prep school mom, and we see how they navigate parenthood in Upper East Side communities.
Getting to the meat of what I didn’t like about the reboot is the excessive pandering. Now, what do I mean by that? Let me explain. In the year of 2022, it’s very easy to tell when a show truly believes in what it’s selling and one that’s checking off boxes, especially when it was so harshly critiqued for its whiteness even when it came out. Clearly, the show runners heard the fans and corrected that, but some of the story lines are just a bit too “on the nose” of what it feels like they thought would be cutting edge. Miranda’s storyline is apparently based on Cynthia Nixon’s real life story. While I understand it being very personal, the story itself and Miranda come off as selfish, unfeeling, and hypocritical as we all remember her yelling at Steve for having a one night affair while she’s having a year long affair with Che? #JusticeForSteve was trending every episode for a good reason. It’s very rare that I ever side with a male character, especially over a character I loved as much as Miranda, but this is not the Miranda we all knew and admired. I know a lot of women come out later in life, and a lot have trouble being honest about their feelings (from what I’ve been told), but she just comes off mean and cold, and I hate to say, Miranda victimizes herself over her infatuation with Che, who seems very tepidly interested at best. At worst, she’s blowing off Miranda and blaming it on weed brain: “I smoke a lot and don’t check my DMs, but I wasn’t ignoring you.” For 3 months? The old Miranda would never have stuck around that long. There’s plenty of other fish in the sea, especially in NYC to experiment and find yourself with. But Miranda picks the one that barely seems to acknowledge her and won’t have the traditional relationship Miranda wants? I just don’t understand what happened to this character. From other reactions I’ve seen online and on Twitter, I know I’m not the only fan that had this reaction to Miranda and her storyline.
Another issue I have is how they brought up age and made their ages seem so old, whilst being the same age as The Golden Girls when that show originally aired. Yet, The Golden Girls seemed so much more vital, confident, and sure of themselves, while Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte harp on aging and “passing” as younger almost every episode. While I understand it’s extremely valid to bring up issues that they’re dealing with such as Miranda’s gray hair — which Charlotte tries to “age shame her” for as Miranda says at their first lunch scene — Carrie’s dyed hair and hip replacement, which heals miraculously quickly (clearly being heir to Big’s millions works wonders in the US health system), make this focus on age feel…off. Also, let’s not forget Samantha was 52 in the second movie and still rocking gorgeous, form-fitting dresses that showed off her curves, fit her personality, and was…her. It’s so jarring to think that the creators and writers of the original series are not only part of the new reboot, and they were very vocal about calling it a reboot, not a sequel, yet they don’t seem to remember or know what any of the characters other than Charlotte were like?
That does bring me to Charlotte and I will say I was pleasantly surprised with how well she handled Rock’s exploration of gender identity and not wanting to be labeled. Of course, Charlotte handled the situation in the most Charlotte way possible, but by doing that, she became the one character I actually recognized from the original series that still had some of her spark about her. Anthony being there to guide Char and Rock through this as their gay uncle is a particularly great touch that definitely helped make Rock’s exipramenting easier on Charlotte.
This brings me to Carrie’s storyline. Carrie is still Carrie. What do I mean by that? Well, Spoiler Alert: in a now famous moment, Big dies in the first episode with Carrie infamously dropping the phone in her hand and just staring at him in shock. I’m sure everyone who watched that scene yelled out at their television screen at her to call 911 at that moment. Peloton, which Big was seen riding just a few minutes before his heart attack, launched an ad narrated by Ryan Renolds mocking the moment. Big’s death becomes the major part of Carrie’s storyline as she navigates being a very wealthy widow and dealing with his estate, ghosts of wives past, blinking lights in apartments, and generally finding herself wandering aimlessly when she’s not on a raunchy podcast with Che and Justin. Oh, and Natasha’s back and so is Carrie’s stalking. This time though, it seems the whole crew is there for moral support. Poor Natasha. For an “Idiot Stick Figure with No Soul,” it seems to me Natasha made out the best of everyone in the whole Big Affair.
The whole season is Carrie trying to navigate coming to terms with Big’s death and what that means for her and her life going forward. Where will she live? Does she want to date? Will she keep working? As Carrie slowly navigates her way through these decisions, she uses the death card quite often as a way to continuously bring the conversation back to her. Remember how self-centered and selfish she could be in the original series? That Carrie is definitely still alive and well. She ignores her friends’ problems only until they affect her and inconvenience or embarrass her. For example, Charlotte tells Carrie that she thinks Miranda has a drinking problem after finding several small bottles of wine or vodka in Miranda’s bag. When Charlotte brings it up, Carrie brushes it aside. However, when Miranda invites Che to Carrie’s apartment to help her with Carrie after the hip replacement surgery, Miranda and Che get drunk and bang on Carrie’s kitchen table. It’s only then that Carrie throw’s Charlotte’s worry about Miranda’s drinking in Miranda’s face, all while Miranda is trying to explain to Carrie how trapped she’s been in her marriage. Of course, trying to explain this to someone who’s high on pain meds probably wasn’t the best timing, but it’s just one example. Another one is when Carrie wants to go to Paris to spread Big’s ashes, she expects Miranda and Charlotte to drop everything and come with her. Charlotte of course says yes, but Miranda has to check her schedule because of an event she has to fly to LA for. Carrie takes offense to this, and they have a huge fight which is reminiscent of their fight in season 6 when Carrie decides to follow The Russian to Paris. There’s a lot of emotional baggage finally being brought out in the open, decades after it should’ve been addressed.
Overall, did I like it? Not really. It was fun to reminisce with old favorites and see what they’ve been up to, but at the same time, it’s always kind of a scary thing to do as a fan especially when it doesn’t meet up with any expectations. The fashion was mediocre, the acting was cringy, and the story lines were all over the place and hard to follow. Would I have kept up with the show if it wasn’t for the nostalgia factor? Absolutely not. I would’ve stopped watching after the second episode. If it was a brand new show and I’d never seen any of these characters before, I definitely wouldn’t have stuck around and finished the season. I will say it started to get better after the fifth episode, but in a ten episode arc, that’s too long to take to get going. Is it worth your time? If you’re a die hard SATC fan, and have about 10 hours to kill, sure. Just don’t expect too much. I think that’s what most of us who’d been watching for so long made the mistake of doing: being too invested and placing too much hope into this much hyped series, especially after the second movie. Nonetheless, apparently it had one of the highest rated original show debuts on HBO Max so I have little doubt we’ll see a second season, even though as of yet there’s no official word on if there will be one or not.
Have you seen the show? If so, what was your take on it? Are you an “OG” fan from the first run like I am, or are you a newer fan? What are your takes on the new characters? Let me know your feelings.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, What to Watch
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