If your formative years were spent watching Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda gallivanting around New York City as 30-something single women navigating a dating landmine like mine were, you feel a connection to Sex and the City. Now that more than 20 years have passed since the premiere, there was nothing I looked forward to more than seeing my favorite girlfriends in the next phases of their lives … the next phase of my life, too … in And Just Like That…
I watched some of the show in high school, but it was my best friend Nicole, who got me hooked our freshman year of college at Penn State. When I moved to NYC a few years later, I was quite literally Carrie — running around to parties in clothes I couldn’t afford, writing a blog (the 2011 equivalent of Carrie’s column) and trying to figure out how to date, just as OKCupid and other dating sites were surfacing. She was Charlotte, trying to navigate a similar dating path in New Jersey, while creating a Betty Crocker-perfect life and getting straight A’s in every degree she decided she wanted next.
We identified the same way every friend group did — to this day, our birthday cards to one another address each other as “Carrie” and “Charlotte” and there are no shortage of iconic scenes that permeate our daily moments — like when I desperately wanted to find the man who hurt someone I care for deeply, and wanted to scream, “I curse the day you were born!” at him; how Samantha’s “I love you, but I love me more,” finally resonated with me in 2021, how I’ve dated my very own Bergers and Mr. Bigs, and how Carrie’s blue Manolo Hangisis sit on my manifestation vision board.
So when I saw 3/4 of my favorite girls were reuniting for And Just Like That… weeks of texts and shares of photos from the set on social media, snippets of previews and finally a premiere date ensued between us and between other friends and me about our excitement.
It took me two days after the show hit HBO Max to actually be able to sit down and watch it, but by then, the spoilers had made it online and I hadn’t done a media blackout.
Why Didn’t Carrie Call 911 When Big Was Dying? and Peloton Responds to Big’s Death were just two of the headlines that the algorithms that be decided to show me.
The Peloton Drama
As an avid Peloton rider and user of its other programs — and knowing that Big not only had a Peloton in the preview, but that instructor Jess King played a role in the show — I should’ve known the excitement would hit the Peloton groups I’m in on Facebook. I watched King’s stories on Instagram the night of the premiere — watching the show with her fiancee and family — excited to see Big riding with “Allegra,” until the posts suddenly stopped. I assumed it was just to prevent any additional spoilers, but thanks to the aforementioned spoilers, I discovered Big died shortly after his “special” 1,000th ride shoutout.
Yes, I’m mad that the writers of And Just Like That… are painting a bad picture of a company that avid users, owners and shareholders are sick of being embroiled in scandals. The company has had some PR issues the past few years — but became the sweetheart of the global COVID-19 pandemic, bringing fitness options to millions who weren’t able to work out at the gym — or used the company’s wellness options for yoga and meditation. This however, could dwarf the death of the child who was killed by a Tread. Because of the size of the audience Sex and the City reaches, and because Peloton claims it was not aware of how the bike would be used in the show, it now has grounds to potentially sue.
(UPDATE: And Just Like That… Peloton’s PR team very cleverly — and quickly — brought Chris Noth, Jess King and Ryan Reynolds [who notably saved the “sad Peloton wife” from the company’s ad gone-wrong several holiday seasons ago in his Aviation Gin ad] together for a new ad… and surprise, Big lives on with Jess King for another ride, and Reynolds provides a reminder that exercise is good for cardio health.)
The Characters Are… Awful
Beyond my disdain for the plot around Peloton, I have a lot of issues with the show and its writing so far:
Samantha ghosting her best friends? Sure, friends drift, but this is not exactly in her personality to completely ignore them. Perhaps she’s still mad at them for calling her out when she gained 10 pounds? Miranda as the “woke” performative white woman who can’t shut her mouth? I think we all know one, or have been her, but it’s too much. Charlotte‘s overly emotional reaction to Big’s death and believing Carrie was mad at her for making her go to Lily’s recital — is she menopausal? I’ll take it if she is, but address it and stop making it about you, Char. Not only that, but her obsession with the other mom at Lily’s school is very stereotypical PTA mom. Lily, while smart and sweet, has officially but unintentionally, ruined Carrie’s life twice. (Remember she hid Auntie Carrie’s cell phone in her purse at the first wedding when Big was trying to reach her?)
Steve: Why is he a hundred years old with hearing loss in both ears? The man works in a bar, he doesn’t own a music venue or a landscaping business. (And while David Eigenberg is a terrific actor, it’s weird to see him cast as such an “old man” while simultaneously watching him as a firefighter with a soft spot as Christopher Herrmann on Chicago Fire.) Brady as a horny teenager, reamed out by his mom for smoking weed just doesn’t even seem plausible — because teens don’t openly have sex or smoke pot in front of their parents — whether or not their parents know they’re doing it — they sneak around. Sara Ramirez’s character “Che” is almost unbearable until their scene with Miranda at the funeral, where we see them as a real person and not as a comedian/podcast host. Harry, trying to be a normal teen girl dad is probably the most relatable, while Stanford Blatch (RIP Willie Garson) is the most unbearable — and it is completely unsurprising that his husband Anthony Merantino is over it. We couldn’t have some better scenes of Stanford not being a total pain in the ass before we lost Willie Garson? The strange reintroduction of Susan Sharon at Big’s funeral feels like someone else’s engagement at your wedding, but also feels unbelievable. No one who hasn’t talked to someone else in 15 years shows up at their husband’s funeral. They send a sympathy card and move along.
Carrie Sucks, We Just Didn’t Realize It Until Now
Then, there’s Carrie. The older I get, the less I like to be “the Carrie” of the friend group — although, all four women are pretty problematic at this life stage. Carrie, just like when Big jilted her, is unemotional, dismisses overly dramatic Charlotte during funeral planning (when we know Miranda should’ve been there for that — and old Miranda who put career above all — would’ve definitely missed her class to be with Carrie) and feeds in Charlotte’s overly dramatic fear of thinking Carrie is mad at her. Carrie is problematic on her own: Part of a podcast now that makes her uncomfortable, in a society were we now preach to women about only doing things that serve our goals and make us our best selves. Both masturbation scenes — the podcast and with Big? Bizarre. This where we need Samantha to make masturbation talk less awkward over drinks with the girls. Carrie is colder than expected in every sense — except for her scenes with Big — but then doesn’t try to call for help as he’s dying. The funeral? Cold. All of the scenes with her “best friends?” Cold.
Mr. Big’s Death
The questions about why the writers would kill Big off in the first episode will likely go unanswered — especially after writers promised “everyone” was “alive and well” ahead of the premiere. Big’s doctor had cleared him for vigorous exercise, Miranda notes ahead of the funeral, but why was this man, John James Preston, with all of his money and gadgets, not wearing an Apple Watch to track his stats on his ride? It would’ve detected the fall, and that his heart was not in sinus rhythm. Why didn’t he ask Siri to call 911 when he dropped his phone? Why didn’t Carrie call 911 when she saw him dying in front of her?
Samantha, despite her being the man I hate who ghosts me via text, is the only character I relate to right now — wanting to be on her own, living her best life in London — but, there’s zero chance Samantha Jones wouldn’t come home for her best friend’s husband’s funeral. Zero. She was Carrie’s Maid of Honor. She wouldn’t just send flowers. While I understand the writers needed a workaround for Kim Cattrall’s absence from the show — maybe, don’t kill Big — and then we don’t have this problem.
The writing, and the characters, seem unnatural. The jokes, for the most part, are not funny. (OK, except for the Kindle joke, that was pretty good.) Because I knew Big’s death was coming, I didn’t cry, and instead was just annoyed by it. I still am. The man led Carrie on for years, moved away, married someone else, got divorced, got back with Carrie, continued to be wishy-washy and dick her around for years, finally gets back with her, they get engaged — HE JILTS HER — then they reunite again and are finally happy — and the writers couldn’t just leave Big and Carrie (and Allegra) alone.
I will watch the remainder of the episodes with little to no hope that it will get better, but at this point: I am not looking forward to my 50’s the way I looked forward to my 20s and 30s thanks to the four women above.
What did you think of And Just Like That…? Will you continue to watch?