(Spoilers from And Just Like That… will be found below.)
This week, HBO Max wrapped up the first season of the Sex And The City revival, And Just Like That…. First and foremost, the show declared that inclusivity was the name of the game, so we received several new lady characters, most of whom represented communities of color. And let’s just say that the effort was a transparent one. Most of these characters failed to resonate due to surface-level writing. They appeared to be injected for the sole purpose of making us miss Samantha less and showing that Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda weren’t totally vacuous.
Yet Carrie’s still shoe-obsessed and spends more on her wardrobe than a small nation’s GDP, Charlotte’s still hyper-controlling of every aspect in her environment, and Miranda is still, well, an unhappy mess. Not much has changed there, although real estate agent Seema Patel was at least vaguely interesting, and Che Diaz horrified the masses. Speaking of which, the franchise always aimed for drama within its comedic overtones, but let’s just say that this revival wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously.
With that said, let’s have some fun and talk about why And Just Like That… has some horror flavor. No, really. Several spooky things happened!
The Reappearing Peloton: By now, you’ve either heard about or seen the dramatic death of Mr. Big. Carrie found him while he was dying of a heart attack after a ride, and Peloton had to issue a big statement about how they had no idea that the bike would be used in that way, and it got real ugly with plunging stock prices and so on. Well, this show kept driving the Peloton into the ground. Above, you can see Carrie’s return to her marital home to gaze at the bike, which she then gave to a doorman.
Done and done, right? That Peloton issue was taken care of. No more reminders of how Chris Noth’s cad of a character bit the dust, nor did Carrie have to think about the bizarre inheritance that he left his ex-wife (who he cheated on with Carrie) or the fact that he kept all of his passwords secret. Carrie can shove those ashes into a closet and live in blissful memories of her own making, but maybe not?
Surprise, surprise, the bike reappeared later that episode.
Granted, the Peloton surfaced because the unaware real estate agent character decided that a bike would pull the room together, but still, it’s spooky stuff.
And on a related note, Carrie believed that Big was telling her not to kiss another man by turning her reading lamp on while she slept. Carrie then insisted that she’s not into “woo woo” beliefs, but damn, girlfriend actually believed that she had a possessed lamp because Big was smoking a cigar in Heaven and sending a message to his widow.
The Exorcist Date: Speaking of possessed, Carrie went on an ill-advised date that ended in a stew of bodily fluids. She decided to “get back out there” with Peter the Math Teacher, who quickly reveals that he was recently widowed. To lighten the mood, Carrie decides that they could use some booze, so they apparently drink their asses off at this fancy restaurant. They stumble out to the curb, so happy, and proceed to projectile vomit everywhere. This is full-on Linda Blair stuff, without the spinning head but with Carrie stepping into the puke while wearing her precious Manolos. There’s her real horror.
Some additional WTF here: the dress that Carrie wore on this date has now been dubbed as the new “Carrie dress” and held out as iconic by fashionistas everywhere. The haute couture/puke combo is so hot right now.
The Lost Tampon Issue: Lord, I don’t think I could handle having Charlotte as a mother. She’s so high strung and focused on appearances, and everything must be perfect. Charlotte pretty much pushed Lily into using tampons, and there was a horrible scene where a teenager was trying to insert one while Charlotte was doing some meditative breathing to encourage vagina relaxation. Not great, mom. And then the string got lost, which is a perfectly valid reason for Lily to freak out, but oblivious Charlotte kept urging her to check a “tushy crack,” and that resulted in this very dramatic, slasher-movie-type declaration. It’s worthy of a jump scare, I tell ya.
Aw Geez, Poor Freaking Steve Brady: The official early response to the shouty incarnation of Miranda’s husband was that he’s partially deaf, and this affliction was based upon actor David Eigenberg’s real-life experience, but that doesn’t explain how the revival metaphorically pushed Steve’s face into the ground at every opportunity. The new show painted him as a pathetic doofus, and if he was really in some horror movie, Steve would have been the first character knifed by a serial killer, right after he dutifully and thanklessly set up everyone’s tents in the woods. That’s not fair for several reasons, and Steve was also humiliated on a delicate subject.
This has to do with Miranda’s initial bout of cheating with Che Diaz. We will discuss this affair (on Miranda’s behalf) more further down in this piece, but let’s just say that Miranda requested that Steve do something that she and Che had done. And Steve decided, very thoughtfully, to wash his hands before doing so. That’s actually hygienic and shows that he cared about Miranda, but nope, this turned Miranda off. She wanted spontaneity and excitement, goddamnit. Like everything else, Steve was only prioritizing Miranda’s well-being, and she saw this as a negative. And that’s frankly awful.
In the end, Miranda admitted her affair, and Steve wished her well before later telling Carrie that he’d never take his wedding ring off despite the divorce. And that’s perhaps the saddest moment in this whole revival: Steve Brady deserved better than someone who settled for him, and that’s how Miranda’s always seen him, even throughout those silly movies. Steve’s not only an adept bartender but a business owner and someone who was able to swiftly take apart a sink to rescue a ring for Carrie. He deserves so much more than what Miranda and the revival dealt to him.
The Text Chain With Samantha: One of the final scenes in this show revealed that Samantha began answering Carrie’s texts (I was proud of Miss Jones for resisting earlier, given their falling out), and of course, Samantha cracked a dick joke about Mr. Big. Then she actually agreed to meet Carrie, who had just dumped Big’s ashes over a Parisian bridge, for drinks. Just. Like. That. (Weird side question: if Carrie could believe that her lamp was haunted, why not the phone? Ghost Samantha would be cool.)
Nope, I’m not buying that Samantha would go there. Also, Kim Cattrall made it very clear that she wants zero involvement in this reboot, which left itself wide open for a second season. And this text chain feels like a way to generate a “Will Samantha return for Season 2” conversation. Perhaps I’ve needlessly contributed to this conversation, but I feel confident that the answer to that question would be a resounding “no.”
Stay strong, Kim Cattrall.
Hey, It’s Che Diaz: You know this subject had to happen. Che Diaz has been a subject of controversy since this revival began. Her signature greeting (the heading of this section) became a beacon of the backlash with Twitter users literally tweeting horror movie stills to stress how Che, the character portrayed by Sara Ramirez, rolls out like a horror villain. It happened quickly, too, and it’s all the more unfortunate because the non-binary Che (who prefers the pronoun “they”) was one of many characters meant to boost the revival’s diversity, yet they’re profoundly unlikable.
Che began the show as Carrie’s podcasting boss, but they’re also an obnoxious stand-up comic and a self-admitted narcissist. Miranda falls into her worshipful orbit while looking for “something more” beyond Steve. Actually, it was damn clear from their first meeting that Miranda and Che would hook up, and yep, the ended up “groundbreaking” in the franchise with a queer sex scene, which is one of the worst sex scenes in the history of television. Poor Carrie, who was recovering from surgery, was left peeing on herself in bed when Miranda and Che got it on (in the way that she later asked Steve to do so), very loudly, in the kitchen and in full view.
It’s scarier than anything Stephen King could’ve dreamed up in one of his early novels. And it’s an unpleasant encounter to watch for many reasons (there’s no chemistry whatsoever), here’s some more madness: Che referred to Miranda as “Rambo,” and that was anything but accurate. Instead, Miranda became subservient to Che while dropping her marriage and life and her 100%-rare internship at the Human Rights Watch, all to follow Che to California. The real Miranda would never do so, so this feels like some body-thief horror. Sure it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but for real, the writers and the executive-producing three lead characters didn’t follow up properly on Miranda. Or Steve. And Che Diaz is taking all the blame, which isn’t fair. Che Diaz only deserves half of the blame.
HBO Max’s ‘And Just Like That’ is currently streaming the first full season.