And Just Like That… It’s Over, For Now 

SATC super fan and STELLAR editor Vicki Notaro on Carrie’s rebirth in full, and where its ending leaves us... 

*This post contains spoilers for And Just Like That…*

And just like that, here we are – it’s been two months since I wrote a somewhat emotional piece on the first two episodes of the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That. And I couldn’t help but wonder, are you still watching, or did you give up the ghost after a few episodes like many of my pals? Did the death of Big, absence of Samantha and poor treatment of Steve leave you feeling cold, or was there enough there to keep you tuning in despite the universal dislike of one Che Diaz? 

I was always going to watch the entire thing, come hell or high water. Nothing could keep me away from Carrie and co, and while And Just Like That was FAR from perfect, I am absolutely going to miss it now it’s over. It had its good points (fashion, nostalgia, warmth), its bad points (cringeworthy shoehorning in of issues, poorly fleshed out newbies) and its awful points (WOKE BUTTON). But I think now it’s done, it should stay that way – preserved like a time capsule.

The whole point of the series not being called Sex and the City is that it IS NOT Sex and the City. It’s been as different as the world we live in now is to the early noughties, and about (according to the writers) the realities and indignities of ageing in real life. Many struggled with this, because Sex and the City was always a complete fantasy. That a writer could live in such an apartment and own such shoes, that Big was her knight in Armani armour. That she saw her friends as often as she did – I’ve just made a dinner appointment with mine three weeks in advance – that she wore those outfits and had that sex and lived that lifestyle. If you wanted reality, Sex and the City was not where you’d get it – binge Girls for that. 

So perhaps the fact that AJLT was from the outset far less of a fairytale stung a bit. I mean, it started with the literal death of true love and the absence of one of the core four. I understand how that would be off-putting, how it could seem unrealistic that Sam would cut and run. But that’s life – if I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing is black and white, and shit happens. Friendships end, change, wane, intensify. Spouses die, leave, cheat, stay. Children are born, grow up, have sex of their own. Or not. Menopause happens regardless. Ugh. 

But there have been totally fair criticisms levelled at the show. Miranda’s over-reliance on alcohol was set up for the long haul and then seemingly solved instantly. Stanford’s move to Tokyo was obviously a really difficult and fast decision in the wake of beloved Willie Garson’s death, but it was a bad one and the character deserved better. The timeline has been all over the place and there were gaping plot holes to beat the band. 

Nonetheless, the fact that we’ve been watching such familiar, beloved characters getting to grips with life altering and ending in their fifties has been refreshing. As someone now edging in to her late thirties, married and mortgaged and choosing not to have babies, I find myself asking sometimes – now what? What’s next after all those aspirations towards family and career have been achieved, especially if you’re not taking the well trodden path towards parenthood? And if you are, how do you adjust to that when your kids get older and don’t need you as much anymore? Life doesn’t end once you meet Mr Right, or get that promotion. The game isn’t over once you tick those boxes, so I liked watching what that meant for these women. 

I also understand that we feel Steve has been treated badly, because he has. He’s collateral damage to Miranda’s reawakening, and that’s shitty and sad. But one big mistake the writers made was to think we weren’t attached to him, too. I love Steve more than I love Carrie, and while he’s not exactly cool or stylish, he was always the reliable, romantic beating male heart of the show and his relationship with Miranda the most realistic. I want Miranda to live her truth, but Jesus, they could have at least featured the poor guy in the last episode when she’s following bloody Che to LA and giving up everything she’s worked for in the name of love.

The scene in episode ten where Carrie and Miranda argue in the bathroom about her running after Che is reminiscent of the season six scene where the roles are reversed, and Miranda is the one telling Carrie that she shouldn’t chase someone else’s dreams to Paris when her life is in New York. This time, instead of fighting and storming off, they’re interrupted by the trans rabbi overseeing the They Mitzvah (whew) who tells them their bond is unbreakable, regardless. Tell that to Samantha Jones, hun. 

Che has, for the most part, been unbearable. No shade to Sara Ramirez, but they are badly written, unfunny and you just don’t get the attraction beyond chemistry. I saw one commentator say that Miranda’s new life has everything to do with (freshly minted co-exec producer) Cynthia Nixon and nothing to do with Ms Hobbes. That could be true, but it’s all felt a bit too rushed, too neat. What happened when she surprised Che in Cleveland? When did it go from lust to love? I was surprised as Miranda when Che asked her to come to LA. The podcast is also THE WORST. Who would listen to it?

The other new characters have also been largely superfluous. Professor Nya and her will they/won’t they about kids felt wholly underdeveloped, Seema was a glamorous and fun replacement for Sam’s irreverent, sexy charm. LTW out supermam-ed Charlotte and Lisette the downstairs neighbour was the hipster Carrie of Christmas past. In the end though, they were all fairly one-dimensional. 

But there were good parts. Seeing Natasha again, getting a sense of peace and closure on that entire debacle. Charlotte still being happily married, and dealing with her child’s non-binary status far better than she would have a decade ago. Carrie’s rig outs, and moments of pure comedy like that disastrous first date. My beloved Jonathan Groff popping up as a gorgeous convincing plastic surgeon, and Carrie deciding to stay just as she is – in a world where most older women represented on TV are cosmetically-altered Real Housewives, I liked that. 

Like the opening, the finale got me in the feels. Carrie sprinkles Big’s ashes from their bridge in Paris (you could totally see where they edited out Chris Noth post-alleged sexual assault claims, eek), starts her own solo relationships podcast called Sex and the City (sob!) and wears the face off the ridey pod producer Franklyn – I’ve been eyeing him up for her since episode one. And through the medium of watching somebody text on television, we learn she’s reunited with Samantha for cocktails somewhere in Europe. All is well that ends well. 

 

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Will there be another season? It’s been left sort of open-ended, but could also be left as is. I personally feel like it’s done. I don’t need to watch Carrie fall in love again to know that it’s possible. We’ve found out what happens after happily ever after, we’ve answered the critics and brought a series that was so white and cis in to the 21st century, with a bit of clunk and a side of cringe. We’re done now… right?! With Sarah Jessica Parker, you just never know… 

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