And Just Like That Season 1, developed by Michael Patrick King, fails to deliver the magic of the original Sex and the City television series. The only saving grace is that the spirits of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) are kept intact.
Unfortunately, the season telegraphs “woke” culture, making most scenes feel cringe-worthy and superficial. Chez Diaz’s (Sara Ramirez) podcast with Carrie and Jackie Nee (Bobby Lee) shows that the creatives behind And Just Like That don’t understand what we adore about the “Sex and the City” column narration.
As a fan of Sex and the City, I wish I loved this series, but it’s disappointing.
Middle-Aged Women Have Sexuality
One of the more successful aspects of And Just Like That Season 1 is that it shows middle-aged women characters and one non-gender binary character in their fifties and forties as gorgeous sexual beings. During the first three episodes, the only characters shown having sex are seventeen-year-old Brady Hobbes (Niall Cunningham) and his girlfriend, Luisa Torres (Cree Cicchino). The lack of sex among the main characters made me worried that they were erasing the “sex” in Sex and the City because the central trio is in their mid-fifties and therefore are no longer desirable in society’s eyes. Thankfully, King turned it around.
The prime example of the show embracing these middle-aged women’s sexuality is several scenes centering on Miranda and Che heavily making out or f*cking. There are a lot of issues with the Miranda and Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez) romance, but the scenes of them being sexually intimate or attracted to one another are not one of them. Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte openly speak about their sex lives and romantic relationships during their beloved brunches and lunches. Charlotte even gives her husband, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Chandler), a blow job in “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.” Sadly, there were more conceptual failures than triumphs in this Sex and the City sequel series.
A significant criticism of the original Sex and the City televisions series is that it’s very white and other than a couple of gay white male characters heteronormative. And Just Like That Season 1 went the wrong way trying to solve the lack of diversity. Michael Patrick King hired racially and sexually diverse writers, but they could not help him understand the modern age. So instead of creating deep, complex, queer, or POC characters, King decided to telegraph “woke” culture.
A significant example is Che, a non-gender binary Irish Mexican American stand-up comedian who is a superficial character. All of Che’s personality and dialogue harken back to the fact that they are non-gender binary. All the stand-up “jokes” that Che delivers are all about being non-gender binary, mostly ignoring that they are a person of color or might have other interests.
I understand that being non-gender binary could be an essential part of somebody’s personality. But it can’t be the only part. Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) from Billions is an excellent example of a complex non-gender binary character. Taylor always uses they/them pronouns and sometimes talks about their experience not fitting within the gender binary but is also a genius stockbroker who thinks outside of the box. Che could have been more than a token bisexual non-gender binary character of color.
Che is mainly used as a vehicle for Miranda and Carrie’s storylines. They lead Miranda to explore her sexuality and leave a sexless marriage with Steve Brady (David Eigenberg).
Che shutting down their podcast in the season finale led to Carrie creating her new call-in romantic relationship podcast called “Sex and the City.” They educate all the women about LGBTQ Plus culture. Che doesn’t get a story arc or character growth; they do drastic egoistical things to foil or enable Miranda or Carrie’s choices.
The Indian Carrie
My final grip with the depiction of the diverse characters is that all the women of color who befriend Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda are mostly weak echoes of the main characters. Black documentarian Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker) is a type A-personality Manhattan PSTA mother. She runs her children’s schooling and husband’s social life like her new best friend, Charlotte.
In episode eight, Lisa and Charlotte have a public argument with their husbands at different times before the other married couple. Many fans think Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) is the Samantha replacement, but I beg to differ. Carrie and Seema are elegant, independent women who love fashion, drinking, smoking, and are seeking love.
The main differences are their races and jobs. Seema is an Indian Real Estate agent, while Carrie is a White sex writer. It’s too bad that King and the other writers couldn’t have created unique three-dimensional characters who were not plot tools for the three main White characters.
Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) has an independent infertility storyline but is still like her new close friend Miranda. The two women are career-driven lawyer activists and not sure about wanting children. Nya and Miranda even both struggle in their marriage this season. They want different things than their husbands. Michael Patrick King’s aspiration to be woke is noble, but he missed the mark.
Missing Carrie’s Narration
And Just Like That Season 1 is missing the magic of the original series partly because the creatives erased Carrie’s narration. Sex and the City episodes was structured around Carrie’s “Sex and the City” columns. Carrie’s narration simulated her writing the column and was weaved throughout every episode. In And Just Like That Season 1, she no longer writes a sex column or creates independent work. The Sex and the City universe is an ensemble piece. But Carrie’s point of view is essential because she is our window into the upper crust Manhattan world.
And Just Like That feels flat without the narration, especially since we get a small taste of it at the end of every episode. For example, in the second episode, Carrie’s voice-over says, “And just like that, I learned how long five hours are.”
The poignancy of these tiny bits of narration leads me to want more. And it also reminds me of how alive all the original Sex and the City episodes felt. There is also no explanation for why Carrie narrates the last scene of every episode since she is no longer writing a column.
I believe Carrie creating a podcast or vlog throughout the whole season to act as a “modern” version of her sex column would have added a much-needed strong point of view and sparked the magic of the original series. The narration could be part of the podcast episode or a vlog where Carrie discussed sex, grief, all kinds of relationships, and romance in general.
Perhaps Carrie’s narration will be back in full force in the second season. Because she just launched a new romantic relationship advice podcast called “Sex and the City.”
And Just Like That Last Thoughts
Would you watch And Just Like That Season 2? I’m not personally sure, though; my love of Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda might tempt me back to another season.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.