And Just Like That… Here Are All Our Thoughts From the First Two Eps of the SATC Reboot
**This article contains spoilers from the first two episodes of And Just Like That…**
Before I dust off my recap hat and dive into the first episode of And Just Like That, I want to state the obvious. We did not need this and we did not ask for this.
Yes, revisiting Sex and the City over the next few weeks will be a thrill. In the same way that seeing a friend from a time in your life that was high energy but slightly toxic and full of love is. I know I’ll enjoy it. But did we need it? No. I’m of the firm believe that Friends did it best. It was a show that was iconic for the era it was written in, but it has certainly not aged well. Thankfully, it’s not been rebooted and has not tried to drag itself into 2021.
Problematic at best and harmful at worst, Sex and the City is broadly loved for existing in a time where the stories in the episodes felt brand new. Stories that told women that life doesn’t stop when you turn 30. That living in a big city and renting and dating and, yes, sometimes spending beyond our means, is part of living and being an adult.
As for And Just Like That? I’ve wondered how HBO was going to revive a series that’s already been rebooted twice, was deeply racist and insensitive in its last movie and had a third film canned.
So that’s the sentiment I’ll be bringing to these recaps over the next few weeks. An equally critical, compassionate, and yes, cringey look at what exactly happens when we head back to New York City for the new era of Sex and the City. Let’s recap!
Episode One: Hello It’s Me
I expected And Just Like That to start with the same montage the first movie did, to catch us up on what the women had been up to since we last saw them. Instead, we get a Carrie squeal from the jump and a nod to COVID and, my god, I’m hoping is the last pandemic mention we get.
The question on all our lips is answered immediately, for which I’m grateful. “She’s no longer with us,” Charlotte awkwardly tells Bitsy von Muffling when asked where Samantha is. They clarify that she hasn’t died but has moved to London, but the whole thing hits a weird note when you know Kim Catrall has had a real-life falling out with Sarah Jessica Parker. It makes it sound extra salty and we know the whole scene is for us. I’m not super sure they’ve pulled this off, but alas, we continue.
Miranda tells the girls about stepping on a used condom in Brady’s room, to signal to us that time has indeed passed. Brady is basically an adult now, or at least, of sex-having age. Meanwhile, we’re now officially old but apparently so is he.
During the same brunch, Charlotte proves what we all already knew, and that is, she’s the worst. Shaming Miranda for having grey hair because it . . . Ages her? Absolutely not okay.
After the hellish brunch, Carrie and Miranda take a walk through the city and with Radio City sparkling in the background, they finally speak in more detail about why Samantha moved to London and, I have to admit, they handle the topic with some semblance of class. The first “she’s no longer with us” had me assuming they’d throw her under the bus at every chance, so it’s a relief when they explain that when Carrie fired her as a publicist, Samantha fired her (and apparently, the rest of them) as a friend.
The show isn’t pretending that Samantha and Carrie weren’t closer than the others (we always knew their friendship was special) and Samantha being offended by being let go as Carrie’s publicist tracks — I’d be hurt, too. It’s early days, but it does feel like they’re leaving the door open for Catrall to return in the future, which also means we’re 100% getting a second season of this, aren’t we?
Once we exit Charlotte’s apartment (I refuse to talk about it), we find Carrie strolling into her equally fancy but chic apartment and she calls out to Mr Big, who gives us our first “hey, kid”. I’ll say this: Seeing two people in their 50s and 60s live a relaxing and happy life, in the best city in the world, sans kids, and with a huge, gorgeous record collection, sparks joy.
In the ’90s, SATC showed women they could be single and happy in their 30s and I like that they’re now showing us we can also be child-free in our 50s and still have a full life. So far, in these very early moments of the reboot, I do believe we’re seeing an accurate representation of how Carrie and Big’s relationship would have progressed in the real world. Instead of a volatile, love bombing, and frankly, toxic relationship like the one we watched for six seasons (and two movies that we won’t speak of again), we finally get to see them relaxed into their love. We truly do love to see it.
Oh, no. MIRANDA. No, no, no, no. If you’ve watched the episode, I’m sure you also just spent two entire minutes yelling at your television for Miranda to shut her mouth during her first class at school. It’s interesting that we get two scenes back-to-back, showing the different ways Miranda and Carrie are operating in 2021. While Carrie is on her podcast, appearing to have learned her lesson somewhat from the shitshow that was the second Sex and the City movie, Miranda makes racist comments about her professor, Dr Nya Wallace (played by Yellowstone and The Morning Show’s Karen Pittman), compares her own grey hair to Nya’s protective hairstyle as though they’re even slightly the same, and also assumes the pronouns of her classmate.
The microaggressions aren’t so micro in this scene and, of course, that’s how it’s intended to be. The writers want us to feel uncomfortable and they want us to see how inappropriate this behaviour is. Only time will tell whether they handle this topic in a tasteful way.
And yet. Oh, Carrie. Already, within the first half of the first episode, Carrie has shied away from any talk of sex on her podcast, which only serves to remind us that Carrie was never sexually awakened. For a sex columnist who thought she was sexually free, she is actually just a bit of a judgemental prude. There, I said it.
This is also just the first of many times I’ll admit I was wrong. Maybe she hasn’t learned anything since Abu Dhabi.
I refuse to talk about the Mr Big masturbation scene. MOVING ON.
We’ve arrived at Lilly’s piano recital and I’ll say it again for any of my friends who think they could ever ask me to attend an event like this: it’s gonna be a hard pass for me. As someone who sat through many years of friends’ dance concerts in high school out of politeness and a lack of self-preservation, my own future children will be lucky if I attend their performances.
Then Carrie goes home to Big. Again, if you’ve watched, you know what’s coming. I don’t really know what to say about it except that the symbolism of Carrie’s wedding Manolos getting ruined in the shower stream, while her marriage is shattered and, with it, her life. Whew. it’s a lot.
In the final moments of the episode, Carrie’s trademark narration comes back (something that was missing throughout this episode) in the most gutting moment to say, “And just like that . . . Big died”.
Episode 2: Little Black Dress
Oh no. The aftermath of Big’s death might be more than I can handle. The flashbacks of their first meeting, the realisation that she’ll never have a back rub from Big again. The Paramedics taking him away.
It’s following the death of Big that I really hold out hope that Samantha will come back, even if only for the funeral. That said, it seems accurate that Miranda would be the first person to arrive at Carrie’s door, and she would be the one to sleep on Big’s side of the bed for the first time. But organising the funeral and dealing with the overwhelm that comes with that? Verbally slapping Charlotte to remind her that Carrie does not need her to fall apart in a spectacularly selfish fashion right now? Telling Stanford to not be rude to Big’s long-time secretary, Gloria? That would have been Samantha.
So, while their explanation of why Samantha wasn’t in the show made sense in the first few minutes of episode one, this is where the story falls short. Because she always would have come back for this. It would have been this moment (Big’s death) that brought the four of them back together.
Of course, the flowers are a beautiful gesture and you better believe I got full-body chills when Carrie slides out that card and sees it’s from Samantha. It’s a lovely nod. But was it enough? No.
Aside from the gaping, Samantha-shaped hole in the story, Big’s funeral is perhaps the most true-to-form moment of the revival so far, for me. With Stanford being horrible to Gloria, Bitsy repeatedly saying she “knows” how Carrie feels, and brash Susan Sharon basically yelling, mid-service, that she remembered how much of a prick Big was, before telling Carrie she forgives her.
Oddly, from here, it all feels a bit more authentic. While the movies always felt like a SATC-themed fever dream, AJLT becomes increasingly tragic and therefore accurate to the original show (I mean that with love). Charlotte is being selfish, in her own insufferable-but-I-suppose-loving way and Stanford is genuinely funny instead of awful, which feels like the right sentiment given he is such a beloved character, just like Willie Garson, the late actor who portrayed him.
I know I’ve largely ignored Miranda in this episode and that’s for a good reason: her character is. . . not good. Miranda may have been done dirty here or maybe it’s how she really would have been by this stage in her life, but it’s just uncomfortable.
Miranda’s basically an uptight Karen-turned white saviour who jumps from one cringe-worthy statement to the next, offending any and all new people she meets, while peppering in being rude to bartenders.
Through both episodes, I kept asking myself after every misstep, whether that was the moment Miranda went too far. Then it happened. It was when she pouted this to her 17-year-old son, Brady: “Ohhh, you felt sad. Well, maybe I should kill myself so you can try crack?” The only redeeming moments were when she batted the thieving Chucky doll away from Nya on the subway platform and when Che Diaz (Carries pod-boss) apologised for giving her underage son weed (fair) and said it was kind of impressive, the way she turned into a silverback “mama bear” after telling Che she’d rip her head off (fine, okay, maybe also fair).
But as the closing credits rolled on the second episode of And Just Like That . . . I couldn’t help but wonder. Are they all just the worst?
(Sorry, I’ll see myself out now. See you next ep!)
You can watch the first two episodes of And Just Like That on BINGE right now, and new episodes dropping every Thursday.