And Just Like That…

AJLT Surprised Me With My Own Hopes for a Second Season

Like the millions who have tuned in to watch And Just Like That, the new Sex and the City reboot, it absolutely had its ups and downs for me.

All these years later, we could never expect the women to be who they were when the show (or movies) left off, it had to be different… life changes us. And the new series title should have implied big changes… And just like that is an indicator that things have changed, or that something has shifted, right? It happens. I would hope they had evolved.

From tenor.com

As a woman of their same age bracket, I would hope they are not still clubbing and cocktailing every night, chasing men, no sense of self. We couldn’t expect the characters to not have matured, changed, or grown. So I don’t harbor some of the disdain for change that I’ve read elsewhere. The way some of it was handled? Yes. The change itself, no.

Aside from time and change, the writers had significant real-world, behind the scenes issues that had to be handled in the storyline; specifically, the passing of sweet Willie Garson, the scandal that now plagues Chris Noth, and of course, the decision by Kim Catrall to not return for the reboot.

What Worked for Me

Anthony is Better than Ever.
Anthony has been a part of the ladies lives for some time, and seeing this 2022 Anthony is one of my new favorite things. He and Carrie’s friendship is fantastic… the phone conversations, the plastic surgeon visit, and his trademark bluntness with her when she needed it, there’s a great chemistry in their friendship. I also particularly like his new business (can we get a second location in Chicago?), and his relationship with Lily and Rock. He’s still got the snide, snarky side I loved, but it’s been great to see the heart inside the man.

Charlotte is Not Being Portrayed Like Some Cartoon .. As Much
I don’t know if it’s Lisa Todd Wexley’s influence in her life, the constant steadiness that is Harry, or the maturity that comes with age and motherhood, but Charlotte has largely won me back. She lost me on and off over the years, worst of all in the second movie. It was as if she had checked her brain at the door and swiped it for that teetering, god-awful laugh she had while drinking with Miranda on the flight to Abu Dabi. Even for Charlotte, she had become way too Stepford.

Now some of that is just inherently Charlotte. And it’s why we love her. But it was saccharine overload. Now she is more … even keel? No, maybe just mature, and has finally found herself after all those years of searching for a husband and hanging her worth on one. This season, she had her fumbles, her mishaps, her need to be woke, but she also rose to the occasion as the season progressed. From the awkward birthday dinner at LTWs where her knowledge of art got her back on her feet (not to mention her support of LTW in a way that diffused the all too critical mother-in-law), Lily’s tampon insertion/removal struggles, to her standing her ground and taking control (and growing as a person in more ways than one!) at Rock’s They-Mitzvah. Granted, Charlotte started to snivel at times, especially with her “I failed as a mother” meltdown, until LTW gave her a verbal shake to wake her up to the woman she’s become. A solid, smart, strong woman, wife, and mother. Attagirl Char.

Carrie as a Podcaster
As the girls and the years do that evolution thing, it only makes sense that Carrie sign on with 2022 and be part of a podcast as a well known relationship author with a big fan base who wanted more of her. It’s a perfect move for her, in my mind, if done in tandem with her writing. We need more of her witticisms like we had in the show, and they often came through voice overs of her writing. (Although I don’t miss “I Couldn’t Help But Wonder”…)

Killing off Big
Weeks ago when the show began, I was stunned, heartsick, even livid at Big’s death. After all those years of investing in he and Carrie, to have it ripped away like this? No. Just… NO. But, as we all know, Chris Noth is in a life implosion at this point, and frankly, I couldn’t have watched him with any semblance of affection going forward. I’m still not sure how I’ll occasionally binge the reruns now… it certainly won’t be for the Jack Berger or Petrovsky radar-blips (thank God for the Aidan years). My goal at this point, now that Big is gone, is to remember the character, and look forward to Carrie moving on. (hello hot producer guy)

Side note: In reading some episode/season critiques, I remember one writer saying they were frustrated (paraphrasing) that Carrie hadn’t begun dating again in any real way this first season. Seriously? I mean come on, I’m clearly not missing Noth, but for all the years of loving Big, losing him repeatedly while still loving him, then finally having a life with him, only to permanently lose him, give me a break. I would have taken issue with her (at times) self-centeredness even more if she had just kept on trucking without a pause, and without obsessively talking about grief or loss. It was a pretty good depiction of normal after such a loss. And it was true to their history. Season two? Bring it on, and bring in the hot producer again… but not this season. The writers did justice to the story in my opinion.

What Didn’t Work for Me

This Almost Co-Dependent, Self-Abandoning, Needy Version of Miranda
The changes in Miranda are, to me, untrue to the fabric of the character we’ve known. She was never a needy, insecure mess at any other time in all the years we’ve known her, unless you count the time the cat ate Brady’s umbilical cord stem. She was never codependent, or whiny or insecure. She would have torn into her friends for abandoning their own lives, friendships, jobs, etc. for a relationship — in fact she did tear into them. Many times.

Sometimes she was judgemental, but Miranda was a strong, independent character who took no shit from anyone. Like I said, the women had to evolve, but this isn’t evolution. It’s… whatever the reverse of evolution is in terms of how she’s behaving. Miranda would ne-ver giggle-speak (let alone giggle at all) a line like “I’m in a romcom”. In fact she would have mocked it endlessly from the others. Miranda has become so very, very far from Miranda.

But my real problem is her hypocrisy... Or is it, in fact, hypocricy? Maybe shes finally getting a taste of what her friends have been living in their search for love? Che is maybe more her equal than any partner before and the power dynamic has shifted. Maybe this experience will open her eyes to her years of judgement and humble her a bit? Right now though, while I I do absolutely love Miranda, she has abandoned everything, even herself in some ways. It feels more like hypocrisy.

Why? Because of the affair itself after knowing how it felt when Steve cheated, and her almost casual attitude when telling Steve about it. It appeared to be so easy for her… she showed no remorse for her own infidelity after how she razed him when he had an affair? C’mon. He messed up, for sure, and he deserved the reaction he got, but for her to be so “ok” now with her own choices after how she handled his, it doesn’t work for me.

Dropping everything in her life to follow a romantic partner has never been Miranda, in fact she was the anti-follower over the years. Remember when Carrie was going to go to Paris with the Russian “indefinitely”? Incessantly telling her the mistake she was making, reprimanding her for giving up her life. Remember their argument on the street over Carrie’s decision? Do you really not see where I’m going with this, Miranda? Isn’t this pretty damn close to the same thing? It’s close enough that I can’t separate it.

Che has been abundantly clear that they cannot offer Miranda a “conventional” relationship. Miranda is 100% in with no thought to what that means to what she needs, how it will feel if this new structure is painful to her (she was warned and said “ok” without even asking for context from Che) or what it will do to her heart, as long as she’s with Che. She admonished Carrie more than once for taking whatever Big doled out, no questions asked, but now she’s on board in her own life.

From tenor.com

The other thing, the writers didn’t give enough backstory to Miranda’s attraction to someone nonbinary. I’m all for what makes each of us happy, that’s not it. It’s just very “left field” and the writers need to give it some context so that we aren’t all feeling whiplash. For all these years, we’ve watched her sleep with man after man (remember Walker Lewis? Swoon…), never once uttering the slightest question about her sexuality, let alone a second look at anyone who wasn’t a man. If I remember right, she was a hard pass on helping Carrie get her diaphragm out, ran for the hills when insecurity almost propelled her into a three-way, mocked Samantha for her *poof* sudden lesbianism with Maria, and was consistently written as a straight character. Hopefully the writers will delve into this backstory going forward to help make this not so out of nowhere.

A midlife crisis messes people up, to be sure. But Miranda has abandoned herself, her marriage, Steve, Brady, her internship, New York and her friends, all without hesitation. To be clear, I love Sara Ramirez. They are beautiful, talented, and truthfully, I think Che’s been a bit (ok a lot) vilified by the show’s audience. Bad comedian? Maybe. Bad person? Not in my estimation. It’s an affair, but let’s remember, Che didn’t know they were in an affair. They thought they were in an open relationship. And to their credit, when Che did realize the truth, they were a hard pass on being a homewrecker. Not who they are, and not happening. #integrity

I hope that season two will address the consequences of her choices, including Steve calling her out for not only her handling of things now, but for all the shitty ways she’s treated him over the years. There were times you could tell she truly loved him, but not enough of them. And this latest slap deserves, at the very least, one helluva clap-back from Steve. Their marriage may be over, she may truly be starting a whole new journey, but man, Steve owes her an earful.

The Mishandling of Sanford and Samantha’s Departure

From tenor.com

Samantha would not have just left over a professional falling out with Carrie. Burned? Bruised? Maybe. Not just gone though. It doesn’t wash. Not with the history of these four. They had their issues, but the worked through them together, steadfast and loyal, no matter what, for decades. The story is not plausible.

I will say this… Seema is someone I could absolutely see make me miss Samantha less by the second. In fact, she, Anthony (he needs to be a central fixture) LTW, and Nya already have in some ways. But Seema has a bit of Samantha in her, but with such fantastic presence. She is power, beauty, style, independence, success, sex-appeal, friendship, and class. She’s also got compassion, warmth, a love of family, and a heart that’s yearning for something she’s yet to find. Keep it coming, Sarita Choudhury, loving you already!

And poor Stanford. With (from what I’ve read) plans for he and Carrie’s friendship to be a more pivotal focus in the reboot, and so few people knowing he was sick, maybe the writers just didn’t have time to do better. I could have seen him divorcing Anthony, and perhaps taking time away to “heal”. Or perhaps he and Anthony were having problems, and “took a break” while Stanny and Samantha were on a PR trip together for this new client of Stanny’s whose popularity exploded overnight? He and Samantha were in (albeit on much different levels) similar industries, maybe he was over his head and she could help and gain her own A list co-client in the process?

Something for Stanny. Anything. I felt like this end to his story was far from doing justice to this beloved character.

Look. Here’s the thing: I am positive I don’t have any better ideas, ok? I have no clue how you effectively write out two so beloved, iconic characters that were part of the fabric of the show. But Samantha dropping Carrie over a professional issue? And Sanford chasing a client overseas? It just didn’t work. Why couldn’t Samantha’s PR services have gone global, perhaps warranting an overseas move for a couple years while fulfilling a contract? Maybe working for (not sleeping with) Richard to open more locations for his hotels? Like I said, I do not have a better idea, but there had to be something. The storyline of their spat isn’t true to the character.

Two things have surprised me in hindsight. First, as each episode played, I felt more of the things I didn’t like as I watched, not the ones I liked. Yet I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t not watch. I was annoyed as hell several times, but the show offered glimpses of the girls I loved, off to a bumpy enough return, but still leaving me wanting more.

I hope AJLT will be back, complete with Jackie, Nya, Che, LTW, and most definitely Seema (she is fantastic), and more of the women being older, wiser, more evolved, but still true to themselves. And if it is back, I’ll be watching.

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Small town girl, living in a small town world, trying to navigate life.

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BeccaW0603

BeccaW0603

Small town girl, living in a small town world, trying to navigate life.

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