HBO Max just announced today that the Sex and the City (SATC) reboot series And Just Like That… (AJLT) has been renewed for a second season. As a long-time SATC fan who saw both movies in the theater (and owns them on DVD along with all six-seasons) but suffered through AJLT, my initial response to the news… “Oh, God! No!”
IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE FIRST SEASON OF AND JUST LIKE THAT… STOP READING HERE! SPOILERS AHEAD!
While the first season of the HBO Max original series was airing each week, I struggled to even find the words to review each episode because I was trying to process what was playing out on-screen and off. Right now, my mind can’t even fathom how or why they would continue with a second season.
As fans, we knew going into the reboot that Kim Cattrall would not be reprising her role as Samantha Jones. Giving the series a new title did not change the fact that it wouldn’t feel right without Samantha. Yes, they mentioned her and kept the character involved but it just wasn’t the same. A lot of the “sex” in the original Sex in the City was Samantha but Ms. Jones also brought a bit of humor, sass and bluntness that was sorely missing from AJLT — well, except for Anthony Marentino (Mario Cantone). Thank God for Anthony!!
Speaking of Anthony, we also knew that his husband and Carrie’s gay bestie, Stanford Blatch (the late, great Willie Garson), would somehow be written out of the show. Willie Garson’s sudden passing broke all of our hearts and perhaps one of the positives of having AJLT is getting to see him onscreen one last time. I understand that the powers-that-be did not want to have Stanford die but how are they going to address the character in season two? Stanford would not cut off all communication with Carrie. Anthony did step up and become Carrie’s new gay bestie, in addition to being Charlotte’s, but it just wasn’t believable to have Stanford run-off, divorce Anthony and never contact Carrie again. They kept Samantha alive in the narrative through texts…will they do the same with Stanford?
So again, before the first episode aired, we knew we were losing these two big characters and there was the rumor of losing a particular BIG character as well. For years, there was talk that the third movie was going to start with Big (Chris Noth) dying. There was a collective sigh of relief that the third movie was scraped along with the storyline that many SATC fans dreaded. That dread crept back in when they announced a reboot. So what did the powers-that-be do to relieve the fears of die-hard fans? They lied to us. They misled us with “leaked” pages of the script that made it seem like Big and Carrie were having marital issues. They even filmed fake scenes around NY and Paris to throw fans off the scent of the real storyline.
However, the first scene featuring Carrie and Big in AJLT foreshadowed how that episode would play out — they were too happy. Big and Carrie appeared to finally have a healthy, happy marriage (aside from that cringey “I want to watch you masterbate” scene). Carrie and Big were NEVER in a healthy, happy relationship at any point in Sex and the City or the movies. Clear sign that it was all going to come crashing down.
Boy, did it ALL come crashing down. The first two episodes were released together so we lose Big and get his funeral hitting us all the same night/day (depending on when you watched it — I personally stayed up to watch it the minute it dropped on HBO Max). It was such a BIG deal that Peloton had to put out an ad (with the help of Ryan Reynolds and Chris Noth) to address the character’s death by heart attack after using their now infamous bike. Then days after that, several women come out with allegations against Chris Noth. The AJLT actresses released a statement in support of the women and the powers-that-be rushed to scrub the finale of any scenes with Noth.
I am not sure how other SATC fans felt about all that happening but I was heartbroken and in shock. The Carrie and Big love story is what hooked me on the show back in the 90s when it all started. I am still processing all of this.
So let’s move on to the other men in SATC, specifically Steve Brady (David Eigenberg). Steve’s story arc in AJLT is also heartbreaking. Steve was blindsided by Miranda when she confessed her affair and desire for a divorce. Does anyone else remember Miranda’s reaction when Steve revealed he had a one-night stand in the first movie and everything they went through to save their marriage? Steve was willing to forgive Miranda right away. And then when he tries to talk to Carrie about it — such a knife-to-the-gut kind of moment. Poor Steve. I think Harry (Evan Handler) is the only husband from the original series and movies that survives the reboot unscathed.
It was nice to finally have diversity and inclusivity introduced into the SATC world but it felt so forced. New York has such a diverse landscape that it should have just been natural to introduce new characters without making them stand-out so much. It felt like “Hey, look what we did. We added this and this and this and this.” It’s like they were working off a “How to Be Diverse and Inclusive” checklist.
Maybe AJLT would have been better if it had focused on the new characters and their stories. The bits of background that we did get for the new characters felt like teasers for what could possibly be a really good series — Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker) with her overbearing mother-in-law (think Bunny 2.0); Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) with her fertility issues and Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) breaking from her cultural expectations, much to her parents dismay. These characters deserve to be front and center for season two. Let the legacy characters take the backseat of the NYC cabs before their “legacies” are obliterated.
There is one new character that could be eliminated from season two all together — Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez). It pains me to write that because I love, love, love Sara Ramírez but I am not a fan of Che. Season one ended with Che in Los Angeles ready to film a pilot for their own series. Hopefully their pilot gets picked up and Che remains in Los Angeles. Che did propel Carrie into a new career as a podcaster and served as a catalyst for Miranda’s new life narrative so they were important in season one but what could they add to season two? Think of the story arc possibilities if the next season starts with Miranda returning to NYC heartbroken (season one started with Carrie heartbroken).
Overall, I am in shock the series was renewed for a second season. The finale worked as an ending. Carrie back on the bridge in Paris — parallel to the SATC series finale. But I can’t help but wonder, maybe Kim Cattrall was right. The Sex and the City story had run its course. It didn’t need a reboot. Some would argue it didn’t even need the second movie. The reboot really doesn’t need a second season.
Will I watch the second season? I’m not sure. I still haven’t watched the And Just Like That… The Documentary.