I can’t organize them into anything that flows nicely, so here are my hot takes in a bulleted list. God, I love a bulleted list.
-That opening restaurant scene of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte eating was bizarre. Most of Carrie’s lines were stupid one-liners that felt like punchlines and completely removed from an actual conversation. Feels like the writers are having a hard time replicating the witty banter and patter that the four women used to enjoy.
-First off, BRAVO to Kim Cattrall for setting a boundary, moving on professionally, and never looking back. Although WE MISS AND NEED SAMANTHA and the script shows that. The explanation for her absence is that she moved to London after Carrie fired her as a publicist and Carrie says a line about how Samantha ditched her as a friend after Carrie stopped “being her personal ATM.” Oh girl. No. This line feels like SJP talking about Kim Cattrall straight up. From my understanding, during casting of season 1 of the show way back when, SJP, Nixon, and Davis were all ready to rock and Cattrall was the lone hold-out (she’s more of a film actress). The powers-that-be SATC wanted Cattrall SO badly to play Samantha but she wasn’t sure. SJP was set up as Executive Producer from the start and Cattrall had some leverage, so asked if she could also have some sort of Producer or Exec Producer role but was turned down. She took the role anyway and, from what I have heard, revisited this topic a few times over the years when salaries were being renegotiated. Totally normal—that happens in ANY job. I do NOT understand why a franchise that was SUCH an ensemble piece didn’t end up doing collective bargaining (like the cast of FRIENDS during that same era) but they didn’t and only SJP got to be Executive Producer. Curious. Then, somehow through the passage of time, the story gets twisted into Kim Cattrall is a money-grubber and a line about “personal ATM” get thrown in. How tacky.
AND SECOND THING concerning this whole aspect, is that Samantha would NEVER ghost her friends like that and, most important, Samantha Jones PR would NEVER take on Carrie Bradshaw as a client in the first place! CAN YOU FEEL ME SEETHING ABOUT THIS?? Samantha represented hotels, venues, BIG DEALS (and, well, one bratty teenager one time but I digress)--not columnists turned authors turned podcast hosts. So I reject the foundation of the storyline entirely.
AND FINALLY, as far as storylines go, I feel like Cattrall got the short end of the stick with her character’s storylines for EONS. She didn’t have clauses in her contract about “no nudity” (whereas some of the other women did and, again, you have to wonder if there was a sense of her feeling like, “oh wait, you guys all negotiated no nudity but nobody told anybody else about it?”) so Cattrall had to stay in great shape for 6 seasons and 2 films. Then, also, her character got stories that felt mean-spirited to me. A sampling of Samantha’s storylines from the later years that are mostly humiliating: Samantha got FAT (SATC movie) Samantha’s having hot flashes and going through menopause (SATC II). As Cattrall said in an interview with Piers Morgan, she has explored the character of Samantha thoroughly and made an empowered decision to move onto new project and new ventures. Bless. This is a classic situation in which the person who is the odd-man-out and feels attacked (Cattrall) tries to defend herself and yet somehow SHE is painted as the problem, the loose cannon, the “bitter woman” when, in fact, it seems as if EVERYONE ELSE was being stunningly cruel and insensitive to HER! I experienced the same situation when I left the world of improv and left Boston in a now-defunct theater company. It’s infuriating and it’s amazing how quick the rumor mill writes you off as “difficult” when you’re actually the victim of some adult bullying. Anyhoo—JUST MY TWO CENTS HERE LOL!!
-It’s interesting to watch the lines that WOULD HAVE BEEN Samantha’s bon mots get sent over to Stanford who handles them beautifully, but you can just FEEL the energy of “oh that moment of levity would have been handed to Samantha in episodes’ past.”
-Remember how in the first SATC movie, Miranda was the one who sort of “fucked up” and set off the chain of events that ended with Big not showing up to the wedding? Just after the rehearsal dinner at Buddakan (a place that the Sex & the City bus tour STOPS AT and where I once went on a dinner date with a guy who I’m convinced was recently out of jail and in the mafia) when Steve showed up (after having cheated on Miranda) and Steve and Miranda had words, then Miranda said, “you’re crazy to get married” to Big? Well, it’s funny to watch the wheel of blame keep on turning (and BRAVO to Samantha for jumping off) because this time around, it’s Charlotte who is to blame! She wanted the gals at Lily’s piano recital which meant that Carrie couldn’t be home when Big had his heart attack. Just struck me as interesting—like a song from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians—the wheel keeps on turning and turning and turning and…
-Miranda’s cringey, clueless, well-intentioned-white-woman-who-actually-does-more-harm-than-good scenes are SO PAINFUL to watch and I really hope that in the next 8 episodes, we land somewhere useful with all of this.
-Nicole Ari Parker plays Lisa Todd Wexley (a character that Anthony calls “Black Charlotte” which sorta stunned me) has the absolute BEST costumes and jewelry of the entire franchise. I feel naked wearing my rinky-dink statement jewelry next to her beautiful pieces and presentation.
-Trying to push this franchise into the year 2021 feels HARD and CLUMSY but I’m curious to see where they go with all of it. I DO give them a lot of credit for admitting that while Carrie’s column was the OG ‘sex’ column of NYC, she’s actually quite bashful about the stuff and not as “sex-positive” as one would expect in today’s cultural climate. The way that the ladies talked about sex in the show, while pioneering in its era, mostly used humor and deflection to avoid facing crude topics head-on (“The In-The-Butt Guy” and “Funky Spunk” and silly jokes about vibrators, fake nipples). So I found the podcast scene (“Do you masturbate? Have you had sex in public?”) to be fascinating because, yeah, Carrie gets really uncomfortable there and that is true to her character. Her column, though it was called Sex & the City, was really a column about dating, not sex quite as much.
-Did anyone else feel like Carrie was more devastated by Big standing her up on their wedding day than she was about HIM DYING?
-I LOVED LOVED LOVED the blonde woman who, at Big’s funeral, says, “am I the only one who remembers what a prick he was to her?” AMEN, lady! Also, I know that face. Was she married to the guy who developed a big crush on Charlotte… or was it Carrie? And their newlywed marriage broke up? It was a small storyline in 1 episode early on but I remember her face and voice.
-Why is a lifelong pot smoker like Che smoking a bowl WITH A LIGHTER like it’s 1999 and we’re out past curfew in the woods? They should be hitting a frigging vape or a one hitter—come on! Even I know that and I’m a 40-something who can’t function if I so much as walk through a cloud of secondhand pot smoke!
-It cracks me up that the title is AND JUST LIKE THAT because that phrase was one thing I disliked about the show so majorly. It’s a euphemism much like, “next thing I know” that covers up what ACTUALLY happened and makes everything seem easy. Or have I just heard too many obnoxious stories about how some giant celebrity wasn’t even TRYING to be famous but they tagged along to a casting call with their cousin “and next thing I know, I’m walking the runway in Milan” or some shit. Ya know? The cultural obsession with obfuscating how FUCKING HARD things can be is so tired. Man, I am in a MOOD today, huh?? HA!
-The franchise has long been derided for its lack of diversity and, man, they are TRYING to make improvements there and I want to give them time to show us more. Often if feels like a tricky task: “Hey, please change your show to more fully showcase the diversity of New York City.” Then when the show does that, there’s a sense of, “NOT LIKE THAT!” I’m going to give them a chance—I’m hopeful that Miranda’s character can grow and learn and that all of the great, new faces we’re seeing, will get some solid storylines and scenes.
-I DO NOT believe that Miranda P. Hobbes, Esquire and Steve “my mother is the President of Catholicism” Brady would EVER let their teen son fuck his girlfriend in their home! Perhaps I’m Pollyanna AF but that tidbit blew my mind and grossed me out. Also, does the son seem to be PRETENDING to be getting laid so as to annoy his parents? Listen, I was a weird, angry teenager, too, but I never JOKINGLY insinuated that I was humping in my bedroom. If this is a joke—I don’t get it.
-ALL THIS SAID, it is nice to be back among friends walking the lovely streets of summertime NYC. It’s nice to see these women we love who are now in their 50s learning things, growing, and rolling with changing social mores. I will forever love SJP for not being a supermodel and yet, still being the main character of a legendary, iconic franchise beloved by so many. Perhaps that sounds rude, though I mean it as a compliment and a source of inspiration. They didn’t cast a literal model and have her learn how to act. They cast a lifelong professional actress (she was ANNIE on Broadway, for crying out loud) whose looks some troglodytes have insulted and paraded her around as the Queen Bee of NYC and I absolutely love Sex & the City for it.
So, I’m hopeful, dear readers. There are 8 more episodes of this season and I hope that the new chapter can settle into a solid rhythm and style. In homage to Miranda’s cringey and problematic scenes so far, I’m ending this blog post PROBLEMATIC AS HELL and saying this: Much like Chapelle said when he hosted SNL right after Trump was elected (I WARNED YOU), I’m hopeful and I’m going to give ‘em a chance.
Also, while I have your attention, there is still time to buy a candle set from my candle collab with Wax Cabin Candle Company! Makes a lovely holiday gift! Check them out here.