What I’m Obsessed With: “And Just Like That...”
San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.
What I’m obsessed with: “And Just Like That...” the new “Sex and the City” reboot currently streaming on HBO Max. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Why? Not to age myself, but I was in college when the original “SATC” aired. At the time, my girlfriends and I were enamored with the show. Even though we were younger than the ladies onscreen, their lives were aspirational. It was all so impossibly glamorous. These women had careers and lives that didn’t completely revolve around men. It was the first example I’d ever seen of a show where the women were the core, and their friendships were the most important thing, not their romantic relationships. They taught us it was okay for women to view sex “the way men did” and to enjoy being single. It was a cultural phenomenon that resonated with my friend group and with so many others.
So to say the show had an impact on me is an understatement. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, but I knew that when I was, I’d sit at a fancy bar and order a Cosmo while wearing a nameplate necklace, an oversized flower broach and fabulous shoes, surrounded by my equally fabulous girlfriends.
After the show went off the air, I dutifully watched the two feature-length films as they came out — even though they didn’t do the show justice, in my opinion. The movies reinforced the notion of not needing to fix things that weren’t broken. Let the show’s legacy live on and stop trying to ruin it with subpar (and honestly, problematic) movies.
But when I heard about this reboot, titled “And Just Like That...,” I was surprisingly hopeful. Maybe it’s because the show’s announcement came in January of 2021, when life still felt so bleak. I didn’t realize just how much I’d missed my friends, these characters. Seeing the ladies together again — sans Samantha (Kim Cattrall controversially chose not to return to the series) — brought me back to 2001, sitting in my dorm room on a Sunday night with my girlfriends, ready to watch the adventures of Carrie and pals as they conquered New York City.
Don’t all reboots suck? Yes, but this one sucks a little less. At the time of this writing, four of the 10 episodes of “AJLT” have aired. And while I went in with reasonable (aka, somewhat low) expectations, I have to say, I really love this reboot. As a huge fan of the original, I’m biased, but “AJLT” reminds me of why I fell in love with the show in the first place.
The snappy dialogue is still there, with the same risqué double entendres that defined the first series. Of course, the chic fashions are still on display. I loved these characters 20 years ago and I love them now, in this new, more mature stage of life.
Where are we now? The women are all grappling with the usual mid-life issues: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is suddenly a widow (bet the producers are glad they killed off Mr. Big in the first episode, given the slate of sexual assault charges leveled against actor Chris Noth). She’s grieving and coming to terms with her marriage to Big. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is raising two teens, one of whom is experiencing gender identity issues. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) finds herself going back to school as an adult while her sexless marriage to Steve (David Eigenberg) flounders.
In fact, Miranda’s struggle to fit in with her woke younger classmates is an apt metaphor for the show: Times have certainly changed, and the ladies are just trying to keep up.
Why I like it: The critical and cultural response to the reboot have been mixed, as is expected. Some of the plotlines are cringe — see: Miranda’s son Brady’s robust sex life. Or Carrie’s new job as the “cis White woman” on a podcast. Or the absence of the iconic Samantha, who was such an integral character on the show.
Is “And Just Like That...” great television? Not necessarily. But I would argue that the first iteration of the show, as beloved as it was, wasn’t necessarily “great” television either. The writing could be corny; the plotlines could be clunky. There was little to no diversity. But the characters were captivating enough that the original show surpassed those criticisms. And the focus on female friendship — which can sometimes be dismissed in media — felt refreshing. It was an absolute force, and for those diehard fans of the original like me, this reboot scratches that itch.
Twenty years later, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte are still best friends living their lives together in the big city. The message is clear: Men may come and go, but some friendships can last forever.
“And Just Like That...” is now streaming on HBO Max. New episodes drop every Thursday.
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