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And Just Like That…

HBO Max, December 9, 2021

Dec 09, 2021 Photography by Craig Blankenhorn / HBO Max Web Exclusive
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This review includes spoilers from the first four episodes.

There is a lot to love, and to hate, in the Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…, named after one of the much repeated, and cheesy voiceover lines from the original. The 10 episodes of the series run a generous 45 minute each—love, with two apiece airing each week on Thursday—hate, we want them all at once, so we can rip off that band-aid and move on.

Three-quarters of iconic characters are back: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon)—love. One quarter, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is not—hate. The missing piece is dealt within the first few minutes of the first episode: Samantha moved to London after Carrie no longer needed her services as a publicist? Uh, wut? Was Carrie actually paying Samantha for her services? If their deep friendship was based on a business transaction, that was certainly not the impression that was given through Sex and the City‘s six seasons and two films—hate.

It goes without saying that anything Sex and the City is renowned for its style, of all kinds. Hair on point, makeup on point, and the interiors, particularly of Carrie’s and Big’s enviable expanse of an apartment, are jaw-droppingly stunning—love. But what is going on with these clothes? Every character is wearing these ballooning sleeves that are so huge, they could stick their arms out and take flight—hate. And why is Carrie wearing such weird hats? That gravy boat on her gorgeous mermaid locks in the first scene and that other one she had hanging down her back with the straps in a later episode, what was going on with those—hate.

A high-profile series that focuses on that forgotten demographic of women in their mid-50s—love. Constantly reminding people that you’re in your mid-50s—hate. Making Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda clueless about the evolution in society—weed has been legal for a while now—and having them repeatedly put their feet in their mouths as they say offensive things to the non-white, non-cisgender and younger characters, going as far as having Miranda refer to the audience at a queer comedy show as “alternative”—hate.

Introducing a cross-section of different types of recurring characters—love. Feeling like the series creators had a checklist of representation token boxes to check off: only women of color and their partners (check), queer non-binary person (check), sex-forward Zoomers (check), it’s all trying way too hard—hate.

Even though she was a sex columnist, a progressive position in the ‘90s, Carrie was always conservative about her sex life and even more so when it came to discussing it, other than in third-person when she wrote about it—love. Trying to force Carrie to be something other than who she is as she steps into the modern era as part of a raunchy podcast—hate. When Carrie doesn’t compromise who she is but meets the podcast co-hosts with her patented brand of zingers—love.

If you’re looking for sex, there isn’t much, except Miranda’s son Brady and his girlfriend, who keep their tops on while they have very loud sex next door to the parents—hate.

And Just Like That…leans on the drama rather than the comedy. As the series moves through its episodes, it deals with serious issues: death, alcoholism, racism, sexual identity—Miranda is clearly going to hook up with Carrie’s non-binary podcast partner, she set that up when she said she and Steve haven’t had sex in years. Sex and the City faces a fair few serious issues itself but they were spaced out through the seven years of the series and were laced with a flippancy that took away from the gravity of the issues—hate. And Just Like That… addresses these issues with a lot more respect bringing a deserved weightiness to the matters, which are explored over the course of the 10 episodes and not resolved in under half an hour—love. The overarching cringing “wokeness” of it all—hate.

Miranda’s exhausting crusading, Charlotte’s exhausting parenting, Steve’s borderline incomprehensible accent, Harry’s clinging to his youth (was he ever young?), Carrie’s sliding back into comfortable, if reductive patterns—hate. Each one of the main character’s developing a close friendship with a person of color—eye roll. Sitting through all that for the moments that these people of color: Che (Sara Ramirez), Seema (Sarita Choudhury), Nya (Karen Pittman) and LTW (Nicole Ari Parker) are on screen, plus décor to die for—love. (www.hbomax.com/series/andjustlikethat)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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Average reader rating: 2/10



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