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And Just Like That is accurately portraying comedians as "annoying" via Sara Ramirez's Che Diaz

  • "One of the most popular archetypes that has emerged in film and television during the last 15 years or so is Sad Funny Guy," says Olivia Craighead. "You’ve almost certainly seen something whose protagonist falls into this category. Imagine a TV show or movie about a comedian who, plot twist, has a dark inner life or, alternately, is revealed to have been the victim of some tragedy or, god forbid, childhood trauma. He also fucks a lot, but poorly. That’s the joke. Did you think of Funny People? Or Louie? Or Crashing? Or The Big Sick? Or, tangentially, Master of None? Those are all Sad Funny Guy tentpoles. The goal of this archetype is to show the comedian as a full person. Because, you know, when we (regular people) encounter comedians on stage, they are hilarious rays of light with the power to make us spit out the first gin and tonic of a two-drink minimum. But once they leave the stage? They have a darkness that the rest of the world doesn’t see. This is the kind of thing Aristotle was talking about in Poetics. What this archetype hints at, and almost always avoids committing to, is that a comedian’s number one trait is being annoying. In that way, And Just Like That is one of the only pieces of media to get it right (Joker being the other). You might spend most of an episode thinking, 'If Che Diaz says one more thing I’m going to turn off my television,' but that just means that Sara Ramirez is giving the performance of their career. And you should be thankful — in real life, you can’t turn a comedian off." Craighead adds that "Che Diaz is the most accurate portrayal of a stand-up comedian I’ve seen on screen since The King of Comedy. Unlike other entertainers, comedians want to be famous not for playing fictional characters but for being themselves — or at least the version of themselves they choose to share with an audience who is not allowed to talk back. They want to be known for their face and their voice and what they have to say. It is the politician of arts careers, and as we all know politician sits right up there with tech CEO on the list of people you wouldn’t want at a dinner party."


    • What is And Just Like That getting out of the Che character?: "It’s easy to dismiss Che because the character has been written as this jumble of traits to serve a bunch of plot purposes," says Jackson McHenry. "But to be fair to the series, it’s easy to see why the writers wanted a character who could come in and mix up the dynamics of Carrie and Miranda’s lives. Che provides some of the reboot’s more embarrassing scenes, the kind that are necessary for the sort of social awkwardness that the original series thrived on. Miranda ignoring her friend’s needs while getting fingered is a situation that demonstrates her fallibility, and it also leads to her defending herself with the line: 'It wasn’t an affair, it was a finger!' That is a pretty funny line! But let’s not give And Just Like That … too much credit. Yes, Che has provided some of the more enthrallingly weird scenes in the show, but all without being given much internal consistency as a person. Take the next step, And Just Like That … writers, and extend the humiliations outward from the trio of returning stars. Let their new friends also embarrass themselves and reveal their weird needs and anxieties in the process. Otherwise, Che’s going to remain this unknowable, non-binary yet two-dimensional question mark."
    • And Just Like That fans complain Che Diaz feels more like a caricature than a real person: “From using the ‘Woke Moment’ button on their godawful podcast to using online lingo in verbal conversations, Che seems like they are a manifestation of an overzealous conservative who thinks nonbinary people are a particularly irritating Twitter account come to life,” said one fan.
    • Steve’s storyline was inspired by David Eigenberg’s real-life struggle with hearing loss: “When (showrunner) Michael Patrick (King) reconnected with David Eigenberg about the show, the very first thing that David said was, ‘I got hearing aids.’ It was literally what he led with,” And Just Like That writer Elisa Zuritsky tells Vanity Fair. “That actually wound up being Steve’s tone about his aging.” 
    • Steve deserves better: "Sadly, And Just Like That … does not seem too interested in exploring how that very kind and patient young Steve has matured," says Danielle Cohen. "Where even is Steve in this show? He pops up briefly in episode one, during which we learn he is now nearly deaf (played only for laughs) and their son, Brady, can’t stop having sex. The next time we see him, he’s patiently letting Miranda drone on about the health benefits of chia seeds, which for some reason they’re putting on ice cream (sad)."
    • And Just Like That has infantilized Steve and Miranda: "For me, the moment when Miranda spontaneously proposes to Steve over cheap beers, seemingly surprised by her own desire, is the most romantic moment in the entire show," says Kayleigh Donaldson. "When the first film had Steve cheat on Miranda, it was the first sign that these characters’ lives after the series were being needlessly set adrift by the showrunner. Now, in And Just Like That…, Steve is barely a character. We know nothing about his own life outside of the shell of a marriage he now has with Miranda. They haven’t had sex in years and he’s losing his hearing, a quality that seems to be his only defining trait in this new show. Miranda, meanwhile, is going through her own journey with her sexuality following a passionate encounter with Che (Sara Ramirez.) Many fans have seen Miranda as something of a queer icon for years and imagined a plausible future where she found love with someone other than a man. The way this narrative is taking shape, however, is tedious and poorly drawn. Che has the dimension of a stick figure (they like comedy and weed and that’s kind of it?) and not much chemistry with Miranda, despite Ramirez and Cynthia Nixon’s best efforts. A show famous for its no-holds-barred approach to sex turned their scene together into a meme. Did it make sense for Miranda? Maybe, but I’m not sure that means much in this series, which feels so hopelessly lost."
    • Sarita Choudhury on Samantha comparisons: In this week's episode, the women go out to dinner and Choudhury's sits where Samantha usually sits. "When I saw that scene in the script, I was like, Wait, I'm at the table? Am I having a Cosmopolitan=? I have to admit there was something super exciting about it, because they're iconic to me, those dinner table scenes," says Choudhury. "When I'm asked about Samantha's character, then I think about it, but when you're an actor on the set, and you read the script, you're not so much thinking about that. You're literally thinking, I don't want to ruin the table scene. But I can see why you're asking me that because of course, that chair is for Samantha."
    • Why do some find it a big deal that And Just Like That's characters are older than The Golden Girls?

    TOPICS: Sara Ramirez, HBO Max, And Just Like That, Sex and the City, David Eigenberg, Sarita Choudhury, Standup Comedy