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Cynthia Nixon's Miranda Hobbes feels painfully out of place on And Just Like That

  • Much of the hate for HBO Max's Sex and the City reboot has been directed at Sara Ramirez's Che Diaz. But after this week's episode, Juan Barquin asks, "I couldn’t help but wonder: Is the atrocious writing for Che Diaz only distracting us from the real problem—Miranda Hobbes?" Barquin adds: "And Just Like That… is a show that’s hyper-conscious of its own legacy; after focusing on ending Carrie’s life with Big in the premiere, it’s practically been designed to acknowledge its own limitations from top to bottom, now priding itself on inclusivity regardless of how haphazardly it tries to expand its cast. In its best moments, the show either leans into the realm of an absurd sitcom or into sincere exploration of what it means to experience change when you’ve grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Kristin Davis excels at the former and Sarah Jessica Parker at the latter, but Cynthia Nixon feels painfully out of place throughout the series. In the continuation of a show that was always rather smart about its characters and their relationships, how life’s ebb and flow could slowly change someone over time, everything about Miranda feels like a bomb went off and no one knew what to do with it. It’s all so very sudden, and though the character has had a lifetime to play it out offscreen, none of the choices she’s making feel organic. 'We can’t just stay who we were,' she says to Charlotte, in an argument about her choices to go gray and go back to school, but the show seems intent on changing her too quickly while letting her friends deal with their growing pains. AJLT constantly throws Miranda into the most absurd situations, with all of Nixon’s reactions being played as though she’s completely lost her mind and is starring in a different series, or inhabiting a different plane of existence, than those around her. It’s in the cringe-worthy scenes she has with her professor Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman), particularly those in which she plays white savior (and, yes, that includes the scene where she saves her from being mugged at a subway stop by someone in a Chucky costume). It’s in the way she treats both her husband Steve (David Eigenberg) and her son Brady (Niall Cunningham) as though they’re a burden she can’t rid herself of quickly enough, especially painful to watch when the show has frequently made Steve’s hearing disability the butt of the joke, even though David Eigenberg, the actor who plays him, has a similar condition. And it’s most obvious in her every single interaction with Che Diaz."


    • Miranda Hobbes went from Sex and the City's most relatable character to And Just Like That's most frustrating: "It was once a good thing to be the Miranda Hobbes of a friends group," says Sonia Rao. "The Sex and the City character was by far the most relatable of the bunch, pragmatic in an HBO series known for operating on a completely different scale of acceptable human behavior. While Samantha Jones was at least the funny one, Carrie Bradshaw and Charlotte York remained rather selfish and judgmental throughout the show’s six seasons. Miranda had her unflattering moments, but in the end wound up a successful lawyer living in a Brooklyn brownstone with her loving husband, Steve, and their baby — a life she deserved. But it’s also a life Miranda rejects in And Just Like That …People’s needs evolve, and a middle-aged woman’s deep dissatisfaction with her life is a topic ripe for exploration. Miranda asks for a divorce after experiencing a sexual awakening, sparked by her falling for Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez), a stand-up comedian — and Carrie’s podcasting boss — who is nonbinary. The premise is refreshing for a show steeped in heterosexuality. Its execution, however, has turned 'being a Miranda' into an insult."
    • Cynthia Nixon defends Miranda Hobbes, her treatment of Steve and And Just Like That: In appearances on The Drew Barrymore Show and Watch What Happens Live, Nixon addressed criticism of HBO Max's polarizing Sex and the City revival. Andy Cohen asked Nixon if she understands why some fans are upset with the show's treatment of Steve. "I do (understand), but I have to say that that's the thing about breakups," Nixon said of her estranged on-screen husband. "Often times there's one person that's making the breakup happen and the other person who is reluctant, but I have to say that person who's reluctant is pretty miserable too, and they're just not admitting it."
    • While Miranda is terrible on And Just Like That, Charlotte York-Goldenblatt has shined: "Among the Sex and the City ladies, Kristen Davis’s Charlotte York has been relegated to one of the more annoying characters—less than Carrie, but usually more than Samantha and Miranda," says Princess Weekes. "As a Charlotte apologist, I’ve always felt a lot of this was misguided. But with And Just Like That…, the former WASP turned Jewish mother of three has become one of the universal highlights of the revival. Of the three ladies, Charlotte is the one who has changed the least from the finale."
    • When did Carrie Bradshaw get so damn rich?: "For a franchise that’s been discoursed as heavily as SATC, it’s odd that the huge increase in wealth isn’t more widely discussed," says Louis Staples, adding: "In episode six, Carrie bought a multimillion-dollar (and much-memed) green-screen penthouse that she hates only to resell it three days later, all because she felt bad saying no to her new realtor friend Seema. These ridiculous plotlines are a consequence of the eye-watering wealth we saw in the two movies. At that time, worshiping money wasn’t out of step with the wider cultural landscape. The Real Housewives franchise had just expanded to Beverly Hills — by far its richest location yet — and Keeping Up With the Kardashians had just become a cultural phenomenon. In scripted TV, Gossip Girl, 90210, and Entourage reigned supreme. SATC following the crowd at this moment was an early indication that its days of posing as a disruptor were over. It also confused the franchise’s selling point: The TV show blended aspiration with a shallow-but-engaging style of cultural commentary. The films, however, shifted to a much more vapid form of materialist escapism, right at a point when there were so many other places to access that type of content. And now, in the absence of a Schitt’s Creek–style story line where Carrie loses all her money, it feels like her spending can only go up. The wealth we see on AJLT feels like a constraint, in part because political discourse surrounding extreme wealth has shifted yet again...Watching Carrie swan around her brownstone apartment gloating about only having worn a $60,000 Versace dress twice, I’m not sure I care about whether she 'checks her privilege' — that ship has clearly sailed. But in true Bradshaw-style, I couldn’t help but wonder … wouldn’t it be better if they hadn’t made her so goddamned rich in the first place?"
    • On And Just Like That, 55 is the new 70: "According to And Just Like That…, the tepidly received follow-up to HBO’s cultural touchstone Sex and the City, being in your 50s means death, hip surgery and a sexless marriage. And maybe it’s time to erase those last 15 years with a few plastic surgery procedures?" says Sharon Knolle. "It seems 55 is suddenly the new 70, at least in the make believe world of the HBO Max series. Lovable Steve’s (David Eigenberg) only defining characteristic now is that he’s going deaf and can’t find his hearing aids, prompting comparisons to cranky Grandpa Simpson. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still fashionable, but she’s also a widow with a bad hip, and the one telling her neighbors not to be so loud instead of being the party girl herself. She is still grieving, of course, but are she and the other characters just slogging through a checklist of middle-age crises? Jennifer Armstrong, the author of the bestseller Sex and the City and Us, told TheWrap, 'It feels like (the writers) Googled ‘life over 50’ and then put in all the things they found.' She’s not alone."
    • Why are And Just Like That's primary characters still meeting each other in Episode 9?

    TOPICS: Cynthia Nixon, HBO Max, And Just Like That, Sex and the City, David Eigenberg, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sara Ramirez