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In Defense of And Just Like That's Che Diaz

  • "On paper, there is nothing patently offensive about" Sara Ramirez's nonbinary comedian character, says EJ Dickson. Yet Che is frequently described in online chatter as being "cringe." "But perhaps Che’s flatness is also kind of the point," says Dickson. "In a show that is largely about three wealthy, wildly out-of-touch white women slowly coming to terms with their own cultural irrelevance, Che is intended to serve as a representation of a rapidly evolving society that is leaving these women behind. And whether by design or not, the writers’ inability to fully breathe life into the character, or render them anything beyond a series of traits loosely associated with 'woke' queer people, is one of the purest crystallizations of that mission. Demographically speaking, no one represents the obverse of what Sex and the City has traditionally stood for — the trials and tribulations of privileged, heterosexual white women — and how the show needed to evolve in order to survive, better than Che Diaz. And Che also poses a challenge to other tired elements of the original franchise as well. For starters, Che serves as a lens through which Charlotte has been able to slowly come to terms with her daughter Rose’s gender fluidity, a plotline that has been handled surprisingly deftly and that I, as a parent, have found truly beautiful to watch. Che is also useful as a foil to the comically self-absorbed Carrie: they are seemingly the sole character in the show’s 20-plus-year history that does not seem to find Carrie unspeakably charming. (For longtime SATC fans and Carrie-haters, watching Carrie pee the bed while being forced to listen to her friend get finger-banged in the next room is the purest form of schadenfreude there is.) When Che called out Carrie for being a sex columnist too prudish to speak openly about masturbation, I snapped appreciatively as if I were an audience member at their 'comedy concert.' Che is also aggressively confident and self-assured, almost to the degree of self-parody — a characterization that falls in line with Sex and the City’s broadly written comedic style, but also goes a long way toward refuting stereotypes about queer people...But perhaps Che’s most significant role in the show — and the one that has been the greatest source of consternation to its fans — is as a life-altering love interest for Miranda, who has long been married to the fan favorite Steve (David Eigenberg). When we first re-meet Miranda, she is a far cry from the hypercompetent and confident character we’ve grown to know and love. She’s quit her corporate job, her marriage has devolved into a series of sexless frozen-yogurt nights, and she’s sneaking shots of vodka before class. Like many middle-aged women, particularly mothers, her life is on autopilot. Then Miranda meets Che, and overnight, that changes."


    TOPICS: Sara Ramirez, HBO Max, And Just Like That, Katerina Tannenbaum, LGBTQ