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There's a reason why And Just Like That isn't called Sex and the City: It’s about reckoning with your obsolescence

  • Vox

    "The title change signifies a show that isn’t about the big things that make life glamorous, but rather the way that life hits you — the struggle to exist and remain relevant as culture, friends, love, and life passes by," says Alex Abad-Santos. "The only thing that remains constant for the show’s three heroines is an onslaught of indignities. What is And Just Like That if not the humiliation of life persevering? The old canard is that time heals all wounds, but the reality is it creates a lot of new ones. The grievances never stop, and it’s an inevitability that they will team up with the years to gnaw away at you. Being alive, and especially aging, means facing a new set of embarrassments that money can’t remedy. The original series seemed to believe that the only way out of this was to be fabulous. Eating at the hottest restaurants, wearing the best shoes, and dating the best men would be the way out of the woods. And Just Like That’s answer is more rational and less optimistic, that life is nothing but the acceptance that being alive is mortally embarrassing. It’s no use being anxious about the next setback because it will always follow. The sooner you accept that, the easier it is to laugh.

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    • Sara Ramirez's Che Diaz is the "absolute worst" character on TV: "I am an And Just Like That… apologist," says Kevin Fallon. "Yes, there are moments of HBO Max’s Sex and the City sequel series that are absolutely mortifying to watch, but I find there to be some verisimilitude to that. There’s no way these characters would adapt to a new generation and era of social mores without teetering in their stilettos trying to navigate things...Be that as it may, the series is nothing if not polarizing. For everyone delighting in the indefatigable charms of Sarah Jessica Parker each week, there are those who seem to be personally offended by the series’ lapse in quality...Yet in these divisive times—in all things related to Carrie Bradshaw or otherwise—there is comfort in knowing that there is one thing that seems to have united us all: a passionate hatred for the Che Diaz character on And Just Like That…There is no exaggerating how insufferable this character is. To call them unwatchable is not hyperbole. 'Cringing' is not a strong enough verb to describe what the body reflexively does when they are on screen, like a physical defense mechanism. It’s more like an elaborate tuck and roll off the couch followed by an army crawl to hide under the bed before letting out a high-pitched scream of 'No!' like the one I learned to do from Oprah during an episode of her talk show on how to protect yourself from being abducted. Che, played by Grey’s Anatomy alum Sara Ramirez, is one of the new characters added to the series in a woke panic, meant to address the original run’s cardinal sin of unforgivable whiteness—a lack of diversity that would of course need to be rectified in any sort of reboot or revival. Several of these characters are truly captivating; I’m loving the friendship being formed between Carrie and Sarita Choudhury’s Seema Patel, a dynamic that is starting to fill the void of the Carrie-Samantha friendship, if not necessarily the unapologetic raunchiness. Every moment Che Diaz is on screen, however, is absolutely mortifying."
    • The And Just Like That characters seem "Rip Van Winkle-like": “It’s as if its characters must have been asleep for 20 years and awakened utterly gob-smacked to find themselves encountering such things as Black professors, nonbinary children and queer longings,” says Joy Castro, a writer and professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Rhonda Garelick, the dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons/The New School, adds: "The characters do seem Rip Van Winkle-like, as they stumble upon and blink in amazement at very unsurprising things. 'Wow! Instagram? Podcasts?' marvels Miranda at some of Carrie’s latest endeavors, as if these were edgy new enterprises. Some of the 'Van Winkle-iest' moments involve Miranda’s foot-in-mouth disease when interacting with Nya Wallace, the Black professor in her new human rights law graduate program. Charlotte, too, evinces a weird awkwardness as she cultivates a new friendship with the glamorous Lisa Todd Wexley, a wealthy, stylish Black woman she meets through her daughters’ private school."
    • And Just Like That may embrace diversity, but its detour into Indian culture this week felt superficial and hollow: "Things kick off when Seema brings Carrie to a sari store downtown, telling her that, in India, Diwali is a celebration of 'light triumphing over dark,' but that in Queens it’s an occasion for her family to ask why she isn’t married and pressure her about an arranged marriage," says Bindu Bansinath. "Never mind that Seema is 53. It seems as if the show’s writers heard 'Indian woman' and this was the only plotline they could think of. A self-professed 'bad Indian daughter,' Seema tells Carrie that her parents want her to have an arranged marriage because they 'won the lottery' with a successful one and learned to love each other. However, we never get any deeper into the issue than that. It’s not that the “arranged marriage” trope doesn’t have any truth to it. But without specificity, it just feels superficial and like a hollow way to tell stories about brown women."
    • Nicole Ari Parker praises And Just Like That for embracing diversity: "You know, I never really watched the show for that," says Parker, who is a long-time Sex and the City fan herself. "It's like watching Friends or Seinfeld. It didn't seem like New York City, but that was their version of what they wanted to talk about. But the fact that they were introducing characters of color – two African American women, an Indian actress (who's one of my friends of 30 years, Sarita Choudhury), and Sara Ramirez… My happiness is that (And Just Like That… creator) Michael Patrick King and the writers, they diversified the writers' room. So, they did it right. They were staying on brand with the comedy format, but they let these characters stumble over the absence of these people in their lives."

    TOPICS: And Just Like That, HBO Max, Sex and the City, Nicole Ari Parker , Sara Ramirez




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