You can say many things about And Just Like That.., but at least it was consistently deranged. HBO Max’s Sex and the City sequel started by killing Mr. Big on a Peloton and ended with Carrie somehow taking live calls on her podcast. If there was an insane, unhinged, weird decision available, And Just Like That… always took it and tried to gaslight audiences into thinking this was normal. There are no winners in this colossal, confusing mess of a show, but there is one woman who lost the least. Congratulations to Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), the least massacred character to return to HBO (Max).
If it was revealed that the writers of And Just Like That… actively hated Sex and the City, then the universe would make sense again. That’s how much this sequel laughed in the face of the original. It all started with Samantha. Because Kim Cattrall refused to return for And Just Like That…, the show needed a way to write off her sex-loving character. They could have gone with a big fight, a character death, or even the revelation that these women simply drifted apart. But no. Those options would make sense. Instead they turned Samantha into a cold ghost of her former self, a woman who only sent flowers when she learned about the death of her best friend’s husband. Samantha was this show’s first casualty. We should have known it was only going to get worse.
Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) didn’t fare any better. Once upon a time, Carrie Bradshaw was a fearless and classy sex columnist, a woman who could make pee fetishes funny while still being glamorous. In And Just Like That…., Carrie seems afraid to even say the word “sex” on air and shrugs off vomiting on a first date. But no main character has been as destroyed as Miranda Hobbes. Miranda used to be Sex and the City‘s cool, relatable career woman. She could be emotionally distant, but she was always hiding a kind heart. That woman is unrecognizable in this sequel. Instead our Miranda has been replaced by an alcoholic who is incapable of having a conversation with a Black woman without making things weird and who cheats on her husband while her best friend is incapacitated in the other room. It’s impossible to know what gods Miranda Hobbes infuriated to be so utterly savaged, but whatever she did, it was clearly unforgivable.
Compared to these train wrecks, Charlotte is just, well, Charlotte. Throughout this season, she had some uncomfortable conversations about race with her new friend Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), and her views on gender identity were challenged due to her child Rock (Alexa Swinton). But honestly? That’s par for the course for Charlotte. She was always the least worldly, most conservative friend, with a healthy dash of ditziness. It totally makes sense that she would struggle with Rock’s refusal to conform to gender and even initially fight them about it. Even Charlotte calling Rock’s coming-of-age ritual a “they-mitzvah” feels like the sort of wrongly worded but correctly intentioned thing she’d always do. Charlotte’s big moments this season always felt authentic to the woman we knew in the ’90s.
And, she was also the only one of the four who was allowed to remain funny. Charlotte dealing with her daughter Lily’s (Cathy Ang) tampons or the aftermath of the blowjob she gave Harry (Evan Handler) were one of the few times And Just Like That… gave us a reason to laugh with these ladies, instead of at them. It was even refreshing. Carrie and Miranda’s disbelief that Charlotte still gives blowjobs was a reaction straight out of Season 1, a sliver of light that reminded us that Sex and the City was, at times, a good show.
It’s impossible to know what to make of And Just Like That… It’s a sequel so comically off-kilter, sometimes it felt like an assassination attempt. It was the funniest show on TV that somehow replaced actual jokes with lectures. It was the most cringe-worthy. No one should watch it. But also everyone should binge watch it immediately and it deserves every Emmy known to man. Yet through all of this carnage, Charlotte York somehow emerged basically the same as she ever was. In this bizarre universe, that may be the best case scenario.