And Just Like That… A Pulitzer Is Won
Huge spoilers for HBO’s 'Sex and the City' reboot ahead.
Like so many women before me, Sex And The City is my reason for life. It is my favorite show of all time. It is what I have based my entire personality, career, geographic location, and lifestyle around. The Unenlightened may diagnose me with mental illness for this. The Enlightened will take me by the hand and make sure the blue plastic bird glued to the side of my head is angled properly.
I once had an opportunity few Little Bradshaws (paws up) are ever granted—to meet and speak with the woman at the center of it all: our greatest living artist, the most important actor ever to grace the silver screen, the one, the only Sarah Jessica Parker. After months of cold emails to HBO’s publicity team, I was finally able to interview her for Divorce. Operating with a nonexistent budget, I assembled a scrappy crew of Brooklyn faggots and fag-supportive women, rented cameras and microphones, commissioned an extremely talented stylist, Phil Gomez, to create a custom headpiece identical to Carrie’s wedding bird, and showed up to HBO’s offices in Midtown Manhattan one cold winter afternoon to speak with my idol, dressed in head-to-toe rainbow feathers. Despite some heartbreaking technical difficulties (our dear sound woman did not hit record on our main mic, collapsing to the floor in tears as she realized her mistake at the end of the talk), the interview is one of my favorites I’ve ever conducted—Ms. Parker is as kind, gracious, thoughtful, and stunning as I could have ever dreamed. After our conversation, I gave her a little baggie with a card explaining how she’d changed my life and was the reason I ever moved to New York in the first place, along with a T-shirt I’d designed depicting Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte (I didn’t draw Samantha because my hand had gotten too tired and the rumors of her departure were already swirling) in a gothic Tim Burton style. She posted the T-shirt on Instagram, and the Society6 sales generated by her support payed my rent for a month.
I’m a Carrie at heart—wacky style, writer, wild curls, obsessive tendencies. Of course, like any well-rounded citizen of the world, I have all four women in me—Samantha’s irreverence and unbridled horniness, Charlotte’s intellect masked by a veneer of spaciness, Miranda’s loathing of this world and fear of her own potential unfuckability. Certain lines from the show have cemented themselves in my mind and dictated, one way or another, my major life choices. I’m constantly thinking about how Miranda didn’t live with a romantic partner until her late thirties, about how Carrie spent her paychecks on Vogues instead of dinner, how Samantha’s a trisexual, how Charlotte eats a ton of ass.
Sarah Jessica Parker Interviewed for Out Magazine
I say all of this to try and make clear how important it was to me when, on December 9, 2021, our planet was irrevocably changed. That was the day And Just Like That…, the reboot of the iconic SATC (sans-Samantha Jones) debuted. As a blind loyalist (some people have God, I have four fictional women created by HBO) I concede there was no way I was ever not going to love this show. So I sat down with my girl, Drew Anderson, and my man, Tom Brown, to watch history be made. Through shrieks, wails, and hyenic cackles, the three of us observed as John James “Big” Preston, the man who had consumed Carrie Bradshaw’s life for six-and-a-half seasons, two movies, and, now, an episode, tragically died on the tiles of a walk-in shower. Waves of grief swept the land. Women (and men and theys with taste) everywhere wept, even as we knew the death made sense for the story, and for Carrie’s liberation, and, as Susan Sharon so keenly pointed out, we remembered that for most of the franchise’s run, Big was an extremely hateable asshole. Of course, in the pilot of And Just Like That… he’s at his sweetest and most charming. Notably, days after the episode aired, horrifying accusations of violent assault were published about actor Chris Noth in The Hollywood Reporter, making Big’s death seem that much more fortuitous for the future of the series. We here at Babbling On stand with survivors and hope justice is served on those accounts.
Needless to say, a Pulitzer Prize winner had been born. Those of us with a pulse are rejoicing and working hard on awards campaigns for all three of the series’ stars: for Kristin Davis, the only actor of the original quartet still without an Emmy (American Crime Story has found its next subject). For Cynthia Nixon, who secured her latest gold after she barked (BARKED) in Carrie’s kitchen, the non-binary fingers of Che Diaz plunged up her vulva, while Ms. Bradshaw spilled urine out of a Snapple bottle yards away. And, of course, for Sarah Jessica Parker, who not only looks as gorgeous as ever, but in the scene following Miranda’s fingering/ barking (there is no other word for it) delivers the most spine-chilling delivery of the line “What are you doing?” I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.
I want to spend a bit more time unpacking that fateful scene, which happens toward the end of the most recent episode of the show to air: #5, Tragically Hip. Post Che’s departure (Carrie’s boss at the podcast studio, who’s just reawakened a dormant sexual drive in Miranda via a non-binary fingering) Carrie confronts Miranda for drinking and smoking and fucking in her kitchen while she’s on bedrest after receiving hip surgery. The scene is perhaps the most powerful dramatic moment of the year. Carrie is furious and confused by her best friend’s erratic behavior, and Miranda is driven to a confession: she’s not happy in her marriage (try eating his perfect ass, girl), she hasn’t been in years, maybe ever, and she feels as if she’s living a shell of a life, her only hope restored by, say it with me, the non-binary fingers of Che Diaz! Nixon and Parker are both at the top of their game. I’ve watched the scene about five times now, and the whole episode at least three, including immediately after getting home from a New Year’s Eve night spent dancing and drinking and ********ing with my gay guys in Provincetown (highly recommend).
And Just Like That… is not for everyone. Already my precious psyche has been attacked by haters who are calling the show things like “bad” and “not good.” To those people/ lesbians I say: grow up. Allow the stars to glitter in your eyes. Allow the return of three of the best friends anyone could have (Zach Galifanakis bleeding in a ditch) to sweep you off your feet. Bask in the reignition of the greatest television show on earth. We’re saved. Even if it is going to mean some serious pain along the way.
I’ll concede, not everything works for me. The character of Che Diaz, for instance—while I’m as delighted as the next girl that gender fluidity is front and center here, and I don’t mind Sara Ramirez’s acting, I think Che is written to be extremely cringey, and not in an intentional way. They are smoking a pipe in the elevator? And perpetually speaking like they’re reading out of a Human Rights Campaign media guide, even (especially) as they are supposedly crushing standup sets that actually sound more like mandatory HR consent training sessions? It’s not really landing for me just yet—neither is the “woke moment” button in the podcast, which makes me physically ill.
I’ll allow, too, that fears the show may be too sad are not unfounded, though from where I stand, Carrie seems to be getting over Big pretty swiftly and admirably. I’m happy for Miranda’s lesbianism after the pivotal barking scene, even though before that I was clinging to the notion she’d make things work with Steve, the best and hottest man on the show since his introduction (with an aforementioned ass like two basketballs glued to his backside). They’re certainly piling it on thick for Ms. Hobbes—horrifying, ignorant monologues to her black college professor, alcoholism, a 17-year-old son pounding his annoying-ass girlfriend at the opening of every episode (the girlfriend is a horrible character/actor and needs to go, but the ginger thick-lipped twink playing Brady is cute. Don’t worry, he’s 27 in real life, I checked.)
But I think this unforgiving, unrelenting commitment to making our girls the butt of the joke is what is making this reboot work so well. Sure, it’s a little hamfisted, and we get it, these women are atoning for the series’ sins of the past, but you can’t argue with the fact that this program is not afraid to go there. Miranda accusing Charlotte of trying to pass as young illustrates this willingness to address reality head-on hilariously. Charlotte has a trans son named Rock, whom she keeps misgendering. As an oft-misgendered child myself (albeit with a name that isn’t synonymous with geode) I say… slay! Let’s fucking talk about this!
And Then There Was The Issue Of Her…
Samantha isn’t here. We knew this was coming. And yet, one’s gut cannot help but be wrenched. One cannot help but wail when the flowers arrive from Sam at Big’s funeral. One cannot help but hope that maybe, one day, after all this has blown over, Kim Cattrall might show up in the third movie. Can you imagine?
Samantha Jones was the funniest and, arguably, most soulful part of the original show. Her absence is absolutely felt in every frame. Yet friendship breakups are real, and do happen. So the way they’ve written her out of the narrative feels believable to me. Of course, Sam would never miss Big’s funeral. But the flowers were a nice touch.
I implore the Ignorant who have not seen the original series to go back and discover the potent work Kim Cattrall was doing consistently throughout her tenure in the franchise. Her moans, her tits, her throwing the cantaloupe at the glass door will forever be the stuff of legend. Her portrayal of Samantha Jones is safely the funniest and sexiest performance of all time, transcendental, transgender (not really, but basically) magic. We worship at the altar, and we pray blindly that one day she can reconcile and rejoin. If God (a trans HBO executive) is granting the planet three wishes, let this be one of them.
The Other Boleyn Thoughts
There are several new women who are welcome additions to the cast. I just have one more suggestion: should Lana Del Rey be a part of season 2? She could play a psychotic woman muttering to herself while the other three share bellinis over brunch. It might work. Kim Petras could also serve. Or Lucy Liu reprising her season four cameo. My personal favorite new cast members are Lisa Todd Wexley, Charlotte’s stunning new (first?) black friend, played by Nicole Ari Parker, and Seema Patel, Carrie’s gregarious real estate agent, played by Sarita Choudhury. I’m very curious to see how those storylines play out. Hopefully this Thursday will see the pounding of Carrie’s clit, perhaps with some wingman work from Patel.
Those who have failed to see the humor in these first few episodes need psychological counseling—Miranda hitting that Chucky doll with a textbook and sending him flying into a moving train? This is a Bell House set that would have crushed. Miranda’s aforementioned barks are Charlotte-shitting-her-pants level unbridled comedy gold.
In the most truly heartbreaking of news, Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch, Carrie’s adorably dorky gay best friend, passed away during filming due to cancer. The writers chose to send him off on tour with a TikTok-famous client rather than kill him—a sensitive move following the death of Big. I found his farewell scene with Anthony (an Emerson alum in real life and a HUGE cunt on the show) and Carrie woefully underwhelming, but then read via TVLine that they’d planned a final goodbye between Garson and Parker on camera, but couldn’t finish filming before his death. It’s all just so deeply, deeply sad. All things considered, I think they said farewell to that character as best they could.
In the pilot, Carrie dried her hands with a paper towel in her kitchen… I mean, we’ve all done it, but why didn’t she use one of her fluffy West Elm towelettes? Then a few scenes later, the Portuguese subtitles when Big sings are the stuff of legend. On second watch I noticed HBO Max removed them! Now if only they could remove the automatic regular subtitles that have been showing up out of fucking nowhere lately…
This is what it was like when Carrie first went “And just like that… Big died.”
I was so blown away by that moment, easily the most profound two seconds of television this decade, if not ever. I thought the return of her narration there might signal the return of the show’s old format, where narration punctuated every scene as Carrie wrote her column. Instead, the format is now no narration at all except the final moment of each episode, where Carrie goes “And just like that… XY.” Which would be fine if these final quotes all lived up to the first. Instead, they tend to be flops—”I learned how long five hours can be?” Beef up the final quotes or bring back the narration like the old days, I say. Anyway. And just like that I’m learning how long 30 hours can be, which is when the next episode doth air.
Ugh, i agreeeeeee : so good/so cringe/ so right /so wrong but here it is and I’m devouring it wholeheartedly (especially after the last episode 😭)
Lana. please. come through …