And Just Like That... Sex & the City Redeems Itself, by Cecelia Johanni
This article contains spoilers.
Cue the designer dresses, hustle and bustle of New York traffic and too many high heels to count: Sex & The City is back and bolder than ever. And Just Like That, the title of the reboot, relays a new chapter for the main characters. Now in their 50s, we see the women navigate parenting, death and relationship changes. This show has fans and critics alike talking about the progressive, social justice–adjacent themes and if these elements were needed.
When examining the original show’s past, it’s evident that it’s had many problematic moments. During their quests for love, the four 30-somethings frequently perpetuated a white feminist approach to life. Meaning that their struggles as women were lacking in intersectionality, excluding BIPOC (Black, Indiginous, people of color) and the LGBTQ+ community.
An example of this was the character Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her blatant biphobia when exploring a relationship with a bisexul man– calling bisexuality a “stop” before coming out as gay. Additionally, Miranda (Cinthia Nixon) pretended to be a lesbian to advance in her workplace. The show’s perpetuation of stereotypes and general lack of POC is glaringly obvious to modern day viewers—a problem the reboot sought to remedy.
In this season of And Just Like That, we follow along as Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte (Kristen Davis) journey through impactful life changes. The character of Samatha (Kim Catrall) was only present through text message as she was “in Paris for work.” This is likely because of Catrall’s refusal to join the reboot due to an ongoing feud with Sarah Jessica Parker.
Charlotte struggles to accept her child’s experimentation with gender, Miranda finds herself unhappy in marriage, and Carrie is faced with the loss of her husband. These challenges are authentic to the age group of these women which makes the show captivating for those who are a part of the original fan base. I watched the original in high school with my mom and binged it again during the height of the pandemic. Being able to talk to my mom about some of the recent changes was a refreshing way to discuss how current social issues should be addressed in the media. Though some humor may be a bit cringy to the gen z audience, it’s important to remember that this show was written by and for those who were along for the ride in the late 90s to early 2000s.
One of the first interactions we witness is Miranda’s first day back at college. The once corporate lawyer is following her new passion of social justice law. She finds herself misgendering a fellow classmate and mistaking her professor, a young woman of color, as a student. This scene is uncomfortable to watch because it’s an uncomfortable position to be in. A few other moments like these allow the women to confront their biases as they learn more about becoming effective allies to marginalized communities.
Throughout the show, we watch as Miranda forms a relationship with Che (Sara Ramirez), a nonbinary, latinx comedian. This is a pivotal moment for the show because it expands the scope of relationships it covers. Exposing viewers to relationships outside of the heteronormative sphere is important not only for LGBTQ+ viewers, but also those who are uneducated on queer topics.
Further, the show examines the storyline of Charlotte’s younger child. At the beginning of the series, we see them struggling to accept femininity. They ask for a haircut and to be addressed as Rock instead of Rose from then on. Charlotte, frequently known to be the more conservative of the group, approaches the situation with empathy.
Viewers see her try to understand her child and be supportive in the midst of such a big change. Despite Charlotte having moments of doubt about the situation, she does not project these feelings onto Rock. This impactful storyline shows a mother accepting her child’s identity without denying them agency. As many gender diverse folks have negative experiences coming out to family, this refreshing take on parenting demonstrates what should be the norm.
These plot lines are crucial to television, especially for And Just Like That’s audience. Most fans are in their 40s and 50s, and likely have questions about things like LGBTQ+ identifying people. Relating a beloved character’s experiences to the increasingly progressive culture around identity is a great way to teach the audience.
Living during the entertainment agency’s era of reboots, it can be difficult to know what’s worth the watch. And Just Like That, redeems itself from previous problematic elements and provides proper storyline closure. A second season has not been confirmed yet, but HBO has hinted that it’s likely to happen, so make sure to catch up on the franchise just in case.