“And just like that Sex and the City was back.”
AND JUST LIKE THAT... (2021)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"The series will follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
And just like that Sex and the City was back.
After 6 critically acclaimed seasons on television and 2 monetarily successful films (though we could entirely wipe that sequel out of cinematic existence) it was fair to say that Sex and the City, the (at the time) ground-breaking comedy series centring around women of a certain age and their frankness in discussing all things sex, was one such title that had been put comfortably to bed.
But in this age of rebooting, where no property is safe, it seemed both entirely unnecessary and yet perfectly understandable that the series would be revisited. Whether we want to admit it or not, the original series was wildly influential in portraying sex in a healthy manner on mainstream television, paving the way for consistent sexual expression on home screens since.
Sex and the City didn’t get everything right though, with the show, in retrospect, being quite problematic in the way it viewed certain aspects (bisexuality wasn’t real, apparently, and it rarely afforded a person of colour a role of substance). In that regard, this revisiting – titled And Just Like That… (so named after one of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character’s oft-used phrases) – almost feels as if it was created purely to make up for its wrong footing, seemingly going out of its way to be overly inclusive.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to do right by those who identify as queer or non-binary, and an incredibly awkward moment involving Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) motor-mouthing to her school professor indicates the trouble some people have in correctly using the right phrases, but And Just Like That… does so without feeling organic. It completely avoids subtlety, a tone that felt more obvious in the films too (especially the sequel), and it loses its Sex-and-the-Cityness in the process.
I can’t deny that there is a bit of joy and comfort in seeing Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) again, all (mostly) embracing the dignity of ageing gracefully – there’s a reason I said mostly when it comes to the appearance of one actress – and swanning about the fabulousness of New York City. It’s also refreshing to watch a show that references the pandemic, noting the awkwardness we all felt when interacting with each other once again.
But then, of course, there’s the elephant in the room. No Samantha. I should point out that there’s a reason I haven’t delved into specifics on characters as And Just Like That… is so catered to fans that it doesn’t even attempt to be framed in a way that serves new audience members. This is strictly fan service.
Actress Kim Cattrall made no secret that she begrudgingly appeared in the final film, nixed any talk for a second sequel, and had very much moved on from playing her iconic character. Often the most understanding and liberal character, Samantha was little more than a sex-obsessed caricature by the final film – a complete disservice to the character we had seen in the original series – and her own unease at working with Parker was well documented; Google Kim vs SJP if you want all the juicy details.
Samantha is referenced in the show, and in the same breath they seem to honour her absence just as much as take a dig at Cattrall for not returning. Admittedly she isn’t missed in the way these characters interact, and that’s not a swipe at Cattrall’s ability to command presence, merely that And Just Like That… feels somehow removed from the original show’s mentality.
The comedy doesn’t feel quite as natural yet - the insistence on discussing gender roles and ageing will hopefully not be the show’s main source of dialogue – though every so often we hear a gem of a line that proves creator Michael Patrick King still has it in him.
Only two episodes in and the show has made some incredibly bold moves – I can guarantee you’ll be unprepared for the first episode’s final frame – which certainly assists And Just Like That… in being a property that’s unafraid to make the necessary action in order to project its drama forward.
So far the comedy has been designated to the background and the most sex that is being had is by Miranda’s son – yep, that’ll make the fans feel old – but pure curiosity and a sense of loyalty to the show is likely to keep fans tuning in each week, though they’ll certainly need to learn how to mend our hearts after breaking them so quickly.