Whenever you bring back a beloved property like Sex And The City, there is always the danger of harming the memory of the original (case in point: Sex And The City 2). Or making something so inconsequential it’s difficult for the reboot to look anything else but a chance to cash in on said beloved property (looking at you, Mad About You and Will And Grace). In only the extremely rare instance does a reboot/return actually add to the legacy of its source material (I really liked what the meta 2019 90210 reboot was attempting to accomplish, was disappointed when it didn’t pan out).
Beloved it may be, but we all know that the original Sex And The City was not without its problems. The cast was uniformly white (except when one of the women would occasionally date a person of color like Blair Underwood or Asio Highsmith) and for such a sex-positive show, was fairly narrow-minded when it came to topics like bisexuality, for example.
So on one hand, it’s obvious what And Just Like That… is attempting, to try to make amends for missteps in the series’ past. In this episode in particular, the pointedly titled “Some Of My Best Friends,” all three women branch out into friendships with women of color. Some of these outings make more sense than others. There is no reason on earth for a respected law professor like Nya (Karen Pittman) to have dinner with her inherently awkward student Miranda, even if they are around the same age. Although it is nice to see her at home with her husband, so that hopefully Nya may expand into a character that’s more than Miranda’s professor who’s undergoing fertility treatments and sometimes has a hard time getting into buildings and restaurants. But it still seems hard to fathom that Nya doesn’t seem to have anyone else to talk to about motherhood. That said, a mom of teens is going to have a very different viewpoint than a kindergarten mom, say, who is still in the rapture of cuteness, but the exploration of whether Nya ultimately wanted to be a mother at all was very welcome.
But even the puzzling Nya-Miranda outing did not bug as much as Charlotte and Harry’s immersion into the world of Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker). Make no mistake, Lisa is far and away my favorite of the new characters on this show; she reminds me how, in my own mom group at my kids’ elementary school, I was amazed by women like this, who manage to push things forward and steer the conversation without anyone else in the group feeling slighted.
So I can definitely empathize with the sometimes tough transition from mom friend to real friend, from meeting up with a coffee at dropoff to actually entering each other’s homes. But nearly everything Charlotte did this episode—like Miranda’s actions in the previous three—was just so straight-up cringey. And not the good kind of cringe, like watching Larry David on Curb, but just really really painful, like why is this character I am purportedly supposed to like pestering her neighbor in a really annoying manner to get her to come to a dinner party just so there will be another Black person there?
My wise TV editor Danette Chavez pointed out that this is what uber-WASP Charlotte does when she is faced an unfamiliar situation, like how much she dove into Judaism when she started dating Harry. She also posits that we are absolutely supposed to think that Charlotte and Harry are ridicule-worthy this episode; even the episode title “Some Of My Best Friends” alludes to clueless white people who don’t realize they’re misstepping. Charlotte scrambles so hard to find another person of color to come to her dinner party because she really doesn’t know any other people of color. And she could have mistaken another mom for Gwen in any situation, but since it immediately happens at Lisa’s party to get her off squarely on the wrong foot, it’s devastating. But Harry blurting out that line about Zadie Smith—I might have smacked my own head for real.
It’s all so awkward, what almost gets lost is that Charlotte’s intentions are apparently good? She’s desperate to be actual friends with LTW (I totally get it) so she tries to un-vanilla her social circle, even though she’s about as vanilla as you can get. Her shining moment at Lisa’s party was her art speech, which was so impressive that it actually came across as scripted (which of course, it was: “early sheet music by Mozart”?) But it was nice that Charlotte and Lisa had an actual moment afterwards when they opened up to each other about worrying about the diversity of their respective friend groups. It is harder to make friends after a certain age, and I am pulling for Charlotte and Lisa only because I want to see more of Nicole Ari Parker in her own separate scenes, preferably sparring with Lisa’s cantankerous MIL (Pat Bowie).
So of the three storylines, the one between Carrie and Seema (Sarita Choudhury) seemed the most genuine. It’s totally understandable that Carrie would want to sell that now haunted-by-Peleton apartment, and she and Seema have enough in common to kick off a friendly acquaintance. I even appreciated Carrie’s freakout about the picture frame at the end, because it showed how much she’s still grappling with her grief, and Seema’s call that Carrie’s “good for you for getting out there” comment was condescending was spot-on.
Seema, more than the other women (sorry, Lisa), displays the advantage of making a new friend at this stage of life: someone who hasn’t heard all your stories yet, someone with a whole new viewpoint you’re just starting to find out about. Hopefully Seema, like Lisa and Nya and Che (Sara Ramirez), can add some more life to this show—because judging by this episode, our main characters could definitely use a fresh perspective to help keep that original Sex And The City sparkle intact.
- So that was Stanford’s sendoff, huh? While the “In memory of” cards at the end of the episode were welcome, that was a pretty horrible ending for a character who’s been there since the series’ beginning. Dumping Anthony to chase a TikTok client across Japan? Stanford—and Willie Garson—deserved better.
- Seema is the new Samantha… right? Fabulous, owns her own business, and is a frequent dater (although the opposite of the commitmentphobe that Sam was). Also, I noticed at the end while waiting for the Willie Garson memorial card that Choudhury is listed with the regular cast, while Parker and Pittman are still under guest stars.
- I really hate scenes like the one with Charlotte and the moms organizing the field trip. My kids are in public school, so maybe it’s different in posh private institutions, but there’s no way that these women would/should be in charge of something at the school that’s related to the actual curriculum. Fundraisers, sure. Field trip volunteers, absolutely. But setting up the field trips themselves? Nope.
- Miranda and Nya’s banter like, “Counselor, are you leading the witness?” and “Is that your closing argument?” still would have been corny in an episode featuring a dinner date between two of the barristers on L.A. Law in 1989.
- I guess it’s understandable that Carrie would start smoking again, if a little disappointing. Or maybe I’m just jealous: I quit even my social smoking habit when I got pregnant, plan on taking it up again on my 80th birthday.
- Favorite outfit: Okay, maybe it was a bit on the nose, but I loved Carrie’s striped top with the giant white tulle skirt (a nod to her original opening credits outfit?). It signified what fashion can actually do (says the person who has been basically living in stretchy pants for 20 months now): Carrie returns to her old apartment and chooses an outfit reminiscent of one she would have worn years ago, both to reconnect and to raise her own spirits. The mismatched separates, which even receive a look of confusion from a fellow bodega customer, could only be pulled off by someone with Carrie’s fashion confidence.
- Next week: Carrie has hip surgery! See you then, and by the way: Thanks for reading, and hope you’re having a wonderful winter break, or at least a few welcome days off, over the next week or so.