Vox recently ran an interesting editorial by writer Alex Abad-Santos titled, “And Just Like That finds the demented comedy in life’s humiliations.” It’s an intriguing angle to view the show through, ditching most of the fabulousness but keeping the frequently mortifying situations the Sex And The City friends often found themselves in, which apparently just seem to multiply as you age. After all, back in the SATC heyday, episodes would culminate with Carrie falling down in the middle of a runway show, say (although Miranda always seemed to get the worst of those plotlines, getting hit on by a sandwich and having to be rescued by Carrie’s boyfriend Aiden when she threw her back out while naked on her bathroom floor).
As a person in the AJLT age range, I have to say that my twenties were chock-full of humiliating experiences, but yes, my cringe moments are different now. Like my kids howling at my penguin-esque shuffle across Chicago’s currently icy sidewalks, because old bones do not heal well. Much like Carrie grappling with hip surgery and the series of curve balls flung at her this episode, hopefully, Abad-Santos posits, the lesson is that we learn to roll with the punches as we get older, accepting that “being alive is mortally embarrassing.”
As Carrie grapples with her grief, the show keeps sending us on an advanced timeline (effectively announced at the start of the episode by Carly Simon’s “Spring Is Here”) to make it feasible that our heroine could even visualize dating again (or, get forced into it by her editor). The episode title, “Sex And The Widow,” is a callback to the original series but also a huge stretch, as Carrie’s vomit-filled date is far from romantic. Ironically, the person on the show having the most sex now is Miranda.
But, while difficult to witness (especially for a squeamish person like myself), the culmination of Carrie’s date with hot widower/teacher Peter (Jon Tenney) did have the advantage of being surprising. Obviously, Carrie wasn’t going to have an easy road back to the romance world—still, she really doesn’t need to keep playing the “dead husband” card quite so often (thank you, Anthony, for finally giving that a long-overdue smackdown). But Peter saving her from the anguish of public humiliation at the fundraiser was a cute way for Carrie’s post-Big romance to begin.
If only her friends had better storylines. Does AJLT really have so much film time to spare that we need a tennis montage, scored by “Eye Of The Tiger” no less? I would say that the first tennis scene was pointless, except when you notice that Carrie and Lisa apologize to each other at least six times upon meeting. Charlotte is right, women do apologize for everything. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apologize to your nice, accommodating husband for knocking him down on the ground during a tennis match, even if it was an accident. Or swear at him afterwards! The only redeemable factor of the Charlotte/Harry smackdown is the realization that all marriages have fights, no matter how perfect they look from the outside, as the Wexleys’ similar quarrel (and her inability to use a microphone) prove.
Because even with the bickering, couples like Charlotte and Harry, and Lisa and Herb, appear destined to work things out. Steve and Miranda, not so much. Apparently Miranda’s attempt to recreate her transcendent Che sex moment with her husband was doomed to fail (Cynthia Nixon cornering the market on hard-to-watch kitchen sex scenes this season), and also helped her rationalize jumping back in to bed with Che at the first possible opportunity. It would have been so much cooler if Miranda had been able to open up to Steve about her evolving sexuality instead; sure, he wouldn’t have been happy, but at least he wouldn’t be being deceived. The character assassination of turning the super-cute bartender into confused older man at the farmers’ market is one of And Just Like That…’s more unfortunate plot turns.
But apparently Miranda will try to clear things up next week. Meanwhile, just when I was praising last week’s episode for gelling around a unifying theme, I just can’t find one for this one, with its three disparate plotlines. It seems like a placesetter more than anything, setting Carrie up for dating and Miranda up for divorce, with only three episodes to go. Maybe Carrie is evolving and continuing to grow as she moves on from the death of her husband; although it has definitely improved from some earlier episodes, it would be nice if the show was on a similarly positive path.
- It was nice to see Carrie in front of her computer again.
- Also fun: The way Carrie predicted “I’m gonna be sick” in the episode at least a few times before actually doing so.
- I know Miranda is besotted, but I did not miss Che.
- Best outfit: Loved what Charlotte and Carrie were wearing at the fundraiser: Charlotte’s green dress looked stunning on her, and Carrie’s black-and-white boatneck was like an Audrey Hepburn New York throwback. Runner-up: Carrie’s light blue slip date dress with patterned coat was also to die for.
- Worst outfit: Carris has two: It’s a tossup between the horrid purple jacket with ginormous shoulder pads and red tie, and the apparent pajama shirt she topped with a giant fringed pillowcase-like bag to go visit her editor in.
- Seema was so just filling the Samantha chair with the girls at the restaurant.
- Next week: Here’s hoping Miranda finally does come clean with Steve, who deserves much better!