At the Dyke March this year, former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon took pictures with fans.
Her magnetic celebrity wasn’t because she almost spared us more years of Andrew Cuomo or because she once performed in two different — TWO DIFFERENT — Broadway shows at the same time — AT THE SAME TIME. No, these dykes wanted pictures because Cynthia Nixon is Miranda Hobbes.
To me, making Miranda gay was the raison d’etre for a Sex and the City reboot. Not only did Miranda always seem gay, but after the end of the original series, Nixon herself came out and started dating her now-wife Christine Marinoni. A lot of reboots in recent years have acted as apologies as much as continuations. But making Miranda queer wouldn’t feel forced — it was a natural adjustment to the original’s fraught relationship with queerness. This plotline was ready-made for a fun and modern take on coming out late in life.
Instead we got Che Diaz.
Enough words have been written about Che Diaz — on Twitter, in online publications, even in print. From “comedy concertswp_poststo “strong enby person,wp_postsChe Diaz and their storylines have gifted us some of the reboot’s most painful and unrealistic dialogue. Che is less a queer fuckboi comic who seduces Miranda out of the closet, and more the creation of an AI chatbot that has only read the GLAAD website.
This season addressed the criticisms by sometimes appearing in on the joke that Che is a bad person and a worse comic. They even went as far as having Che receive bad test group responses for their sitcom. And yet, the show was still unwilling to let Che be a full villain. To write a good villain, you need to write a good character. As fun as it can be to hate-watch them, Che is not a good character.
The most notable event this season for Che — and Che’s position on the show — is that they break up with Miranda. This frees Miranda to have the chaotic queer dating storylines we always deserved. I’m watching And Just Like That to see Miranda step in her date’s cat litter, not to receive empty speeches about nonbinary acceptance.
But as Miranda starts to date, a pattern emerges. While she only gets two potential love interests, both are cis white women who are her age and her body type. There’s even an episode where she laments her queer confusion, questioning whether she wants to date women now. Of course, on-screen and in life, queer confusion is common upon first coming out. But there’s something about the way it’s written that implies dating nonbinary Che was itself an expression of confusion.
Actually funny trans comedian Nori Reed tweeted yesterday: “Omg I just realized that they created Che as a narrative device to transition Miranda’s sexuality from dating men to dating women…”
This feels obvious after the finale. Not only does the season leave her out for drinks with one of those cis women, but she tells her ex Steve she’s never going back to men. Maybe she’ll date more nonbinary people in future seasons, but for now the show leaves us with Miranda as a lesbian on a date with a cis British woman who works for the BBC. I hope she isn’t on Mumsnet.
Where I disagree with Nori is her next tweet that says nonbinary people aren’t used as a bridge. I actually think it’s very realistic that Miranda would use Che this way. I’m not even nonbinary and I’ve been used this way. (I made a movie about these complicated feelings!) Cis people are often drawn to trans people because of what they view as an overt queerness. But once we’ve helped them discover that part of themselves, they retreat to a more normative gay life.
The problem isn’t that Miranda used Che — the problem is the show itself did, too. The show used Che to teach their audience about queerness, to seem hip due to a misguided idea that transness is new. They didn’t take the time — or have the ability — to make Che a real person who could stand on their own.
Post-breakup closure it feels like an easy choice to write Che and Sara Ramirez off the show. There’s another world where Che’s solo storylines could be good — or, if not good, the fun kind of bad like the rest of the show.
Nonbinary people are not a bridge toward gayness; they are not a stepping stone. Trans people aren’t a curiosity or a representation of overt queerness. We’re people. And the best writing of us on-screen understands that.
And Just Like That didn’t need Che. It could have looked to real life and had Miranda fall for a masc of center cis woman her own age. But, hey, it’s not too late. With Gen Q and A League of Their Own canceled, I hear Rosie O’Donnell is available.