“And Just Like That” Didn’t Need Che

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 concerts” to “strong enby person,” Che 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.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Drew Burnett Gregory

Drew is a Brooklyn-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is a Senior Editor at Autostraddle with a focus in film and television, sex and dating, and politics. Her writing can also be found at Bright Wall/Dark Room, Cosmopolitan UK, Refinery29, Into, them, and Knock LA. She was a 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Notable Writer and a 2023 Lambda Literary Screenwriting Fellow. She is currently working on a million film and TV projects mostly about queer trans women. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Drew Burnett has written 538 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. @drew – Thank you sooo much for this on point analysis, and I’m not even watching the show! But you put the finger on what i cringe about in several other shows, and couldn’t fully express (looking at you, Star Trek Disco et etc etc)
    “the creation of an AI chatbot that has only read the GLAAD website.”
    This.

    And yes, trans and all types of in between people are used as stepping stone, that is super realistic.

    These writing desasters could be handled better if people would actually acknowledge their cause: all writers have a lack of experience with these characters for mainstran tv, and don’t have a tried and true canon of tropes to fall back on (because writing works like that, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum).
    I always think of the Xena writers actually acknowledging this in public, in an interview, that for the early first season their writers also only produced cringe scripts or were completely blocked, because they had never seen or written for a character like that.
    They unblocked them by letting them write for a male character at first, and only changed pronouns. That way the writers could concentrate on actual character dev and plot. Additionally, they brought in lesbian writers and mixed them with the experienced action/adventure writers. The result was not perfect, but it has definetely created a canon of fresh tropes that worked.
    What I’m saying is that people first have to acknowledge that this technic problem exists, that it is not an individual but a systemic problem, and then find practical ways to cheat around it.
    Using the GLAAD website as tv tropes is not it.

  2. Hi British trans person here. I get that you were making a flippant joke about british lesbians on mumsnet but suggesting that all British lesbians are terfs plays into terf narratives. The majority of British terfs are cishet people and I know many cis British lesbians of Miranda’s age that are trans inclusive.

  3. Yeah, and also what we didn’t need is a weekly recap of this ridiculously bad show that treats diversity as a check list to cross off instead of committing to it in any way that can be taken seriously.

  4. What a colossal waste of Sara Ramirez and their many talents. Couldn’t Che have been a singer instead of a stand up?! I really hate that they seem to have taken a lot of flack for the fuckups with Che when obviously they didn’t write the show and don’t have the same clout as SJP or KD or CN to ask for changes to their character.

    It was even more frustrating how badly the writers did Che when you compare their storyline with Rock’s. Because I actually thought the writers got Rock’s story, and Charlotte’s reaction to Rock’s coming out, exactly right (though I’m not nb and haven’t been a teenager for 15 years so anyone please feel free to disagree). It felt both very true to Charlotte’s character while also respectful of Rock and nb kids generally, and overall was one of my favourite storylines in s1.

  5. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Additionally, the Che hate has always sat wrong with me – even though Che is insufferable and I also hate them. But it feels like it makes Che the issue when the issue is the writing of Che!! Che could be a flawed narcissist with actual character development and humanity – like Carrie, for example. I also thought that by keeping Che around we might get to know them outside of a character ruining Miranda’s life, and not in the GLAAD Instagram infographic way, but in a “this is a real person moving through the world” way. Dive into their gender journey, see them bond with Rock, give them some level of humanity! I don’t totally trust the AJLT writers to handle any of these storyline like that well, but it would at least show they cared even a fraction

  6. Where we leave Miranda is where she should have been after the first movie! She left Steve rather easily and that should have been the sign that they weren’t a good match. In the second movie Miranda should have come out. Che was simply here for white women over 40 to learn what non binary meant. Honestly the POCs on this show are all used to teach white middle aged women a lesson which is a huge part of the problem. I adore Sara Ramirez and always thought she gave off queer energy on Grey’s back when she was with George. I wish her the best but the character of Che needs to be left behind.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!