My wife doesn’t watch And Just Like That, but she gets so annoyed about the name of it whenever she asks me what’s happening on the show because I’m constantly talking about time-jumps. “So none of this is actually happening… just like that?” And no, it’s not — but I think that’s the point. Not only because of the way time moves through grief, in stops and starts and big backward loops and forward leaps, but also the way we perceive our own inevitable aging. One day you’re the age of the actors playing the teens on Freeform and CW shows… and just like that, you’re the age of their moms. One day you’re the age of all the professional athletes you admire… and just like that, you’re older than the oldest player in the WNBA who everybody talks about like a grandma. One day you can stand up from the floor like whatever it’s only standing up from the floor… and just like that, you make a grouchy noise even when you stand up from the couch. One day, everything in the world — TV, movies, clothes, commercials, books, Broadway, food, festivals, and on and on — are made for you… and just like that, you’re an obsolete consumer.
The original Sex and the City was the opposite of mortality. It was about being a wealthy single woman in the trendiest fashions, marching around in the greatest city in the world, hitting up every hot spot like you owned the place; friends, fabulousness, every moment a new adventure, nothing but time. And Just Like That starts with death and then jumps headfirst into the seemingly never-ending indignities of grief and of aging, of waking up one day and realizing that you blinked and the world changed shape. It’s an especially odd thing for that to happen to you in New York City, with its endless promises and eternal insomnia.
I got Covid and then Long Covid when I was 41, right here in NYC — so I hit mid-life, disability, and chronic illness at the exact same time. In the thick of it, the acute phase, when everything felt like it was crashing in on my head, my friend Meg used to say, “You’ll write about this one day” — which not only meant, “You’ll have the physical ability to write about this one day,” but also, “One day, this devastating thing that seems like the end of your life will be just another piece of your story.” And she was right.
Rilke said you can’t even measure time, that no year matters, that ten years are nothing, and that being an artist is really just about standing confident in the storms of spring, even if you don’t know if summer will come. Which is basically what Carly Simon’s singing about in “Spring Is Here” as Carrie writes through the seasons and finally finishes her new book, which is about Big dying, and which her editor loves love loves — but also she’s wondering if, just maybe, you know just a suggestion, and it doesn’t have to be a lifestyle or anything, but what if, just entertain this idea for one second, what if Carrie went on a date — just one! — so she could write about it in her epilogue and give her readers a little tiny baby glimmer of hope. They’re used to sex writing from her! Cosmos and fairy tale love and thousand-dollar shoes and brunch. Not, you know, funerals and hip surgery and peeing in a Diet Peach Snapple bottle. The tonal shift might be kinda jarring. (Meta!)
Carrie doesn’t want to date! Doesn’t want to go on a single date! Especially does not want to have sex with anyone who isn’t Big! All of it makes her feel like vomiting! (Foreshadowing!) Charlotte’s been waiting for this conversation, and has all the eligible bachelors at her kids’ school clocked, tagged, and assembled in an Airtable for Carrie to peruse at her earliest convenience. Seema’s taken the liberty of creating a profile for Carrie on a variety of dating apps. Miranda is no help in this department; the only thing she’s been doing on her phone for the last three months is checking repeatedly to see if Che has DMed her back. (They have not.) Carrie swipes through Seema’s choices for her on the apps. The guy who’s chewing on his glasses is out for sure, but there is a widower who is also a teacher who also very weirdly looks like an aged-up Berger, and he seems nice enough. She agrees to one date with him. For her readers.
It’s awkward as heck. It’s his first date since his wife died and her first date since Big died, so they open with causes of death — and then they get blisteringly drunk. They crash out of the restaurant doubled over howling with laughter. Seems like maybe it’s going to go down as a pretty good inaugural post-mortem outing for both of them. Until they both start vomiting all over the sidewalk and each other’s shoes. I am easily queasy and their barfing went on so long I had to take off my headphones and look away. A bust, after all.
Also a bust? Miranda tries to rekindle her sex life with Steve in the kitchen after dinner one night, mostly trying to recreate the sex she had with Che at Carrie’s place. Last week Charlotte screeched at her “A FINGER MADE YOU FEEL ALIVE?!?” and so Miranda pounces on the anatomy of it all and asks Steve to finger her right there before Brady gets home. It’s so weird and uncomfortable. Steve is super into it. Miranda less so. Much less so. She gives up after about 15 seconds and goes back to washing the dishes. Apparently these two have been to counseling twice, and it was a non-starter both times. I have no idea why they’re still married. They don’t even get along outside of their dead sex life. They yell at each other at the farmer’s market, in person and on the phone, and Steve’s bumbling around like Miranda’s great-grandpa, losing his wallet and hollering about cheese.
Dr. Nya Wallace and her husband run into them, and Miranda’s like, “Oh, this is what a happily married couple looks like.” Nya is all, “Yes, and since my one role on this show is to talk about fertility issues, I am not yet pregnant!” Miranda sympathizes in person, and then ELABORATELY over text, which Nya’s robot car reads out loud to her while her husband just sits there like the eyeball emojis, fuming that she told one of her students that she got her period before she told him. Distracted, she kind of drifts forward toward a crosswalk where a gay couple is pushing their toddler — THEIR TODDLER! — in a stroller. One of them comes over and has a full Billy Eichner-level meltdown at the window, which eases the tension in the car. They may not have A TODDLER but at least they’re not this guy.
Charlotte’s drama is much lower stakes. Turns out she is a tennis shark, and she and Lisa love to go to the tennis club and beat down all the other middle age women. Charlotte is reluctant when Harry suggests some couples doubles, and her premonition is correct. She knocks over Harry during match point, but then refuses to apologize because women always apologize and tennis is the one place she never has to say she’s sorry. And BY THE WAY, she thinks Harry is a mansplainer. Lisa and Herb see them squabbling in the street and that makes Charlotte even madder! Now they think she and Harry are the kind of couple who yell at each other on the sidewalk! Which they are! But not everybody needed to know that!
In true Gossip Girl fashion, everyone ends up at a charity event at the end of the episode. It’s an auction for Rock and Lily’s school, and Carrie has agreed to be auctioned off as a LUNCH date. Everybody’s fine, chill, having a nice time when two DRAMA BOMBS drop. Firstly, Carrie’s widower is a teacher at the school and so he’s there. Carrie forces Anthony to follow him around — between the handjobs he’s getting from cater-waiters in the restroom, obviously — and not let him get anywhere near her. Anthony tells her she’s got one more “my husband died” as a sympathy plea, so she better save it for something good. The second bomb takes the form of a dapper dyke. Yes, Che Diaz is performing a “clean set” which they say will only take about three minutes because the other 37 minutes of their material is NSFW. Carrie didn’t tell Miranda that Che was coming to this thing, which is SUPER crappy, especially after Miranda straight up asked Carrie if Che ever mentions her earlier in the episode. (They do not.)
Carrie’s auction is a horror show. Herb’s the emcee and he keeps saying “sex writer” and “but, like, we’re not SELLING sex; we’re not auctioning off SEX with this SEX WRITER.” Carrie is so mortified she tries to bid on herself just to end it. Charlotte, too, starts shouting out money numbers. Finally, Carrie’s widower bids $1,050, which is kind of perfect. More than the opening bid, but just barely. He’s a teacher. Big would have swooped in and bid like twenty-five thousand dollars, but Big is dead and also he was a dick, and now even these women know money can’t solve everything. After the auction, Carrie says she’ll reimburse him, but he says not to worry, and that she doesn’t even have to go on the date if she doesn’t want to. But she does. Kind of. He seems like a genuinely kind guy. So she says yes and goes home to write her epilogue.
Miranda does not go home. She stalks down Che, who chases her out to the curb where she’s waiting for an Uber, wondering why she’s acting so cold and weird. Miranda says it’s because Che didn’t DM her back. Che kinda chuckles and says they’ve smoked way too much weed to clock every person in their DMs they’ve had sex with, and why didn’t Miranda just message again. Che says, “Ask for what you want. That’s a turn on.” And in my favorite Miranda moment ever, she turns her body toward this queer person who has flipped her entire life inside out, and yells “WELL I DIDN’T KNOW THAT!” Apparently, this Miranda storyline isn’t for everyone, but it just makes so much sense to me and resonates so deeply as a lesbian who didn’t know I was a lesbian for way too long, and also as a person with absolutely no chill whatsoever. Che says they want to go somewhere and take off all Miranda’s clothes. Miranda says, “Really?!”
And just like that, they’re in a hotel (I think) in bed, Che topping Miranda once again, and Miranda blurts out, “I think I’m in love with you!”
I literally shouted, “MIRANDA! NO!” when she said it. My wife was on the phone with some clients and she looked over at me and I yelled “I’M SORRY I YELLED.” She muted her call and was all, “Babe, I don’t care if you yell at the TV, you’ve been doing that our whole relationship, but why are you bent over with your nose touching the screen! That is so bad for your neck and back!” And that’s when I realized I am actually invested in this goddamn storyline.
Che tells Miranda that Miranda is in love with herself, smooth as buttering Jorts, like they’ve said it a million times to a million other women. Or maybe it’s just that Che’s so good at sex. Two outs. They give Miranda two outs to not make it weird. But Miranda will not relent. She says no, that she is in love with Che.
God, realizing that you are queer later in life is the most liberating, horrifying thing in the world! It’s like you’re waking up for the first time, like you’re alive! And also, you have so much embarrassment to make up for that other people got out of their systems when they were — well, original Sex and the City age.
Anyway, Miranda, if you’re reading this, and you absolutely would be if you were a real person ’cause Google would have mercy on you and send you to us: 1) How to Leave Your Husband. 2) How to Fuck Your Friends Without Fucking Up the Friendship.
Or, you know, let me just bring it back around to Rilke ’cause Carrie Bradshaw’s got nothing on me:
Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final
I have only seen the first Sex and the City movie and I am loving these recaps! “smooth as buttering jorts” made me cackle :D
Stacy is the true MVP
heather i don’t watch this show or ever intend to but i look forward to these recaps like nothing else! i particularly appreciated ‘smooth as buttering Jorts’ and every picture caption
Your recaps have made everything in this show so much better and I’m glad that at least one person is connecting to the storyline!
I really like the idea of Miranda being a late in life lesbian, but I cannot stand for the character assassination of Steve. He was the one good guy of the original series and now he’s suddenly blustering around and a horrible husband as if the Brooklyn Bridge meant NOTHING
Maybe I could get behind it if Che was amazing but aside from being hot their character is kind of horrible? Like who says “i did a ton of weed” in real life. the cringe factor is too high to the point where I want to watch all of their scenes on mute so that i can just see them be hot and not have to hear whatever horrible words the writers came up with.
that being said i am also tuning in every week and watching so i have clearly been tricked into being invested despite my complaints.
One of the good guys of the original series? What I remember is a guy who never supported his partner’s career, never contributed to house-cleaning (remember when Miranda was cleaning the literal shit out of his underpants?!), refused to have actual grown-up conversations about the relationship and did things like suggest having a baby at the rockiest part of their relationship! He got a dog and then didn’t do any of the work to take care of him! He literally cheated on Miranda! Why is everyone so torn up about Steve!
i know Steve wasn’t perfect but i don’t think Miranda was either!! she refused to open up emotionally, was fairly rude to Steve most of their relationship. for me at least Steve genuinely cared for Miranda and didn’t blatantly act like an asshole. plus i think the friendzone to realising you’re in love is a pretty relatable queer experience and it was very well executed in the series so that could be why many people have a soft spot for him! i see where you’re coming from tho haha
I couldn’t help but wonder… how does an NYC math teacher have $1,050
Laura this comment came in too late for the Comment Awards but you get one in my heart!!!!!!
hahaha thank you!!
“Losing his wallet and hollering about cheese” dang after all these years I just realized which Sex and the City character I am.
Your writing about this bonkers show is a delight and actually gives me more appreciation for the themes they’re exploring with Carrie and the show in general. This reboot is such a strange outing that I’m completely fascinated by it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I’m laughing, I’m cringing, I’m confused as always by Carrie’s hats, I’m seeing a lot of nonbinary representation I did not expect… it’s a lot lol. Weirdly, I’m not as into the whole MiRambo / Che affair as I thought I’d be. Both actors are swoonworthy and Miranda’s always been my favorite of the Ladies (before realizing I’m Steve just now, I was totally a Miranda with a Carrie rising) but somehow I’m not feeling it. Maybe because during that pivotal fingering scene they kept cutting back to Carrie peeing, which unfortunately is not one of my kinks so it killed the mood for me??
Oh fuck that made me LOL. Aren’t we all just Steve?
I watched the original and somehow both movies and was worried I would feel compelled to watch this even though I wasn’t excited about it, but wow, you are not only doing the work of “watching this so I don’t have to”, but these recaps are excellently written, thought-provoking, and funny. Something written so that a Rilke poem and a reference to buttering jorts both fit perfectly really makes me feel like being alive in the internet age is a gift. I am basically tuning into these recaps every week instead of the show.
This is the best recap of anything I’ve read in a very long time. Bless you and this show and this time in all of our lives.
“smooth as buttering Jorts” lololol thank you Heather
Just want to jump on the appreciation band wagon for this recap and the whole series of them. Poetry and personal story telling and depth to a silly show, all in one?!? What an unexpected treat.
Also, said to my wife after watching the preview for next week, it is their last chance to redeem their portrayal of Steve. I really hope they have him react in a way that vaguely resembles his prior character, or at the very least doesn’t make him a huge asshole.
The foreshadowed puking was also surprise laugh out loud funny, and made us want to watch some British sitcoms!
I may have watched a different cut of the Miranda/Che hotel scene — the one I saw ended with Miranda agreeing that Che is very good at sex, and skipped the mortifying double-down described here. Mystery!!
I think I saw this version too! I went back to check because I didn’t remember Miranda making a *complete* babygay ass of herself, and this is the dialogue I had:
Miranda: I’ve never felt anything so intense in my life. I think I’m in love with you.
Che: You’re in love with you…with me. And the weed doesn’t hurt.
Miranda: No, it’s not just that.
Che: True — I’m also very good at sex.
Miranda: You are!
I expected to be a fan of Che and of Miranda exploring her sexuality. However, I think Che has shown huge lapses in judgement. They’re non responsive and blame it on their weed usage. They also went into Carrie, their employee’s, home without her permission and had sex in her space where she could see. That’s a huge violation of basic boundaries! Miranda too has shown poor judgment, but I think this has been more addressed by the characters.
these recaps are perfect and you are also perfect 🖤
I’m here to comment on the introductory paragraph. I feel the aging out of the culture thing hard (including here on Autostraddle). FYI, my goal for 2022 is to try to not make a “grouchy noise” EVERY time I get up from the couch. I’m going to be 55 this year and (spoiler alert) I can tell you the grouchiness gets worse. Heather, as has already been pointed out, you are an amazing writer. Even for such a young’un.
Im 40 and im with you with the grouchy noise , and everything hurts, esp in the mornin. dontget me started on walking up stairs.
Thanks for the recaps.
I watched the orginal but cannot view “…Just like that” sadly so i rely on the recaps.
I was hoping they ” Made” Miranda gay to match her real life ” Later in life gay” And yay,they did ,and even choose a nonbinary person as abln love interest and also a non binary child…
Don’t watch the show, was never big on SATC, but I’m here for Heather’s writing and feeling the opening paragraph while sitting on the couch hurting everywhere from a tiny bit of yoga. “One day you’re the age of the actors playing the teens on Freeform and CW shows… and just like that, you’re the age of their moms.” Ouch. And isn’t it weird how you’re often now older than the folks in your favorite TV of the past? On the plus side: I love crushing on the moms now. It might be narcissistic self-defense but I do think we 40 somethings are a wildly attractive bunch.
If anyone ever told me they wanted to take off all my clothes I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from responding with “But why are you wearing my clothes?” and this is probably why I’m single. 😂
I love your sign off