Important spoilers are ahead It’s as Simple As That
And it’s just like This Is probably not the Sex and the City The sequel most people expected. For one thing, none of the main trio—Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) or Charlotte (Kristin Davis)—has sex, or at least they don’t in the first four episodes made available to journalists.
Carrie’s and Big’s (Chris Noth), briefly canoodle just before the screen goes to black. It used to be a sin to cut black. Sex and the City, a choice only reserved for Samantha’s most adventurous sexcapades. Carrie gets into serious trouble for not being too strict in her podcast. She won’t joke about masturbation. Are you sure this isn’t the same sex columnist that once described a politician pooping on Carrie to get aroused.
But what’s most surprising is the shift in tone on HBO Max’s extension of the franchise, the first two episodes of which drop on Dec. 9. It’s as Simple As That ThisIt’s not a romance. It’s not a happily ever after. It’s a show about grief and learning to evolve. This unexpected turn might not be expected. But it’s not uninteresting.
The Big twist: Why it was so important
Okay, here’s the It’s a big dealBig dies in episode 1.
After a tough workout on the Peloton, Big—who has a history of coronary issues—suffers a heart attack. Carrie comes to Big’s aid and finds him in the bathtub.
It’s unclear how we as an audience are supposed to feel about Big’s death, though I’m sure the folks at Peloton will be none too pleased. Prior to Big dying, Carrie and Big’s relationship—what little we see of it in this new show—seems rosy. Perhaps it’s a bit too rosy given the couple’s many ups and downs over the course of six seasons and two movies.
Here’s a quick summary of their relationship. Big was a mate with Carrie and moved to Paris to hide Carrie from his mother. He married another woman without Carrie in mind. Carrie left Carrie at her altar. Carrie proposed to Big again. After Carrie had cheated, Carrie bought Carrie a wedding band. HeWith her former flame Aiden.
As one of the attendees at Big’s funeral notes, “Am I the only one who remembers what a jerk he was to her?”
My personal opinion was that Carrie and Big are bad people, who deserve each other. (New Yorker) critic Emily Nussbaum put forth the definitive theory that Carrie is not a hero but, in fact, a “difficult woman,” akin to difficult men on TV like Walter White or Don Draper.)
Yet, reader! I wept. I wept for TV’s worst boyfriend. I did it even though TV seems more concerned about Carrie’s aesthetic than Big losing Big. The human being. Carrie rushes to Big when he is in pain. shower, and the camera zooms in on Carrie’s blue Manolo Blahniks getting soaked and ruined—Similar shoes we’ve been reminded, she wore during Their wedding. Carrie is also freaked out by a friend who accidentally broke a photo of Big with her. They’re vapid metaphors for the end of a toxic marriage. They are, however, vapid metaphors for the end of a toxic marriage. still“I cried.”
For the people who can rememberSex and the CityCarrie In Mourning might not be a very appealing comedy. The original series did cover serious subjects like cancer and infertility. But the most meme-able and memorable moments were Samantha’s outrageous one-liners or Samantha achieving orgasm atop a Mercedes. Samantha would be lost without her. It’s as Simple As ThatThe original series’ spirit cannot be captured.
More: Sex and the CitySamantha Jones Is Everything Without You
It’s not Sex and the CitySamantha is not available
Samantha—the woman who scandalized us, made us laugh, doled out nuggets of wisdom like “Marriage doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. Just an ending”—is missing. Actor Kim Cattrall’s departure from the show was complicated, and there’s plenty in the script for It’s as Simple As ThatFans will continue to speculate about the true-life drama between Parker and Cattrall. Carrie says Samantha left her post as agent when the book market crashed. Samantha handled the business dissolution personally. She moved to London, and she iced all her friends. At one point, Carrie says, “I thought she saw me as more than an ATM.” But the show does offer Samantha a grace note in the second episode during Big’s funeral.
The pivotal tone change is necessary without Samantha. It also attempts to fill in the Samantha-sized void with new cast members. Bradshaw and his cast acknowledged that the first series was too white. Therefore, several women from different races were included in the sequel.
Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez is a welcome addition as Carrie’s nonbinary boss Che, who continually challenges the characters about their notions of gender and sexuality. Karen Pittman’s Dr. Nya Wallace gets her own IVF subplot that in some ways echoes Charlotte’s IVF journey in the original series, but with a complicated twist: Unlike Charlotte, who always knew she wanted to be a mother, Nya expresses doubts about parenthood.
Sarita Choudhury joins as Carrie’s posh realtor who has never been married and sheds light on the dating app experience for women in their 50s. Nicole Ari Parker Hamilton’s Chris Jackson, friends of Charlotte’s, are such a delightful couple that one might begin to long for a show set in their perfectly appointed penthouse rather than Charlotte’s.
In the first episodes, however, these women never made it into the elite clique. And the new cast members spend an awful lot of time educating the core trio on why a comment about a Black woman’s hair might be offensive or how to ask people about their preferred pronouns.
Carrie, at her worst, is Carrie. That’s when the show has its best moments
The main concern is not just mourning. Und Just Like That is identity politics: Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, now in their 50s, spend most of the episodes’ runtimes struggling to learn how to “get things right.” And yes, that leads to plenty of cringe-worthy moments, like Miranda quoting Antiracist Strategies Charlotte, a Black woman, or Charlotte trying to bully her child into buying a dress. This clearly causes the child discomfort.
Parker, Nixon, and Davis are able to laugh at themselves and openly admit to embarrassing their audiences (which likely includes Boomers and Gen Z) to the importance of having important discussions about gender, sexuality, and identity. Charlotte struggles with how to support her younger child’s exploration of gender identity. Miranda might discover that she’s more sexually flexible than she thought in the first episodes. And Carrie, presumably, will have sex again after mourning Big’s death, one of the few emotionally challenging moments in a person’s sexual life that the original show didn’t cover.
After a few episodes, it seems that even Big’s decision to murder her is a smart one. Carrie is returning to her origins: Single again, back to her old apartment and back to obsessing over her imperfect husband’s many secrets (even in death). In search of answers, she hunts down Big’s ex-wife, Natasha (Bridget Moynahan). Carrie following Natasha seems strangely comfortable, even if it is ethically questionable.
Carrie doesn’t need to play out the fantasy of the scorned lover like she did in the first Sex and the City Movie, or happily ever after fantasies as she experienced in Sex and the City 2.. You can also be Carrie, a problematic, reckless and vapid Carrie.
At one point, when Carrie brings Charlotte and Miranda along on a trip to spy on Natasha, Charlotte, grasping for something mean to say about Carrie’s old nemesis, spits out, “She’s wearing flats!” It’s such an absurd insult, not only because Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda’s five-inch heels are impractical even for the most well-appointed Manhattanites, but because it was Carrie who wronged Natasha when Carrie and Big began their affair.
While we want these women to learn and grow and stop offending people, for entertainment’s sake we also want them to continue be the worst. They should be a bit vain, petty, and taboo. These are their original characters. And that’s when they’re at their most fun.