“And Just Like That” (AJLT ) there are African-American, Latino/Latinx, Asian, and South Asian characters living inside Carrie’s world. Currently playing on HBO Max the new chapter starts with a bang — they kill Mr. Big, the love of Carrie’s life (Sarah Jessica Parker) in episode one, and it’s clear in the 10-episode series that this isn’t a “Sex and the City” reboot. And because the original series also lives on the streaming platform it’s hard not to contrast and compare.
AJLT is framed around Mr. Big’s death and the other episodes (four provided for review) have the remaining trio looking deeper into their own lives. Carrie, the former sex columnist is now working as a professional podcaster. Attorney Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has gone back to college to become a human rights advocate, appears to be growing into an
alcohol dependency a possible substitute for a sexless marriage. And onetime art curator Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is reviewing the last decade-and-a-half of perfecting being a wife, and mother.
Their obsession with sex and “finding the one” is long gone. Today, our three older ladies crave self-acceptance since they are experiencing
identity crises. In the four preview episodes made available to critics, we find the women weighing their friendship dynamics. Motherhood for Miranda includes complaining about stepping on her son’s sticky used condom because he’s now seventeen.
It’s hard not to be pulled into the drama because the death of Carrie’s Mr. Big is closing a chapter (permanently) and forcing the actors, writers, and audience to move forward towards the unknown.
Parker as Carrie is still, well — “Carrie” — and as charming as ever. Nixon brings gravitas and intelligence and Davis oozes that warmth that makes you happy that the ladies are back.
AJLT has finally added some characters of color. That includes South Asian, Asian, Latina/Latinx, and African American. Finally.
Karen Pittman plays Dr. Nya Wallace, an African American professor that Miranda befriends. Nicole Ari Parker to play Lisa Todd Wexley, an African-American socialite that our dear Charlotte befriends while stumbling around her ignorance about race. Bringing a much-needed cool vibe is new cast member Sara Ramírez (Grey’s Anatomy), who stars as Carrie’s podcast co-host, a queer, bisexual nonbinary comedian. Thank you, Ramírez’ for adding that swagger and verve to the show. She can’t fill Samatha’s shoes (Kim Cattrall) but it’s nice to have a character with so much presence. Representing the Indian community is actress Sarita Choudhury who is a delight as the soft-spoken but gifted realtor that Carrie becomes close to during a crisis.
The writers are trying hard. Too hard? You be the judge. There are
references to Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be Anti-Racist plus a
stand-up monologue about queer pride that is crafted to be a
“teachable moment” and yes, it’s cringy and awkward.
AJLT can not be called a comedy, not really because it’s not funny. In this universe conveniently tucked into the most expensive parts of New York we find these women exploring those large existential questions. While 2010’s Abu Dhabi-set Sex and the City 2 was the SATC extended universe at its most grotesquely farcical, And Just Like That is this universe at its most piously introspective. Consider getting thee to a nunnery, ladies.
What I look forward to the most is watching how these women in AJLT get along with the new characters of color. Why? Well, that’s an easy answer. The entire “Sex In The City” series, which took place in New York City, thrived without including anyone but white characters. New era. New characters. A new shot at getting it right — we hope!
The ten-episode Max Original series AJLT, from executive producer Michael Patrick King, now has two episodes on HBO Max. The following episodes will premiere weekly on subsequent Thursdays.
Debuts: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16
Debuts: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23.
Debuts: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30
Debuts: THURSDAY, JANUARY 6
Debuts: THURSDAY, JANUARY 13
Debuts: THURSDAY, JANUARY 20