And Just Like That, I Cringed (Let’s Discuss the Sex and the City Reboot)

And Just Like That, I Cringed (Let's Discuss the Sex and the City Reboot) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

We need to talk about this. We REALLY need to talk about this.

=Sigh= This HAS to be the worst thing about 2022 so far, am I right? The sheer toe-curling cringe-fest that this was. There – that’s my review of And Just Like That in a nutshell. Or as I’m calling it, And Just Like That, I Cringed. Or there’s always And Just Like That, Here’s Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Woke Culture And Political Correctness in a Covid-Free World But Were Afraid To Ask.

I think you need a round of applause if, like me, you did it. ‘It’ being watching ALL 10 episodes of AJLT, the reboot of our beloved Sex and the City. They’re [roughly] 450 minutes of my life I’ll never get back – yet I could NOT look away. The definition of car crash TV, this is coming from someone who does not, and will not, watch reality TV because she feels like she’d be wasting her life away watching them.

But I watched AJLT every week because I watched every episode of SATC right from its beginning back in 1998, all the way through to its dramatic semi-conclusion in 2004. PLUS the two movies, the first of which was okay, the second of which was pretty poor. 24 years on, I’m INVESTED in these characters.

 

[Reading time: 15 mins – yep, it’s a long one]

Image credits: Main image Wiki Commons (Martamenchini) / banner Wiki Commons (Rob Young)

 

As suggested by a reader in Sunday’s This Post Is All About You: What Do YOU Want to Discuss? post, I’m writing down my thoughts about the crushing disappointment that was AJLT. I know that some people loved it, though many didn’t (going by friends’ opinions and the reactions on social media), and if you’re a diehard fan who thinks that the show’s creators did no wrong, I might suggest that this post isn’t for you.

Because I’M GETTING IT OFF MY CHEST.

But it’s not all doom and gloom and negativity – I will touch on the positives. And then launch into the negatives. And then we need to discuss its cultural and social significance, because the original show was a bit of a groundbreaker. But is AJLT groundbreaking, now, in 2022?

 

A caveat, SPOILER ALERT and trigger warning:

For just about the first time ever on this blog, there is bad language in this post. I usually cover up a sh*t or even a very occasional f*** here and there, but they don’t pop up often. This doesn’t reflect the way I talk in real life… I’m somewhere between a prude and a potty-mouth (or you could say somewhere between a Charlotte and a Samantha, with me leaning more towards the latter). I’m just not that keen on bad language in blog posts unless it’s absolutely necessary, in the same way I wouldn’t swear in front of my mum or out loud in the supermarket where people can hear me.

However, AJLT was SO bad that I’m not covering it up this time – it’s absolutely necessary. I’m going to write exactly how I talk, or rather, exactly how I talk about this particular show [to whoever will listen]. This show DESERVES bad language in all its gratuitous glory. You have been warned…!

Secondly, it goes without saying that THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. I’m assuming you’ve seen all 10 episodes if you’re reading this.

And lastly, I want to just issue a trigger warning… I’m talking about all the issues covered in the show, the most distressing being the fact that the main character lost her husband.

(Oh I nearly forgot – I’m not going to comment on the current accusations against Chris Noth that plays Big, but maybe they were a factor in some of the clunkier scenes and he was edited out of some scenes as some have suggested. But I honestly don’t think him appearing or “talking” to Carrie would have improved this shitshow.)

Onward.

 

The good parts

I thought it best I start with what I DID like. As I was writing this post I started with this section at the end, but when the post became more and more fleshed out with my rantings I realised that I couldn’t possibly construct this post with such a huge onslaught of negativity at the beginning. With a little “yay, AJLT” and a sad toot on a broken party horn right at the end.

So let’s start with the sad party horn toot: what got me all excited?

  1. SJP’s other-worldly hair. (When it was down I mean, not when it was scraped into the low bun, which I know is the hairstyle du jour. Maybe it emphasised the widow vibe. Sorry, this was meant to be the positive section.) In fact, Carrie’s big hair was the absolute best thing about the whole series. It was, quite literally, the star of the show.
  2. A few of the outfits. About 30% of them got me excited.
  3. The introduction of more diverse characters, which the original show was sorely lacking.
  4. The fact that it was a show about a group of women in their 50s. Even menopause was mentioned. It’s progress.
  5. The lovely teacher (Peter) that Carrie went out with – okay he wasn’t exciting, but he was lovely.
  6. Harry. Just, Harry.
  7. Anthony shouting “GET OUT!!!” at his date (this was the only true LOL moment for me).
  8. “Antoine” from Lily in Paris popping up as Seema’s new man (“Ooooh look it’s Antoine!” was all the excitement I experienced in that episode).
  9. The fact that [SATC] was even back and we were getting to see what everyone was up to.

And…

Er…

Ummm…

I can’t think of anything else. I honestly can’t.

 

The cringiest parts

Okay so now my tune is changing… that was the good, now we have the ugly (bad is everything after that, out of order I know but who cares). The cringe factor was definitely the ugliest bit about the show. Every episode had so, so many cringey parts that I don’t even know where to begin. Off the top of my head…

  1. The lame, lame titles. They were just… nothing. They looked like an intern with very basic Photoshop skills whipped them up in a panic five minutes before the episodes were released because no one was assigned the job of creating new ones.
  2. Che’s standup. Plus them singing California Girls. Miranda repeating “What’s happening?” like an airhead groupie over and over again. Somebody shoot me.
  3. Lily’s menstruation woes. That whole storyline, period #PunIntended. Someone shoot LILY, not me (please don’t take me hating a child literally, I’m just being dramatic).
  4. Those damn podcasts. I just couldn’t find needles to stick in my eyes fast enough.
  5. MIRANDA. Everything she said and everything she did. Plus those awful, awful grey wigs.
  6. The new apartment beeping. And the light constantly turning itself on. Those scenes dragged on and onnnnnnn… why? Just, WHY? What’s interesting about mysterious beeping?! There was NO point to it.
  7. The way they addressed woke issues in the writing, and failed miserably. Correction: the way they RAMMED woke issues down our throats as if we were idiots who’d never seen nor heard of POC or anyone from the LGBTQ+ community. Making sure we had issues like cultural appropriation and pronouns explained to us like we were children. (I’ve given this bit its own section below.)
  8. The fact that everyone’s age had to be mentioned in Every. Single. Episode.
  9. Carrie saying “My husband died” Every. Fucking. Five. Minutes. Now to be referred to as MHD.
  10. My utter embarrassment for the writers. That no one told them what a massive pile of wank they were producing. Sorry, not producing – VOMITING. It’s the only explanation.

Ughhhhhhhh it feels good to get that off my chest. Now for the specifics: the bad.

 

Carrie’s character (she’s really no better)

Honestly I wanted to strangle Carrie because she had to make everything about HER. But then, she always did and I always thought she was a pretty awful person and a horrible friend even 20+ years ago. Asking your boyfriend to go help your naked friend off the bathroom floor (when she’d pulled her back) instead of helping her yourself like she’d asked? Nice. Maybe the awful Miranda-and-Che-in-Carrie’s-kitchen scene was Miranda getting her own back, making Carrie spill pee in her bed. Shitty move either way, both of you.

Shitty Carrie then, shitty Carrie now.

Here’s a new drinking game: a drink for every time Carrie says MHD. Assuming you’re going to binge-watch this all over again (though WHY on earth you’d do that I don’t know), you’ll be trashed by the end of the third episode. Having said it so many times I was honestly screaming STFU Carrie!! or Don’t bloody say MHD!!! in my head every time she said (or was about to say) it. I mean, the woman has lost her husband and they’ve written the character in a way that meant I had almost no sympathy for her.

I WILL give the writers some credit for making me cry like a baby when Big died… until he got on that ill-fated Peloton I honestly wasn’t expecting it. But they turned my distress at a major (and rather fabulously wicked) character dying into annoyance, not sympathy.

Another example of Carrie’s odious personality: when asked what was her worst break-up ever, I think most of us shouted BREAK-UP BY POST-IT! at the TV… good god she even said fucking MHD then. I wanted to throw the remote at the TV and hope that it travelled through some sort of existential Logie Baird fourth dimension and hit the writers smack in the middle of their stupid, smug, woke-aware faces. Instead of giving long-time fans a “We remember!” moment, they just annoyed us with yet another reminder that Big. Was. No. More.

(Like we could ever forget.)

But maybe worse than Carrie and the whole MHD drama, there was this.

 

Samantha and Stanford

Before the show began, the ONE thing we all wanted to know was: How will they explain Samantha’s absence? Will they kill her off? It seemed like the natural thing to do as there seemed NO DOUBT that Kim Cattrall wouldn’t ever return to a SATC reboot. Instead, we got the worst, most unsatisfactory explanation shoved into the first few minutes of episode 1.

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“She’s left us” says Charlotte to Bitsy. “Oh no she’s not dead…!” says Miranda to a shocked Bitsy while we all went, HUH? THAT’S IT?!! And just like that… Samantha’s absence was brushed under the showbiz carpet. I guess it should have made us realise that this was how the show was going to go for 10 long episodes. STRAIGHT in there with the bad, lazy writing. Considering she was the heart and soul of SATC, it was criminal not to give Samantha a proper send-off.

And talking of no send-off…

Poor, poor Stanford. Here the actor tragically died in real life. And considering Willie Garson was BFFs with Sarah Jessica Parker since forever apparently, you would THINK he’d have been given a fabulous send-off somehow as there was obviously no bad blood there (unlike the alleged ongoing feud between Kim and SJP). But no, we’ll ship him off to Japan with a Berger-esque note and a bitter husband in Anthony. (I can’t remember exactly, but Carrie probably made that scene all about her again.) Again, shoved into the end of an episode… and then, moving on. Stanford’s gone. NEXT.

Just awful.

 

The plotlines

Even with the lame explanation for Samantha’s absence or the denigration of Miranda’s character (don’t worry, I’ll come to that in a bit), the plotlines were nothing short of ABYSMAL. Really – what happened across 10 episodes? Big died, Carrie said MHD a thousand times, Miranda (might as well have) had a lobotomy and Charlotte’s children turned into brats, all with an overall sense of morbid gloom hanging over it. The end.

The fact that the plotlines I DO remember were beeping noises, peeing in a plastic bottle during The Kitchen Scene, Miranda’s constant struggle to be politically correct/woke/anti-racist, Steve’s ineptitude and Charlotte’s many, many horribly embarrassing scenarios (the dolls, periodgate™, Lisa Todd Wexley’s dinner party to name but a few). WHY to all of it. There wasn’t ONE plotline I could get on board with or that I thought was handled well.

Honestly, I don’t know what the point of the reboot was. No one developed as a character. They either went sideways or off on some random path of self-destruction. All of which could be described as character assassinations. Speaking of which…

 

The character assassinations

Miranda. Where do I even begin?

The Miranda factor was almost the worst thing about AJLT for me. Back in the day, Ms Hobbes was my favourite. While everyone loved Carrie for her wardrobe and Samantha for her massive cahoonas and sexual openness, I was in Miranda’s corner. She was sharp, intelligent, down to earth and fiercely independent. 18 years on from the final TV episode of SATC, if it wasn’t for her looking the same (albeit with bad wig after bad wig), Miranda was unrecognisable. (Even Miss Ellie in Dallas didn’t change THAT much when Donna Reed replaced Barbara Bel Geddes.) Not a SHRED of Miranda’s former self was evident. She’d turned into a blundering, awkward, embarrassing, vacant, selfish buffoon. Every time she opened her mouth I cringed. What did bold, brash Che see in her, exactly? Old Miranda, yes, new Miranda… don’t get it. Can I stop talking about her now? Please?

Steve.

Like Stanford, poor, poor Steve. If you’re going to make him forgetful, completely gauche and out of sorts, maybe give him an actual reason for it – dementia does happen to people in their 40s and 50s, so were the writers suggesting he had onset dementia (especially considering the storyline with his mum)? It wasn’t clear. No, I reckon they just slapped some hearing aids on him and made him an embarrassing old fool. He was also either written out of episodes and scenes that he really should have been in, or he was given horrible lines that made him seem sad and pathetic. Oh and let’s not forget what his wife did to him – talking of which, did that really need to happen, in that manner? #JusticeForSteve

 

The clothes

This was a bit hit and miss for me – you could tell that this show was a Patricia Field-free zone. There were quite a few outfits that I loved, but to be fair I now can’t really remember them well enough to recall one to describe or comment on. Seeing as the clothes were the fifth main SATC character, that’s pretty disappointing.

But what I DO remember were the “OMG” (not in a good way) outfits. Like, OMG Carrie is wearing high silver platform sandals to go painting in. And, OMG Charlotte is wearing a pink 80s bridesmaids dress to Rock’s they mitzvah. And, OMG Miranda is dressed like the mother of the bride yet again.

But the icing on the world’s worst fashion cake was the tangerine frock monstrosity in Paris (I’m gonna call it a frock as that gives it the contempt it deserves) that Carrie wore to scatter Big’s ashes. Complete with long pink gloves. Now, as you may know, I’m TOTALLY in favour of women wearing whatever they want and looking as crazy as they wish – or not. But these are fictitious characters, and this is a fictitious story, and as mentioned already the clothes are a character all by themselves. We’re been invested in the characters and the clothes for 24 years – the target audience for AJLT surely was women who watched all of SATC. We LOVED the fashion part of the show. Therefore, to have the main character wearing a horrible, ill-fitting, saggy, poufy-sleeved dress (sorry, FROCK) and some hideous gloves for a very important scene in which she was – and we were – saying goodbye to a much-loved character just detracted from the poignancy and made it almost farcical.

The fact that it was Valentino? I DON’T CARE. Just because it was a big deal on the runway doesn’t make the way it was styled on Carrie any less awful. And this is style icon Carrie Bradshaw we’re talking about – the woman who rocked pretty much everything she ever wore, no matter how crazy it would have looked on the average woman.

Let’s just remind ourselves what she wore when Big came and rescued her in Paris at the end of SATC the series… that soft grey Atelier Versace mille feuille gown (that she actually pulled out and wore to eat at her window in episode 8 of AJLT). Banish thoughts of the Valentino frock, let it just slip from your mind… think of the Versace… aaaaand relax.

 

The new characters

Che. Do I really have to talk more about Che? Everything I feel about them is written here already… I’ve mentioned them often enough for you to get my views on that character {she says with gritted teeth}.

Brady and his heinous girlfriend. WHO lets their older teen child act that way? Or ANY offspring for that matter, whether they’re 17 or 47? For two (originally) feisty characters, Miranda and Steve acted like doormats in their own home, letting their son and his girlfriend do WHATEVER they wanted. This included brazenly having loud sex and ordering lube that was openly discussed when it was delivered. I don’t know if it’s me being a prude/from a different generation, but where the hell was the respect? Just, no. No, no, no.

Lily and Rock. Charlotte and Harry’s revolting children. Seriously, there’s no way Lily could be THAT naive (“I was checking your dad’s penis for cancer” says Charlotte, I mean FFS) and Rock was just a spoilt brat who, again, could have been treated [as a character] so much better.

Seema, Lisa Todd Wexley (LTW) and Nya (Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda’s new BFFs respectively). I actually thought these three ladies were all rather fabulous, especially Seema. But Miranda’s first encounter with Nya was THE WORST. Don’t insult [the fictitious] people that live in a major multi-cultural city like that, writers. I honestly don’t believe that that sort of encounter would ever happen in that way and go on like it did.

Feisty Seema was obviously meant to be some sort of Samantha replacement, but she still held her own to some extent; she was just missing some cracking oneliners, that’s all. A missed opportunity.

And there wasn’t enough LTW story for us to get to know her – all I remember is that she was probably the best dressed out of everyone. And her jewellery game was strong. Not much of an accolade though, is it?

 

The forced wokeness

This was actually my NUMBER ONE problem with AJLT. I honestly could have coped with Miranda losing her identity. I could have coped with Che being a total narcissist. I could have coped with Carrie wearing the hideous tangerine frock. I could have coped with Big dying (…no scratch that, I couldn’t have coped, I didn’t cope and it still made me incredibly upset for several episodes). I could have coped with the fucking beeping by walking off and making a cup of tea – I’d have missed nothing.

What I couldn’t actually cope with was the constant, incessant, neverending, forced wokeness – it wasn’t introduced naturally, it was rammed down our throats. It was unnatural. It wasn’t organic. Why was everything they did to address these issues pointed out so obviously to us? Instead of intelligently tackling issues of racism, gender identity and diversity, the writers were screaming,

LOOK LOOK LOOK WE’RE WOKE NOW / WE HAVE DIVERSE CHARACTERS / WE’RE GONNA TEACH YOU ALL ABOUT THE ISSUES YOU SHOULD REALLY BE AWARE OF / LOOK AREN’T WE SO CLEVER / NOW STOP CRITICISING THE SHOW FOR NOT BEING DIVERSE, YEAH?

YES the original was lacking in Black and Brown characters. YES the original was lacking in issues about gender identity. YES the original was lacking in characters with disabilities. YES the original had a few LGBTQ+ characters, but not many for a city like New York.

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But thinking about it, most shows on at that time were lacking. The late 90s was a time when LGBTQ+ (mostly just gay) characters, let alone anyone else, were still treated as a novelty.

(Anyone who watched Ally McBeal may remember the treatment of a trans character that makes me shudder to think back on it. I’m sure it’s why it’s never, ever shown on TV or available to watch here, at least in the UK. You’d have to ban those episodes it was so disgusting.)

The writers, instead of cleverly addressing the issues they needed to address and making the cast more diverse, they decided to cram it ALL in in a really OBVIOUS way, making us cringe whilst doing it. There’s no need to shout WE HAVE NEW BLACK CHARACTERS and constantly bringing our attention to it in such a clumsy way – among many examples, Charlotte being worried about others thinking she doesn’t have enough Black friends. She banged on, and on, and on about it to Harry and anyone who’d listen. Or Miranda (her again) and the awkward, repetitive I’m trying so hard to be anti-racist blunders.

If these scenes end up irritating us, they’re not being handled correctly.

We, the audience, DO want to see diversity and difficult issues tackled. The original tackled sex in a way we’d never seen (or heard) before. What we DON’T want to watch is a show that’s treating us like children who need to be sat down and have it all explained to us as Clearly. And. As. Obviously. As. Possible. Do. You. Understand?

AJLT came across as one big list of checkboxes to tick off one by one. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. “Do you think we should develop these characters a little more, or introduce them naturally, or make them more likeable?”

“Nah, we’ve checked them off the list. We’re done here. Let’s go home.”

 

The anticlimax

And my number two gripe after the forced wokeness was…

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO AIDAN? Everyone said he was returning. We waited. Nothing. Not a peep.

Unless it was fake news, the actor himself said he would return, and by about episode 5 I was beginning to wonder how they were going to shoehorn him in (by that stage everything else was being crammed in so there didn’t seem to be any room for The One That Got Away to make a comeback). By the end of episode 9 I knew it wasn’t going to happen… so what was all THAT about? I’ll be honest and say that waiting for Aidan really was the only thing that kept me hooked (if you can call it that). With each new episode being released I was thinking, Is this going to be the episode where he returns? What will he look like? Will he be married/divorced/separated? Come on, come on, come on, tell us, tell us, tell us…

It didn’t happen. NO AIDAN. Nothing pissed me off more. Well, maybe almost everything pissed me off… by that point, everything did.

 

✷  ✷  ✷  ✷  ✷

 

Has AJLT broken any ground where 50+ women – or today’s social issues – are concerned?

I came away from this show thinking, is this what women are meant to turn into when they hit 50? Is this what menopause does to us? It seems that that’s what the writers think we’re like… Who exactly are they basing these characters on? Instead of making 50+ women look badass and the forthright, confident, intelligent and self-assured humans that they actually are, they made us seem dreary, whiney, self-centred and pathetic.

We were bulldozed by all the preconceptions that have existed for years about menopausal women, with just a few glimmers of hope. If I were a 30-35 year old watching this and was starting to become more aware of menopause and how it would affect me in time, I would be horrified.

SO many issues were touched on but not explored properly. AJLT ended up being a jack of all trades, but master of none:

  • Alcoholism: Miranda realised she was an alcoholic, so pours all her booze down the sink. Cured! Never mentioned again.
  • Gender identity: No positive non-binary characters, just two separate ones that seemed to go nowhere in terms of educating us in an organic, natural way within the storyline. Che was the equivalent of having your face shoved in a non-binary pie.
  • Menopause: Just one episode (I think it was just one?) with menopause and stopped periods being mentioned, but then it was turned into a horrible, cringe-making farce of a scene.
  • Ageism: I don’t know about you but due to the main character(s) being so damn MISERABLE most of the time it did nothing to make the audience realise that getting older isn’t completely shit.
  • POC: Each original main character was dutifully assigned a new BFF, all of whom were Black or Brown. A bit contrived, maybe, but so far so good. But then all of those new characters had friends and family that were given paper-thin plotlines – we were bombarded with too many new characters to care about them properly. And we SHOULD be caring about them.
  • Disability: There was just one brief appearance by a character in a wheelchair who worked on Che’s podcast. I can’t remember who she was or what contribution to the storyline she made – she just came in, said a few lines, and left. Disability checkbox: Tick.
  • Not having children: A newly-introduced character was having a dilemma over whether or not she wanted children with pressure coming from her husband to have a family. But these two new, unknown-to-us characters then discussed it with two MORE characters that we had no affinity with and no prior knowledge of. Again, this issue was thinly spread over a couple of episodes and not explored properly AT ALL.

Aaaaand I’m done on the issues that weren’t explored properly. The only one that was explored in more detail was Miranda dealing with the question of her own sexuality. However, rather than treating it with the care and sensitivity that it should have been treated with, it was all shoved in our faces via Carrie’s kitchen and Miranda’s own dream sequence (I know it was a dream, but the blown-out white background was just out of place in any SATC series/movie/reboot). It made me think back to when diehard heterosexual Samantha openly dated a woman who was rather fabulous and we were all, Go Samantha!

But Che was awful. And Steve – a character that I always thought was so wonderful, loving and sweet – was tossed aside by a hypocritical Miranda (“You broke us!”) in favour of an attention-seeking narcissist.

So has AJLT broken any ground? Yes, but in the wrong way – and without any finesse whatsoever.

 

If I was a writer on AJLT, I would have…

For me, the BIGGEST missed opportunity (of which there were many) was not exploring the fact that they introduced not just one but two non-binary characters. Top marks for inclusiveness, zero marks for the characters’ plotlines. Now, I’m speaking as a cis-gender woman, but this is how I see it:

If the writers really wanted to educate their audience and create awareness and acceptance, they shouldn’t have made both non-binary characters (Che and Rock) so abhorrent. I can’t think of any redeeming characteristics that either one had – and yes, I’m hating a kid again, but they’re a fictitious character so I don’t care.

What I wished I’d seen was, when Rock (then Rose) talked to Charlotte about their identity, the latter could then have set up a meeting between Rock and Che. It could have been a wonderfully touching, emotive scene with Che explaining about their life and how they have coped with treatment they’d received, lack of acceptance, etc. etc. The two of them sitting on Rock’s bed with Che sharing stories and answering Rock’s questions. Ughhh, I’m no storyteller but seriously, I’m welling up just thinking about a scene that I created. It could have been wonderfully moving and done a lot towards creating understanding, acceptance and starting a conversation.

Big. Fat. Missed. Opportunity.

And I wouldn’t have killed off Big and shipped Samantha off to London. I’d have done it the other way round. It would have given the character of Samantha a fabulous send-off and Carrie could still have had all the angst and drama that she craves [about her husband being away] WITHOUT her repeating MHD over and over.

With the plotlines as they were, the only saving grace would have been if Samantha had swooped in right at the end, giving everyone a slap on the chops and telling them all to get a grip.

But we knew that was never going to happen. And the fact that AJLT really didn’t work without the no-nonsense gutsiness that was Samantha Jones and therefore so lacking, they tried to compensate with… a load of bollocks.

Plus the kitchen sink (wearing a tangerine Valentino frock).

If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations (and thank you for reading)! Thoughts???? Comment below…

 

Stay safe XOXO

Catherine signature

 

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28 Comments

  1. Sanja Van Huet
    23 February 2022 / 7:52 am

    WOW! AJLT in a nut shell. The car crash we didn’t need (but had to watch!).

    I just disagree with two of your opinions.

    1. Steve. For me, he actually had the best speech in the whole debacle … when Miranda told him she wanted a divorce, his pain, confusion, love and broken trust was so raw … so heart breaking. It made me crush on him more …
    2. The dilemma of Carrie taking off her ring. I lost my husband 11 years ago – and this was so exactly what it was like. The choice to wear or not wear …

    I think the worst thing is that people watching this will think that older women are pigeon holed into a ‘type’. Single entitled, single entitled and lonely, married unhappy, married happy but super controlling. Did I miss any?
    Great post Catherine….

    • Catherine
      Author
      24 February 2022 / 5:22 pm

      Thanks Sanja – totally agree with you about the pigeon holing older women thing. I don’t think it’s done anything to put us in a positive light.

      However I didn’t express an opinion about Steve’s speech or Carrie taking off her ring… in fact I’m 100% in agreement with you that those were actually good parts! For me, the good parts were so overshadowed by the bad that I forgot a lot of them (hence me writing the “good parts” list at the beginning – it was all I could remember at the time of writing). I honestly thought Steve’s words were heartbreaking as well – thank goodness they put that bit in there otherwise he would have been a write-off. And I too ended up loving him even more as a result.

      Plus the ring dilemma for Carrie, that was actually an excellent part as well. In a way if they HADN’T included something like that then I would have been asking why. It’s just such a shame that the rest of the show couldn’t match up to those occasional sparks of genius. They just got lost in the cringe and the dross 🙁

  2. 20 February 2022 / 12:28 am

    And just like that, I agree with you 100% after watching 3 episodes last night. It is soooo bad, but my husband and I are enjoying making fun of it. What about Carrie not even bothering to call 911 when she spies Big croaking in the crapper? I kept thinking, come on, Lady! He’s still kicking–call 911! But nope. No phone call. Such a shame because it could have been fantastic, but oh well. Great post–you nailed it right on the head with your review!

    • Catherine
      Author
      24 February 2022 / 5:34 pm

      SO many people commented on her lack of dialling 911, Annie!! I think the writers obviously thought it would be more dramatic to have Carrie’s shoes coming off in the shower, etc. etc… instead it just annoyed everyone it seemed. I know I can’t comment on the whole “what would I do in that situation” thing as no one ever knows till they’re in it, but I’m pretty certain the first thing you’d do is call an ambulance, SURELY…?!

      Thank you, glad you liked the review, as ranty as it was 😉

  3. Sue
    19 February 2022 / 5:34 pm

    Completely agree with everything you’ve said and I actually laughed out loud because I knew you’d slate the FROCK in orange! Good read thanks for helping me reassert my thoughts because I wondered after watching all episodes……is this how life in your 50’s is in 2022? Really? No it most definitely isn’t.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 5:58 pm

      Sue the orange frock was SOOOOOOOOO BAAAAAADDDDDD…!!!!!!!!! LOL

      Thank you, it seems I’m most certainly not alone in my disdain of this reboot 🙁

  4. 19 February 2022 / 5:32 pm

    I have them all recorded, I just can’t bring myself to watch it yet!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 5:58 pm

      If I were you I’d find something productive to do at the same time, Danielle…! 😉

  5. Michelle
    19 February 2022 / 4:23 pm

    Spot on. All that you and the above comments have already said.
    Who ever wrote this did not watch or connect with the original series in any way. Who ever wrote this doesn’t know any 50 year old women except their own mothers. Who ever wrote this is more suited to low ratings laughtrack sitcoms. Who ever wrote this got PAID and that is stealing because the job was not done satisfactory.
    I wanted to see our irreverent, strong, close knit group of gals out there KILLING it in NYC.
    Fashion…. Could have done wonders for the perception of what women “should” wear. Women can and DO look fabulous after 50… but if they’d rather show sequin turbans, tangerine clown dresses and period pants….. it was a missed opportunity. It should have been sexy and fresh. Carrie used to wear her clothes…. All of these outfits wore her.
    Could have been about how much women need and love their friends. Most of this pile of crap was about drifting apart. Yes people move on, grow and change but SATC was about these friendships being different. I am still ridiculously close with my friends after 35 years. Half of the time these women didn’t have any idea what each other was going through. As if we are supposed to grow old and grow apart. Missed opportunity to show real friendship love.
    Theses women seemed like they had been hiding in a cave for 20 years and just emerged. No New Yorker over 50 who has lived in the art, fashion and club world at any point… would be in ANY of those stupid situations. Embarrassing.
    Lastly. My husband did die when I was a young mother. It was difficult for my friends to deal with me because it was scary. For all of us. We all got through it and some of that coping was the best and most fun parts of my life. There are so many awesome ways to show that fear and the grief process for all of the group. And a lot if it can be funny. They completely missed the opportunity to show the love.
    The whole think stunk but I am mostly mad that they treated these characters as they were all about to start their own spinoff.
    HBO. Seriously. They have a reputation for good entertainment. Who dropped the ball?

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:03 pm

      Dropped the ball is ABSOLUTELY right, Michelle!!

      It was so disappointing, wasn’t it, to see characters we’d loved for so many years treated this way. Yes to everything you said, I couldn’t agree more, especially when you said no New Yorker would find themselves in any of those situations (I mean, did they go to sleep in 2004 and wake up in a post-Covid, post-BLM, post-MeToo world?!)

      I’m so sorry to hear you lost your husband so young – I can imagine that you more than anyone wanted to see something positive where that storyline was concerned. I think it was insulting to create a storyline and character arc that made us get annoyed with the person in that tragic situation. Raising a glass to you, thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts xx

  6. ChinnyD
    19 February 2022 / 1:24 pm

    What a fantastic sum up of a shitshow that was AJLT! It was a train wreck that you couldn’t look away from. There is no redeeming any part of the reboot, frankly. What about that Seema’s jerk of a husband? That tangerine frock!!! Barf. Good job, Catherine. Thanks for expressing what a sizable percentage of us thought about the show.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:05 pm

      AJLTTSS – And Just Like That The Shit Show as it shall be known from henceforth 😉

      Thanks Chinny, I knew I wouldn’t be alone in my hatred of that orange dress… it wore HER, didn’t it?!

  7. L.Peeters
    18 February 2022 / 6:32 pm

    I am probably the only person in the world who has never watched SATC or AJLT. I never could relate to these women nor did I aspire to be like them. Living in a big city? Nope. Traipsing around in designer clothes and killer heels? Nope, not me. Going on lots of dates with gorgeous guys? Sure, who wouldn’t want that? But even then, it felt unrealistic. Wasn’t NYC supposed to be the most difficult place for a heterosexual woman to find a partner? And now: finding the perfect guy on a dating app? In your fifties? On the first try? Nope, definitely not my world.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:08 pm

      I knew a small handful of women [our age] who didn’t watch it, LP – over the years I have watched many shows purely for the clothes in the beginning, only to become hooked on them! And yes I agree, I ALWAYS wondered how they walked round all day in heels…!

  8. AnnieHall
    18 February 2022 / 2:57 pm

    Great post, thank you Catherine. After loving/hating the series and it’s representation of my peers, I couldn’t help but wonder, did it do more harm than good?

    On balance, I think that there are far too few shows that feature women our age, and I can’t think of any current ones that feature them as the central characters so, given how much discourse there has been about the show, and it’s been proper water cooler TV, it has shown that there’s a market for TV featuring mid-life women – so if it achieves nothing else, it succeeded in my book.

    NB – the actor who plays lovely Steve wears hearing aids IRL, that wasn’t a character choice by the producers.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:10 pm

      You’re right about there being too few shows about women our age, Annie – I think that’s why I got so annoyed when this turned out to be so bad. One chance to show us in all our fabulousness… no, I think the producers of the show DID do more harm than good as you suggested 🙁

      I didn’t know that about the actor playing Steve – I didn’t think it was a bad idea; I guess (like with most of the show and the writing) it was how it was handled that made me cross. They could easily have had Steve with hearing aids or coming to terms with hearing loss (it’s actually a great idea considering the age of the characters) but they made it appear that the hearing loss caused him to lose brain cells. Now I know that about the actor, I think it was rather insulting to people with hearing loss. Actually now I think more about it, it was anyway – with or without that knowledge!! Maybe it was living with pain-in-the-ass Miranda that caused the personality change in him, I think she’d have driven me mad as well…!

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed the post (if that’s the right word, considering how damn ranty it was!!)

  9. 18 February 2022 / 11:29 am

    You’re quite right, I stuck with it but only because I still regarded them as absent friends. I’d hoped the reboot would show women in their 50s as powerful, vital and fun. Instead they all came across as wet. Only Miranda seems to work (although she was studying). I don’t call a weekly podcast with idle chat between 3 people work. Menopause was a big missed opportunity, as was ageism at work. It was ultimately killed by the forced woke ism. I can’t remember the fashion either except for a weird dirndl that Carrie wore. And yes, I was expecting her to remind us about Post It gate. Kim Cattrall probably had a good laugh about it all.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:50 pm

      Do you I didn’t even think about them not working, Gail… I missed SO many things because of how aghast I was at how bad it was! And yes to the missed opportunities – they definitely got too caught up in the wokeness and forgot how to write something GOOD 🙁

  10. 17 February 2022 / 11:46 pm

    You are dead right about everything they got wrong, and they made the 50s look so miserable. I think it’s fascinating that Grace & Frankie has so many positive things to say about being much older, yet Sex and the City couldn’t manage the 50s. Betraying the characters was bad enough. But failing to portray in any way what it’s like to be this age without kids? That’s horrifying. BTW, Tom and Lorenzo covered this show so well in their pop culture podcast; they pointed out that the characters could have been long-term friends with these women rather than all new friends, which would have worked SO MUCH better.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:54 pm

      I haven’t actually watched Grace & Frankie, Leah – though since this shitshow I’ve been meaning to check it out!

      I like the sound of the podcast you mentioned – and YES to that idea that their new BFFs shouldn’t have been new at all, that would have been so much better. They could easily have made Charlotte and LTW long term friends, even Miranda and Nya could have known each other before she started studying, meaning all that blundering first meeting shit could have been omitted. Carrie could still have met Seema for the first time through selling her house… yeah that would have been so much better as you said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  11. 17 February 2022 / 9:27 pm

    Brava Catherine There’s nothing to add here my friend, I agree with you 100%!
    Your post is not only well written, it’s a clever analysis of each issue.
    Although I will steal a line from the Guardian that sums up the AJLT writing for me –
    “Gen-Xers telling Boomer jokes written by Millennials.”
    I really wonder who these 55 year old, city dwelling, career women are based on, because they’re not me and my friends.

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you so much MT – that summary from The Guardian is absolutely spot-on!! I wondered who these women were too, and that’s coming from a 50 yo living in a small town in SW England… if YOU, as a NJ resident, doesn’t recognise these women then the producers got it completely wrong, didn’t they?!

  12. 17 February 2022 / 8:57 pm

    I was a fan of SATC too, so my expectations were high for AJLT and, like you, I ended the series on a note of disappointment.

    A couple of more good things I read about the show – on top of the ones you mentioned in your post, all of which I agree with, by the way: the wardrobe people made use of a few vintage and thrifted outfits, which I thought was cool. And then there’s the surprising appearance of “Antoine”/William Abadie, who I think is a charming actor (I like him in Emily In Paris) and adds a touch of excitement as a new character, but more because the actor actually also appeared in an episode of SATC too! (As a different character back then, that is. If there’s going to be a season 2, I’d be curious to see what happens between him and Seema, for sure.)

    I do not appreciate Steve’s story arc at all! Sweet, thoughtful Steve. I wonder if they age the character that way to somehow justify Miranda’s story arc? Not sure what other explanation there is for it. I’m all about finding your happiness in life, but the cheating is so frustrating – and this is after she felt the pain and suffering after finding out Steve cheated years ago, too. I feel like the Miranda we knew from SATC would have at least had the courtesy to break up the marriage first before ever getting into any physical relationship with Che. Miranda cheating is probably my biggest issue with the show; it’s just a confused continuation on the character’s part, I feel. (Based on what she’s said about viewers critiques, Cynthia Nixon disagrees with me, I think, but Miranda is her baby after all so at the same time I do respect her feelings about her character too. Just my two cents, that’s all.)

    Speaking of, I don’t actually listen to podcasts but I think I read enough about podcasts to know that whatever “podcast” they did on the show is… just not a podcast. Someone said the writers must have confused podcasts with a radio show, which would make more sense!

    I agree with you on Seema being a missed opportunity. Also, I wish the writers didn’t confuse saree with lehenga in that Diwali episode. Both are beautiful traditional outfits in Indian culture and deserve the spotlight, but it’d be nice to see them getting something that basic right.

    Oh my, look at me creating a whole new post in your comment section! I actually have much more to say but I’m just going to end with: I relate to your post So Much.

    As much as I have mixed feelings about AJLT though, would I watch if they announce season 2 is coming? Ugh, I would, I still would!

    • Catherine
      Author
      9 March 2022 / 7:01 pm

      First of all – yes I would totally watch a S2 as well, Liyana!! Though I’ll find something productive to do during it next time, like stabbing myself in the eyeballs with a stiletto heel, LOL 😉

      Like you I liked the fact that “Antoine” from EIP made an appearance, but talk about brief?! And yes I too read that changing Miranda was Cynthia Nixon’s idea… doesn’t mean she was right though (even if her acting was better I might have rolled with it, but no – she was the epitome of hammy)!

      Interesting about the writers getting the saree mixed up with lehenga – you’d think that they’d get their facts right seeing as they were hell-bent on educating us. Talk about ironic 🙁

      Thank you for your thoughts – I appreciate the really long comment! Goes to show just how much people cared about the original and how let down they felt, doesn’t it x

  13. Kate
    17 February 2022 / 8:45 pm

    Spot on. I hate watched it to my embarrassment but I couldn’t believe that a show that was once entrenched in the cultural discourse was turned into this mess. It really was like each character has been asleep since 2004 and was awakened to perform in this. There was no indication of any organic attempt to present non binary characters, and we are supposed to believe that Charlotte a Manhattan mom would behave so abominably in front of poc? Come on! Thank you for a terrific review!

  14. 17 February 2022 / 8:27 pm

    I think you’ve pretty much nailed this on the head, Catherine. I watched the entire series and spent much of the time cringing…particularly through the first episode which was awful!! There were so many missed opportunities, and it could have been epic. However, I never watched the SATC series other than the odd episode and both movies (shock, horror, I know!!) so, perhaps I don’t feel as strongly about it as others, but I did enjoy the fashion (that bloody dress in Paris was frickin horrendous though, and don’t get me on the gloves….I actually thought she was wearing her Marigolds again!!!!) and it made me want to buy heels again.
    As for the characters, I totally agree with you. Seema was the best one in the show, and her clothes were brill. Charlotte, Miranda and Carrie all pissed me off throughout, BUT I wanted there to be more episodes purely because I Ioved the clothes so much lol. I know, I’m pathetic!!! We clearly need more TV shows about women our age!!!!
    Brilliant post, Catherine.
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

  15. 17 February 2022 / 8:19 pm

    Hi –

    I have read your blog for quite some time, but this is my first comment.

    I completely agree with your assessments about AJLT. I would like to voice my opinion of one thing I think the show got right: Lisa Todd Wexley’s “Black Bourgeoisie” family – the mother-in-law was right on point. I loved the scene where dear mother-in-law attempted to disparage Lisa’s penchant for purchasing art work, and Charlotte, ever the art professional, explained the importance and value of those art pieces.

    I’d also like to take the opportunity to say how much I love this blog!

  16. Jan Colquitt
    17 February 2022 / 7:52 pm

    As a die-hard SATC fan, I agree completely with everything you said! CRINGE is the best word to describe, really, all of it! I think the most annoying thing for me was the whole “woke” aspect. As you said, to cram it down our throats like we can’t understand was so condescending. One aspect I didn’t like was it seemed as if these ladies just woke up in their fifties and didn’t know anything about the world had changed! Anyway, this is one of the best posts I’ve read about it. Thanks!

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