Everything Cringy About “And Just Like That” and Why I Keep Watching
Warning: Spoiler Alerts. We do give away some of the plot lines of some of the episodes.
Like so many of us, I was a huge fan of Sex in the City from the first moment of the first episode. It was a groundbreaking series that fearlessly explored taboo topics and showcased the lives of four glamorous single women in their 30s living in New York City, navigating careers, dating, and sexual adventures. It explored the lives of single women in ways that had never before been seen on TV and put cosmopolitans on bar menus everywhere.
And the clothes…the fabulous clothes were just as much a character as the characters. We loved Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and everyone’s over the top favorite, Samantha. I was sad when the series ended and was so excited when the first movie came out. It was an event! I went with several girlfriends and we even sneaked cosmos into the theater. But by the time the second movie came around, the “girls” had lost their spark, their oomph, and I was grateful there wasn’t a third movie.
But when it was announced that And Just Like That would bring back our favorite gals, sans Samantha. I was delirious with anticipation of what their lives would be like now that they are all in their 50ties. I so wanted to love this series.
Season one was a huge disappointment. It seemed to be going out of its way to make viewers hate it. While I could empathize with Carrie losing Mr. Big, the love of her life, I’m not sure why the writer’s decided she also needed a hip replacement, and focused on how that made her feel so old. (P.S., half the audience watching has probably had hip replacements.) And her long-time pals, Miranda and Charlotte have not evolved at all—in fact, they’ve devolved.
Miranda, once a successful lawyer, who was always the levelheaded cynic, is now an insecure mess. Charlotte was the loveable, optimistic airhead, who is now the epitome of the obnoxious helicopter mom. We always loved their gay friends in Sex and the City, but sadly Willy Garson who played Stanford died, and now there’s just Anthony, played by Mario Cantone, who is just awful! He overacts every single scene. They are all so whiny, I wonder how we ever related to them, and why Carrie still wants to hang out with them. Thank goodness for some of the newer characters in the series who are actually interesting and have some potential to make the series more entertaining.
I was going to give up halfway through season one, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave Carrie in her grief, and I kept hoping it would get better. It didn’t. I was not alone in my disappointment. Yet despite all the negative reviews from critics and viewers, the series was somehow renewed. I had to watch, of course, but the agony and cringe worthy moments just continued.
I wasn’t going to watch season two, but the lure of John Corbitt returning and Samantha making a cameo, drew me back in—just like that. And now, here I am halfway through the season (Corbitt and Samantha have not appeared yet) and finding this season even more ridiculous (with the exception of some of the new characters) and even more disappointing than the first season.
Here are some of the worst moments from Season Two that still have me shaking my head.
In episode one, Carrie has a podcast and dispenses relationship and dating advice. An advertiser wants her to read a commercial which is for a female sexuality product, where Carrie has to say “vagina.” Well Carrie cannot bring herself to say the word “vagina.” Are you kidding me? She’s a fifty-something, sexually experienced woman whose career was writing about sex, and she and her friends discuss some of their most intimate sexual moments, and she can’t say “vagina???”
Miranda has fallen in love and abandoned her husband Steve to be with Che, a standup comic who is non-binary. She is like a lovesick 13-year-old. She follows Che to California and in several pathetic scenes, seems to have lost the successful, accomplished woman she was. How the heck did that happen?
Charlotte’s youngest daughter, a concert pianist prodigy, announces she wants a keyboard. However, Charlotte, who has granted her children every luxury, uncharacteristically denies her request and insists she find a way to purchase it herself. She does…by selling a Chanel dress, bought for her by Charlotte for the occasion of her concert debut, to a designer dress reseller. Charlotte is horrified and incensed that this reseller would allow a teenager to sell a dress to them, spends half of the episode in a ridiculous attempt to get the dress back, with Carrie tagging along, lusting for the resale designer items.
The over-the-top sexual scenes we didn’t need to see.
Let’s preface this with Samantha. We all loved her sexuality and how fearlessly she ventured into unchartered territory. It was always fun and empowering. Samantha could pull that off. In the new series, these moments are just cringeworthy.
There’s Miranda trying to figure out how to put on a strap on penis and then calling Carrie in tears when she can’t figure it out.
Then there’s an “almost” three-way with Miranda, Che, and Che’s husband —yes, they has never bothered to divorce said husband. Well let me just say, if you ever fantasized about a three-way, this scene would end that fantasy forever.
And then there’s the storyline with Charlotte’s husband, who is no longer able to ejaculate on her, which deeply upsets her, so she takes him to a doctor, like one would take a child. Apparently, Kegels can correct this situation and we see her putting Harry through his exercises. But it doesn’t end there. The next scene is Charlotte at lunch with Carrie, Miranda, one of their new friends (who should just run), and Anthony discussing “jissom.” It’s actually Carrie, who can’t say vagina, who uses that word at lunch as they casually eat their kale salads and avocado toast. When is the last time you had that kind of conversation at lunch with your friends?
Marginalizing Older Women, Candice Bergen, and Gloria Steinem
This episode not only has major cringe moments but made me angry too. Carrie runs into her old boss, her former editor, Enid played by Candice Bergen. Enid tells Carrie she has a novel idea to start a magazine focusing on older women who are ignored by our society. (Geeze, a novel idea? Apparently The Three Tomatoes is not on their radar.) She’d like Carrie to be part of it. Well Carrie is appalled that Enid would put her in the “older woman” category but agrees to go to an event at Enid’s home where she is introducing the concept to some very influential women, including Gloria Steinem. And yes, the real, and very frail Gloria makes an appearance, and gives a heartfelt speech about not marginalizing women. As she is doing that, another woman in attendance, who is somewhere in her 60s or 70s, and wants to hook Carrie up with one of her former boyfriends, sends Carrie a photo, via text, of said boyfriends’ penis! Well maybe it’s just me. But when is the last time a friend of yours took photos of their boyfriend’s penis and texted it to you? Is this the new feminism?
Yet, I Keep Watching
By now, you may be saying, “Why, Cheryl, why? The answer is, I’m not sure. I still love Carrie, and I keep hoping the show will get better, and I’ll love all the characters again. And it’s also kind of like watching a train wreck…you know what’s going to happen, but you can’t stop yourself. But I’ll tell you this…I will not watch a season three. But then again… “just like that,” I might find myself hooked again.
The tomato behind The Three Tomatoes.
Cheryl Benton, aka the “head tomato” is founder and publisher of The Three Tomatoes, a digital lifestyle magazine for “women who aren’t kids”. Having lived and worked for many years in New York City, the land of size zero twenty-somethings, she was truly starting to feel like an invisible woman. She created The Three Tomatoes just for the fun of it as the antidote for invisibility and sent it to 60 friends. Today she has thousands of friends and is chief cheerleader for smart, savvy women who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage. She is the author of the novel, "Can You See Us Now?" and co-author of a humorous books of quips, "Martini Wisdom." Because she's lived a long time, her full bio won't fit here. If you want the "blah, blah, blah", read more. www.thethreetomatoes.com/about-the-head-tomato