I started watching Sex and the City when I was in my early 20s. As I slogged my way through school, and then the early years of my teaching career, all I held within me was one hope: my 30s would be fabulous like that. The fashion, the brunches, the fact that Carrie and the gals had jobs that they loved. And just like that, I discovered very quickly that my 30s wasn’t going to be quite like that. But it’s okay, because these characters were still relatable, and still dealt with real world problems. So when I heard that we were getting a sequel series, I was over the moon, eager to see how these characters were doing in the current season of their lives. You can imagine my disappointment when I watched the first season.
The first season of And Just Like That was lackluster. The writing had lost its spark, and these characters didn’t feel very recognisable to us anymore. The show suffered from the loss of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones, and struggled to make these friendships feel real to us in the way that it had so easily done before. I’m happy to say that Season 2 is an improvement, but only slightly.
What Season 2 does so much better is the fashion. I love so many of Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) outfits this season, and even characters like Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) have stepped up their fashion game. Both Carrie and Miranda have gone back to the original hair colours, which is the show’s way of showing the change and transition for these characters.
In the previous season, Carrie was dealing with Big’s death and her grief was an extensive part of her character arc, while Miranda was discontent with the lull that her life had become, and impulsively started a messy relationship with Che (Sara Ramirez). They’re still dealing with these issues in the second season, but moving towards some sense of healing and a return to who they are. We get to see Miranda get back into law, to a side of it that she has more passion for, and Carrie begins dating other people. As for Charlotte (Kristin Davies), she starts to feel like she doesn’t want her life to just revolve her children and their needs, so she steps back into work and the life that she left behind when she became a mom. I think where the show missteps is making it too easy at times for the characters.
Women actually have difficulty returning to the working world after a long hiatus away. There’s always the question about the gap in the resume, and whether or not the experience gleamed from years ago is enough to be competent in the now. But not for Charlotte, who just has this opportunity dropped right at her doorstep. She also has no difficulties adjusting at work, and girlbosses her way through everything. The only complication for her this season is balancing both the domestic and professional sides of her life, since her family is so used to her being at home and handling everything. Her friend Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker) is also facing the same complication, which is compounded as both she and her husband are flourishing professionally, and this puts a strain on their marriage.
As for Carrie, while the show does initially show her struggles with going back into the dating world again, considering her age and the lack of available men, they once again make it too easy for her by bringing back Aiden Shaw (John Corbett). All us OG SATC gals have always argued the merits of Big vs. Aidan, and it does feel like Aidan never had a proper chance because Big was in Carrie’s heart first. Bringing him back does give them a chance to wipe the slate clean, but the execution of this is solely lacking.
Parker and Corbett aren’t given enough material to sell the reality of this relationship, or to help us understand why the relationship is working now even though the original series established that they fell apart because they wanted different things out of life. The fact that they have their homes in different places highlights this even more, because you can’t build a home and life together if you don’t even share it most of the time. And while it’s always nice to see original show characters show up in this series, the show still needs to do the work to make the relationship feel believable, and not just assume that the past is enough justification.
Miranda probably has the most compelling character arc this season. She’s dealing with her separation from Steve (David Eigenberg), transitioning to a new career path, and being single again after being married for so long. Nixon’s scenes with Eigenberg are the best of the season. They truly allow us to feel the weight of history between these two characters, and how they move forward from all that anger and hurt. The show even handles a discussion about splitting marital assets fairly well, so it was good to see some sparks that reminded me of the show’s former glory.
While I do like Seema (Sarita Choudhury) and Nya (Karen Pittman), they aren’t given enough space in the show to allow the viewers to really care about them. There’s potential there though, and maybe Season 3 can improve on things even more. And Just Like That’s episodes really need to have more of the cohesion we saw in the original show, instead of feeling scattered like it does now.
I hope that Season 3 improves even more, but like Carrie said, maybe they best way to enjoy anything is to drop all sense of expectation.
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While the writing is still a far cry away from how it was on the original series, there are definitely more sparks this season, and the characterisation more true to form.
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