For whatever reason, Canadian TV has been running the general trailer for this show a lot lately, so I can practically recite it. There’s a part where Carrie says, “As your story unfolds, the city reinvents itself,” and it clicked for me that “the city” is actually not a character in this at all. Which is fine — it’s not called And Just Like That and the City. But the original group, and SJP for sure, really romanticized the idea that New York City was the fifth lady and a character unto itself, and that’s very much not the case with the sequel. So it’s a weird choice for a promo line. The show doesn’t feel connected to the city at all. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything good or bad; it’s just an observation.
Second, as I noted in the comments last week, I’ve decided Charlotte and Miranda are absolutely still secretly WhatsApping with Samantha. And she definitely got a few messages this week.
Carrie: We see her at her window typing as the seasons change, and we arrive at spring — which I’m only mentioning because we are really trucking through the passage of time here. Carrie spent the year writing a book about her grief, which is so profound and consuming that she has shown up for a meeting with her editor wearing a purple jacket with giant shoulder pads, a grey suit with a waistcoat, a brown polka-dot shirt, a red tie. It’s a visual callback of sorts, per Instagram. And it’s Carrie Bradshaw Professional Working World Cosplay. It’s interesting — on the one hand, some of her stuff has felt so NOT Carrie, and on the other, there are a lot of callbacks. I can’t completely tell if her style has evolved or is simply all over the place. ANYWAY: Her editor loves the book and says it’s wrenching and poignant, and she wants to fast-track it for Christmas. Yes! I know that what I want for Christmas is a book that will absolutely ruin me emotionally! Someone in publishing, please let me know if this fast-track is realistic with a manuscript that’s been turned in during spring, and whether Christmas is considered a lucrative time to drop your future bestseller. My experience is obviously limited and one-sided. Also, I have no idea how long it’s been since Carrie had a column, but apparently her readers are the ones they want to hook the most, and the editor thinks Carrie’s fans will be too depressed by it unless Carrie adds an Epilogue of Hope. (Was Carrie’s column national? Are her readers THAT many? I guess she was on the cover of Vogue; she always felt like too much of a niche New York celebrity to have been on Vogue, but I also didn’t re-watch the last three seasons or the movies because — in truth — I didn’t want to, so I might be forgetting a detail. Regardless, I would think this is a great time to worry about NEW readers, as her aficionados are probably going to buy it anyway even if it’s depressing.) Oprah’s Book Club also only wants it with the Epilogue of Hope. Although, the sample book cover they’re working with calls it Loved and Lost, so they’re obviously leaning into it being Memoir of Tragedy. The cover treatment is a black and white photo of a beach. How is THAT relevant to Carrie’s story? Is it because empty beaches look lonely? Because Big and Carrie were supposed to go to the Hamptons when the Peloton killed him? It should be a black-and-white photo of a spin studio in uptown Manhattan. And it’s very obviously not a book you expect to have an Epilogue of Hope.
At dinner with Charlotte, Miranda, and Seema, whose only appearance is in this scene, Carrie says she’s going to go on a stunt date so that she can write this ending. Seema says she’s already made Carrie several dating profiles on various apps: “No one buys real estate in the winter, so I listed you.” Everyone accepts this as if it’s not HUGELY CREEPY and a massive overstep. Especially from someone who just a couple episodes ago was complaining about how lame online dating has been for her. In her bedroom, Carrie swipes back through some of the dudes they were discussing and sees Jon Tenney, and likes his profile. The next thing we see is her arriving for a date with him in this foxy ensemble, which is the one part where I thought she overdid it — I would love Carrie to have a sense of occasion more often than she has in the past, but this feels more like what she’d wear to a function of Charlotte’s than on a date where she’s being herself. (They’ve had no discussion of whether Carrie feels caught between who she was and who she became when married to Big/as she aged into a Wealthy Society Person, but I think they should have.) Carrie and Jon Tenney – his name is Peter, but whatever — both have dead spouses and are both back on the horse for the first time. They nervously order drinks, and then we smash cut to them stumbling out of the restaurant busting a gut laughing in a very fake actorly way, and then they both projectile vomit all over the street. I’m serious. That is not a facetious statement. Friends, the way I rolled my eyes at this. It doesn’t ring true for me with either of them, even though we just met Jon Tenney. Fritz would at least remember to order snacks.
For some reason, Miranda, Carrie, and Anthony all attend Charlotte’s school’s fundraising auction. Do they just do it differently in New York? We never had anyone show up at ours who wasn’t a parent at the school (although we were not a private school, either). At Charlotte’s request, Carrie is donating a lunch with herself, which… sure. The most realistic part of the show is when they try to sell that and nobody responds, because seriously, does New York even remember who she is? Carrie tells the ladies about the barfing the night before, which is 100 percent something she would have called and told them IMMEDIATELY or at least texted, and Anthony recalls that he once shit himself on a date. You will never guess what Carrie replies. It will surprise and astound you. Be prepared to be so very, very shocked. Carrie says, “Unless you shit yourself on a date after your HUSBAND DIED, then I win worst night ever.” WE GET IT, CARRIE. Also, yes, they really gave that line to her to say to Anthony, whose husband is only gone because the beloved actor actually IS dead. It’s a yikes for several reasons. Also, I feel like shitting yourself on a date is worse than barfing? Let’s get scientific about this. We have to ask the important questions.
In sum, the Epilogue of Hope is now an Epilogue of Hurl. Carrie tells Miranda she’s sad she won’t get a good ending for her book now, which is RIDICULOUS because getting accidentally hammered and chundering on your first date — while dumb and, I would argue, quite unlikely for two people in their fifties unless they concurrently got the stomach flu — is absolutely content that she could use and ABSOLUTELY a reason to see that guy again? Also, she has told shitty stories about everyone else in the course of her writing career; why not this one? Naturally, moments later she notices Jon Tenney at this event and tries to hide, Anthony refers to him as “Professor Puke” (he’s a math teacher) which is the one laugh I got, and then when Carrie’s “date with a sex columnist” — which Carrie freaks out about, and Charlotte loudly revises to “lunch with a relationship expert” — gets zero interest from anyone, Tenney swoops in and wins it. Carrie thanks him and offers to cover it, but no, he’s fine, thank you, and would actually like to take her out again. His grey hair has a soap-operatic swoop to it. Think David Forsyth (who, coincidentally, also played Miranda’s boss in the old show). Oh, and it’s this scene; someone in the comments that day said the shoes are Kate Spade and the commenter wore them in 2011, so clearly Carrie is still shopping from her own archive, which I like. We end the episode on her saying, “And just like that, I had a glimmer of hope,” or some such, and my word… I’m glad we’re not ENTRENCHED in grief but they’re also really moving quite fast through it. Why not just kill Big off-camera and START the series with Carrie ready to try and rebuild? They didn’t use the grief for anything other than a Natasha cameo and an Emmy reel.
Charlotte: She and Lisa Todd Wexley play tennis together and are super competitive, even when they’re wiping the court with old ladies. Harry decides the men should join for mixed doubles. He gets mansplainey with Charlotte, so she in turn becomes aggressive going for a winner and accidentally knocks him over, which keys an episode-long fight about whether she should apologize to him for it. She argues no, because it was a game, she was doing what he asked, and society expects women to spend all day apologizing to everyone everywhere for everything and she doesn’t think she needs to do it on the tennis court. (Huh? The tennis court is where she draws her line?) He argues that she leveled him and it was hurtful, and if an apology is ready on her lips for other people — he counts how many times she says it at the auction, as proof — then why not for him? Frankly, and I say this as someone who likes them as a couple, they’re both annoying about it and also both right and both wrong. Charlotte might be correct about women and apologizing in a macro sense, but most normal people would be like, “Shoot, sorry,” if they plowed over their doubles partner and it’s strange that it wasn’t her reflex when Harry was laid out on the ground. But Harry being a dog with a bone is silly because obviously Charlotte isn’t trying to disrespect him. She’s just hella competitive, which he also knows, so he’s being a petty whiny baby about it. Be quiet, both of you. It’s a dumb fight. I’m sure it’s meant to represent how marriage is for some people — small squabbles that don’t mean anything in the scheme of things — but that doesn’t make for very enjoyable TV.
Also, the only place it goes is: Charlotte is paranoid because LTW and Herbert caught them yelling at each other… and then they catch Herbert and LTW arguing at their school benefit over whether LTW is a terrible emcee. And that’s it. That’s the ending. So the moral is that they’re the same and normal and…
Nya: She and her husband are not doing IVF, but are still trying to have a baby. When they bump into Miranda at a farmer’s market, they’re all smoochy and cute, but Nya confides that she has to break his heart by telling him that she just got her period. Unfortunately, Miranda texts Nya some sympathy about it while they’re driving home, and the car reads the message out loud. Her husband is sad he found out that way, and then the whole scene is derailed by Nya stopping hard at a light and almost hitting a dude crossing the street with a stroller. He screams at them both, “I HAVE A TODDLERRRRRR,” over and over, and punches the car, and she and her husband sort of chuckle about his OTT reaction, and then… we don’t see them again. It’s the strangest stump of a storyline and I wonder if something got cut?
LTW: She remains written almost exactly like Charlotte. Her fight with Herbert is about them emceeing the school’s fundraising auction. Lisa keeps forgetting to use the microphone, and he keeps correcting her, and when she calls herself awful he accidentally agrees with her — listen, it’s bonkers, nothing about this supremely confident woman who has the PTA under her thumb suggests that she’d be inept in front of a room of people. Also, you know these two host that thing every year. There’s no way it’s her first time with the microphone, or any microphone. ALSO, he’s a musician, but they’re acting like he’s a career improv comic or something. LTW and Herbert, I want to free you into a different show. Let’s move the Wexleys to London, where, just like that, they meet Samantha.
Miranda: She’s on the phone with poor cuckolded, befuddled Steve at the farmer’s market, yelling about how he’s in the wrong place, when she runs into Nya. Eventually Steve makes his way over and introduces himself, and they seriously have made him such a bumbling weirdo. And of course old half-deaf Steve cannot comprehend the way they reorganized the stalls, and left his wallet with the Pickle Guy, and trips over himself trying to run off and get it and Miranda is embarrassed by him. Miranda, who once yelled “Abu Dhabi dooo!” in that blistering anal wart of a second movie, and had verbal diarrhea in Nya’s class on her first day, and that’s just the two things that came to mind first. At this point, Steve is ALSO probably texting Samantha, except it’s all shit about Miranda. He can ALSO come to London.
While walking home with Carrie after the Stunt Date Dinner, Miranda and Carrie talk about how Carrie can’t imagine sleeping with anyone but Big, whereas Miranda is itching to get back on the roller coaster. “I’ve been riding the monorail too long,” she says, which I can only assume doubles as a metaphor for Steve’s wang. It comes out that Miranda never got a response to the DM she sent to Che, and asks if they ever mention Miranda during the podcast taping. The answer is no, and also, the podcast still exists?!? Miranda sighs that she has to accept it as a crazy one-off and “I’ll resign myself to having a dead sex life.” Okay, that is maybe not the coolest language to use with Carrie when they were just discussing her literal dead sex life, BUT then Carrie says, “I know how you feel, but Big is ACTUALLY dead. Maybe your sex life with Steve is just in a deep coma.” Lord. Samantha just felt a tremor in the Force. Although at least this time the comment was semi-warranted on Carrie’s part, and delivered with good nature, and not the angry clenching of episodes past.
The next night I GUESS after dinner, while Steve is texting to deal with something at the restaurant, Miranda grabs him and says she’s in the mood: “It’s been too long for me.” He’s fumbling trying to finish texting and pointing out that their kids might come home, and Miranda is trying to make it rushed and hot and exactly like what Che did to her, right down to… well, every detail. But it’s not working for her; she looks fatally bored. (Steve also pointedly washes his hands first, which I think we’re supposed to find lame and un-spontaneous, but which is very sweet to me?) Steve offers to get lube and Miranda says she’ll do it, and then Steve starts to put away dinner while he waits just so that it doesn’t smell up the kitchen, and a deflated Miranda gives up and comes up with other things to do too.
At the event with Carrie, Miranda actually pivots off the subject of Big by saying, “Speaking of dead things,” and I want to hug her (I decided Samantha told her to say that). Miranda says her sex life is nonresponsive, and that she tried so hard. Did she though? She jumped on Steve while he was busy with work, then tried to turn him into someone else instead of letting it flow, then bailed. ONCE. That was ONE try. Miranda clearly just wants to say she tried, to justify a decision she’s already made; an outcome preordained. Carrie does not call her out on that, though she does suggest more therapy. Then Miranda realizes that Che has appeared on-stage to do a quick set for the auction crowd. Carrie is like, “Oh, yeah,” because she arranged this, and somehow NEVER thought to tell Miranda, who is pining for Che, that she was about to come face-to-face WITH Che? Carrie is terrible. You know in “Sk8er Boi” where the main character sees her ex on MTV, and she calls up her friends, and they already know AND they have tickets to see his show? This is kind of like that. In Avril as in life.
Miranda bails on Carrie midsentence to go slobber on Che, but thinks Che is ignoring her and leaves in a sulk — only to have Che notice her and give chase. Miranda is not chill enough to pretend she’s not upset, so she pokes at Che about not replying to the DM and Che, rightly, points out that they get a lot of random DMs and don’t always see the ones that are from people they actually know. They tell Miranda it’s a turn-on when people just ask directly for what they want, and then they lean in and tell Miranda, “I want to go someplace with you and take off all your clothes.” Miranda squeals, “REALLY???” And it’s very unsexy, but apparently it does not kill the mood because we next see them naked in bed having sex. Miranda — I am cringing for her — tells Che, “I think I’m in love with you.” Che downplays it as the weed, the hormones, and the excellent sex, but Miranda is swept up in it all and Che does not seem unopposed to that. I don’t buy Che being into Miranda in a legitimate way, really? I’ve said before that the reason I enjoy Che is because I enjoy Sara Ramirez, and their very Sara Ramirezness is doing all of the lifting that the script isn’t. And thus, I believe Miranda developing a fascination, especially as she’s solving the puzzle of her existential discontent; unfortunately, I don’t buy Che taking on Miranda’s baggage in a meaningful way right now, nor being attracted to Miranda’s current weird, manic energy. We need time. It’s like a season two or season three development that we should be cheering for after a super slow burn that involves Che shepherding Miranda through her sexploration.
Hero of the Week: I am, sadly, still holding out for a hero.