I mourned the loss of Sex and the City after watching a few episodes of the first season of the And Just Like That reboot. I was one of the millennial gays that came of age binging the original series as a teen, and therefore I knew exactly what to do when I entered New York adulthood.
Sex. Martinis. Fashion. Fabulous friendship all around.
OK, real life materialized a little differently than the fantasy I fell in love with, but as a gay man, I never resonated with a show more, which had nothing to specifically do with queerness.
Needless to say, And Just Like That was supposed to reawaken something in me – I didn’t expect it to be disdain. I hate-watched the entire first 10 episodes and cursed the script to rot in Mar-a-Lago hell.
Still, you can bet your Manolo Blahnik’s I’ve been streaming the new second season out of respect to my younger self! And I’ve also, surprisingly, gained more respect for the reboot each week. It feels like an exorcism has taken place in the best ways.
But watching this week’s fourth episode, “Alive,” unexpectedly, I felt an erection of the heart. Butterflies.
As Charlotte (Kristin Davis) asked Harry if he wanted to cum on her boobs, I needed to do a double take. Up until now, the sex and humor had been missing from the city (Che Diaz fingerbanging Miranda doesn’t count). Harry failed to produce semen with his orgasm, which sent Charlotte to the experts: lunch with her friends.
And just like that (sorry), I started to recognize the series I once knew. For starters, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) saying jizz-less sex seems “like an upgrade” is such a Miranda thing to say, except this time, her friends can quip about her queerness.
Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) refers to Harry as “Casper the Friendly Cum” and then admits, “Jizz is like an old friend that gets on your nerves, you know? I think I would miss it if it were gone!”
I inhaled the aspirational repartee and tone that used to decorate every SATC plotline, except our eloquent writer matured beyond using french fries as a metaphor. Anthony sitting in Samantha’s (Kim Cattrall) chair makes it obvious this is not the original, even as he describes himself as a milking machine.
Maybe the writers went on strike the first season because this is the dialogue I remember.
Ironically, the show trying to atone for the lack of diversity in its past and cater to marginalized identities offended many of us instead or, worse, put the blame and burden on the characters that finally were supposed to represent us. And it made uncultured doofuses out of lifelong iconic New Yorkers – more unrealistic than Carrie’s Upper East Side rent-controlled apartment.
The scene ends with Charlotte comparing the cum shot to “confetti at a parade” and the “finale fireworks on the fourth of July,” and honestly, same.
The void of Samantha’s unencumbered (and genius) raunchiness has finally made all the ladies step up their game while keeping true to themselves. We must remember Charlotte was never a prude (she once confessed to rimming men). She needed Prince Charming to make her comfortable in kink.
The rest of the episode only snowballs into grandiosity from there, including Charlotte teaching Harry the famed Kegel exercises (introduced to the ladies by Samantha), Miranda attempting the most awkward threesome with her nonbinary partner Che (Sara Ramirez) and their ex-husband, and Carrie receiving an unsolicited dick pic during a feminist gathering for women of a certain age, which she only attends to negotiate her book being featured in a newsletter.
Newcomers Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker) and Seema (Sarita Choudhury) provide much comedic relief and personality themselves that we haven’t seen from them in the former season. But at the risk of narrating the entire episode, I’ll let you watch for yourself.
I feel reinvigorated to have my favorite sitcom back, even if it has flaws. I enjoyed the former episodes but was skeptical that the series could return to its glory. And maybe that’s also my mistake in expecting something to stay the same. I used to watch it on cable TV, which is a bigger ghost than Samantha or Harry’s sperm.
As much as people would like to believe the LGBTQ+ community comes with the gay agenda, the flop of many reboots attempting to be “woke” should indicate that we’re not trying to obliterate pronouns or paint the White House with rainbows.
We expect to be included in the conversation without being a punchline or a mea culpa. Most of all, we resonate with the shamelessly vulnerable characters with multifaceted personalities and quick-witted observations.
America should know by now that the only bedmate’s gender we’re concerned with is the one coming over.
As a 29-year-old sex columnist who is a hopeless romantic yet puts up with no one’s bullshit (I like to think), I see myself in all the ladies soon approaching their 60s. SATC was never about identity or age but the idiosyncracies that make being human so much fun and the friends who get you through the not-so-enjoyable parts.
So I’ll toast to what was and what is and hope the scriptwriters continue allowing my fabulous women to be.