By Michele Yeo
One of the many – and valid – criticisms of the first season of And Just Like That… – the kinda sorta reboot of the iconic Sex and The City series -was that this new incarnation was seriously lacking in what was right there in the title of its predecessor: sex.
The very first scene of episode one of season two addresses that note head on. Right out of the gate we see Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda, along with new characters Seema and Lisa, all about to hit the sheets with their respective partners. It’s the first sign that perhaps this second season might feel more like SATC than the joyless at best, embarrassing at worst, slog that was AJLT’s inaugural season. The first two episodes of season two are now streaming on Crave and Max.
Season two’s premiere is certainly a welcome change from last season’s which saw Big fall victim to a murderous Peloton leaving Carrie a widow and the show’s subsequent episodes barely resembling the source material on which it was based. Instead of dealing with a death, the ladies are dealing with what to wear and who to take to the Met Ball. It picks up three weeks after we left everyone and while Carrie still, understandably so, has moments where she’s coping with her grief and the loss of Big, the overall mood is lighter, and the forced progressiveness a lot less heavy-handed than the first season which went way overboard in trying to atone for the lack of diversity in the original series. One scene in episode five features a focus group providing feedback on Che’s sitcom pilot and it’s impossible not to think some of the very specific audience gripes about Che weren’t taken directly from criticism from season one. It feels very meta.
There’s something comforting and nostalgic about seeing Carrie back in the dating scene, this time as a woman in her 50s. Having Carrie navigate the modern day dating world is essential to AJLT, without it, there’s really no need for its existence. While some of the choices around Miranda and her character arc continue to confuse this diehard fan, she’s less frustrating this time around and we’re given glimpses of the Miranda we knew and loved. Charlotte, still happily married to Harry and a doting mother to Lily and Rock, might not be given much to do, but she acts as a touchstone connecting us to the original series, remaining true to herself as true love’s greatest cheerleader. The new characters Seema Patel, Nya Wallace, and Lisa Todd Wexley are given more to do this season but with an already full cast, we never fully get to know them like we did the original series’ core four. Do we need to see Lisette again this season? No, but we do.
Samantha, who will appear later in a brief cameo, is still palpably missed, but her absence leaves less of a gaping hole this season. Possibly because we see much more interaction between all the characters this season, both original and new. Midway through the season, we’re treated to a scene with the women, plus Anthony, seated around a table having a frank discussion about sex during which I lost count how many times the word “cum” and “jizz” were uttered. This is the closest AJLT has ever felt to SATC.
Continuing to set AJLT apart from SATC, though, is the lack of Carrie’s narration which still makes the episodes feel more random and less cohesive than the original, especially with more characters on which to focus. But having viewed the first seven episodes, while season two still feels clunky, even unnecessary at times, it’s definitely finding its groove. No, And Just Like That… will never be Sex and the City but after the atrocity that was the second movie (which should be wiped from canon altogether) and the vexing and disappointing fever dream that was last season, we’ll take what we can get. And just like that, they’ve pulled me back in.