Monday, June 17, 2024

Review: And Just Like That, “Sex and the City” Has Become a Grim, Humorless Soap Opera


If I remember correctly, there were a lot of laughs in “Sex and the City.” There outrageous moments and lots of fun. I know a lot of it came from Samantha’s sex adventures, but even Carrie’s dry wit, Charlotte’s dizzy mistakes, Miranda’s earnestness made you feel good by the end of an episode.

Not so with this new series. Episode 7 comes on Thursday, I’ve just watched it and I feel sad. Isn’t it bad enough we’re in a pandemic, there are constant reports of death, supermarket shelves are empty and it’s freezing? Couldn’t “Sex and the City” take our minds off that?

Apparently not. For some reason, the show chose to become grounded in a grim reality. I mean, they all have money, that’s not the problem. But they are all so unhappy. No one laughs. Nothing’s done on the fly. There’s nothing subversive. It’s all sit and no com.

This week, Carrie goes on a date. Mr. Big is dead six weeks in our time, three months maybe in Carrie’s life. Her realtor is still hanging around, unclear why. Mario Cantone’s Anthony, once used for spice, is now filling Samantha’s role. Miranda is having graphic sex with Che, Carrie’s podcast “boss,” a lesbian comic. Charlotte is treading water, playing tennis, and going to charity auctions.

Back to Carrie’s date: Jon Tenney, the actor once married to Teri Hatcher, plays a teacher she meets online. I didn’t recognize Tenney at all and when I saw him in the credits, I did a double take. He looks completely different. It’s not a bad thing, but anyone who remembers him even from recent TV work will be surprised. Now he looks like the guy Ellen married on “thirtysomething.”

The episode begins with Carly Simon singing “Spring is Here” from her “Torch” album in full. I loved hearing her voice. That album is a classic.

“And Just Like That” streams on HBO Max, starting Thursday sometime in the morning.

PS I know Willie Garson died, and they sent Stanford to Japan. But he isn’t even mentioned in passing. And now, neither is Samantha. Also, lunch at Serendipity is auctioned at the gala, and no one seems to want it. Very weird. Serendipity is all we have that stands between us and chaos.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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