- The HBO Max series without Samantha is like French Champagne without the effervescence or desi chai without elaichi.
The long-awaited mini-dramedy series based on the lives of three of four “Sex and the City” girls is streaming on HBO Max now. The leading ladies whose friendship survived the provocations of their 30s are now in their 50s. And they have lost their best friend! “And Just Like That” the reboot falls flat on the streets of Manhattan. Like a French Champagne without the effervescence or desi chai without elaichi. Samantha was the masala in the quartet. Michael Patrick King and Darren Star were able to scoop up Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis but Kim Cattrall refused to be hitched.
What did they do to her? Probably low-balled her? Did she fall off the face of the planet, or something worse. Literally, in the opening scene, the gals took it upon themselves to inform the disappointed fans of Samantha that “she has moved to the UK and is not returning their calls or texts (Sounds like someone I know). “And Just Like That,” from a quick bite at a classy restaurant in Manhattan we are augured into the lives of the trio.
Sarah Jessica Parker lives in her luxurious apartment with Big (Chris North) a stock market maven. The couple tries to create a romantic mood by poaching salmon together, uncorking wine and singing along to old songs “their COVID ritual.” Sarah Jessica Parker who made the cover and center spread of Vogue is still a sharp dresser, her closet and shoes are sparkling. Flirtatious banter in the bedroom lingers to help her be more vociferous on her podcasts. Carrie is on Instagram and is podcasting with transgenders and is still not in sync with gender fluidity.
Miranda is preoccupied with her short gray hair. She has quit corporate law and is taking a course in “human rights” (appalled by the Muslim travel ban). She puts a big white foot in her mouth on the first day of class. But that’s Miranda. Her husband Steve is a bit deaf, so he can’t hear her complaints. Miranda’s son is knee-deep in adolescent sex. Charlotte clings to her preppy, primped and posh looks. Buying pouffy Oscar de La Renta dresses for her girls. Lisa Todd (Karen Ari Parker) bears statement baubles (like Samantha?) and is introduced as “Black Charlotte.” The adults sip wine in paper cups as kids perform at a prestigious piano recital.
Meanwhile, Big is at home on a scheduled Peloton workout run with his virtual trainer but … since “the cat is already out of the bag” he collapses. (Did Peloton shares really fall after the episode aired?) For that and to commiserate about what COVID did to this show which was once a cultural sensation, you may watch “And Just like that.” The opening episode fails to recreate the magic of the original “Sex and the City.” Things like that happen in real life. It’s too bad that the ladies could not play nice off-screen because the reboot/ reunion would have been joyous, messier, funnier and more enjoyable with Cattrall as Samantha. She is by far the secret spice in their opening season’s Christmas eggnog. Perhaps they will woo her back?
With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. Monita has published many poems, movie reviews, book critiques, essays and two books, “My Light Reflections” and “Flow through My Heart“. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.