“And Just Like That”: The Annoying Diversity Club of the “Sex and the City” Sequel

9:06 am  |  06.01.2022

The series was so white that it was blinding – this criticism of “Sex and the City” has now become common sense. The sequel wants to do better but only shows: Diversity according to the tally sheet does not work.

It was a classic “WTF ?!” moment, a “What the hell is this about?” Moment. Mister Big, Carrie Bradshaw’s great love, falls from the fitness bike with a heart attack and dies – right in the first episode of “And Just Like That”, the sequel to “Sex and the City”.

For many fans, the death was a shock, for the makers of the sequel it was obviously a logical step. Because you want to show how your friends now, over 50, deal with changes. It’s about “evolutions,” said producer Michael Patrick King. This is why, firstly, Mister Big is over and, secondly – and perhaps more importantly – the ignorance that “Sex and the City” has often been and is accused of.

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There was criticism of how it could actually be: There are four white, very wealthy women living in the middle of New York, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, and none of them has friends, acquaintances, work colleagues who are at least a little different? Okay, Miranda dated a black doctor for a while, and Steve wasn’t crazy rich. But apart from that? The series is so white that it blinds, judged the television critic of the “New York Times”. Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda, therefore had reservations about being part of “And Just Like That” again.

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The concerns are dispelled, because if there is one thing that cannot be blamed for “And Just Like That”, it is a lack of diversity. There are numerous new characters: Charlotte met a black mother at her daughters’ school (Nicole Ari Parker). Miranda attends the university seminars of a black professor (Karen Pittman), Carrie has a podcast with a “queer, non-binary Mexican-Irish diva” (Sara Ramirez) and befriends a realtor with Indian roots (Sarita Choudhury). And with the new acquaintances, new interpersonal problems also arise. Something like: Will my only black friend feel uncomfortable at my dinner party if she only bangs out with white couples?

Lisa, the first black friend in Charlotte’s life.

The good thing is: other people are finally taking a seat at the table. What is less good is how hard it seems in places. It’s like the scriptwriters and producers were trying to tick off an endless list: are there enough black roles? Someone with a diverse sexual identity? Have we really thought of everyone? You definitely tried: In one of the later episodes, for example, a social media manager appears who is in a wheelchair.

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After all, the issue of racism is being worked on in more detail – or rather Miranda’s helpless handling of it. She repeatedly gets herself into uncomfortable situations, for example in the first of the university seminars, talking about the “pigtails” of her professor and defending them in front of a security guard at the university when they don’t have to or don’t want to be defended.

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Here you can feel the attempt to really make the topic part of the story, to tell it seriously, with several scenes, over several episodes. Perhaps it is a little awkward that it is the smart Miranda of all people who seems to have completely missed the boat here. The woman wants to switch to a human rights lawyer at the age of 50 – and is seriously wondering about Afro hair?

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But our “WTF?!” moment in “And Just Like That” wasn’t the one with the “pigtails”, nor was Mister Big’s death. But the scene in which Charlotte’s teenage daughter explains to her as she goes to bed that she no longer wants to be called “Babygirl”. Not because of “baby”, but because of “girl”: she just doesn’t feel like a girl and has never had that. We “saw” an over-engaged scriptwriter with a clipboard and a red felt pen in his hand. He just ticked “Some Transgender Storyline”.

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