And Just Like That has had a rocky start. The Sex And The City spin-off has copped a barrage of criticism for everything from trying too hard to be “woke” (and, often, failing) to clunky plotlines and character behaviour that feels at odds with these women we’ve loved for decades.
But one decision I personally support wholeheartedly was the killing off of Big.
Mr. Big dominated so much of the original Sex and the City series, and honestly, I never liked his relationship with Carrie. Even when it finally became healthy after that notorious dumping-at-the-altar moment in the first film, I could never forgive him for all the torture he put our favourite sex and relationships writer through in the first place.
There’s more to my support than just a dislike of Big, though. With him out of the picture, Carrie is single again – meaning we get to experience her highs and lows of New York City dating, except this time, she’s a woman in her 50s, smack-bang in the middle of online dating culture.
Obviously, it’s taken a fair few episodes to get Carrie back on the dating scene. But we knew as soon as she moved back into her old apartment that we’d be seeing Date Carrie in no time. This week, it finally happened.
In case you missed it, Carrie spent the bulk of the year post-Big’s death writing about the experience of losing the love of her life. The result is a very raw, honest book she pitches to her publisher, and they love it. Except, they feel it needs “hope” at the end of it. “Just an epilogue,” her publisher asks, begging Carrie to go on a date so there’s a glimmer of happiness at the end of an otherwise tragic tale.
Carrie agrees when she finds out Oprah is interested in the book for her Book Club, and her friend Seema tells her she’s already set her up on a bunch of dating apps, which seems like really terrible friend behaviour to me but Carrie doesn’t seem to care? Anyway – a few swipes later and Carrie’s out at dinner with Peter, a math teacher who has also been recently widowed. They get drunk and it seems like things are going really well… until Peter vomits on his shoes, which then sees Carrie vomit on her shoes. In the alleyway. Out the front of the restaurant.
I found it interesting that Carrie decided that her date puking after a million drinks was grounds for never seeing him again. She tells Miranda and Anthony the following week that “there is no light at the end of the tunnel, just vomit”, and when she almost runs into Peter at the same venue, hides and begs Anthony to ensure they don’t cross paths. Considering they fell out of the restaurant laughing hysterically together, it seemed odd for Carrie to dismiss the guy for a bit of a vomit faux-pas.
Thankfully, Peter gets a second chance – something I’m grateful for because he seems like a great new character. After a disastrous auction for Charlotte’s charity event sees Carrie awkwardly waiting for someone to bid on a date with her, Peter steps up, and their brief interaction afterward is enough to push Carrie over the line for a second date.
I really loved the way the writers handled this whole storyline with tact. It was a good plot device to use her need for a book chapter as the catalyst for getting back into the dating pool, because – as Carrie tells Miranda on a night out – she’s not even thinking about dating up until that moment. She even muses about whether she could happily never have sex again, since having sex with someone other than Big makes her feel sick. She is still grieving, but she’s also rebuilding her life as a newly single woman again. It would have been easy for the series to kill off Big and flash-forward past a lot of the grief to the flirty, quirky Carrie of SATC, back on the dating scene with Big a distant memory.
But the SATC series was always a blend of dating commentary and the personal growth of these characters, and Carrie’s grief process has been integral to who she is and is becoming in her 50s in And Just Like That. It’s also deeply, painfully relatable for many women who experience the loss of a partner after decades, navigating the sharp transition from a partnership to a solo life experience again.
Still, I’m glad Carrie is tentatively dipping her foot into the dating pool at this moment. While I want Peter to stick around, I’m also excited to see And Just Like That navigate dating in your 50s, especially given dating culture is so drastically different to what Carrie lived through in the 90s.
I, for one, welcome this glimmer of hope.