Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City
Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City (Photo: courtesy of HBO)

Mild spoilers ahead for the fourth episode of And Just Like That…

So, Carrie’s back in her old bachelorette pad. After the loss of her husband and, like, a week going walkabout or whatever all over Manhattan, at the end of last week’s episode of And Just Like That… she wandered all the way from Park Avenue to her old place in the East 70s where she was apparently able to get a decent night’s sleep for the first time since Mr. Big’s death. And that’s where we find her at the beginning of this week’s episode, waking up in that familiar street facing one-bedroom walk-up and quickly deciding to sell the palatial apartment she shared with her late husband. Which is…kinda wild considering how long she hung on to her old place.

Honestly, so much about Carrie’s old apartment is nonsensical. For starters, why does she still own it? Of all AJLT’s oddities, this one’s pretty glaring. She hasn’t actually lived there since probably sometime before the first movie—so, like, since before 2008. I mean, I could understand hanging on to it as a rental property. I assume Carrie could make a tidy personal income renting the place—which you’d think she might need considering her wardrobe expenditure and the fact that her career as an author is apparently in such a slump that she had to fire her publicist. But no, the apartment is seemingly vacant, perpetually available for Stanford to crash in when he and Anthony are having a fight.

Carrie Bradshaw's living room in Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw’s living room in Sex and the City (Photo: courtesy of HBO)

I could even buy a scenario in which Carrie uses the apartment as an office. Remember in the second movie how she spent the night there to work on a story for Vogue or something? I always wondered why that wasn’t just, like, where she went to work all the time. But even that doesn’t seem to be the case in And Just Like That. For one thing, Carrie barely seems to write anymore, and her primary job seems to be Che’s podcast.

Up to this point, Carrie seems to have used her old apartment as a very expensive storage unit. A museum of all her clothes, if you will, as evidenced by the reappearance of that white and gold Eugene Alexander dress from the 2008 movie. So much for And Just Like That correcting for the Sex and the City characters’ notoriously unacknowledged privilege.

Carrie Bradshaw's living room in Sex and the City: The Movie
Carrie Bradshaw’s living room in Sex and the City: The Movie (Photo: courtesy Warner Bros.)

But what’s even more wild is that based on what we see of the apartment in the new show, Carrie seems to have redecorated the place in the years since Sex and the City 2! There’s little evidence of the grand refurbishment that occurred in the first movie. There’s new wallpaper, new shelving and a lot of Carrie’s old familiar mid-century-ish furniture is back again. So, to be clear: Carrie has apparently spent a presumably not-insignificant amount of money redecorating an apartment where she has not lived for over a decade. And not only that, she also apparently stored a lot of her original furniture in yet a third location! Wild!

And yet, as bonkers as that all objectively is, I’ll admit I’m pretty relieved that Carrie is back in this familiar context. Her apartment was such a huge part of Sex and the City, and in many ways felt like an extension of the character—her quirkiness, her sense of style, her comparatively more modest income. Its relative smallness meant that its dimensions were understandable, and so it felt like a real place, a real home. It’s so iconic that Airbnb recreated it in honor of the And Just Like That premiere.

Mario Cantone and Sarah Jessica Parker in Carrie's apartment in HBO Max's <i>And Just Like That...</i>
Mario Cantone and Sarah Jessica Parker in Carrie’s apartment in HBO Max’s And Just Like That… (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max)

In this week’s episode, Carrie’s impossibly glamorous realtor Seema (Sarita Choudhury) makes a big deal about how much Carrie and Big’s apartment reflects their taste. And sure, it’s fabulous. But I feel confident that I speak for most SATC fans when I say that the new apartment just never really felt like Carrie. Of course it makes sense that she and Big would move to a dreamy place of their own. Of course it is a total contrivance to have Carrie end up back in the same New York apartment in which she spent her 30s. But television is a medium that relies on a certain element of stasis. As much as And Just Like That promises “a new chapter” in the character’s life, it also promises more of what we loved about the original series—the characters, their established dynamics, their familiar settings. We spent the first two episodes in Carrie and Big’s apartment, and it felt fine. But, as Carrie herself said, returning to her old apartment feels a lot like coming home—for the audience as well as the character.