There’s an old holiday song sung by noted Italian-American Lou Monte that, for reasons unbeknownst, surfaces in my brain when I am feeling stressed or otherwise distraught. “Dominick the Donkey” tells the story of an Italian donkey tasked with delivering gifts to children, and the chorus of said song features an insistent sleigh-bell meant to mimic the cloppity-clop-clop of a donkey’s hooves o’er the rocky cliffs of Italia. The sleigh bells are meant to spread joy, but when I look at this photo of the cast of And Just Like That..., the Sex and the City reboot hurtling towards HBO Max, I hear the bells as clear as day. Something is wrong here, and I do not know how to fix it.
In this photo, which is nothing more than a production still meant to wet the chapped whistles of the fans, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte stroll down a street, ready to face an uncertain future. Many things about this photograph are distressing. Samantha’s absence, which I did not think would be as palpable or as noticeable, feels cataclysmic. Without Samantha or at least the addition of a fourth, the sturdy table that is these women’s fictional and infuriating friendship is now a wobbly stool. Though we were all aware of Samantha’s absence, and the addition of a passel of women of color in her stead, seeing it in this photo feels like a personal attack in a way that I was not prepared for.
To be clear: I will watch this reboot, because Sex and the City is a good show, and after rewatching the third season of this show, I sort of understand how it would be hard to recreate Samantha’s verve in 2021. She was often the wisest character, but also, very often, the most offensive. The trans sex worker B-plot at the end of that season, which finds Samantha waging war with some of the residents of her new hip neighborhood, and then ends with all of those people having a nice party (?) on her roof, would absolutely not fly now, and probably shouldn’t have then. Though my earlier predictions for how the writers of this reboot might handle Samantha’s disappearance are probably not what they’re going to do, my current imagining is that she is a victim of “cancel culture,” and is unable to reconcile her old self with the current times. Thus, she is gone, and that leaves us with these gals, all of whom are hanging in there, as best they can!
Some lingering questions, comments, thoughts, and concerns about this photo remain:
- Miranda never should’ve been a redhead, because she looks incredible now.
- Why is Carrie wearing an absolutely enormous farmer’s hat strapped to her back? Is she tilling a field? Is there a community garden in the vicinity that she must attend to?
- Carrie’s shoes are a Choice, and they are not a choice that I would’ve made.
- Charlotte looks pressed and that’s the kindest thing I can say.
- Can they just photoshop Samantha in, or, alternately, can they photoshop the women out?
- Have the writers read my suggestion?
Only time will tell anything other than baseless speculation about this show and its contents. Unfortunately, this dribble of information has made me hungry for more. But please, some clarity, when we are all living in a world that is frustratingly cloudy, would be lovely.