"Sex and the City" was and is a feel-good series for many - mainly women. The original six seasons explored the lives of four single women in New York in their 30s, breaking some taboos when it aired in the 90s. And so there was great hope that the spin-off series "And Just Like That" would continue. Unfortunately, this was only partially successful.
The second season of the series, which is currently running, is causing discussions and angry fan reactions online. Rightly so, because it lacks a lot of what made the original series (and the first movie) stand out.
First, let's get down to what the series gets right: the actresses' fashions and outfits continue to be exciting and push boundaries. The images of New York also enliven the storylines. In some scenes you actually get back a bit of the original "Sex and the City" feeling. But that's it.
Because "And Just Like That" tries too much, but does little consistently right. Apparently, they have made it their mission to be more diverse. A commendable and urgently needed decision in itself, but the implementation is lacking.
To include a little more people of color, the three main characters Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte each got a PoC girlfriend. Better than nothing, and yet the roles only seem like artificially created appendages of the white protagonists, even after several episodes. Even the women's conversations -- full of wit and intelligence in the original seasons -- come across as cheesy in the spin-off series. Because instead of really talking to each other, the actresses fire out their script sentences instead of a real dialogue.
Additionally, a non-binary role was created already in season one, Che Diaz, played by Sara Ramirez. Diaz was introduced as Miranda Hobbes' love interest in season one, and the two deepen their relationship in the first two episodes of season two. The problem: Che Diaz is a very big part of the plot and - to put it simply - too unsympathetic for that. Cynthia Nixon, who portrays Miranda Hobbes, blames the negative fan reaction on Diaz's non-binarity and portrayal of same-sex love in "And Just Like That." The viewers are simply not used to that. However, that might be short-sighted.
Because what bothers countless fans - and also the author of these lines - is not Che herself, but what the authors of "AJLT" made of Miranda Hobbes. For six seasons (and two films), Hobbes was the smart, cynical success advocate who would read the riot act to her girlfriends whenever they got too influenced by the men in her life. Hobbes was independent, strong and had a scathing sense of humour. In the offshoot series, she's almost none of that anymore.
In the first two-and-a-half episodes of season two, she stammers like a teenager in love, loses her phone on the beach, and it feels like her whole personality along with it. In parts it seems as if the screenwriters had never seen any of the earlier episodes. On the web, viewers are already collecting connection errors that hardcore fans immediately notice.
The role development is also causing a stir on Twitter and Instagram. "Miranda has changed beyond recognition, there is no more fire, no sarcasm, no strength. Her character has evaporated. We ask you to restore your authentic self, your essence," appeals to a fan to the authors. "It's not about Sara [Ramirez], it's about how you changed Miranda," explained another on Instagram.
"Sex and the City" was groundbreaking in the 1990s because it regularly played with taboos. That's exactly what the creators of the spin-off series could do now. They could address issues that move women in their fifties and that are usually neglected on screen. Instead, you get lost in stereotypes and attempted diversity, ignoring who the popular series characters have always been. For the remaining consequences, one can only hope that those responsible can still manage the turnaround. Spoiler: After episode three, at least the Che-Miranda relationship could come to an end.
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