And Just Like That: Biggest problem with SATC revival

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With the And Just Like That finale now wrapped up, fans have been left with one glaring issue – and even a second season might struggle to fix it.

Friends, lend me your reading time.

I come to bury Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon), not to praise her. I actually mean that. Now that the dust has settled on And Just Like That’s first (and final?) season on HBO Max, it’s clear that Big (Chris Noth) wasn’t the only major character murdered by the writers. In Miranda’s case, though, it was character assassination. And Just Like That transformed Miranda into literally the worst.

In the years following Sex and the City’s groundbreaking run on HBO, Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda Hobbs evolved into the most likeable person on the show, thanks to her practicality and grounded approach to love, life, and friendships. She was the one friend who would always tell Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) the truth, especially if it hurt, but she was also always there when s**t his the fan. Even her own character’s arc on the show — starting off as a cynical lawyer and ending up, well, still a cynical lawyer, but one so devoted to her husband Steve (David Eigenberg) and son Brady that she selflessly cared for Steve’s dementia-addled mother (Anne Meara) — was considered one of the best. Miranda found love and acceptance without changing who she was. Her legacy in pop culture was assured. And just like that, And Just Like That changed Miranda forever.

In case you somehow missed it, And Just Like That is HBO Max’s Samantha Jones-less Sex and the City revival. We get to watch Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) navigate the ups and downs of their 50s. Carrie loses her beloved husband to Peloton-induced cardiac arrest, while Charlotte’s life seems as blissfully organised as ever. Miranda, on the other hand, spirals out of control.

When we first meet Miranda in And Just Like That, we learn that the last five years have triggered a moral tailspin. After marching on Washington back in early 2016, she’s decided to go back to school to learn how to apply her legal know-how to advance social justice issues. She’s also exhibiting signs of alcoholism, sneaking in glasses of wine before class and carrying tiny bottles of Tito’s in her backpack. So is Miranda depressed? Yeah. But rather than seek counselling or an AA meeting, she finds refuge in the arms of Carrie’s new boss, Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez).

It wasn’t shocking that Miranda had a midlife crisis or that she fell in love with a non-binary person. What was wild to watch is Miranda completely lose her personality in the process. Gone was the pragmatist. In her place was a deeply selfish person who pursued her own pleasure with such abandon that she hurt everyone in her wake. Miranda’s first hook-up with Che happened when she was supposed to be caring for a post-op Carrie. Miranda later kept her infidelity a secret from Steve until deciding to ask for a divorce. If these seemed like blips, Miranda would later turn down a coveted internship to follow Che to LA, a choice she seemingly forgot (??) to loop besties Carrie and Charlotte on?

Miranda totally should have been free to explore her sexuality in And Just Like That She should have been allowed to deal with a midlife crisis, too. These are normal things that women are navigating in their 50s these days. What’s horrible is how Miranda seemed to lose her core personality in the process. She became self-centred, flighty, and unable to take the slightest criticism. When Carrie gently tries to give Miranda a reality check (in a way that evoked Miranda’s own conversations with Carrie when she foolishly followed Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Petrovsky to Paris), Miranda freaks out.

And Just Like That is a show that has made some wild choices for its characters. While I usually applaud risk-taking, every decision from the writers’ room about Miranda felt off. Not because Miranda Hobbs has to be “straight” or “married to Steve” forever, but because Miranda kept acting wildly out of character. You could argue that her journey was one of the head versus the heart, but her brain was AWOL in each of these plot developments. Her guilt, non-existent. Her decades of grounded behaviour and loyal friendship? Gone with the wind. I still adore Cynthia Nixon and think she is a titanic acting talent — PSA: she’s great in HBO’s The Gilded Age! — but And Just Like That has forever besmirched the legacy of one Miranda Hobbs. No longer is she that best friend we wish we had. She is the crazy self-absorbed lunatic we all want to stay away from.

This article originally appeared in Decider and was reproduced with permission.

Originally published as And Just Like That: Biggest problem with SATC revival



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