And Just Like That… Ep 8 recap: A Fatal Blow

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode eight of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

I nearly titled this post “Poor Steve, continued…” because really, POOR STEVE! In my last post, I lamented the fact that Miranda seems ready to blow up her relationship, and from what the writers have presented us with so far, Steve himself hasn’t gotten much of a storyline. That changes a bit in episode 8 — and it breaks my heart.

As the episode begins, Che is speaking at a rally for equality. Miranda is cheering in the audience — until she spots her son, Brady, among the allies section. As Che gives a speech about not hiding who we are, Miranda is literally bent over slinking away into the background. Che confronts her and is upset to discover Miranda isn’t in an “open marriage” as Che thought but rather cheating on her husband.

“I’m a lot of things… but I’m not a homewrecker”- Che

Meanwhile, another situation is blowing up when Lily walks in on Charlotte about to blow Harry in their bathroom. Charlotte panics and tells Lily she’s just checking his junk for signs of cancer. Later, with Miranda and Carrie, she expresses regret about reacting with a sense of “shame” brought about from the way she was raised to think/talk about sex. Miranda announces to all that she’s planning to talk to Steve later and tell him she wants a divorce.

Carrie is dealing with a young, hot downstairs neighbor who has guests over at all hours, keeping Carrie up at night. Carrie wants to appear “hip” to this young woman, especially upon discovering she’s a well-known jewelry designer, but she’s also losing sleep.

After finally yelling at the “kids” to quiet down, Carrie’s neighbor apologizes the next day, and then Carrie tries to mend fences with a gift of brownies. The neighbor’s boyfriend answers the door wearing just a towel. He tells her, “We don’t eat sugar,” (kids today) and Carrie tries to exit gracefully, but she drops the brownies, the boyfriend drops the towel trying to get them, and bam! Full frontal! Carrie makes a quick exit.

Miranda catches Che on their way to the airport for a show in Cleveland, promising them she’s going to tell Steve about them. Che is hesitant, but she does tell Miranda she’s in love with her, although she cautions her she can’t give her a traditional relationship. Miranda says she’s over traditional…. we’ll see.

Charlotte takes Lily out to lunch to try to level with her about sex, but upon discovering Lily has posted a “sexy photo” (in athletic wear….) to an account Charlotte doesn’t know about, the conversation deteriorates and Lily leaves. She flees to Carrie’s house, where she’s been helping her organize her closet and helping herself to a few “vintage” (to her!) items. (Earlier in the episode, we get to see the million-layer tulle gown Carrie wore in Paris on SATC.*)

Later, Charlotte tries again and gets off the hook when Lily makes it clear she did buy the story about checking for “lumps,” and just wants to make sure her dad is OK. A relieved Charlotte assures her he is.

Talking about sex with your parents blows.

Miranda sits down with Steve for “the talk,” and I reach for my tissues. I’m dreading this. All in all, it’s a very calm conversation, which only makes it more heartbreaking in a lot of ways. Steve is just so tired of fighting for Miranda. He notes he’s been fighting for their relationship from go, and he’s basically done. When he talks about being happy in their chill, predictable life, it makes me so sad. I do get where Miranda is coming from — I wish Steve at least had said something about maybe wanting to have more sex — but really, what’s the point? I think her mind is pretty made up. She tells Steve she wants a divorce. Brady isn’t involved in this convo, which I get, but I really wonder how that is going to go.

Miranda calls Carrie from a cab on the way to the airport to tell her she talked to Steve and she’s going to surprise Che in Cleveland to tell them they can be together. Why do I have a feeling that is NOT going to go well?

As the episode ends, Carrie is all glamour, eating Jiffy Pop in the window in her apartment.

“And just like that… I learned that there are some things that should never be put into storage.”

Sometimes ya gotta dress up* to eat Jiffy Pop.

With only 2 episodes left, I have soooo many questions! Is Miranda’s life going to totally implode? Is Carrie going to hit it off with Peter? Are they still going to be angling to get Kim Cattrall back? Stay tuned!

And Just Like That… Ep 7 recap: Poor Steve

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode seven of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

Poor Steve. That’s really all I can think right now… poor, poor Steve. This revival is making his formerly goofy, lovable, sweet character so… blah. This poor guy. I guess the actor, David Eigenberg, is suffering from hearing loss, which is why they’ve incorporated it into the storyline. But still… since when does that make you lose your personality? Forget how to get your wife off??? I don’t buy it.

As episode seven begins, we view a whimsical passing of seasons outside Carrie’s window as she writes and writes and writes. It’s quite lovely, and brings us back to her regular column days a bit.

When she emerges in the spring, we discover Carrie has written another book about love found and lost. Her editor is very pleased with the book, but she wants Carrie to give it a more hopeful ending. She suggests maybe she even go on a date just to show readers that the hope of finding another love is still alive. “Just a suggestion of a brighter future…”

Carrie is understandably hesitant. Her editor would like her to do this in the next couple of weeks and revise the ending as she’s trying to get the book out by Christmas.

Charlotte meets up with Lisa to play tennis doubles. Later on, Harry tells her he can play, too, and would be interested in teaming up for doubles with LTW and her husband.

Next, Miranda and Steve can’t find each other at the farmers’ market. She runs into Nya and her husband, and Nya confides in her that she’s still not pregnant but hasn’t told her husband yet. Steve finds them but then heads off again as he left his wallet at another food stand. Steve’s helpless storyline continues…

Carrie meets with her editor again and says now she’s worried the book is too dark, based on the covers she’s seen. She almost wants to back out of publishing it, but her editor thinks it’s going to be a success.

Later with Miranda, Charlotte and Seema, Carrie announces she’s going to go on a date. Charlotte predictably perks up and starts spouting off about setting her up with single fathers she knows from school, but Carrie is quick to say she’d rather date someone no one knows. Seema reveals she’s already listed Carrie on a dating site, with positive results. (This was odd to me. I would not want a friend doing this without me knowing!!!!)

We find out that Che never responded to Miranda’s text from the last episode, and it’s been about three months. Ouch. She also tells Carrie her and Steve’s sex life continues to be lifeless. Carrie tells her maybe her sex life with Steve is just in a coma.

Apparently Miranda’s attempt to address this is to come on to Steve in the kitchen, when he’s in the middle of a stressful text situation. Now, I’m all for trying to shake things up. But it sounds like these two haven’t been intimate in years, and you can tell he’s just a little caught off guard. It doesn’t go well.

But… are we supposed to think OK, Miranda kinda sorta tried once to have sex with Steve in the kitchen, and the dolt can’t find his way around a farmers’ market, so to hell with it! Kick him to the curb! Cuz I ain’t buying it.

That’s it??????

I think many relationships go through sexless phases. And sure, sometimes that can lead to cheating. But this whole Che affair just doesn’t quite fit into Miranda’s established personality on SATC. First of all, in the first movie, Steve cheats on her after they don’t have sex for something like six months, and she’s completely betrayed, gutted and almost leaves him over it. Yes, they’re older now. But since when does getting older result in sudden risky behavior (other than mid-life crises, which is not what I think is happening to Miranda). I mean, in SATC, this woman didn’t even want to deviate from her favorite Chinese takeout place.

And while the men of the show have always been backdrops to our female protagonists, in the past Steve wasn’t this lifeless. In SATC, he alludes to having had sex with more than 100 women. (“I’m a bartender! And I’m cute.”) Isn’t it kind of like riding a bike?

Harry also appears to be a victim of the show’s writing, as all he and Charlotte seem to do lately is bicker with each other. After playing tennis doubles, and winning, Harry seeks an apology from Charlotte for knocking into him during competitive play, and she’s completely put out by the suggestion she has anything to apologize for. The bickering continues through the rest of the episode (who’s Demi Lovahhhhhhhhhhto?! Ha)… super fun for us.

Meanwhile, Carrie goes on her first date since losing Big. He’s a cute, seemingly nice guy named Peter, who recently lost his wife. They’re both on their first date since they lost their spouses.

“I think we’re gonna need some drinks.”

Indeed. And drink they do! We cut right to both of them outside the restaurant, drunkenly laughing and then suddenly puking. This made me laugh. I totally get it! All the pressure of this date for both of them, plus dealing with their grief. I’d probably get hammered, too. I think it’s a funny first date story, but Carrie is embarrassed and never plans to see him again.

But fate has other ideas. At a fundraiser for Charlotte’s kids’ school, Carrie spots Peter and is mortified. She tells Anthony to let her know when he’s left.

Miranda tells Carrie she “really tried hard” with Steve, and there was no response. “It was like dead people trying to have sex.”

Whoa whoa whoa… we were all there, unfortunately. Once she gave up, Steve even said she got him going and wanted to try, but she was ready to move on to ice cream. This is bullshit!

It turns out Che is at the event as well, performing. Miranda completely ditches Carrie — mid-sentence no less — to talk to Che. She finds out that Che never saw her DM — they get a lot of them — and the two of them take off somewhere to have sex. I’m still not sure where, but I’m guessing Che’s apartment. Miranda tells Che she thinks she’s in love with them, but Che says Miranda more likely is in love with how she is with Che. Hmmmm. I think she’s dragging Che into some existential mess, and hurting Steve in the process.

Back at the fundraiser, LTW’s husband is now auctioning off “a date night with sex writer Carrie Bradshaw!”

“Come on… it’s for the kids!” … spoken in nearly the same sentence.

Carrie stands up there as no one bids, except Charlotte, until finally Carrie bids $1,000 herself just to end it.

But then… one last bid of $1,050 — from Peter.

Yes! I love it! He didn’t leave after all. Carrie offers to pay him back and skip the date, but he says he’d like to try again. “We have so much to talk about… like how did I get home?!”

I like this guy!

They agree to do it… “for the kids.”

Back at home, I think Carrie has her happier ending for readers as she says, “And just like that… I found a glimmer of hope.”

Hell yes. My glimmer of hope is something in this show that doesn’t involve Miranda or Charlotte, so… stay tuned. I’m here for this. #TeamPeter

And Just Like That… Ep 6 recap: Facing Facts

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode six of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

As I cued up episode six, “Diwali,” I had to chuckle. I had just re-watched The Office “Diwali” episode, which is wacky, but I figured this wouldn’t be anything like that. (Turns out, there was one* key similarity — but we’ll get to that later.)

As the episode opens, Carrie is looking to move to a very modern apartment downtown, something she has reservations about. “Out with the mold, and in with the new!” exclaims Anthony. Carrie debates the pros and cons of being downtown over lunch with Miranda and Charlotte. When pondering the option to stay in the apartment she owns, she notes it feels a bit too much like retreating into the past.

I feel for her here. “Starting over” at any point in time is hard, and you do find yourself reaching for familiar comforts. I admire Carrie’s self awareness about branching out and not just playing it safe.

That said, I hate her downtown apartment. It’s stark white, cold. No personality. She hasn’t really decorated it yet, but it just seems so sterile. At one point in the episode, she can’t seem to put her finger on an incessant beeping noise, something we never do get the answer to.

Carrie and Charlotte head to Carrie’s storage space to pick up some things for the new place — and Carrie comes across Big’s record collection, which upsets her. They grab a lamp and hightail it out of there for now.

Meanwhile, Rock tells Charlotte they want to redecorate their room — and cut their hair. Charlotte frets over moving her collection of Madame Alexander dolls that she has displayed in the kids’ room (barf), and Lily tells her they’re culturally offensive, anyway. Charlotte-0, kids-2

Carrie goes sari shopping with Seema for her family’s upcoming Diwali celebration and ends up more or less inviting herself along. Seema assures her wearing a sari will not be cultural appropriation but rather cultural appreciation. (There’s also been a lot of internet chatter that Carrie ultimately dons a lehenga, not a sari.)

Carrie accompanies Anthony to a consult for a facelift under the guise of stopping him from doing anything too rash. However, Carrie ends up being the focus of the appointment, as the doctor goes over various treatments she could do to look younger — after telling Anthony he looks great.

All I can think is… don’t end up looking like Charlotte! It’s tough for Carrie, and I think tough for all of us who are over 25. The societal expectations to look young — for women — are ruthless. It’s how someone as beautiful as Kristin Davis ends up looking how she does on this series. I think SJP looks good. I’m sure she’s had some botox, but she still looks relatively normal. As far as the character goes, it seems Carrie ultimately decides to forgo any major work — for now.

Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte meet downtown for a picnic, with non-alcoholic wine. So I guess Miranda really is quitting — drinking that is. She’s not so sure about quitting Che, though, and fills Charlotte in on the latest. Before she tells her, she asks her not to freak out, but that’s like asking a dog not to eat a piece of bacon you just dropped on the floor. Nature is nature.

So yes, Charlotte freaks out. This is one of my favorite scenes in the series so far. I think everyone is coming from a vulnerable place and trying to understand one another. Charlotte wants things to just “stay as they are” — and that’s not realistic. Carrie wants everyone to keep things in perspective, but people are always going to have their own point of view and hierarchy of “crises.” Miranda wants to do as she wishes and be supported along the way, but she’s blowing up her life and her friends are rightfully trying to check her on it.

And then Miranda stomps off, but Carrie goes after her and says something that deeply, deeply resonated with me:

“We already lost Samantha. We’re not losing anyone else. People are gone… in a second. You can disagree, but you can’t leave”- Carrie

Man oh man, is Miranda a woman after my own heart. Purse wine, drunk ordering and now stomping away from an argument.

If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you know I struggle with fighting fair. I have quite the flight instinct when things get uncomfortable or people tell me things I don’t want to hear. So I totally feel Miranda here… but I also think Carrie is right. Sometimes, you just have to work through the uncomfortable stuff, and life’s too short to go away angry.

As the episode winds down, Carrie attends the Diwali celebration and we get to meet Seema’s parents who just want her to get married and settle down.* (Remind you of anyone else’s parents in a certain Diwali episode I mentioned earlier?! Haha.) Carrie also finds out Seema apparently lied to them about having a boyfriend, just to keep them off her back a bit.

Meeting the parents.

On the way home, Carrie tells Seema she’s not happy in the new apartment and Seema assures her they can sell it. Back at her old apartment, Carrie finally feels ready to unpack Big’s records and embrace her happy memories.

“And just like that… I realized how much I enjoyed the last 15 years.”

She dons her signature “Carrie” necklace, and as the episode closes, she steps out in a vibrant dress topped with one of Big’s blazers. We also see Miranda making the choice to message Che, and Charlotte puts her dolls away as a short-haired Rock covers the girly “Rose” painted on her wall with a snowboarding poster.

Forward.

And Just Like That… Ep 5 recap: Rock Bottom

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode five of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

Episode 5 opens with a very exciting view of Carrie’s entryway in the downstairs of her second level apartment. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think we ever saw this space in Sex and the City or any of the movies?! Kind of exciting. But really it’s nothing, because a TON of shit goes down in this episode!

First, Carrie’s back hurts, something she’s self-diagnosed as “old lady back” on Google, but Seema’s cousin is an orthopedic surgeon and she gets Carrie in straightaway for a consult. Turns out, she has some random undiagnosed congenital birth defect and needs hip surgery to correct it. Until she’s healed, she can’t wear heels, which motivates her to get things going. Not only do we get to see Carrie’s entryway, but we also get to see her in socks and birks.

From the knees down, I look like a Vermont art teacher”- Carrie

While Carrie is at her consult, Miranda is digging through her latest Amazon order and comes across two things she’d rather not: Flavored LUBE ordered by her son’s girlfriend (THIS bitch), and a book called “How to Quit Like a Woman,” about quitting drinking, which she assumes came from Charlotte. “She Amazoned me!”

Meanwhile, Charlotte is dealing with surprises of her own. On a Zoom call with her school moms’ group, she is surprised to find out that her daughter Rose has been going by “Rock” at school, and everyone seems to know but her. She and Harry meet with Rock’s teachers who encourage them to be supportive of Rose/Rock’s wishes, also referring to Rock as “they.” Harry seems very confused. Truth be told, I’m sure it’s a challenging time to be a parent, but as much as Charlotte annoys me, she does seem supportive in this regard.

Following Carrie’s surgery, Charlotte, Miranda and Anthony have a schedule set up to take shifts with her, although Anthony wants no part of “changing the bedpan.” He does, however, bring Carrie home from the hospital in style in his “Hot Fellas” van and even has one of the fellas carry her upstairs. Later on, doped up Carrie gets on her podcast and drops a story from SATC season 2, when her diaphragm got stuck and Samantha had to help her get it out.

Back when they were a little… closer.

Charlotte purses her overly puffy lips about Carrie using Samantha’s name and suggests she give her the heads up.

Then things get really interesting. Carrie is asleep while Miranda is on duty, and Che stops over with some stuff to help Carrie podcast from home and a bottle of tequila. Che and Miranda proceed to do some shots… and then fool around. While I’m not shocked, I’m also… wow, OK. Miranda is just doing this. What about Steve????

Unfortunately, Carrie wakes up during the act and ends up pissing the bed because Miranda was “unavailable” to help her to the bathroom. Once Che leaves, Carrie confronts Miranda about not being there when needed, drinking in the middle of the day and of course HAVING SEX WITH HER BOSS IN THE KITCHEN. Miranda breaks down and says she’s deeply unhappy and has been for some time, but still insists she’s in control of her drinking.

Carrie texts Samantha about name dropping her on her podcast, and Samantha is cool about it — “I love that your vagina is getting air time.” Carrie then texts “I miss you,” but Samantha leaves her on read.

Back at home, Miranda is listening to Che’s podcast and making a cocktail when she gets an email asking her how she’s enjoying her purchase… of Quit Like a Woman. Turns out she drank and ordered! (Who among us hasn’t?! For me, it’s usually concert tix.) She feels like an ass and starts dumping booze down the sink. So… is she quitting?!

Carrie gets paired up with a hot PT, but of course they bait and switch her and tell her he’s not covered by insurance. But no matter — Carrie will pay out of pocket for this motivational perk.

“And just like that… three months later, I was back in heels.”

And Just Like That… Ep 4 recap: Growing Pains

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode four of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

After the Christmas and New Year’s from hell, I’m back with another AJLT recap. Happy New Year to all of my (three) readers!

As episode 3 left us with Carrie back at the steps of her old apartment, episode 4 opens with Carrie waking up on an unmade bed in her humble abode. We then cut to Charlotte, who continues to be the fucking worst as she loudly confirms a colonoscopy for Harry over the phone in a crowded coffee shop before meeting up with her obsession, Lisa Todd Wexley. They exchange pleasantries and dinner invitations, which sends Charlotte into a full blown panic as she realizes she and Harry have no friends of color to diversify their social circle and impress LTW.

Side note — God I hope her delaying Harry’s colonoscopy doesn’t result in him having cancer or something. This show has made me so cynical and anxious.

Over the course of the episode, we get to watch Charlotte act a fool by desperately trying to throw together a group of impressive specimens for her dinner (“I invited Carrie for fashion!”) including trying to bully her Indian neighbors into coming, which is cringe to the extreme.

Meanwhile, Miranda reeks of pot and her son and his girlfriend call her out on it. She blames the club she was at the night before with Che, but we know the truth, Shotgun Sally!

I’m not caffeinated enough for this conversation”- Miranda

As we revisit Carrie in her apartment, her old coffee maker explodes, so she does what she does best — steps out in an outfit most ridiculous but also I want to wear it.

We get to meet Carrie’s realtor, Seema (played by Sarita Choudhury), as Carrie has decided to let go of her and Big’s place. She ditches the peloton for about 5 seconds before Seema breezes in and says it’s the perfect space for one! And just like that… the peloton is back. Allegra wins this round.

Carrie and Seema start to form a bit of a bond, sharing a forbidden cigarette, while Miranda has dinner with Nya and discovers Nya is on her second round of IVF and isn’t quite sure she wants kids. It’s good to see that Miranda has hopefully moved past the cringy woke stage of trying to bond with her professor.

Charlotte attends a dinner party at LTW’s, where she manages to make herself useful by defending Lisa’s art investments to her uppity mother-in-law. As obnoxious as Charlotte is, I guess it’s working for Lisa because they seem very BFF as they confess to each other their anxieties about the lack of diversity at their respective gatherings (LTW says she was nervous about Charlotte and Harry being the only white couple at hers). Good for them.

Oh — and we get the lamest of sendoffs for the late, great Willie Garson as we learn he left a letter for Carrie telling her that he’s moving to Tokyo to go on tour with the teen TikTok star he manages. He also told Anthony he wants a divorce.

Farewell to a legend.

The episode closes with Carrie and Seema back at her and Big’s place, where Seema has accidentally broken a framed photo of Carrie and JJP. Carrie is very upset, saying it’s not just about replacing the glass because “he touched that glass every night.” They have a come-to-Jesus moment where Seema tells Carrie she felt slighted the other day when Carrie said “I think it’s great that you’re still putting yourself out there” as Seema is on numerous dating sites, and she tells Carrie she’s lucky she had the love of her life for a time, even if she lost him. The two seem to come to an understanding as Carrie closes with:

“And just like that… we began our real friendship.”

I am feeling character growing pains in this episode. Is Carrie going to take up smoking again? Where are things headed for Miranda? Is someone going to strangle Charlotte for me? Time will tell…

All of the C words

I’m really starting to hate the letter “C.”

COVID… Cancer… Chemo… all of these words are swirling around in my head right now.

And Christmas… woof.

Christmas sucked this year.

It’s almost annoying, isn’t it, that holidays have the audacity to just pop up and do their thing in the midst of all the shit that’s going on?

A very COVID Christmas

We went home to Ohio. Luke and I are both vaxxed and boosted, and while the omicron variant is raging, I really needed to see my mom. She has CLL — a form of leukemia that’s supposedly non-aggressive but also chronic, so it doesn’t really go away. But when she was diagnosed a few years ago, we were told it’s not likely to kill you — “you’re likely to die from something else!” — and can be managed.

For the first couple years, it was just background noise. Her blood levels were good, she felt good. She didn’t have to do chemo because that wasn’t proven to be super effective with this type of cancer. It was the most chill of cancers!

And then over the past year, everything went to shit.

At some point, she started developing itchy spots on her head. A few people in our family, myself included, have psoriasis, and we have special shampoo we have to use sometimes. So we tried that. Then the itching started to spread. As the weather warmed up, it got worse. She was itching all the time and nothing was bringing her relief. It just kept getting worse. She’d have good days and bad days, but it generally just wasn’t going away, and her doctors didn’t seem to have answers. One kept insisting it was not related to the cancer.

Finally, this fall, she got a new oncologist who decided it WAS the cancer and her lymph system was raging out of control. Oh, and she was maybe like Stage IV?! They put her on some new drug that brought her relief. This happened to be in the same time period as my brother’s wedding celebration, and she was feeling good and in good spirits for the event. We had a ton of family come to town. I thought maybe we were on an upswing.

But she couldn’t stay on that drug. She had to go off of it for awhile. And then everything came back, worse than ever. By the time Christmas rolled around, she could barely even walk. She has a swollen lymph node in her groin, her leg is swollen, she has some hacky cough that’s been there at least a month (she keeps testing negative for COVID), and the itchy spots are all over. She’s miserable.

So, I had to come home. I don’t understand what’s happening. I wanted to talk to my dad, and my brother, and make sure she’s getting the care she needs, that questions are being answered, that she’s not slipping through the cracks. And talking with my dad — he’s on it. They’ve been everywhere. Shuttling around to all these different doctors and hospitals, trying to get opinions and second opinions, taking tests.

But my dad travels for work a lot. So sometimes she’s alone. Not this past week, but he could have to travel again as soon as next week. I’ve gotten my brother more involved as well. I think he was, perhaps unintentionally, being kept a bit in the dark, and he’s up to speed now.

But what about me? I’m her daughter. And I live nearly 500 miles away.

It’s always been complicated with my family, as it is in many families. I love them dearly. They also drive me totally insane. We all talk over each other. Mom and I are super emotional, my dad is kind of a stubborn, selfish butthead and my brother is the talented, charming comic relief.

As I sit here in Wisconsin, I think things like, Should I move back home? I can work from home, should I just live there for awhile? I think about how involved my mom was in my Mimi’s care before she died, and I feel horrible that I’ve never even been to an appointment with her.

But then, I’m there for a couple days… and I can’t wait to leave. Even now. Even, and maybe especially, with all of this going on, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Here is what people don’t talk about when they’re going through this with a sick loved one. You’re still going to get mad at them. They’re still going to piss you off. You’re going to swear up and down that there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to make their lives easier, and then you find yourself melting down in a shopping center parking lot on Christmas Eve because they asked you to buy last minute gifts but gave you no ideas and you personally never leave shopping until Christmas Eve, that’s for psychos.

Just, you know… as an example.

You’re going to want to wait on them hand and foot but then get tired of that real quick when they just want you to get one more thing, or warm this thing up, or find their goddamned cell phone again. You’re going to really resist the urge to yell at them to cover their mouth when they cough, until Christmas, when you can’t take it anymore and you say it.

You’re going to put your significant other through hell, between helping with tasks and bearing the brunt of your emotions, and they’re not going to say one word against you. Not one word. And you’re going to wonder why you’re subjecting them to all of this in the first place.

We ended up leaving a day early because we were all potentially exposed to COVID, and Luke and I wanted to be home in case we got sick. So far, we’re fine — everyone seems to be “fine,” as far as COVID goes — but it was a long week of wondering how that was going to go.

And the thing is, I was relieved. I was freaking out about COVID, but I was ready to go home. My parents’ house depresses me. The water is shit, it’s so fucking CLUTTERED everywhere, they have 4 pets. Loving, adorable pets, but it’s like a zoo. My dad was kind of busting his ass — I’ll give him that — but it’s still just depressing. They put up a tree, but Luke and I had to decorate it Christmas morning, and there were no stockings.

I’m not trying to be like a 5-year-old here, whining that I didn’t get any candy canes. It’s just that it’s all a sign that things are all wrong. My mom is not currently someone I really recognize. Someone I just saw in October. Even the gifts I got her — a nice shirt and sweater and cute shoes — were kind of wrong. She’s not wearing that stuff right now. She can’t even wear regular shoes because her feet are swollen. I felt kind of like a moron. I did also surprise her with a girls’ beach trip in May, and she did perk up at that, but who knows if we can even go?

Because the thing is… this week, we found out she’s going to have to start chemo. Chemo is something my mother never wanted to do. Something she was just very afraid of. I think largely because of what it means — that things are not good. But she didn’t want to lose her hair and get really sick, and all of that jazz. But now, she’s so miserable she’s almost like, give me whatever. After I found out, I called her, and she just sounded so angry. It felt like she was angry at me for calling. “I don’t have answers right now.”

They don’t want me to come home. It’s going to start up right after New Years, I think. My brother is heavily involved, especially if my dad has to travel. We also have some other people. But I’m still freaking out. This is the biggest thing yet. In talking with friends, and Luke, they have tried to help ground me. To remind me that chemo works. That she might get better. That I need to try to stay positive.

I hope so. God, I hope so. The last thing I want is for her to suffer more, to no avail. I’m still not convinced I won’t be coming home. I mean, there are likely to be future rounds, right? I guess it all depends on how each one goes. I had a completely panicked thought that I may never see my mom again the way she was in October.

I know, I need to clear thoughts like that from my mind. But they’re in there. They’re in there with all the bad C words.

I just need a new letter. I’m going to try H, for hope. I’m going to hope. I hope in May my mom and I are sipping margs on a beach and this doom-and-gloom blog entry is a thing of the past.

I hope, I hope, I hope….

And Just Like That… Ep 3 recap: Million Dollar Mystery

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode three of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

Good lawd — I can’t believe this is my third blog post in a week! Hopefully, I’ll get into a rhythm soon with watching these episodes on Thursday and blogging on Friday… well, after the holidays, anyway.

I’m happy to report I really enjoyed this episode! While the first two were so, so uncomfortable, shocking and just generally *a lot,* I think maybe this series is starting to find its stride now that we’re past The Big Tragedy (no pun intended) and we get to learn more about some of these new characters and other developments.

That being said, Carrie obviously has a long healing process in front of her. And as episode three begins, our girl is dealing with some of the expected things that come up after a death — like going through Big’s will. I don’t know how much money he left, but it’s always been implied that he was very wealthy, so I can imagine it’s not any amount to sneeze at. Not that this likely matters all that much to Carrie. She seems to be fairly comfortable on her own, having kept her career afloat with some books — and now the podcast. We know she’s also kept her apartment from her SATC days because Stanford references staying there when he and Anthony are fighting.

But before we get to the will reading, the episode opens with Che’s podcast, and apparently Carrie has managed to step her pussy up as instructed, because all seem pleased with her quips today. She has plans to go to a comedy show of Che’s later that week with Miranda and Charlotte.

Side note: As Carrie refers to Che as “them,” it dawns on me I did not do this in my post on episode 2, so I have since corrected that.

Meanwhile, Stanford and Charlotte run into each other at a restaurant where apparently Carrie invited both of them to meet up after the will stuff. Charlotte seems a bit taken aback that Stanford was invited and only reserved a table for 3, and some awkwardness ensues as Stanford accuses her of being threatened by his standing as one of Carrie’s BFFs.

Am I the only one who feels they’ve done Stanford a little dirty so far? He just seems like he’s whining about something all the time, between fighting with Anthony and now this. And we all know his part is about to be written off, so… I don’t know. At the same time, Charlotte continues to annoy me to no end, so I’m OK with him calling her out.

Miranda, of course, is at the will reading with Carrie to make sure things are legally on the up-and-up or perhaps just for moral support.

And girlllll does she need it. Because during the reading it’s revealed — and a shock to all — that Big has left ONE MILLION DOLLARS to….. *drumroll* …..

Natasha?! Natasha, the idiot-stick-figure-with-no-soul that Big marries in season 3 of SATC and then cheats on with Carrie, leading to their divorce. Everyone is shocked and upset. No one knows why he would do this, and my own mind is spinning with possibilities. (Did they secretly have a child together? Was he seeing her? Were they in touch???)

It’s the Million Dollar Mystery. And Carrie, literally, will not sleep until she gets to the bottom of it. After lunch with her crew, she starts combing through Big’s stuff in their apartment. She finds some things that surprise her — he has a picture of a dog in his wallet she never knew about, as well as a Pinkberry punch card — but everything is relatively benign.

But the Natasha factor is another story. Carrie sends her an email asking to meet, hoping she can figure out why in the world Big would leave so much money to this woman. Sure, they were married, but for less than a year, the relationship ended badly and they don’t have children that we know of. Plus, Natasha seems to be doing just fine, with a fancy job, and a husband and kids. Carrie also stalks her on Instagram, but Natasha quickly blocks her.

“The sixth stage of grief is stalking.”- Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie becomes more frenzied and gets Charlotte and Miranda to join her in stalking out Natasha’s workplace. They see Natasha pull up and get out of a car, and oh my, she still looks good.

“She’s wearing flats.”- Charlotte
“That is the most desperate put-down I’ve ever heard.”- Miranda

Carrie tries to see Natasha but is told she’s away on business in Rome, obviously a lie. (And now we know why this episode’s titled When In Rome…) She meets up with Miranda and Charlotte to debrief around the corner. Before she arrives, Miranda gives Charlotte her backpack to borrow her phone charger and goes to get a muffin. While she’s gone, Charlotte finds several empty mini liquor bottles in the pack. So the storyline of Miranda’s drinking problem continues…

Dejected, Carrie can’t stop walking around the city. The next day, she enters a coffee shop to use the bathroom, and ends up accidentally walking in on, none other than, the ice queen herself, badly burning herself with hot coffee in the process. At first, Natasha doesn’t want anything to do with her, but she takes pity on her coffee-burned skin and pulls some ice from her bag (she has kids, and therefore, snacks) and finally sits down. Turns out, she’s just as puzzled as Carrie and crew are about the money, and she has no intention of taking it. She also hasn’t spoken to him since their divorce. Carrie is obviously relieved, and then Natasha gives her probably the best gift she could by telling her “I’ll never understand why he married me when he was always in love with you.”

I kind of want these two to be friends now! I don’t think it’s in the cards, though. They part amicably and Natasha tells Carrie they’re fine but perhaps shouldn’t follow each other on Instagram.

Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte attend Che’s comedy show. It’s clear Miranda is fascinated by Che and quite taken with their performance. Charlotte appears moved when Che talks about coming out to their family — Charlotte’s daughter Rose earlier in the episode expressed to her that she doesn’t feel like a girl, and prefers not to be referred to as one. Charlotte has only confided in Anthony thus far — who brushes it off, saying Rose is too young to know who she is — but I like that Charlotte seems to be open-minded about this.

Side note: Che is possibly my favorite character to ever grace this franchise.

“Actually, I don’t have a dick. If I did, I would have had this special 5 years ago.”- Che Diaz

After the show, Carrie and Charlotte hop in a car together, but Miranda hangs back. In the car, Charlotte shares her concerns about Miranda’s drinking, but Carrie brushes it off. Meanwhile, Miranda heads to the show’s after party and finds Che. As she’s gushing about how great they are, Che asks her to slow her roll and offers her some pot. Miranda declines, but then Che offers to shotgun it to her, leading to a rather intimate and charged moment between them. Where is this going?!

Side note: I really wanted to say, “Miranda seems to feel something… and not just the buzz,” but my boyfriend said I should “heavily workshop” that… sigh.

As Carrie returns to the door of her building, she decides to go on another walk. The episode ends with her back at the steps of her old apartment.

“And just like that… I walked myself home.”

And Just Like That… Ep 2 recap: These kids are killing me

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode two of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

So since the creators of AJLT released two episodes to start us off, my jaw is still on the floor and confusion and sadness are clouding my brain as episode 2 begins… with Brady’s girlfriend riding him cowgirl-style, while Miranda and Steve talk about it on the other side of the wall.

All I can say is, it took my mind off Big’s death for 10 seconds, I’ll give them that.

But then the phone rings and we’re brought right back down to the stark reality of what just happened as Miranda shows up at a visibly grief-stricken Carrie’s door. We see some EMTs/coroners in the background and Carrie chokes out “What do I do now?” to which Miranda, taking it literally, says “Well… I think they take the body away ….” and Carrie says, “No, I mean me. What do I do NOW?!”

What do WE do now, show creators?! Jeebus.

From here, my mind goes back to Carrie and Big’s breakup in the first movie, as we again see her friends taking shifts looking after her, spending the night, bringing her things and helping her plan the funeral.

It’s devastating.

First, Charlotte accompanies Carrie to a funeral home and proceeds to break down, saying she feels responsible for Big’s death in part because she made Carrie go to the recital.

Which brings me to one of my favorite Twitter reactions to this show thus far:

I mean.. it’s not wrong.

Carrie, however, stays strong and tells Charlotte, “It was a heart attack.” But Charlotte is so distraught they have to leave — also because Carrie has determined the funeral home package just isn’t Big — and Carrie sends her home in a cab. She also drops her first “It’s not you… it’s me,” since being widowed, to the funeral liaison. (Too soon?!)

Charlotte, girl… you need to pull it together.

We also see Stanford and Anthony make up in the face of this horrible news… we’ll see if it lasts.

Next, Miranda has another cringey encounter with her professor, Dr. Nya Wallace, played by Karen Pittman, in which Nya can’t find her ID to get into the building for class. When given pushback by the security guard, Miranda freaks out a bit assuming it’s a racial profiling issue. Nya finds her badge and tells Miranda to chill a bit on the white savior complex she seems to have.

“This isn’t To Kill A Mockingbird… I don’t need a good-hearted lawyer to defend me”- Dr. Nya Wallace

Later, however, Miranda legit helps her out when she gets mugged on the subway. Maybe these two will become friends after all? I think Miranda could use some guidance, that’s for sure!

Soon it’s time for Big’s funeral. Cue ALL the emotion. Carrie walks in flanked by Anthony and Stanford, looking appropriately widow-chic as we would expect. Big has been cremated, but she got a casket for the service, and there is a gorgeous display of white flowers. At first Carrie is upset — she said no flowers — but it is then revealed that the flowers came from Samantha, so they stay.

Now, I have to say, in reality? Samantha would absolutely be there. There’s just no way she doesn’t show up after everything. But, of course, they can’t just make Kim Cattrall appear. So we have to make due with a card that simply says, “Love, Samantha.”

Miranda is set to give the eulogy (beautifully written by Carrie), but not before slinking off to the bar to try to cram a glass of Chablis in at whatever morning hour this is. Now, on the one hand, it’s a funeral, she has to speak — give the woman some booze! On the other hand, at this point, it’s clear the writers are trying to establish that Miranda may have a drinking problem. While this scenario seems understandable, it gets a little desperate when the bartender tells Miranda they’re not serving until after the service and she pulls the “My husband supplied all of this booze” card. She then just asks for a quick nip of liquor. This, plus the purse wine, plus another scene in episode one where she goes to a bar before class, is definitely adding up to be a THING.

Also making an appearance is “Step your pussy up” podcast host Che Diaz, played by Sara Ramirez, who assures Carrie they can bounce people if things get out of control. What — it’s a funeral?! — but then that doesn’t seem to be totally out of line when Big’s secretary (“she prefers to be called that”) breaks down in ugly tears during the service, and afterward, Susan Sharon (yes!) and Bitsy von Muffling more or less accost Carrie with their own personal agendas.

I love you. I’m back. The End.” – Susan Sharon

Where’s Che? Oh — they’re outside getting high with Brady. BRADY — what are you doing to your mother?! While Miranda apparently has no problem with her son keeping her up at night banging his girlfriend in their house, she DOES have a problem with him toking up with strangers. She gets right in Che’s face — having no idea their connection to Carrie or the gathering — and threatens to rip their head off. Yikes — is she drunk? It’s just a little pot, lady…. She then tells Brady “No Luisa (girlfriend) for a week.” Heh — we’ll see about that.

Back inside, Carrie officially introduces Miranda and Che, and Miranda is understandably embarrassed about her reaction outside, but Che seems to think it was legit.

“Mama bear? Honey, try Papa Bear. Like a big daddy silverback.”- Che Diaz

I feel something happening here. Hmmm….

A day or so later, Carrie gets a delivery and as she nonchalantly brings it inside, it hits her — it’s Big’s ashes. She calls Miranda and Stanford to come cheer her up but leaves Crybaby Charlotte out. Unfortunately, Charlotte shows up unannounced, leading to a hallway blow-up in which Carrie finally shows some real emotion when she exclaims she doesn’t blame Charlotte, but herself, for not leaving for the Hamptons “LIKE I WANTED TO.” It’s good to see some of this coming out. I don’t really think it’s her fault, Charlotte’s fault, Lily’s fault OR Peloton’s fault but…. this sucks.

That night, as Miranda is on friend duty, Carrie asks for another sleeping pill. Miranda tells her she can’t have another one for 5 hours.

“And just like that… I learned how long 5 hours can be.” End of episode.

Woof. I’m still processing. But I did watch the trailer for the rest of the season and it looks like some interesting, possibly more light-hearted (thank god!) things are in store (Natasha?!). Stay tuned.

And Just Like That… Ep 1 recap: What the hell just happened?

***Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for episode one of the HBOMax series, And Just Like That…***

The debut episode of “And Just Like That…” begins how you might expect. Our main girl, Carrie — blonde locks flowing, capped by a quirky hat — spins through a crowd searching for her fellow ladies who lunch. After all, were the best parts of “Sex and the City” actually plot developments, or were they really the recaps and commentary the four main protagonists gave over coffee and cocktails?

Carrie finds Miranda and Charlotte, and the three of them get seated — but not before a little cameo from Ms. Bitsy von Muffling, during which we learn that Samantha is “no longer with us.”

This is literally what Charlotte says before clarifying to a visibly horrified Bitsy that no, Samantha’s not dead. She’s in LONDON. Dead to them, though, it seems. That’s all we know for now.

Over brunch, we learn that Miranda and Steve’s son, Brady, is having sex. In their house. Miranda references stepping on a used condom, and Charlotte — Ms. Park Avenue PollyAnna, of all people — says “at least he’s using protection.” Indeed.

At this point, I’m only mildly ill at ease. It’s just a little jarring to be back in this world again — sans Samantha — and I’m still getting my bearings. We’re talking about stepping on semen already and I’m trying to do the math of how old Brady is, and — I have to say it — I’m very distracted that Kristin Davis has gotten too much botox.

And then we find out Miranda quit corporate law after 30 years and is going back to school to get a master’s in human rights to pair with her law degree. In response, Charlotte makes her priorities crystal clear by asking if Miranda is going to color her hair.

AND JUST LIKE THAT, “Charlotte” is on my last fucking nerve, which is becoming a theme as she next gives Carrie shit about missing her daughter Lily’s piano recital to go to the Hamptons with Mr. Big — aka John James Preston (JJP).

So… we now know Carrie and Big are still together. We know Charlotte is still a perfectionist control freak, and we know Miranda is still growing as a professional, even though it shames her friend Ms. Botox that she has gray hair. OK.

Next, outside the restaurant, we learn a little bit more about what happened to Samantha. Apparently, Carrie had to “let her go” as her publicist, and they had a falling out, and she moved to London. It’s heavily implied that the girls have tried to keep in touch with her, to no avail. Hmmm.

Also, in a classic “Miranda is the cool mom friend” moment, she assures Carrie she shouldn’t feel bad about missing the recital. But you can tell Carrie feels that she should go, so upon returning home, she asks JJP if it’s OK if they leave the next day. He seems fine with that, and predictably turns down her offer to go with her to the recital. He’d rather stay home with his sexy Peloton instructor, Allegra. (Now, for me, both sound a bit like torture, so it’s a toss-up.) As the scene continues, we also learn one of Carrie and Big’s traditions over COVID was listening to a pick from his never-seems-to-get-an-update record collection over dinner, and tonight it’s Todd Rundgren. They dance a bit to “Hello, It’s Me,” the episode title, and we come away feeling like those two are solid. Awww, how lovely.

YOU ARE NOW ON A RIDE TO CRINGEVILLE. THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS.

As the episode continues, we’re thrust into several awkward scenes where there are some clear struggles with trying to take a show that thrived in the early 2000s and make it relevant in present day. In Miranda’s first class, she digs herself a huge hole trying to be overly “woke” with her black professor (I’m STILL processing that scene… cringefest!). Carrie is on a podcast with a non-binary stand-up comedian, who tells her she needs to stop being a prude and “step her pussy up” when she shies away from publicly discussing masturbation. Which leads to another semi-cringeworthy scene of Carrie asking JJP to do it in front of her. Charlotte struggles to get Lily and Rose to wear matching dresses to the recital. It’s clear Rose is not much of a girlie-girl — which is basically Charlotte’s entire identity — so you can imagine the friction there.

Finally, it’s The Big Event (a teenage piano recital), and Carrie dons her special wedding shoes (the blue Manolo’s she put on to marry JJP at the end of the first movie) and tells Mr. Big to text her if he wants to leave for the Hamptons yet tonight, and she won’t go for cocktails. They share a tender moment before she heads out, where he says “I’m just looking at you,” and I start to realize something awful is about to happen….

The Shoes…

At the very-important-absolutely-cannot-miss teen piano recital, we finally reunite with Anthony and Stanford (played by the late Willie Garson, who died in the middle of filming this season. Just devastating). They’re somewhat predictably bickering as Stanford is late, but the reason, we later learn, is because they were fighting, and Anthony just up and left. Miranda continues to be my hero as she brought “purse wine,” something Charlotte purses her overly puffy lips about but ultimately lets go. (Girl, they showed up. Let them have WINE.)

As the recital gets underway, back at Carrie and John’s house, JJP gets on the peloton. As the scene plays out, Lily gives a mesmerizing and rousing performance, clearly blowing the audience away, while we simultaneously watch Allegra push JJP to his limits. I don’t have a GREAT feeling about this at all, given how they are focusing on him like this and knowing his history of heart problems that was addressed in SATC Season 6 (he has a pretty serious surgery).

And alas, as JJP completes his workout, and the recital comes to a climactic close, he stumbles and clutches his arm, and you know this is not gonna be good. He does manage to get a text out to Carrie, “Let’s leave tonight,” before he goes down, which gives me hope she’s going to come home and save him.

I’m now holding my breath. Carrie comes home and calls out for John. She begins moving through the apartment, and upon finding him in a pool of water in the bathroom, exclaims “John!” in a way that has since haunted me.

He’s still alive. He seems totally out of it though, propped up against the wall. What follows is probably 60 seconds of utter devastation. The two of them stare at each other across the room for what seems like hours, while I’m yelling “AREN’T YOU GOING TO CALL 9-1-1?!!!” Another heart-wrenching “John!” from Carrie as she finally runs to him and gets down on the floor, sort of holding him, sort of maybe trying to breathe or kissing him?! I don’t know. CALL 9-1-1, WTF!

The words “And just like that… Big died,” spoken overhead like a narrator by Carrie, ends the episode. ROLL CREDITS.

AND I AM NOT OK… NOT AT ALL.

We’ll process this more in episode 2.

And Just Like That… we’re back!

What do you think the over/under is on writers trying to be cutesy with the “And Just Like That…” title on their recaps??? Like I just did? Yeah, TOO MANY is the only correct answer.

But I digress. I’m back, baby! With a very specific purpose. I need to process something I’ve recently watched, so we’re all gonna do it together, OK?

Oh, right, I need to say ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

In case you’re unaware, a revival of the beloved “Sex and the City” recently dropped its first two episodes on HBOMax. The new series, aptly titled “And Just Like That…” brings us back into the NYC world of Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte (No Samantha… we’ll get to that later), and how they are navigating love, friendship, parenthood (or “aunthood”… we’ll get to that later, too!), work and life in their 50s.

I can’t really imagine having a lot of interest in this show if you’re not a fan of SATC. And if you watched either of the two films that came out when the show ended, I wouldn’t blame you for taking a pass! The first one was tolerable, but the second one was atrocious. I more or less just block it.

Sex and the City 2: This movie made about as much sense as these outfits.

I’ve had mixed feelings about the idea of AJLT since I first heard it was happening earlier this year, but subsequent articles, Instagram posts and general boredom (plus my obsession with the original — I still watch episodes of it all the time!) got me relatively hyped for it by the time it debuted last Thursday.

In particular, in an interview with Vogue that I came across about a month ago, SJP said:

“In the spring of 2020, I was talking with Michael Patrick about doing a podcast about the behind-the-scenes making of Sex and the City,” Parker, who has settled into one of Carrie’s old chairs in her living room, tells me. “And we spoke about what we were missing in the pandemic: joy, community, the experience of being together. The world of Carrie and her friends has always been about coming home, and I felt like we needed that right now.”

YES, YES, YES! The article goes on to talk about how women in their 50s should be celebrated and just as relevant as anyone (yes), and it also touched on some of the shortcomings of SATC (lack of diversity — both in the cast and the writer’s room — for one), and how that was going to be addressed. All in all, it got me excited! I began counting down the days to Dec. 9, when they dropped not just one, but TWO episodes.

And now for real, ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

When I got home from work, Luke was on dinner duty, so I cued it up.

What ensued was nearly three hours of cringe, pearl-clutching and utter devastation. More on that in my next post!