Minor spoilers ahead. Early into Season 2 of NOWTV’s And Just Like That, Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) — one of the show’s newest and most fabulous additions to the Sex and the City universe — is in a bit of a predicament: She has to decide between attending the prestigious Met Gala alongside Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), or meeting her boyfriend Zed’s son for a long lunch. Seema chooses the latter and comes to regret it. Her red flag radar goes into overdrive as she finds out Zed (William Abadie) still lives with his ex-wife, and she starts to suspect that he’s financially dependent on the women in his life. “This feels like a mess, and I’m not missing The Met for a mess,” she tells Zed while whisking away in her town car. Later, after being berated by her hair dresser for dropping men too easily, she tries again with Zed, only to learn that yes, her gut was right. Zed asks her to invest in his business. “I’m investing in myself,” Seema quips before another chic storm-off.
Watching Seema stride confidently out on her BF for a second time is exhilarating, both because it’s fun TV (who among us hasn’t fantasised about an exit with flair?) and because it’s the kind of attitude we love and expect from the heroines in Sex and the City. And thankfully, after the first season of And Just Like That, which focused heavily on marital highs and lows, prioritising yourself is back. The second season of the reboot series leans into what made the original show so revolutionary in the late 1990s, making room for the women of And Just Like That to do like Seema does and choose themselves and each other.
To be clear, choosing yourself isn’t an easy decision. As Seema does grapple with her relationship, it can also be very lonely. “Choosing yourself is hard because it means you're alone again,” Sarita Choudhury tells Refinery29 ahead of the season premiere. “It's empowering, but it's also like: There's no one in the house.” As Choudhury notes, it takes courage to choose yourself. “The show works on that idea of if you can do it, go for it, [choose yourself]”
Which is exactly what Seema does, with flourish, of course. The dates are good, they’re bad, they’re sometimes embarrassing, but the important part is that — for most of these relationships — they’re not forever. “Sex and the City was always about throwing yourself into a situation, getting egg on your face and having to exit like, ‘Oh shit,’” Choudhury says. “We're back to that, that kind of situational comedy but yet sexy and so heartwarming.”
It’s a formula that was largely missing from the first season of the reboot. And with good reason. After the death of Big (Chris Noth), Carrie’s husband of over a decade and her main paramore throughout the six seasons of the original SATC, it made sense that Carrie would grieve such a big loss. It was an important part of the story and set Carrie up to look for love in her 50s in Season 2. But the prolonged grieving of Big’s death as well as the dissolution of Miranda’s marriage to Steve and relationship with Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez) bogged down the pacing of the reboot and put the emphasis entirely on these romantic relationships.
But, with a year of Big’s death behind her, Carrie and the series are ready to move back to the heart of what made the original show so special. While longterm romantic relationships are still present for some characters in an exciting way, they’re not necessarily at the forefront, giving more breath and screen time to other areas of the women’s lives: their careers, identities, and friendships.
We’re not saying that romantic relationships are bad — they’re great. But in Sex and the City and And Just Like That, they’re just not the point. Rather, friendship has always been at the core of the show and the real love story. For a show seemingly all about sex, viewers have watched Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha hustle in the big city to make it in their careers, navigate the complex friendship dynamics that come with being in your 30s, and figuring yourself out when everyone around you is getting married and having kids and you can’t even get a text back — or in the mid-90s, a page. Sex, and by extension romantic relationships, were always a bit of an aside or a funny anecdote to subtly teach the foursome, and by extension us, more about themselves and their friendships. Men come and go, spend the night, or snore loudly beside Charlotte, but what remains are the women and their own individual stories.
And that’s what we’re most excited to see. As Choudhury points out, this formula leaves room for something bigger and exciting to happen. And a lot of something does happen this season, with many of the women, like Charlotte, Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman), and Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker) focusing on, for the first time since their 30s, choosing themselves and their professional dreams once again (we can’t spoil the specifics, but let’s just say Charlotte has a very chaotic — and very Charlotte — realisation about her identity later in the season).
It makes sense that Season 2 of the show would have an emphasis on everything but the romantic relationship, because that’s true of the trajectory of life. In Season 2, Carrie and Co. are 56+, an age we’ve long associated with children, ageing, and family. Women in their 50s would have, in theory, left all the dating in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. For Kristin Davis, it’s “tremendously important” to be able to see women going through these stages of their life because it still is so rare to see. “I think it's powerful from a social perspective,” Davis tells Refinery29. “All of us [viewers and characters] are ageing together and going through these phases. We can have our feelings about the characters, and we're not trying to tell you what's right or wrong, but it's a way to kind of talk about [these topics] and connect about it.”
But that doesn’t mean that you have to be in your 50s to watch and learn from these women, especially when it comes to putting yourself first. Because that’s the beauty of the lessons and the show: People in their 20s and 30s can take them and implement them at any stage of their life. Watching these women may even give them some perspective on their own lives, and encourage them to embrace wherever they may be at now. “You’re going to appreciate that you're in your 30s,” Choudhury says. “It's such a great time. If I look back at that age… I think, ‘Oh my god, you're so beautiful, you can do anything you want, don't ever, ever waste a moment complaining or wanting something that's not around.’”
As for Choudhury's breakup advice for all of us? “You just have to walk out that door. To do anything, you literally just have to walk out.” She adds, “In my 30s … I was like ‘I don’t want to go out, I’ve been through a breakup, I don’t give a shit.’ And [my friend said]: ‘If you go out of that door, a magical thing will happen.’ And it did.”
And Just Like That is now streaming on NOWTV.