Is there anything more embarrassing than trying to make a new friend? Asking someone on a little friend date. Divulging something personal and then worrying you’ve overshared. Compared to dating, it feels like making new friends is supposed to be effortless, when really, it tends to feel like a minefield of social blunders and opportunities for rejection.
Maybe that’s why we never really saw the four original women of Sex and the City make friends. It wasn’t entirely clear how they even met each other (though a flashback at the beginning of SATC 2 provides a little insight), and any acquaintances outside the core four plus Stanford and Anthony tended to rotate out in one or two-episode arcs. There were plot-point friends, like Carrie’s fashion show producer friend who cast her in a Dolce & Gabbana show, or the shoe salesman who sent Stanford into a tizzy about wanting to be Carrie’s only gay friend. Sometimes a close longtime friend would appear out of nowhere only to vanish after one episode, like Susan Sharon or that dude who fixed things in Charlotte’s apartment.
But it’s 2021 now. Samantha is gone, and Susan Sharon is talking shit at Big’s funeral. It’s high time for the women of And Just Like That … to make some new friends. Except for them, it’s an annoyingly easy feat.
We knew well before its release that the Sex and the City reboot was planning to introduce four new characters, all nonwhite, and all somehow integrated into the social lives of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte. Sara Ramirez’s Che is introduced as Carrie’s boss and now a love interest for Miranda after a rocky first encounter. As for the others, it seems that each of the original SATC women has their own new friend. There’s Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), the PTA mom Charlotte is rapidly befriending. Miranda somehow managed to win over her law-school professor Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman) despite making uncomfortable comments about her race at every possible moment. And episode four introduced us to Seema (Sarita Choudhury), the real-estate agent Carrie’s bonding with while she sells her apartment.
All this new friend-making makes no sense to me. Isn’t it supposed to be difficult to meet new people past the age of, I don’t know, 25? These women haven’t made new friends since the ’90s, and on top of that, they did allegedly weather a pandemic full of limited social interaction like the rest of us. Shouldn’t they be a little rusty? How these fully grown women, who are frankly pretty socially inept even by pandemic-era standards, are absolutely swimming in new friendships is beyond me.
Take Miranda and Dr. Nya. From the second they meet, all of Miranda’s interactions with Dr. Nya have been cringe-y to the point of making the show almost unwatchable. Initially, Miranda’s utter confusion about how to interact with her Black professor seemed pretty hard to bounce back from. Yet here they are in episode four, sitting down for a chic little dinner and talking about IVF and whether having kids is worth it. Huh??? Then there’s Carrie and Seema. These women share one cigarette in a car and suddenly they’re swapping dating horror stories and getting into their first friend fight? No wonder this show is called “and just like that.”
Meanwhile, Charlotte is experiencing something closer to realistic stress about trying to make a new friend. Unfortunately, a lot of her concern about impressing Lisa Todd Wexley feels more about her need to prove she isn’t racist than about wanting a new friend. But whatever Lisa’s true feelings about Charlotte’s performative knowledge of Black artists may be, she certainly acts like someone who wants to be friends with her. She wants to eat Charlotte’s cold French fries! She calls her the Thelma to her Louise! Charlotte talks about her like they haven’t gotten past the “friendly acquaintances” stage, but they’re already close enough to share secret piano recital wine? I don’t buy it.
Like the original series, AJLT still seems willing to dissect the weird, gross, uncomfortable pieces of romantic life, even if they’re no longer uttering the words “funky spunk.” Dating in your 50s means encountering men named StanTastic on Tinder. Raising a sexually active son is … disgusting. But when it comes to making friends as an adult, any road bumps these characters encounter are magically removed. Where is the funky spunk of new friendship? Now there’s a question for Carrie to answer on her podcast.