and just like that

Steve Deserves Better

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

Where were you for the great And Just Like That … fingering scene of 2021? I am talking about, of course, the most fever-dream-esque moment of this already unhinged show, wherein (spoilers ahead) a post-surgery Carrie is forced to pee in an empty Snapple bottle while she listens to her boss bring Miranda to (very loud) orgasm in her kitchen. This is like Sex and the City at its best: astoundingly absurd, weirdly specific, kind of gross, and absolute chaos. And while it may have given us the best scene of the show so far, it pains me to think of the ramifications for one character in particular: Steve.

Say what you want about whether you’d fuck, marry, or kill him, but I love Steve. And I’m not alone. First of all, he is physically very attractive, and I’d argue that David Eigenberg, the actor who plays him, has aged quite well. Second of all, Steve is just good. He’s honest without being cruel, undyingly supportive of Miranda, and a five-foot-nine king. Despite Miranda’s snobbishness about his bartending aspirations when they first met, he came into his own and opened up a whole goddamn bar, which makes him a business owner (hot) and a guy who can make you a negroni (also hot but admittedly probably not what Miranda needs right now).

Plus he’s a pretty damn good boyfriend. One of his most telling moments in the original series happens when Miranda, caught in a meltdown about the prospect of Steve moving in and being repelled by her messy habits, shatters a jar of store-bought marinara sauce on the floor. Steve hugs her, tells her he’s not going anywhere, and suggests they order pizza. He’s just as good-natured and calm navigating their accidental pregnancy (remember when he picked up Brady’s umbilical-cord stump while the cat was playing with it?) and subsequent co-parenting situation. Every time Miranda spirals into crisis mode, Steve swings in with an affable grin and a bad pun that somehow pulls her out. He was always the “safe” option, but that didn’t make him boring — it made him great.

Sadly, And Just Like That … does not seem too interested in exploring how that very kind and patient young Steve has matured. Where even is Steve in this show? He pops up briefly in episode one, during which we learn he is now nearly deaf (played only for laughs) and their son, Brady, can’t stop having sex. The next time we see him, he’s patiently letting Miranda drone on about the health benefits of chia seeds, which for some reason they’re putting on ice cream (sad).

Chia-seed ice cream …? Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

Steve finally gets a bit more air time during this week’s episode, in which he complains excessively about the reorganization of the farmers’ market before leaving to retrieve his wallet, which he left at the pickle stand. Ugh. And then comes the real injustice: Miranda, having been ghosted by Che, clumsily tries to get a little sexy with Steve, who apparently … forgot how to finger his wife. “Is that right?” he asks, visibly fumbling under her pants. It’s not, and Miranda is so not turned on that they contemplate retrieving lube, only to abandon ship and go back to cleaning up dinner. It’s possibly the unsexiest scene in television history, not to mention infuriating. Miranda once told Samantha “there are no words” to describe how good Steve was in bed. Now he’s a crotchety old man who can’t even locate a clitoris let alone the pickle stand?

His less-than-competent bedroom skills aside, we can deduce a few things about Steve’s life. We know Miranda hasn’t been happy with their marriage for a long time. She also says they haven’t had sex in years, which is no fun (and explains the fingering issue, I guess). No one seems very patient with his hearing problem. And now his wife is cheating on him. It’s true that Steve has his own history of infidelity: He cheated on Miranda in the first SATC movie. Given his puppy-dog devotion to Miranda, this seems so out of character that most Steve acolytes like to discount it altogether. And at the time, he told Miranda, guilt-ridden and hoping they could work through it. Whereas now Miranda seems to be treating Steve like an afterthought — a long-forgotten relic of her failing marriage that she forgot to dispose of before moving on to someone else. This is not the life Steve deserves!

Meanwhile, the show is very busy tackling everything that is going on in Miranda’s life, which is … a lot. Part of the reason she is unhappy with their marriage is because she’s questioning her sexuality, and probably not unrelatedly, she has developed a not-very-subtle drinking problem. Still, something tells me Steve could support her through this. He’s understanding. He listens. He doesn’t always know what he’s doing, but he wants to do right by her. Maybe he’d help her explore trendy nonalcoholic cocktails. Or suggest an open marriage so Miranda can experiment without breaking his trust? Maybe they’d decide to separate, which would also be fine and mature. I just wish he had been given a chance to be there for Miranda because — call me optimistic — but I have faith he would have come through.

But it’s probably too late for that now: Miranda shows no signs of wanting to stop sleeping with her best friend’s boss, and her feeble attempt to help Steve meet her sexual needs doesn’t count as trying to make their marriage work. Miranda, to turn a phrase, has really dropped the marinara now. But honestly, I think it’s time for Steve to walk away from this particular mess. He’s done enough cleaning up.

Steve Deserves Better