Like most of my fellow Sex and the City fans, when the new series And Just Like That... first aired back in 2021, the anticipation had me shaking in my Manolo Blahniks (JK, I don’t own any). But it took me back to the days of SATC gone by, when I couldn’t wait to see what epic fashion pieces would pop up in the show and what ludicrous relationship antics the girls would get up to next. I was prepped on the sofa, armed with snacks and ready to dive into the lives of these now more mature characters. Then…just like that…they killed Big. And in season 2, they put Aidan Shaw in his place. And it’s really, really not working for me.
To be able to talk about Aidan requires me to sort through my feelings about Big, because the men have always been two sides of the Carrie relationship coin. Carrie and Big’s relationship had major issues. Big was never exactly Carrie’s knight in shining armor, and thinking back, there were many times when his behavior was selfish and narcissistic. Leaving Carrie at the altar and embarrassing her in front of hundreds of guests certainly wasn’t his finest hour, and we were all team Charlotte when she fiercely defended her friend in those iconic New York street scenes.
Up until now, though, the show’s writers have always wanted us to believe in Carrie and Big at all costs. No matter what happened or how bad things got, the storylines would see them reunited. They pushed hard for us to view these two as endgame, so we rode loyally through the battlefield that was their relationship.
Now we’re two seasons into And Just Like That..., and enter: the curveball that is Aidan. I have to question the decision to bring Aidan back at this stage in the game. Where was the chance to see Carrie have a string of wild and wacky relationships and fall back in love with herself and NYC life after Big’s death? I needed more of that and more time with Carrie learning about who she is now. So much of Sex and the City’s original charm was its element of fun. With Carrie being single and navigating life again, there was a golden opportunity to bring back the “boyfriend of the week” vibe but from a fresh and mature perspective. Especially considering that in pop culture, women over 50 very rarely get the chance to date around onscreen.
Don’t get me wrong—I love John Corbett as much as the next gal, but there seems to have been a harsh line in the sand drawn from the perspective of the show: If we bring Aidan back, we have to shove it down viewers’ throats that Big is/was insignificant. In season 2, episode 8 Carrie even muses, “I’ve been asking myself, was Big a big mistake?” The audacity! Even Miranda doesn’t know how to reply. To ask viewers to spend so much time invested in a fictional relationship to then backtrack completely not only stings but is a bit nonsensical.
To be clear, it’s not only the the retconning of Big in favor of Aidan that infuriates me. But let’s not forget that Carrie and Aidan were also never the perfect couple. She didn’t even like him enough to wear her engagement ring on her actual finger! She had an affair for a good chunk of the time they were together. And he spent much of this season refusing to come into her apartment. Just because Carrie had two loves doesn’t mean we have to swap out one for the other. The answer to Big’s death is not automatically Aidan!
As season 2’s finale aired, things got even weirder as Aidan told Carrie to wait FIVE YEARS for their relationship to resume so he can focus on being a father. That’s one hell of a time-out, and with season 3 having just been announced, I’m not sure how the writers will play this one. Will there be a flash-forward to the future? Or will we finally get to see Carrie navigate her life without Aidan in it? Who’s to say!
Watching the show still somehow feels like receiving a warm hug from an old friend. It truly has become my favorite comfort watch, even if it does leave me baffled. But what will season 3 bring to the table? You can bet I’ll still be tuning in to find out. Let’s just hope that there’s a lot less Aidan Shaw, at least for a while.
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