Sex and the City‘s revival has been eagerly anticipated by fans of the early ’00’s sensation. After years of waiting and hoping and wondering – it’s finally here. The first episode aired this week, and it packed an emotional wallop. Fans are stunned in the wake of the bold first episode, which took a George RR Martin (Game of Thrones) style risk with one of the main characters in the first episode. So what just happened!?
Warning: this article contains spoilers.
What Just Happened?!
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’re wondering right about now: did someone get married to a sibling, or did someone die? If you saw last night’s episode, you know it was the latter. After years of anticipating the reboot and wondering about the fate of the show’s most beloved characters, fans are getting what they’ve long asked for – however, it came with a very high cost.
To deal with the show’s big death in episode 1 – way to start strong, Sex and the City – we have to go back to one character who is noticeably absent from the show’s revival. When the revival was announced, three of the show’s biggest names were on the roster – Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Davis, and Cynthia Nixon. But fans immediately wondered – where was Kim Cattrall? Some off-screen drama led to the character’s ax from the revival, and fans got an answer pretty quickly about what happened to her character, Samantha Jones. As it turns out, the “close friend group” was anything but, off-set. Cattrall claims that she was never close to her co-stars and even coldly rebuffed an attempt at sympathy by Parker after Cattrall’s father died.
But you can’t just nix an entire character without questions abounding, so they handled it neatly in the first episode: Samantha moved to London. Tying that up in a pretty bow, they put the off-and-on-set drama in the past.
The Washington Post writes, “In case you’re wondering whether they don’t have telephones or the Internet in Europe in SATC world, the show later explains that Carrie and Samantha had a falling out when Carrie fired her as her publicist (“because of what the book business is now”), and Samantha decided to never speak to her again.
“I kept leaving her voice mails asking her to please call me back so we could talk about this and fix it,” Carrie says. ‘Look, I understand she was upset, but I thought I was more to her than an ATM.’ (Which, yikes, feels uncomfortably close to the real-life situation.)
However, that leads us to the actual shocker: The sudden and out-of-nowhere death of John James Preston, Mr. Big, the No. 1 love of Carrie’s life (okay, No. 4 love), the romantic lead of the series, played by Chris Noth — dead after a Peloton workout.”
Some fans are crying foul and saying they had no way of knowing the death was coming. But if you look at the last conversation between the two, they set it up for a pretty classic “last conversation” type farewell. We won’t spoil that conversation, but if you look back with hindsight you can see it coming a mile away.
For what it’s worth, in the next episode Samantha sends a flower arrangement so beautiful that Carrie notices it and they kinda sort of long-distance, but without any resolution, patch things up. So we exchanged the life of Big for a moment of friendly exchange. Was it worth it, Sex and the City writers?
The Fashion of Sex and the City
One thing remarkable about the moment when Carrie finds Big collapsed next to the shower before he gazes at her one last time and dies, is the symbolism of her shoes. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the shoes she wore out on the town that night – Big’s last, as he stayed home to work out on his Peloton – were the same shoes she wore in their storybook wedding. The shoes are ruined by the shower as Carrie cradles the body of her love, and it’s all part of the plan.
InStyleshares via Yahoo!, “‘[The shoes] were supposed to lose their blue color and drain into the shower,’ [Costumer Designer Molly] Rogers tells InStyle over the phone, discussing those iconic Manolo Blahniks (which yes, many have even bought for their own weddings). ‘Big was supposed to notice them — which he does while he’s smoking the cigar — and then they were supposed to fade into black. It’s deep.'”
But Carrie’s shoes weren’t the only thoughtful touch from the costume department – the new series is a revolution in men’s fashion. When the series first aired, men’s fashion was in its infancy as a mainstream concept. Men wore clothing that represented their obvious and stereotypical archetype, and television embraced that easy-to-dress direction wholeheartedly. While the women’s fashion in Sex and the City was iconic and helped drive a generation of design, the men were basically dressed up in dull. Near the end of the original show’s run, however, things were starting to evolve and change, and men were getting their day in the sun.
GQ writes via MSN, “Those boundaries have effectively vanished. In the years since the show aired, the rise of streetwear, athleisure, and Silicon Valley’s power hoodie have flipped paradigms and erased long standing hierarchies. And now most guys dress like an amalgam of Aidan and Big—or dress like Big one day and Aidan the next. That mix of streetwear and more formal elements is a formula that you see done everywhere, from Aime Leon Dore to The Row to Stussy to Dries Van Noten—even Supreme, with their recent forays into tailoring. The rigid archetypes of yore just don’t exist in the same way, but SATC captured the moment when those roles still mattered, and were conveyed with clothes.”
Now, the men’s fashion in the show has come full circle and the characters are allowed to be fully fleshed-out characters with flair and style. The journey that started in the end of the original series has completed as Just Like That takes off.
Peloton – Oops
While the showrunners may have intended to wrest tears from a generation of fans who have been waiting for what feels like forever, they probably didn’t mean to take a swing at Peloton. The wildly popular exercise bike has been having its day in the sun during the pandemic as people are turning to the community classes and the culture of Peloton to stay connected and healthy in tandem with friends.
Just Like That delivered a wallop of a different kind to the beloved bike. Even though Big died in the shower, not on the bike, people took it quite personally. Peloton stocks plummeted in the wake of Big’s death, and the bike company was alarmed enough by the trend to issue a response.
Per Newsweek, “‘I’m sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack,’ said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist and member of Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.
‘Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle—including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks—and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6.
‘These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.’
Dr. Steinbaum went on to highlight that ‘more than 80 percent of all cardiac-related deaths are preventable through lifestyle, diet and exercise modifications.’
She added: ‘While 25 percent of heart attacks each year are in patients who already had one (like Mr. Big), even then they are very, very treatable. The lesson here is, know your numbers! It’s always important to talk to your doctor, get tested, and have a healthy prevention strategy. The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.'”
It would be ironic if Big’s love for his Peloton brought the bike down with him – but hopefully people won’t take it out on the bike. After all, it’s clearly sadistic writers who want to break our hearts who are to blame. Just kidding – mostly. It’s good to see SATC back again, but it will take some time to recover from Big’s loss.