Is This the Episode Where ‘And Just Like That…’ Gets Good?

If we’re lucky, we’ll make it to our golden years. But is Carrie Bradshaw ready for them? That’s the big question on her mind in And Just Like That season 2’s fourth episode, “Alive!,” in which Carrie reconnects with her old Vogue editor, Enid Frick (Candice Bergen), who is launching a publication for ladies of a certain age. 

On this week’s episode of Still Watching, hosts Richard Lawson and Chris Murphy are joined by VF’s Joy Press to discuss all things “Alive!,” from Carrie’s encounter with Gloria Steinem to Miranda’s ill-fated threesome with Che and their kinda-still-husband, Lyle (played by celebrity sibling Oliver Hudson). This episode “feels like a classic sort of Sex and the City episode,” says Press, with its sexual misadventures and solipsism about life and career. 

Lawson wonders if And Just Like That’s recent harkening back to the style of the previous series “is a conscious effort on the show’s part to listen to fan complaints about season one and try to do more of those old-school things.” Whatever the reason, it’s a welcome return to form. 

Though others out there on the internet may disagree. There has been a lot of complaining about the development of Miranda’s character, with some fans bemoaning that SATC’s beloved cynic has gone from smart, capable, no-nonsense attorney to AJLT’s resident embarrassment. Joy Press—who recently spoke to Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda, about this very topic—thinks she’s seen some improvement on that front. “It feels like this season is trying, or at least this episode is trying, to bring it back to a more realistic place,” Press tells the Still Watching crew. “Where Miranda is wanting something different and she’s trapped.” 

If Miranda is all about making mistakes these days, at least Charlotte gets to have a little fun this week. Her plotline, involving Harry’s, uh, less than productive orgasms, is very much in line with the humor of the SATC heyday. Though Press sees some deeper meaning in it, too. “That was part of the aging theme,” she says. “It went a little bit with Carrie being on the mailing list for AARP.” Even the silliest of AJLT plotlines, it seems, come freighted with matters of late middle-age. 

One burst of newness and excitement on the series has been Nicole Ari Parker, a journeywoman actor who has seized the role of Upper East Side doyenne Lisa Todd Wexley with aplomb. Parker called into Still Watching this week to discuss the changing shape of the show now that the tricky introductory season is past. 

“I really felt like we had all settled in and weathered the storm of the Sex and the City fans, and I think [show creator] Michael Patrick King had a real vision of what he wanted to see for these characters,” Parker tells Chris Murphy. “Not [to] change the rhythm of the show, but at the same time really give as much of a fullness to these characters as you could.”

Parker maneuvers the And Just Like That ecosystem with a smooth grace befitting of the impossibly put-together Lisa Todd Wexley. (Her name must always be said in full, for it is one of the great TV names.) Despite that cool poise, Parker has had freak-out moments while shooting, she says. “Did you see who played my dad?,” she gushes. “The one and only Billy D. Williams, living legend. I had to go gather myself when he walked on set.”

There is also, of course, the amusing similarity between her three-word name ending in Parker and that of the show’s star, Sarah Jessica Parker. “Sometimes I’m on the phone trying to make reservations and I say ‘Nicole Ari Parker.’ And they go, ‘What?’ And I say, ‘It’s three names, like Sarah Jessica Parker.’ So I said that to [Sarah Jessica] and she just kinda nodded in her Carrie way, like, thank you for that bit of information at six in the morning. And then she just hugged me.”

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