Where’s the Punch Line?

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We loved all 6 seasons of SATC because – at its core,  it was about female friendship and the lives of these women.  We’ve lost that with the new series And Just Like That. Even if we didn’t have Carrie’s fashion sense, Miranda’s career, Charlotte’s faith or Samantha’s sex drive (and God help me who did even at that age?) – we were able to identify with each of those women for what we saw of ourselves IN THEM.

Carrie is a WRITER.  Beyond everything else she’s been through – writing was always more than her meal ticket. Yeah, she’s beyond the NY Star. Like most of us in our 40’s and early 50’s…she’s got some experience behind her which makes her more credible as a writing “commodity”. But the podcast she’s on – dear God – isn’t her at all. It’s not the Carrie we all know and love. Granted, she’s progressed beyond the NY Star.  So why hasn’t Vogue, Cosmo “what-have-you” magazine decided to resurrect Sex and the City column? But this time Carrie is the editor.  Carrie now needs a staff of 30/40-somethings that will come to her and pitch their actual love life ideas to her to vie for the columnist.  She chooses a young woman that reminds her of a friend, aptly named “Sam”.  And BOOM! You’re now back to having Sex AND the City. You’re welcome.   

Yes, our 40’s AND 50’s are tough.  We face things our 30-something selves would run screaming into the night over.  Cancer scares, being laid off, Botox, mammogram screenings, parents passing away, more aches and pains, divorce, menopause…my god even listing it makes me cringe!! But there’s a silver lining to our 40’s and 50’s people!  And AJLT LOST our silver lining!!!  Because right now, there’s a bunch of 20 and 30-somethings going, “WTF this is what I have to look forward to??” and then they contemplate ways to hurl themselves in front of the A train before they turn 40.

I’m 49.  I’m divorced with 2 adult”ish” kids.  My ex just died.  My daughter is going away to college. My neighbor is sleeping with her CFO boss.  My BFF is experiencing peri menopause so badly that she writes down ways she’s liked to kill her boss on scratch paper on her lunch hour.  Yes, we pee when we sneeze or laugh.  Yes, things are different.  A night on the town used to mean a bottle of champagne with girlfriends and some new guy you just met in line at the club. Now you’re asleep by 10 and something “new” is a Netflix show you can binge after work. Not everything about aging is grand, but I shouldn’t feel like I need a prozac before watching the show.  

Yes, we’re older, but gray hair is such a small part of women aging – and they’ve MADE it the focus. THIS is all they can talk about?  Gray hair, wrinkles and bad hips?  And of course there’s the world’s most awkward storyline of Miranda’s “surprise” sexuality and the termination of her marriage to Steve.  AJLT is that mom that shows up the first day of High School wearing her daughter’s jeans and a tube top.  Honey, that dog just wont hunt.  And it wont work because, okay, yes we’re older and the thought of wearing a tube top at our age is terrifying and laughable at the same moment.  But really, it wont work because we’ve CHANGED.  Only AJLT didn’t change with us.  

Although we didn’t expect to see Carrie running around in her iconic nude dress and a tutu in Manolo Blaniks…CARRIE – OUR carrie – didn’t RSVP to this party.  Carrie delighted in being single, in having no children.  We, as a generation have an entire class of women who made the same choice!  To have their career be their spouse!  Where is Carrie when that class of women needs to be heard?  So her husband dies and now she sits night after night in her apartment alone yelling’ at the “kids” downstairs?  Uh…no.   Even if her days of club hopping are over, Carrie should be writing through her grief, am I right? (Or trying to track down Aiden on Facebook…just sayin’!)

And dont even get me started on Charlotte.  None of these people are going to challenge a young child who wants to change her name to Rock?  And a rich UES couple to boot?  Ugh, yes they would!  Yes, it’s not politically correct; neither was the original show.  The only glimpse of fire I saw was when Harry questioned it as they left the teacher’s meeting – feeling as though he’s been told how to parent.  ANY parent in his situation would fight against that.  I’m not saying it’s RIGHT, I’m saying it’s HUMAN. And that’s what this show is missing.

I was having dinner with 4 of my girlfriends last night, and we were talking about AJLT over (several) martinis and Cosmos. We agreed that the show is so OVER compensating to try and be politically correct, its’ rammed down the throats of the viewers.  Honey, the viewers are LIVING it; this half-life of masks, vaccinations and social distancing.  They don’t want to RE-live it every Thursday night. There WE were, five women in our 40’s (two of us turning 50 this year)- – married, single, divorced; all in different stages of parenting and careers. And the thing that bound us – besides the vodka – was female friendship. CONNECTION. Sitting there, laughing over how husbands have gotten more needy just as we’ve begun to hit our stride…THERE’S your storyline. How children get to college and suddenly, you’re facing life…YOUR life coming back into focus after raising them. There’s your 40’s and 50’s. We didn’t bitch about our hips, knees and hair! Because our lives have evolved into so much MORE than that.

‘And Just Like That’, we wondered if maybe we should stay in the past, where there was Sex AND the City. We felt like we knew these women; their hard choices, their loves and their losses. As we gave each other hugs and blew kisses goodnight, I couldn’t help but wonder…Does aging have to be all work and no games? Does it all turn into bed pans and bad hips?

When did aging become the new punch line?

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