And Just Like That is killing off the ghost of Mr. Big, too
The show clearly doesn't want to touch what is now such a touchy subject.
Chris Noth is not having the Big return to the lime light of the Sex and the City franchise that he might have thought it was going to be. With the long awaited revival of the mega hit show finally arriving in HBO’s “new chapter” format of And Just Like That, for a moment fans were satiated. There were the girls lunching again, talking about sex, talking about shoes, cheekily ordering food and gossiping — awkwardly minus Samatha, who has moved to London and is bitter at Carrie for firing her as her publicist, but three is better than none. At first it felt like returning home, to an old pop culture house you used to live in. But they say “you can’t go home again” for a reason. Not only do we find our main characters very changed 20 or so years later (naturally), the actor who plays the fabled Mr. Big was accused of sexual assault by three women just after the new show aired — poisoning a well that many were thrilled to get to drink from again. Now, it appears HBO is trying to distance itself from the scandal as much as possible by cutting remaining footage of Chris Noth from the show.
If you haven’t watched yet (I don’t understand how you couldn’t have watched yet, but just in case, spoilers ahead), the now 50-something main characters aren’t the chic, easy going, casual sex-having career girls bopping around the city that they used to be. They’re still in impossibly expensive clothing, but they are now struggling to stay relevant with age in a changing world. It’s felt like a reasonable and necessary update. But then AJLT upped the ante with its Big twist at the end of the premier — the infamous John Preston, man of many emotional abuses and stereotypical man habits, dies of a heart attack after a Peloton ride. It was shocking. The original SATC dealt with hard subjects of course — Miranda’s mother’s death, Charlotte’s miscarriage, Samantha’s cancer, among other things — but they were never a central focus. It seems the show didn’t want to just update its new isereation’s sociopolitical landscape, it wanted to up the emotional drama as well.
With Chris Noth’s star reignited by the reboot though came attention that was triggering to some women — two who came forward alleging that Chris Noth sexually assaulted them in The Hollywood Reporter, and subsequently a third in The Daily Beast. Over the past two weeks, Noth’s career has completely nose-dived, as he was dropped by his representation and fired from his CBS show The Equalizer. More revelations about a pattern of creepy and sexually predatory behavior have started to emerge as well, revelations that Noth will certainly have a difficult time coming back from. HBO isn’t standing up for Noth either. Instead, the women of AJLT released a joint statement on December 20th, saying they “support the women coming forward.” Now, according to TV Line, HBO is cutting remaining scenes of Big in which he would have appeared as a fantasy projection of Carrie’s, as she spreads his ashes on Paris’ Pont des Arts bridge and finally gets the closure she needs.
As TV Line reported, the choice to cut Big’s scenes is being padded by HBO insiders alleging that the finale wasn’t fully decided on yet — making the decision seem a bit less dramatic than having to go back and edit footage that was already locked in. Who knows what the truth is there, but the reality is that Noth is now persona non grata in the SATC universe, as well as in the real world. The allegations against him are intense and hard to read, and if we are to believe survivors, we must not celebrate alleged predators. The cancel culture naysayers will likely decry this move from HBO as just another another blasphemous overreaction. And while Noth is certainly now another cultural casualty of the #MeToo movement’s momentum, it is now awkwardly up to everyone in the court of public opinion to decide how they feel, because we have not come up with a better and more sane way to handle situations like these. Regardless of your position about Noth, I’d argue that Mr. Big’s character has always been shitty, and we need not idolize him anymore for his gaslighting, avoidant attachment style, boomer fuck boy ways. Let Carrie spread his ashes, and let’s move on.