And Just Like That Season 2 Finally Allows Miranda to Embrace Motherhood

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And Just Like That Season 2 Finally Allows Miranda to Embrace Motherhood

Sex and the City and its reboot And Just Like That… have always been weird about parents. 

In an upcoming episode of And Just Like That, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) laments, “I couldn’t even get my mother to pick me up after school.” It’s a throwaway line, but it made me pause and think, “Is this the first time Carrie has ever even mentioned having a parent?”

(It’s not. In the fourth season of the original series, Carrie says her dad left her mom when she was five. So maybe over the course of 94 episodes and two movies, this line was the second time?)

When watching Sex and the City, it always just seemed like Carrie rose from the ashes of New York City a fully formed person without any familial ties at all. No parents. No siblings. No family obligations. She never had to go to a cousin’s wedding, an uncle’s funeral, or a niece’s graduation. It was always odd. I don’t know any adult who doesn’t have some sort of interaction with their immediate and/or extended family. Even if it’s just to complain incessantly, or be in therapy about them. 

Carrie had no family at her wedding—or, almost wedding. She didn’t seem to have a single family member at Big’s funeral. Carrie’s lack of familial ties has always been weird. Especially because the Carrie we know is such a loyal and loving friend. Even if she created a new family for herself in New York City, it was just plain odd that we never heard about any family. At all.

But then Sex and the City’s relationship with parents and parenthood was always a little off. Except for Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), whose mother died in the Season 4 episode “My Motherboard, My Self,” and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) having to deal with her first husband Trey’s overbearing mother Bunny (Frances Sternhagen), family never really came into the picture for the ladies of Sex and the City. Being free from family obligations, and not, for example, having to worry about your aging parents, was the same fantasy as the gorgeous clothes the women wore, the ridiculously expensive shoes they collected, and their hair that was always perfectly coiffed.

But And Just Like That saw a bit of a shift. The women still didn’t have to deal with their extended families too much (it’s notable that it’s the new characters who have parents who lend a disapproving eye), but now in their 50s, many of the women have their own families to deal with. It was one thing to see Charlotte and Miranda as mothers with babies and toddlers in Sex and the City. But when the gang returned for And Just Like That, Miranda and Charlotte had teenagers with their own thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.

So much has been written about Miranda in And Just Like That. The biggest issue to me was always, although she was played by the same actress, she was no longer the same character. It wasn’t that she suddenly found herself attracted to Che (Sara Ramirez), it was that she would so willfully cheat on her husband. It wasn’t that her son Brady (Niall Cunningham) was now a sullen teenager having (very!) loud sex with his girlfriend Luisa (Niall Cunningham) in her house, it was that Miranda didn’t try to do anything about it. No boundaries. No limits. Her son had no respect for his parents. And Miranda just took it all with a “Kids! What are you going to do?” attitude. She seemed to have no real relationship with Brady at all. Yes, there was her alcoholism and her burgeoning discovery of her sexuality, but it was so bizarre to see the Miranda we knew and loved barely seem to care about her son. 

In And Just Like That, Miranda finally went back to her red hair in the first season finale. And so much of what made us love Sex and the City in the first place has started to make its return. Carrie is back to capping each episode with a pithy voice over. The ridiculous dating antics have returned. And finally (finally!) in the third episode of the second season, the Miranda we know seems to be making an appearance. 

For the first two episodes of the season, Miranda is in LA supporting Che as they make their network sitcom pilot, complete with Tony Danza as their father. After several days of Miranda not being able to reach him, Brady calls her from Europe while Miranda is in line to see the filming of Che’s pilot (we will let the fact that Miranda obviously should have had priority seating and not have to wait in line go). Brady is distraught and crying because Louisa has broken up with him. “A car almost hit me, I wish it had,”  he wails to his mother. A fairly frantic Miranda immediately books a red-eye flight home from LA hoping to get to the house before Brady returns. “Do you think I’m overreacting?” she asks Charlotte? “No, no I think this is smart,” Charlotte tells her.

When Miranda worries that she is leaving Che in the midst of filming their TV pilot, Charlotte admonishes, “Do not worry about Che right now. You are doing the right thing. There’s nothing more important.” On brand, Che is somewhat dismissive of Miranda’s concern, citing the fact that Brady is just a kid and this is typical teenage stuff. “Okay, but it’s my kid. The most important thing to me,” Miranda says. It was such an honest and raw moment where Miranda suddenly has her priorities straight, and finally prioritizes her motherhood in a way that has been sorely missing from this franchise. 

As I wrote about last season, Charlotte was truly the only character who genuinely seemed like an older version of herself, but as the show settles into its second season, there are glimmers of hope that And Just Like That is finding its way back to its other characters. I know it’s too much to hope for And Just Like That to suddenly give Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie extended families but seeing Miranda finally (finally!) acting like the mother I always thought she would be is a good start. 

Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer and a member of the Television Critics Association. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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