Unpopular opinion: I don’t think Samantha should come back to ‘And Just Like That’
As season one of 'And Just Like That' comes to a close, Sarah Jessica Parker speaks out about how'd she'd really feel if Kim Cattrall were to return... and given that the complexities and messiness of adult relationships are not as easy to tie up in real life as they are on-screen, I can understand why she'd be apprehensive.
*This piece contains spoilers for And Just Like That.*
The final episode of And Just Like That aired last night, setting the first season up nicely for a second and even hinting at the possibility of a reunion between Carrie and Samantha.
As fans of the series will know, Kim Cattrall was noticeably absent from the reboot – her character lived on though. Charlotte and Miranda referenced her on a handful of occasions, she sent flowers to Big’s funeral and then there was that infamous diaphragm story Carrie told on the podcast. Last night’s finale concluded with a text exchange between the two with Carrie inviting Samantha to meet her for a cocktail. Samantha surprisingly accepted, responding, “how’s tomorrow night?”… and just like that, all was forgiven?
Perhaps Carrie and Samantha would be able to hug it out, but it’s unlikely that the real-life actresses who play them will. There has been much public discourse about why Cattrall really declined the offer to reprise her role, but it definitely seems that her relationship with SJP is at least partly to blame.
Parker has very much tried to downplay the drama over the years. “These were my sisters,” she said in an interview. “These were people that I grew to love and admire.” Up until recently, she had also kept relatively quiet as to her feelings on Cattrall’s absence from the reboot, however that changed with comments she made in an interview with Variety this week.
Asked whether she would be ok with Cattrall returning “if some miracle were to happen” and the actress decided that she wanted to play Samantha again, SJP replied, “I don’t think I would, because I think there’s just too much public history of feelings on her part that she’s shared. I haven’t participated in or read articles, although people are inclined to let me know.”
Showrunner Michael Patrick King was quite clear on his viewpoint too, admitting that though he adores Samantha, he has “no realistic expectation of Kim Cattrall ever appearing again”. In fact, they didn’t even ask Cattrall to come back. Why? “Because she’s said what she had said.” But it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that Cattrall has no interest in returning. She’s openly said that she wouldn’t do another movie after the box office flop that was SATC 2 and her less-than-rosy relationship with Parker only seems to have solidified her reluctance to be involved.
Much as I’d love for Samantha to return, I also kind of see where SJP is coming from.
Don’t get me wrong, I want Samantha to come back as much as the next person. She was what made the original series so great in my opinion. Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex, but Samantha Jones was usually the one having it. I learned a great deal from her as a young woman watching the show; confidence, sass, the life-changing magic of just not giving a f*ck (amongst other things).
But I think that the moment has passed. As both King and Parker pointed out, Kim Cattrall has made her feelings known. Seeing her return as Samantha would feel disingenuous – the continuous And Just Like That allusions to her character being over in London weren’t even believable.
King previously admitted that changing Willie Garson’s storyline, who played Stanford Blatch on the show, was the “most threadbare writing” he’s ever done because he “didn’t want to even flirty narratively with cute business about where he [Blatch] is”. “I knew the audience would never invest in it, because they knew he was never coming back,” he later added. The same goes for Cattrall. While I understand that the writers want to “respect the legacy” Samantha left behind, entertaining the notion that she might return kind of goes against the reality of things.
“There’s a very distinct line between Samantha and Kim,” Parker claims. “Samantha’s not gone. Samantha’s present, and I think was handled with such respect and elegance. She wasn’t villainised. She was a human being who had feelings about a relationship, so I think we found a way to address it which was necessary and important for people that loved her.”
That might be so, but SJP wouldn’t be comfortable working with Cattrall given all that’s been said and done, which means that their on-screen chemistry would suffer. As with anything, there are highs and lows to female friendship. It’s always been somewhat of an enigma and there are books upon books about the complexities of maintaining a strong bond with a pal. More often than not, losing a friend can be more devastating than the breakdown of a relationship, which is arguably why we have all taken Samantha’s absence so personally.
People move away, fall out and drift away from each other – it’s just an unfortunate part of life as you get older. Not all friendships are made to last and the real-world rumours about Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker have tainted my opinion of what used to be my favourite part of the show. So, perhaps SJP is right; there’s just too much public history for a Samantha return to work.