*"And Just Like That" Spoilers Ahead: Proceed with Caution.*
Fitness was never at the heart of Sex and the City. Sure, Charlotte was a runner, and the gals dropped into a class here and there (especially if one of them was screwing the instructor), but neither Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda would ever miss Fleet Week for a Soul Cycle class. That's probably one of the major differences between SATC's Y2K New York City and today's—forget about plans if your Fitbit-obsessed bud reserved a seat at the 5 p.m. class. So when, in the first episode of Sex and the City's rebooted mini series, And Just Like That..., Big (er, sorry, JOHN), waxes poetic about his love affair with a Peloton machine, I thought, et tu, Big?
Big is a shitty dude (see: standing Carrie up at the altar). But thinking back on the original series, he wasn't just the other half of Carrie's will-they-won't-they storyline. Big represented New York City (the Big Apple). Carrie the writer was always fascinated by the ever-changing dynamic of New York City and what it meant for the single women living there. Her life's work was about the convergence of these two things—whether it was the invasion of the 20-somethings or losing a rent-controlled apartment. Big, a largely two-dimensional character, was always more of a metaphor than a real man, a glamorous mirage. The closer you got to it, just like New York City, the more apparent its grit and grime. So yeah, Big was never the most considerate lover, but if you think of him as a stand-in for NYC, he had to be both inconveniently charming, like the cobblestone streets of the West Village, and somewhat unknowable—like Manhattan, always, always changing.
But watching the reboot taking place in 2021, there was no grit, no grime. (That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes, which you can hear us gab about in the And Just Like That...A Sex and the City Reboot Podcast). The only connection we have to a New York sans smartphones and influencers, is now, of all things, a Peloton junkie. Not only that, but Big is also an instructor groupie, bowing at the altar of a fitness influencer (shoutout Allegra). Sure, Big got the Peloton as a pandemic fix, but still...Big? The dude who smokes cigars in his kitchen, calls Carrie "kid" and is a cheeseball for vinyl? I'd sooner see him nurse a sourdough starter than take up a digital fitness community.