Today, we woke up in a world where the first new episodes of television featuring Carrie Bradshaw and co. in nearly 18 years were available to watch—and in a world where half of our timeline had already, somehow, watched them. HBO Max had posted the first two episodes of And Just Like That... online at 3 a.m. EST with all the ceremony of a break-up Post-It note. Waking up to a Twitter feed ridden with spoilers and discussion felt like a ruder rousing than finding that a cute French architect we spent a whirlwind weekend with had disappeared into the night and left $1,000 on the nightstand (except, well, it didn’t even involve money, sex, or pre-paid all-you-can-eat room service).
Yeah, we know that the streaming-age practice of dropping new episodes in the twilight hours has been well-established. But just because something that has been extensively complained about still exists doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worth accepting. Samantha Jones never had that attitude about men.
But more than feeling sorry for ourselves that we’ve been a bit spoiled and are, already, behind the cultural curve for not having seen the episodes yet, we actually feel a bit sorry for anyone who did feel the need to wake up and start their morning off watching this show.
Sex and the City was never meant to be morning television. Carrie and Miranda are decidedly not Jenna and Hoda. This isn’t Bear in the Big Blue House for adults. No one should feel compelled to watch a show about downing Marlboro Lights and Cosmopolitans while eating Greek yogurt and reading the The Skimm or whatever. Croissants and Fendi Baguettes aren’t meant to mix. There’s probably at least one person in the world who woke up early to binge both episodes, and then headed into work while listening to The Daily. Absurd! Michael Barbaro and Michael Patrick King need to be spaced out by at least 10 hours. It’s not natural, otherwise.
This franchise is meant to be watched toward the end of the day after the world has already worn us down a bit, and a glass or two of white wine has been poured to take the edge off. The viewer needs to be in place where they’re like, “Yeah, fuck men!” or “Maybe I should text him...” Not in a place where they’re gearing up to answer e-mails and log onto Slack.
Look, the original Sex and the City was one of the key series that helped HBO reinvent what television could be. Couldn’t And Just Like That... have helped HBO Max redefine what streaming could be, even in terms of release practices? Why not put the show up at 6 or 7 p.m. EST instead, and give us a fair chance to watch it at night without fear of already having missed out? (Yes, we understand there are different time zones, but if there was any show in the history of television that should cater specifically to New York City viewers it’s this one. We’re all probably paying a few hundred dollars more in rent because of how the show redefined the city.)
HBO Max is absolutely the streamer with the most caché to actually shake up streaming release schedules, especially for its marquee programs. They have the ability to experiment with release timing just because they can. It’d be worth it for the flex alone. Why play by Netflix’s rules? Sure, its already too late for them to fuss with things for this season, but just imagine how annoying the internet is going to be the morning after that Game of Thrones spin-off premieres? (Talk about something else we have no interest in watching before noon. Save the dragons and full-frontal nudity until after work, please.) And if there is a season two of AJLT and they really do lure Samantha back—well, we don’t want to have to experience that at 7:30 a.m.
Until then, we’ll have to cancel the breakfast meeting with Carrie and just tell her we’ll meet for after-work drinks instead. We suggest you do the same. Like martinis, an Oscar de la Renta ballgown, or an invite to Bungalow 8, some things are best saved for after the sun goes down.