Last spring, we all learned that Sara Ramírez would be joining the cast of And Just Like That… as a series regular. The Mexican-American actor would play Che Diaz, a non-binary, queer stand-up comedian and podcast host. What we didn’t know was that they’d give the iconic series a much-needed edge.
There’s no denying all the wrongs of the hit show Sex and the City, which ran on HBO for six seasons from 1998 to 2004. The white woman glory. The overt racial insensitivities (let’s never forget Carrie’s “ghetto gold”). The pervasive privilege and materialism. The delusional depiction that you can live in the Upper East Side with multiple pairs of Manolo Blahniks as a columnist. I also have thoughts on many of the scenes in the original series that aimed to be sex-positive actually being… cringe. More so when the question begs: Who gets to be sex-positive? For women of color, being sex-positive has historically led to stereotypes, backlash, hypersexualization, desexualization, or lack of opportunities, among many more — especially at the time when the series was airing.
However, even with its problematic legacy, I fell into the traps of its narratives years ago — the storyline that made me more excited to be living in New York City, look forward to my 30s, and fall in love with the idea that friends are soulmates. And as an aspiring journalist, I was even more enthralled with the “fabulousness” my future could hold. It became one of those comfort shows I’d have in my reruns stash – along with The Office– throughout my 20s.
Given my commitment to this guilty pleasure, I tuned into the reboot, but as with any remake of a popular series or film, I didn’t go in with any expectations, given that most fall flat or just feel forced. Although I was disappointed with the main characters now being uptight and much more age-obsessed, something was different with And Just Like That…, and that’s the added cast members, which includes Sara Ramírez. The Grey’s Anatomy and Tony Award-winning star’s unfiltered, refreshingly (and realistically) sex-positive, modern-day character stole the show among the iconic characters that many have come to know and love (or hate). While representing the LGBTQ+, Latine, and weed-smoking communities, their character hosts their own podcast, gets Carrie Bradshaw to say “I’m gonna step my pussy up,” and accepts when they’re wrong with flair and grace. This is all within the first two aired episodes.
Ramírez and their character make you want to tune into whatever is next — to see more of their edginess and talk about sex in a way that not’s so forced, not entangled with boyish drama, and just so much more true-to-life. In a way, they fill the void created by the absence of Samantha Jones. But with Che Diaz, there is no throwing back cosmopolitans, taking off $485 shoes before getting into bed with someone, or putting so much pressure on age. Just uplifting smoke-break elevator talks and casual conversations about public masturbation. Maybe I’m getting too excited too early about this character, but from what I’ve already seen: Che Diaz had made a standout first impression that I’m not alone in observing.
One Twitter user even brought up the need for a spinoff for Che Diaz, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But maybe even a better idea: a sex-positive show that doesn’t have a problematic past and starts and ends with Sarah Ramírez. Now, that has a ring.