I think it’s safe to say that most die-hard Sex and the City fans were either Team Mr Big or Team Aidan, when it came to who Carrie Bradshaw should end up with.
Of course, in the original series, Carrie – played by Sarah Jessica Parker – ended up with Mr Big – played by Chris Noth – and we finally learnt his real name: John.
Then in the Sex and the City film, Carrie and John (after a huge breakup that was honestly, in my opinion, caused by Charlotte’s daughter Lily) finally tied the knot and pretty much lived happily ever after.
But the reboot series And Just Like That shocked fans everywhere by killing off Mr Big in the first episode (I won’t get into it here, but I also think Lily was responsible for Big’s death; she’s clearly Team Aidan).
The season then followed Carrie in her journey of grief, right up until the final episode, when she scattered Big’s ashes into the Seine in Paris… and then got hot and heavy with an incredibly good-looking colleague.
This ending made it look like the second season of And Just Like That would emanate the original spirit that the first few seasons of Sex and the City had: Carrie and her girlfriends running wild around New York City, in fabulous shoes of course, enjoying the gloriousness of being single.
But no. In Season 2 of And Just Like That, Aidan Shaw returns.
And boy, oh boy, is the show pushing the narrative that Carrie should’ve ended up with Aidan, not Mr Big, all those years ago.
In Episode 8, entitled A Hundred Years Ago, Che Diaz asks Carrie and Aidan why they didn’t work out the first time. “Because I made a mistake,” Carrie replies, clearly referencing how she cheated on Aidan with Big in Season 3 of the original Sex and the City.
Later in the same episode, Carrie asks Miranda, “Was Big a big mistake?” An understandably stunned Miranda responds, “I don’t know what to say.”
I won’t get into whether or not I think Big was a mistake. All I’ll say is that if Big was a mistake, it’s a moot point because Carrie spent most of her adult life with him and you can’t just erase the past.
Plus, if Big was a mistake, that doesn’t magically make Aidan perfect.
Aidan from the get-go was clearly not right for Carrie (and before you assume I’m Team Big, I’m not. I’m Team Carrie Should Have Stayed Single).
When they first met, Aidan said he couldn’t date a smoker, something that was an integral part of Carrie’s character at that point in time. Essentially, Aidan instantly wanted to change her.
He also pushed her to meet his parents early in their relationship, when she wasn’t ready. I genuinely think Carrie cheated on Aidan because, while he was a ‘nice guy’, she subconsciously knew he wasn’t right for her and needed an excuse to break up with him.
Of course, that subconsciousness didn’t stop Carrie from getting back together with Aidan in Season 4 of Sex and the City.
But he still clearly wasn’t right for her; he constantly wanted to stay in and eat fried chicken, while she wanted to paint the town red.
And sure, there’s nothing wrong with being a homebody but in my experience, couples work best when they’re both homebodies or both socialites, and I’m sorry, but Carrie worked with Big because they both loved getting dressed up and heading out to grab a cocktail.
A great example of why Carrie worked better with Big than Aidan is the episode Sex and the Country.
Carrie, despite her best efforts, just can’t enjoy Aidan’s country house. She attempts to bake a pie, she flails in the mud, she even ropes Samantha to come and join her and Aidan in the country, but it’s all to no avail.
The only time Carrie seems genuinely happy in that episode is when she’s digging into a steak at a fancy restaurant in Manhattan with, you guessed it, Mr Big.
And let’s not forget, the instigator of Carrie and Aidan’s breakup the second time round was Aidan, not Carrie. It’s important to note that Carrie didn’t want to break up, she just didn’t want to get married right away.
Which I think is totally fair. Carrie was clearly willing to go beyond her comfort zone for Aidan; she agreed to get engaged and live together, both firsts for her.
But when she set one boundary – she wanted to wait a while before they tied the knot – he had a hissy fit and dumped her.
And to be honest, it’s pretty clear he only wants Carrie to marry him so that he feels like he owns her and Mr Big doesn’t. Don’t get me started on how misogynistic that is; you can’t own people, Aidan.
Plus, look at Carrie and Big. They were together for four years before the topic of marriage was broached. Carrie clearly just needed her relationship to be stable for a significant period of time before she was ready to take the plunge.
I’m pretty sure that if in Season 4, Aidan had said, “Okay Carrie, take as much time as you need,” when she admitted that she didn’t want to wed right away, they would’ve eventually gotten married.
I digress. Now that Aidan is back in And Just Like That, the show is seemingly giving them this fairytale ending, despite the fact that Aidan is still a childish, stubborn man who is intent on making Carrie change things about herself.
A huge plot point in AJLT Season 2 is that Aidan refuses to go to Carrie’s apartment because it’s where they lived together before he called off their engagement. In Episode 9, called There Goes The Neighbourhood, Che is the first character to finally speak some sense regarding this issue. “Okay, what the hell happened in here that was so bad he’d rather wait at a bar then even come upstairs?” they ask Carrie.
But Carrie brushes it off and replies, “A lot of stuff happened in here; he just got really hurt.” And it’s for this reason that Carrie is going to buy a new apartment for her and Aidan to live in (ah, to be rich).
But what is the “stuff” that happened there? Because as I recall, Aidan and Carrie never actually broke up in that apartment. The first time was outside the church where Charlotte married Trey and the second time was in front of some Upper West Side fountains.
So what bad memories does Aidan have of the apartment? I guess I’ll never know.
What I do know is that Aidan and Carrie just don’t work, as far as I’m concerned.
I truly believe the love of Carrie’s life is either shoes or the city of New York itself (or both) and the sooner the And Just Like That writers realise that – even though there are other issues with the show like its performative wokeness, cringey dialogue and complete destruction of Miranda’s character, which I’ll delve into another time – the better it’ll become.