“If I may get a little graphic, the minute the fingering in the kitchen happens, people didn’t know what was coming next,” says Michael Patrick King.
Indeed! King — the longtime “Sex and the City” executive producer, who runs “And Just Like That” for HBO Max — thinks the show’s fifth episode was a turning point for viewers on the matter of Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez), who became a divisive presence among the show’s fandom. During that episode, titled “Tragically Hip,” Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) gets hip surgery, and has to rely on her friends to take care of her during her recovery. As Carrie naps in her apartment while being overseen by Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Che stops by — and after doing shots, a smitten Miranda and Che spontaneously have sex in the kitchen. Carrie, meanwhile, wakes up and needs Miranda’s help to go to the bathroom, but because Miranda is otherwise occupied, she ends up essentially pissing the bed.
King believes that scene was too much for certain fans. “That was Episode 5, and I think they spent the next five episodes some level of terrorized,” he says.
“Combo plate with Carrie peeing in the bed!” King continues in a shout. “I think when you do something unknown or for the first time, people look at it like, ‘I don’t know what this is, and I’m uncomfortable.’”
Ramírez was also shocked when they read that scene: “My jaw was on the floor. I was terrified for how the audience was going to handle that. I really felt for Carrie, and I was really excited for Miranda.”
During an interview for Variety’s Power of Pride cover story, Ramírez says they worked closely with the show’s intimacy coordinator to try to get the scene right — especially knowing the importance of what the intense sexual encounter would mean for the two characters going forward. And because Miranda has been drinking too much in general, and is drunk during the scene, and because Che is high, those factors added more layers of nuance.
“It was important for me that Che gets consent from Miranda for what Che is doing,” Ramírez says. “Just to allow for these two people to both equally participate in what’s happening, instead of one person just leading the entire thing. I wanted both characters to be responsible for what they were doing, even if it was under some kind of inebriation context. It was still important that they each take responsibility for why they’re there.”
And since Che is a player — and they had just stopped by Carrie’s apartment for a minute, and is in a rush — Ramírez also wanted to portray that their character is being unexpectedly swept away.
“How do I put this?” Ramírez asks rhetorically. “I wanted to allow for Che to be completely wrapped up in the moment — so much so that they lose track of time, and that they are kind of surprised by that. Because we’re building a relationship.”
Nixon says it was easy for the two of them to find their chemistry together, and their groove. “You don’t find that many people that are that gorgeous, and that diversely talented,” Nixon says. “Usually the more beautiful people just kind of coast, you know?”
Their acting styles, however, are very different, Nixon says: “Sara is a processor; I’m not. I’m like, ‘Let’s go.’”
“With the sex scene that we had, Sara spent a lot of time talking to the intimacy coach,” Nixon continues. “I did not! I was like, ‘I appreciate that you’re here. If I have a question, I’ll ask you. I don’t want to sit here and talk about my levels of comfort or whatever. My level of comfort is complete.’”
She laughs as she remembers. “Like, I have nothing but comfort!”
Nixon is looking forward to seeing what happens with Miranda and Che in the second season of “And Just Like That,” which King says will begin three weeks after the events of the finale. We’ll see Che and Miranda in Los Angeles, where Che is working on a pilot. King says one note he agreed with from viewers about Season 1 was the unresolved question of what happened in Cleveland after Miranda told Steve (David Eigenberg) that she was divorcing him, and decided to surprise Che at their comedy concert in Cleveland.
“We set up a thing, and then production happens every now and then, and you go, ‘Well, we can’t really do Cleveland, even though we did have an idea,’” King says. “So I do understand the idea of giving people what they’re expecting to see, which is Miranda Hobbes with red hair, going out with a narcissistic stand-up comic in Los Angeles.”
The missing Cleveland scene confused Nixon, too, but as she points out, “It seemed to have gone well!”
She expects Miranda in Los Angeles to be a “full-on groupie” of Che now, having sacrificed a prestigious internship in order to go there to be with them for the summer.
“And she knows what the requirements of a groupie are,” Nixon says. “Which are: you’ve got to look hot for your person who is the celebrity. So I’m looking forward to Miranda’s I’m-with-the-band L.A. look.”