‘And Just Like That’: Michael Patrick King Knows When the Audience Turned on Che Diaz

‘And Just Like That’: Michael Patrick King Knows When the Audience Turned on Che Diaz

Michael Patrick King knows what you’re saying about And Just Like That. The executive producer, writer, and developer of And Just Like That dropped by Still Watching for a special bonus episode of the podcast where he unpacked the season two finale “The Last Supper Part Two: Entree”

King revealed that he was basking in the “post-finale glow” especially considering the news that And Just Like That would be renewed for a third season and currently reigns as Max’s number one original program. “It all feels very exciting because it’s unbelievable that we have a 25 year brand,” he continued. “Sex in the City collabing with And Just Like That—there’s this new energy around it and it’s alive. It’s very something to talk about. When you’re doing something, you want people to discuss it. You want it to have people loving it and people having problems with it. but it’s a dialogue, which I haven’t seen in a while.” 

Regarding Sex and the City, King, who was a writer, director, and executive producer on the original series, shared his thought process on how to successfully bring Samantha Jones back for Kim Cattrall‘s highly anticipated cameo in the finale. “Samantha’s a potent perfume,” said King. “You just need a little of it, and it fills the space. And Kim is very strong as Samantha.” 

King also didn’t shy away from the discourse surrounding Che Diaz, going so far as to pinpoint the moment when he felt the audience turned on them. “I think it was all fine until Che fingered Miranda in the kitchen, while Carrie was peeing in the Snapple bottle,” said King, referring to the infamous incident that occurred in season one. “I think that freaked the audience out so much that they went into some sort of seatbelt mode with the first season. Like, what’s gonna happen next if that happened? ”

Most surprisingly of all, King revealed that he’s a fan of the podcast. “I’ve been listening to Still Watching,” King revealed. “I thought it was so generous of Vanity Fair to spend so much time on our show and that was kind of, and you guys were all very smart and bitchy.” 

Listen to Michael Patrick King’s ’s full Still Watching interview below, and find a partial transcript of King’s interview as well.

Vanity Fair: Congrats on the season three renewal! How does it feel?

Michael Patrick King: It all feels very exciting because it’s unbelievable that we have a 25 year brand. Sex in the City collabing with And Just Like That. There’s this new energy around it and it’s alive. That’s what I think is most exciting about it is that it’s very alive. It’s very something to talk about. When you’re doing something, you want people to discuss it. You want it to have people loving it and people having problems with it. but it’s a dialogue, which I haven’t seen in a while. It’s very exciting.

 I feel like every Thursday my Twitter feed was just completely filled with And Just Like That comments, jokes, and memes. It really sort of was the water cooler show of the summer in a way that we don’t really see that much in the streaming age anymore.

When we did Sex in the City, there were actually water coolers. Something came on on a Sunday and people talked about it at the water cooler till the next week. And when the streaming boom happened and it became 5,000 shows and people were eating it like junk food and onto the next, it was hard for writers because you want people to have a moment to think about what they experienced.

So, the fact that there was a conversation in the current day about something that we fictionally created that people have major feelings about. It’s fiction and people are really owning their characters and where they want them to be. Look, the worst thing that can happen is disengagement. That’s the worst thing that can happen in pop culture.

I feel people are very engaged. We were very engaged. It was a really engaging season,

I have to say. I’ll give you a little shout out. You guys were very prescient. I would listen and think, ‘Well wait till next week.’ You would sort of identify your problem the week before I wanted to discuss it. So as far as I’m concerned, there was a bio rhythm that was happening between what we were trying to do from episode one to eleven. Taking that audience on a rollercoaster of satisfaction, dissatisfaction. I want it now. I don’t wanna wait another minute. It’s a very demanding populace now.

Thank you for the shout out. I do wanna talk about the season finale. We were sort of unsure whether or not this was going to be the end of And Just Like That. It felt like things were wrapped up in a way that if we were saying goodbye to Carrie and Miranda and Charlotte and everyone, it would’ve been okay. Was that like a line that you were trying to walk?

Let me start by saying at the beginning of season two, I didn’t know if there was gonna be a season three. What I always try to do, if you’re lucky enough to do a series—and I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple—but with Sex in the City and And Just Like That in particular, I ended every season as though it was the end of a movement of some storytelling. I always wanted to have some sort of a final moment.

So one of the first things I started with was Seema and Carrie on the beach. I knew that that was the end, and I knew they were looking out at the horizon, and I just knew that that’s where I was ending. And then you start to backtrack everything. But no, we didn’t know that it was the end or the beginning of the next season.

I wanted the audience to feel satisfied with some, even some. Confused feelings were satisfying. What Carrie and Aiden’s deal actually is creates a conversation that either way you feel, “Okay, great.’ And if you’re somebody who wants Carrie to be alone, then you’re going, ‘Ok, she’ll be alone.’ And if you’re somebody who wants her to be with Aiden, you can go, ‘She’ll be with Aidan.’ It was a kind of a happy, unhappy ending as far as I was concerned.

What do you think happened? Is she alone or is she with Aidan?

I have to say that I don’t think in terms of future that much until it’s actually time to roll it all out. ‘Cause I think a season is like you get in a car and you know where you’re going and there’s a lot of side trips on the way. But what I did write in that last scene, she says, ‘I might get some time off from good behavior.’ And basically what that shows me is that Carrie is already chipping away at the deal. That she may or may not have made in her mind. She’s already not believing or believing it. So that’s the only thing when she says, ‘I may get some time off from good behavior,’ it’s the only place I feel where there’s a little air that comes in that you go, “oh, maybe”, or “maybe not.” But that’s Carrie. There’s another character involved, so I don’t know what he’s thinking.

Back to the season finale, that 74 seconds of Samantha Jones was also satisfying.

Good.

Obviously, we’d love to see more of her. I think a lot of people would. Can you talk to me about how once you got Kim Catrall back in the fold for this scene, what you thought was the best way use her? It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought maybe she’d waltz in through the door and sit down at the last supper.

Well, first of all, not getting what you were expecting is great. I didn’t want you to know about it at all. I wanted all of a sudden for Carrie to look at her phone, and you’re watching and you see the word Samantha, and you’re like, ‘Wait? Are they not? They’re not really.’ So that’s why it’s at the top of the show, because I never meant it to be the final button. And as you said, it’s very brief. But Samantha’s a potent perfume. You just need a little of it, and it fills the space. And Kim is very strong as Samantha.  It became a phone call because I’ve always thought, in my Sex and the City multiverse that in And Just Like That, that they’re all texting and calling. There’s tons of people I don’t tell other people I see. So I wanted it to be casual and exalted. I wanted it to be like, ‘Oh, there she is! But it’s casual and that she does this heroic friend thing of flying for one night, you know?

Then because of the circumstances we knew, it had to be very limited and had to be a phone call because of time and schedules and and desires. That I just thought, okay, she couldn’t get there ’cause of the fog and she gets to do one thing—which is such a small piece—Annabel Bronstein. And that’s the one that came into my mind. I was like, if you know this show, this is, this is ground zero, Samantha. It’s fabulous. It’s ridiculous. It’s refusing to back down to a lie. So I wanted to touch one moment. And say, remember? She’s still Samantha from Sex and the City, even though she’s on and just like that. And that’s why we fueled in the Sex and the City theme under it. There’s something about Carrie and Samantha. They’re spectacularly together.

Speaking of a couple that might not be spectacular together, we sort of saw the dissolution of Che and Miranda in a real way. This season we really saw different sides of Che. They became fleshed out in some positive and negative ways. so can you talk a little bit about Che’s arc and the ending of Miranda and Che?

I think the trick with season one of And Just Like That was the math equation. You’ve known Miranda 20 years, and you’ve known Naya 20 minutes. You’ve known Carrie 20 years. You’ve known Seema 20 minutes. The volume of investment was so stacked against the new characters just because who are they? Why, why aren’t they talking to the people that I know?

So when you bring in a character like Che, who was by design was supposed to be cocky—people are like, ‘I don’t like Che.’ And I go, ‘You don’t like standups.’ That’s it. Any person who stands on stage and says, ‘I’m the art’ is gonna be off-putting in real life. And, you know, they have to be dynamic. They have to be sexual because that was what we wanted to do with Miranda, was awaken that part of herself by this giant Niagara Falls of being pulled to this darker personality for what she’s used to. I mean, put Che against Steve and it’s like dark versus light, you know?

That’s what was troubling and exciting about the first season. People made a snap judgment about Che based on their cockiness, their arrogance, and I think ,quite frankly, their sexuality. I think it was all fine until Che fingered Miranda in the kitchen, while Carrie was peeing in the Snapple bottle.

That was an iconic moment.

First of all, what I love about it is you’ve never seen that anywhere. That combo plate you’ve never seen anywhere?

Not since either.

As I look at it, I think that freaked the audience out so much that they went into some sort of seatbelt mode with the first season. Like, what’s gonna happen next if that happened? They were terrified. Che was great the first couple of episodes. And then once the finger happened and the marriage split, Che became a villain. I also think what’s interesting about Che is whenever a character is new—not seen before—it’s like ‘What? No.’ 

People reject things they don’t know or understand or haven’t seen.

One of my, my battle cries for this season was et them to see more of Che. Write more sides. So you had a whole evolutionary chart of Che from insecure in LA to cocky again buying an apartment. [laughs]. You guys with the Hudson Yards shame… it really made me laugh. It really made me laugh because I made sure it was Hudson Yards because of what that represented, which is new money, garbage, no soul. 

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