Friday, September 22, 2023
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As the Only Single Person in My Friend Group, Seema Patel Has Become My New Heroine

I’ve been watching And Just Like That for several reasons, one of which is the sheer entertainment it provides for the group chat. But more earnestly, I have grown up with the characters of Sex and the City and feel I owe them a kind of psychic debt. So, I watch AJLT, even if I don’t expect it to move me in the way SATC so often—sometimes inexplicably—did.

Episode 8 found Carrie and Aidan loved up once more a few weeks after reconnecting. Carrie is keen to introduce him to her new friends and reconnect him with her old ones over dinner. As tradition has it, Charlotte “I love love” York Goldenblatt is puppyish with excitement and Miranda is supportive but cautious. Seema—new to this side of Carrie—is impassive. Later, we see Carrie’s phone—Seema has left her on read about joining the planned group reunion dinner with Aidan. And Just Like That has not been an especially subtle show so far, and I felt defensive. I was concerned that Seema—perpetually single (although she has a new love interest in Episode 9)—would end up as a caricature of a jealous best friend: brittle and cynical about love.

Later, Carrie confronts Seema after she attempts to avoid her at the hair salon, and the two women have it out. In the previous episode, the friends had committed to spending a summer together in the Hamptons (this was a storyline I loved, because it let me indulge in the fantasy that I, too, might have a friend I could one day “summer with”), but since being reunited with Aidan, this plan—a commitment financial, domestic, and social—had fallen out of Carrie’s head altogether.

“He won’t be there every week,” she assures Seema. “You’ll love him!” It hadn’t occurred to Carrie that the introduction of a third would change the whole prospect for her friend. A fabulous single girls’ summer in the Hamptons would become weeks of her relationship status being magnified by her proximity to a happy couple.

Carrie admonishes Seema for pretending not to see her in the salon. But Carrie is guilty of not seeing Seema: who she is and how things might feel for her, as the one being left behind. “She’s jealous,” some viewers might have thought. “She should get over it.” A reality the character was aware of. As she tells Carrie: “There’s no way to say this without seeming petty or pathetic.” Because, while Seema was happy for her friend, she recognized there’s complexity within that happiness. She calmly explains to Carrie that while she could go along with a Hamptons summer for three, she knows it will ultimately make her feel terrible. She’s putting herself first—just as Carrie did.



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