Kathy Knows

Carrie Bradshaw sitting in her new apartment on the phone with Aidan
Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn/Max

Carrie’s Main Character Syndrome Isn’t Going To Work With Aidan's Kids

And just like that... Kathy said Carrie’s not allowed to write a dang word.

There is a reason Carrie Bradshaw is the most fleshed-out character in And Just Like That… She controls the narrative. She is the writer telling the story, and she gets to decide everything. Her friends and lovers have long been paper dolls in a book that she dresses and maneuvers as she has seen fit. Miranda was the ambitious one, Charlotte was the busybody, Samantha (remember her?) was the sex fiend. And Carrie was just everything. Because she decided that she was everything. Except when it comes to her rekindled flame Aidan Shaw and his three stepchildren… and just like that, Carrie’s not allowed to write a damn word.

Spoilers ahead for Season 2, Episode 9 of And Just Like That…

Carrie and Aidan have found each other again after 13 years, a divorce, three kids, and a dead Mr. Big in Season 2 of And Just Like That… It has been a different kind of love story for Carrie, who has long been a fan of spontaneity and romance and the spark. She and Aidan didn’t find each other after 13 years, they looked for each other. And they’re moving forward with eyes wide open. He is a father of three boys who he co-parents with ex-wife Kathy, and Carrie wastes no time in going to meet his sons. She’s even buying an impossibly massive no apartment so she’ll have room for Aidan and his sons when they come to town. Nothing can stop her other than Kathy, who meets Carrie for lunch and pulls those maternal reigns in nice and tight. Especially after she reads Carrie’s most recent book and spies her tendency toward main character syndrome, or “mine your personal life for your work,” as she calls it. And as much as Kathy respects it, she still thinks, um nope.

“I hope you understand when I ask you not to write about my boys,” she tells Carrie over a lunch where no one is eating or drinking. She makes it clear that she doesn’t want to see her sons’ names in print even if Carrie is writing something “funny or flattering,” it’s still a big N-O. Which Carrie actually understands even though this has never really come up with her before. Not with Big, not her friends, not Aidan.

Kids, though. Kids are different. And even Kathy admits it might be tough for Carrie because her boys are “going to give you a lot of material.” Which is true.

I try to respect that but even when I’m writing something that is, as Kathy says, funny or flattering, I am the main character. I get to decide how we are seen.

I can tell you it’s true. I write about my life all the time, my kids more than anyone. And they still love me and try to understand but sometimes it doesn't feel great for any of us. Sometimes they don’t want to be material, they don’t want people knowing too much about them. And I try to respect that but even when I’m writing something that is, as Kathy says, funny or flattering, I am the main character. I get to decide how we are seen. My version of who they are becomes this extra layer of clothing they have to wear that they didn’t choose for themselves. I ask them all the time “Is this fine?” and they say, “Sure fine” because they know. I don’t know how to stop. I think about them even when I don’t want to be thinking about them. I dream about them at every different age they’ve ever been and sometimes at ages they will be in the future. When I sit down to write I think I’ll try something else but the truth is, I don’t know anything else. They’re my only story.

And so even though they don’t always love it and even though I constantly, constantly, constantly worry about them, I write about us. Carefully, but yes I always do. I write about us and them and our shared story, the one we all share custody over. Which is, I think, the point.

Carrie and Aidan in Coney Island in Episode 10Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn/Max

Carrie can’t write about Kathy’s kids because she’s not part of their story. She’s part of her own story, she is her own story. Several seasons of her own story plus one movie that was pretty good and another movie no one ever needs to talk about. Kathy and Aidan and their three boys hold their own story and Carrie is a part of their story together, which she seems to know. She can keep writing about Miranda and Charlotte and Big and maybe even Seema if she is very, very careful. I’m not even sure if Aidan is fair game now. He is a dad, so he now shares custody of his story with his boys.

Whether or not Tate, Homer, or Wyatt Shaw will ever warm to Carrie might be a mystery that doesn’t get solved by And Just Like That… It’s not her decision to make and more than that, it’s not her story to tell. She hasn’t earned their story yet, and to her credit doesn’t seem like she’s going to try. Maybe she can just go ahead and write about Brady and Lily hooking up instead. How did she describe it? “That’s like finding out two of my stuffed animals are having sex.”

And just like that… we’ve got material to unpack.