And Just Like That just solved its Stanford problem. I hated every minute of it.

Ever since the death of Willie Garson, Sex and the City fans have been wondering how And Just Like That will handle the fate of long-running character and Carrie Bradshaw's best friend, Stanford Blatch.

The actor died from pancreatic cancer in September 2021 while filming season one of And Just Like That. 

Garson appeared in a handful of scenes before being written out of the series in episode four: he suddenly left his husband Anthony to manage a TikTok star in Japan. 

I'll say it: this was rather odd, which is saying something for a rebooted series shaped by odd choices

The character was left hanging in the air ever since, but now in a recent And Just Like That episode, Stanford's story has come to a close. 

In a scene between Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Anthony (Mario Cantone), it's revealed that Stanford "had a big, ugly fight with his TikTok client — she fired him," Carrie says.

"He wandered around Kyoto for days crying, he eventually found his way into a temple."

Carrie then tells Anthony that Stanford has decided to stay in Japan indefinitely. 

"He's staying? So what, he's Japanese now?" Anthony shouts.

"Kind of," Carrie replies, before divulging that he has become an, umm... Shinto monk. 

"Get the f**k out of here!" Anthony (quite rightly) replies. 


Carrie then reads a letter Stanford wrote her which reads: "Carrie, for the first time in my life, I felt peace — real peace."

Image: Binge. 

Then in some dialogue clearly directed at the death of Willie — rather than Stanford's fate — Anthony described a monk as "Basically, God's concierge." 

Stanford ends his letter by sending documents to finalise his divorce with Anthony. "The apartment and all of my belongings are now his. I want no attachments. I have let go of all things that no longer serve me," Stanford's letter concludes.  


Hmmm. Okay. 

On one hand, I understand this approach to ending Stanford's story: it's all meaningful and touching tributes to a beloved actor who passed too soon. The references to 'finding peace' and 'letting things go' are no doubt the writers sending words of comfort to Willie's friends, family and fans. 

But on the other hand, this sucks. 

This is not Stanford Blatch. 

This all-knowing person of peace and tranquility is not the same character who once said on Sex and the City, "We all judge. That's our hobby. Some people do arts and crafts. We judge."

He's not the same character who thrives working as a fast-paced talent agent; who has an exciting dating life; who has New York City stamped in his DNA. "How can you not have a shrink? This is Manhattan. Even the shrinks have shrinks. I have three," he once told Carrie. 

While many fans didn't agree with the decision for Stanford and Anthony — two sworn enemies who just happen to both be gay men — to get married in Sex and the City 2, at least Stanford still acted like himself. 

The Stanford in the two films was still a social butterfly, and he was still at his best when he was gossiping with Carrie. 

For what it's worth, prior to Willie's death the series' showrunner had big plans for the character. 


"He was in all 10 episodes. Before I knew that Willie was sick and couldn't complete it, Stanford was going to have a midlife crisis," Michael Patrick King told Variety.

"Anthony and him were probably going to have split... Then we would keep both of them in, and everybody would be relieved that they were divorced because it was not pleasant for anybody," he said. 

"But there was a series of really fun, flirty, hilarious confidante scenes with Carrie that I loved. That old, old, very specific chemistry that Carrie and Stanford have, which is based totally on the uniqueness of Willie and Sarah Jessica's history."

To go from this story arc while Willie Garson was still with us to Stanford becoming a monk — make it make sense! 

The latest episode's scene ends with Carrie lifting her cosmopolitan and giving cheers "To Stannie", as she winks at Anthony before looking up above. 

It's a touching tribute to the actor, but like much of And Just Like That, it doesn't seem to understand or respect the celebrated legacy of its characters. 

Feature image: HBO/Binge. 

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