some questions

Some Questions About And Just Like That…’s Che Diaz

Hey, it’s Che Diaz. Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

The words on everybody’s lips in Manhattan right now: Che Diaz. In the latest episode of And Just Like That …, the Sex and the City revival that HBO Max has pulled off by way of necromancy, Miranda Hobbs discovers that there are a bunch of women at a fancy private-school fundraiser who are almost as obsessed with Che Diaz as she is. They chatter about their love for the raunchy non-binary comedian and podcast host, who’s played by Sara Ramirez, and one of them says that she read a piece about Che on Vulture and “got addicted.”

This raises all sorts of questions, like, for instance, what kind of Vulture piece was this? An interview? A profile? A review of Che’s “comedy concert”? Unfortunately, that question is not answered in the mysterious amber-tinted universe of And Just Like That …, and so instead, in this piece on Vulture, we must ask questions of our own about the show’s most mesmerizing and confoundingly written character.

Who is Che Diaz?
Che’s a comedian and host of the podcast X, Y, and Me alongside Carrie Bradshaw (who represents the perspective of cisgender women) and Jackie Nee (who represents the cishet perspective). Che refers to themself as a “queer, non-binary, Mexican Irish diva” and has a button to push during podcast recordings that goes “woke moment!” 

Who is this podcast supposed to be for?
Truly, I do not know. The introduction of Che into the And Just Like That … universe feels like an attempt from the writers to acknowledge the original Sex and the City’s very rigid approach to the gender binary, including moments where the characters dismiss bisexuality and make derogatory jokes about trans people. But the shock jock–slash–sex tales vibe of the podcast doesn’t really translate into something I can imagine listening to myself.

What’s Che’s comedy about?
In the show’s third episode, the main trio of friends goes off to see Che perform a stand-up set that mostly involves anecdotes about them coming out and shocking their Catholic family and preaching to the audience about how “if you’re not happy with you are, step out of that box and change it.” It’s more motivational speaking than comedy, but Carrie and the girls eat it up, especially Miranda, who becomes smitten with Che and also admits to listening X, Y, and Me, which does mean that the podcast has at least one fan. Anyway, Miranda lets Che shotgun a joint into her mouth, but that’s just the beginning.

What is the deal with Che and Miranda?
Well, after that little flirtation, things escalate to the point that, in episode five, Che fingers Miranda while Carrie is confined to her bed after hip surgery, giving her the best orgasm of her life (we’re told Miranda and Steve have pretty much stopped having sex). From there on, Miranda is pretty much simping for Che to the point that she spends months waiting on an unanswered text and fantasizes about getting fingered again in her dreams (which all occur in a strange, brightly lit white space, as if they are both elves in Lord of the Rings).

Are we supposed to like Che?
I guess? The show has all the characters talk about them as a “comedy prophet,” but the comedy on its face is like Nanette sent through Google Translate a few times, and their actions with Miranda imply they freely fuck around with whoever — especially privileged cis women, given the fan attention Che gets at the school fundraiser. That’s all well and good, but as a general rule, maybe don’t fuck around with your co-worker’s married friends?

What is Che getting out of all this?
Here’s the thornier question, because as audience members we pretty much always see Che from either Miranda or Carrie’s perspective, which means that they’re always depicted as sort of an intimidating younger, cool boss or a near fetish object. At one point in the latest episode, Che explains that they get a lot of DMs, further enforcing the idea that the character is some sort of Satyr-like sex god among New Yorkers of a certain age but doing nothing to give us a sense of Che on their own. Are they merely amused by Miranda’s awkwardness? What’s the deal with the rebel posturing while spending all this time with these establishment types?

What’s And Just Like That … getting out of all this?
It’s easy to dismiss Che because the character has been written as this jumble of traits to serve a bunch of plot purposes. But to be fair to the series, it’s easy to see why the writers wanted a character who could come in and mix up the dynamics of Carrie and Miranda’s lives. Che provides some of the reboot’s more embarrassing scenes, the kind that are necessary for the sort of social awkwardness that the original series thrived on. Miranda ignoring her friend’s needs while getting fingered is a situation that demonstrates her fallibility, and it also leads to her defending herself with the line: “It wasn’t an affair, it was a finger!” That is a pretty funny line!

But let’s not give And Just Like That … too much credit. Yes, Che has provided some of the more enthrallingly weird scenes in the show, but all without being given much internal consistency as a person. Take the next step, And Just Like That … writers, and extend the humiliations outward from the trio of returning stars. Let their new friends also embarrass themselves and reveal their weird needs and anxieties in the process. Otherwise, Che’s going to remain this unknowable, non-binary yet two-dimensional question mark.

What about Steve?
He doesn’t even realize this is happening! And he can’t hear! And he gets lost in Brooklyn farmers’ markets! Poor Steve.

When is Che Diaz?
At the beginning of the most recent episode of And Just Like That …, we watch a year’s worth of seasons pass outside Carrie’s window as she writes, but later on, Miranda says that she has been waiting for a text back from Che for three months. The only explanation for this is that Che has the power to exist out of time.

What is a comedy concert?
Miranda refers to Che’s act as this, and I still have no idea.

How much weed has Che Diaz done?
Che Diaz has done a ton of weed.

Some Questions About And Just Like That…’s Che Diaz