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Peloton’s response to shocking Sex and the City reboot death is *chef’s kiss*

And Just Like That… is a sequel to HBO’s much-loved TV series Sex and the City, reuniting Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis (but not Kim Cattrall).


HBO

HBO Max‘s Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That… premiered last Thursday with a shocking twist that involves Peloton. The popular exercise equipment brand is in the hot seat after its stationary bike played a starring role so odious it may have affected the company’s stock price. Peloton didn’t just respond, they created a brand new commercial with Ryan Reynolds to negate the damage.

So what happened?

Warning: Major spoilers ahead. 

We join Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and friends (minus Samantha) in a rosy, post-pandemic world, all of them now in loving (but potentially sexless?) marriages. Carrie and Big (Chris Noth) have the kind of relationship usually depicted in bank advertisements: They cook together, they share bottles of wine, and they listen to a different record from Big’s collection every night, in alphabetical order, apparently a vestigial ritual of early lockdown. 

Among the many, many expository details we learn in the premiere is that Big has taken a liking to Peloton (of course he has). His cardiologist has approved his stationary cycling habit — lest we forget her husband’s history of heart problems, Carrie sneaks in a joke about nitroglycerin pills — and he’s about to complete his thousandth Peloton ride. This means he is owed a “shoutout” from favorite instructor Allegra (played by IRL Peloton instructor Jess King).

When Carrie is strong-armed into attending a piano recital for Charlotte’s daughter Lily, Big stays home to complete his ride. During Lily’s big Moonlight Sonata crescendo, another big crescendo plays out onscreen. Mr. Big, né Preston, completes his thousandth and last spin class, towels himself off and collapses in the shower. Carrie returns home to find her husband near-dead from a heart attack. As he takes his final breaths in her arms, she ruins her wedding Manolos in the running water.

“And just like that…” Carrie says in voiceover just before the credits roll, “Big died.”

mr-big

Chris Noth as Mr. Big. 


Warner Media

“Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in season 6,” said Peloton’s cardiologist, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, speaking to E! News.

Steinbaum’s damage control message also urged Peloton users to practice safe cycling: “The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.”

Now, Peloton put together together an ad, complete with a Ryan Reynolds voiceover, making fun of the whole controversy. It actually stars Mr. Big, AKA Chris Noth, himself

The indoor workout brand is no stranger to controversy. Between a product recall after real-life injuries and a child’s death, data vulnerability and a tone-deaf holiday ad, the company’s PR department is well exercised itself. Which is good, because according to Peloton spokesperson Denis Kelly, the brand was not privy to this particular bit of product placement in advance of HBO’s release.

peloton-bike-plus

The Peloton Bike Plus. 


Rick Broida/CNET

“HBO procured the Peloton bike on their own,” Kelly told Buzzfeed News. “Peloton was aware that a bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor.”

All publicity is good publicity, right? When it comes to the Cosmo-swilling crowd, maybe not. Peloton’s stock shares took a sizable tumble Thursday, just as HBO Max began streaming its SATC reboot. Shares were down 11.35% Thursday, closing at $40.70 and continuing to decline to a 52-week low of $37.67 Friday. We couldn’t help but wonder if the stock fluctuations were directly related to the spoiler. It’s possible, but then again, Peloton’s shares have been in decline for a while, now down 73% for the year. 

The first two episodes of And Just Like That… are now available to stream on HBO Max. New episodes of the 10-part reboot will drop every Thursday.

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