Mr Big, in happier times. Screenshot: HBO Max

Sex and the City just torpedoed Peloton’s share price

I would like to report a murder.

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Spoiler alert: If you identify as a Sex and the City enthusiast and/or care for the wellbeing of John James ‘Mr Big’ Preston, proceed with caution.

Sex and the City has a long history of ruffling feathers. After debuting in the late ’90s, the show became a cultural phenomenon with its lurid depictions of socialites rutting. Soon thereafter, the names of its main characters – Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha – became conversational shorthand, as they navigated their way through both sex, and the city. 

Now, I – a total Charlotte – am a writer for a cycling website in the year 2021, so why am I telling you this? Great question and thank you.

It is certainly not because I like Sex and the City* (although I will admit to a morbid fascination). It is because of what happened to Mr Big at the end of the first episode of the new reboot, And Just Like That

Which (again, spoiler alert) is die of a heart attack. Because of riding a bike. 

What’s the backstory?

Mr Big – a girthy-peened financier played by Chris Noth – had an on/off relationship with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) through most of the TV series and subsequent films.

Carrie and Big’s relationship hit its nadir in Sex and the City 2, when Carrie had a dalliance with a former flame in Abu Dhabi, before Big salvaged things with some patriarchal bullshit about a TV in a bedroom and a piece of jewellery or something. 

Now, it might have ended there. SATC:2 was such an overlong, racist piece of garbage that a rumoured Sex and the City 3 film was scrapped – but not before word got out that the third film would hinge around Mr Big dying of a heart attack. 

That plot point was, however, re-appropriated for the new reboot TV series, And Just Like That – which by all accounts is not very good, but at least doesn’t have the gals trying to grapple with Islamic culture.

Brief summary: Mr Big has since become a Peloton indoor bike enthusiast, with a crush on his Peloton instructor Allegra (played by real-life instructor Jess King). Carrie is still writing her self-absorbed riddles and has a new podcast series which would be hell to listen to. The sole likeable character, Samantha, is nowhere to be seen, due to open hostility between actors Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker. All is going well, until Big gives it a bit too much gusto in a Peloton workout and dies.

Here, take a look: 

I trust you enjoyed the 25 seconds of slow panning facial close-ups; the placement of the exercise bike in the bathroom; the way that Carrie is the worst first responder in the history of first responders.

What are the implications?

The implications, dear reader, are in the millions of dollars.

Big’s demise unleashed some troubling ripples for Peloton, the brand of indoor bike depicted – who greenlit the brand’s appearance but had no idea it would be used to murder TV’s most famous romantic lead.

Which then sent the company trending on Twitter, and – as salt in the wound after losing more than 66% of its value over the last year – caused the company’s stock price to plunge by a further 11%. Which is, objectively, very funny.

That highpoint is the day before the episode aired.

Peloton has since attempted to counter its prime-time brand assassination.

Firstly, a company spokesperson – a cardiologist – said that “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 six. 

“These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”

Seamless brand communication.

Mere hours ago, Peloton followed up with a hastily filmed ad that shows Mr Big cosying up to Allegra on a couch in a NYC penthouse in heaven, asking if they should – wink wink – “take another ride”.

Camera pans out to Peloton bikes in the background; share price freefall presumably gets halted. Capping it off, Ryan Reynolds slides in with a faux-medical voiceover: “And just like that the world is reminded regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels. He’s alive.” 

Big is not still alive, and Carrie is now fated to spend the rest of her agonising new show finding love. But cycling is good for you.

On balance, I’ll take it.

* If I appear to be invested in Sex and the City, I should stress that is only because of the very funny podcast, The Worst Idea of All Time, in which two brave New Zealand comedians watch the same movie each week for a year – including seasons on Sex and the City 1, and Sex and the City 2.

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