And Just Like That ... Peloton Is A Punchline Once Again
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SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for “And Just Like That” … scroll away now or have your wine-fueled viewing party ruined – or better yet. read this unhinged masterpiece about Carrie Bradshaw's favorite past time, cigs inside.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Mr. Big, a man best known for building what may be the best fictional closet in TV history, serving as an unworthy adversary to the hot dude from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and most notably, being a complete and total noncommittal a-hole, leaving Sex and the City protagonist Carrie Bradshaw at the altar … only to change his mind once again.
Yep, earlier this week, And Just Like That … , Sex and the City's HBO Max spin-off, did the unthinkable, forcing Bradshaw to finally raise her standards by the extreme measure of killing off Big in the most dramatic, 2021 way possible – having him suffer a heart attack after completing a 45-minute virtual Peloton bike ride taught by a super hot instructor named Allegra, played by Jess King, one of the company's most popular personalities.
Yet as Big died, it seems he didn't go alone, seemingly taking the already rocky perception of the comically expensive fitness company down with him. In other words, and just like that, Peloton is a meme once again. Following Big's death, the company has issued what may be the most unhinged PR statement next to Ja Rule's infamous “I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray!!!" Fyre Fest tweet, pinning Big's death on … well, Big.
‘"I’m sure ‘SATC’ fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack,” preventative cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum, who also serves as a member of the company’s health and wellness advisory council, told the New York Times. “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. These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death," she continued, adding that “riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”
Despite this carefully crafted response, one Steinbaum reiterated to several publications as the shocking news spread through the SATC fandom like every 30-something's desire to have a naked dress hanging in their closet after that episode, new reports have emerged claiming that although the company knew their product would play a starring role in the highly anticipated reboot, they didn't think it would like, kill anyone.
"HBO procured the Peloton Bike on their own," Peloton spokesperson Denise Kelly told BuzzFeed News, noting that "Peloton was aware that a Bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor." “Due to confidentiality reasons, HBO did not disclose the larger context surrounding the scene to Peloton in advance," she continued.
Despite the old, once Kris Jenner-endorsed adage that no publicity is bad publicity, it seems that the episode – probably like Kim Kardashian's various blackface controversies -- pushes that assertion well beyond its logical limits. A consistent rich-person punchline over the years – after all, who TF is dropping roughly $1,500 on an exercise bike that still makes you buy a subscription? – Peloton has always been kind of a meme of late-stage capitalism, one akin to the $1,500 gold Tiffanys paperclip and NFTs of apes wearing hats that are worth more money than any of us will presumably see in our entire lifetimes.
All memes and bad, kinda sexist ads aside, this year has been particularly rough in an aspect they may actually care about – their finances. The company's stock sits an eyebrow-arching 73% lower than it was at the beginning of 2021, due to several controversies including regulatory drama and a voluntary recall of treadmills in the spring following reports of several injuries and one death, CNBC reported. In the latter half of this week, the company's price fell even further. While it seems this drop may be unrelated to the show, it seems the series probably didn't help, either.
“Although unlikely to impact sales, it does question whether PTON is losing degrees of control over its storytelling, perhaps its greatest achievement to date,” Simeon Siegel, a BMO Capital Markets analyst, explained in a research note, referring to the company by its NASDAQ abbreviation. “Although all PR is supposedly good PR, it’s hard to ignore the changing tide in Peloton’s public perception.”
So folks, all Peloton nonsense aside, here's to Big. He will be missed … by those of us who really, really want nice closets.
Top Image: HBO/Peloton