Karen Pittman is not the new Samantha in "And just like that"

“Peace in the world”, the actress Karen Pitman said placing a penny under a stone fox. “And my peace.” It was a foggy Sunday just aft...


“Peace in the world”, the actress Karen Pitman said placing a penny under a stone fox. “And my peace.”

It was a foggy Sunday just after New Years and Mrs. Pittman had stopped at Brooklyn Botanical Garden Japanese Hill and Pond Garden to set some intentions for the new year, leaving pennies next to coins and oranges offered by other visitors.

The garden is near his apartment in Prospect Heights. On his return from Los Angeles, where “The Morning Show” on AppleTV+, is filmed, in Brooklyn for HBO Max’s “And Just Like That” she rented it for that exact reason.

Most weekday mornings, after Ms Pittman has seen her two children at school, she slips into the garden to decompress from the stresses of life and work. “Before, I could meditate,” she said. “Now it’s too stressful trying to figure out how to meditate in a pandemic.” So she sits in the garden instead. “It immediately replenishes,” she said.

That Sunday, she had found a new space to refuel. The sanctuary, hidden among the conifers, is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto spirit who blesses the harvest. For Ms Pittman, who declined to give her age, the harvest in recent years has been bountiful.

After major roles on Broadway (“Disgraced”) And off (“Pipeline”), she landed major television roles: as Mia Jordan, an overworked producer on “The Morning Show,” and as Nya Wallace, a Columbia law professor struggling with infertility on “And Just Like That”.

Nya is one of four new characters designed, it seems, to correct the overwhelming whiteness of “Sex and the City,” the predecessor to “And Just Like That.” The series creators had promised that Nya – along with Che (Sara Ramirez), Seema (Sarita Choudhury) and Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker) – would join Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as the main characters.

In the early episodes, Nya’s scenes mostly encouraged Miranda’s journey towards self-realization. But later episodes offered Ms. Pittman more substantial material and even a sex scene of her own. “I don’t feel like I need 10 episodes to tell a great story about my character,” she said. “I’m much more interested in ensemble work.”

Whether the role is big or small, casting directors generally don’t hire Ms. Pittman for frivolous or light-hearted roles. She is almost always chosen as hyper-competent professional women with a messy inner life.

“That’s definitely been my life experience,” she said. As a woman juggling co-parenting with her ex-husband with a successful career, she can relate. “I bring this deeper, resonant emotional life to the characters I play,” she said. “This thing of having everything, like, it doesn’t actually work.”

That morning, however, Mrs. Pittman seemed to be trying. The garden was dressed for winter: bare branches, empty beds, spots of earth. But Ms Pittman had dressed for spring in a lilac Altuzzara coat and spindly gold heels with matching eyeshadow, mixing meditation and glamour. (Sensitively, she moved on to the apartments after posing for a few photos.)

After entering the garden, she walked through the cherry tree esplanade, where she stopped to compliment a toddler on her bright blue boots. She then made her way to the water garden, passing a winterizing facility in the garden bright landscapewhich she had visited with her children on Christmas Eve.

“It was all very celebratory,” she said. “There was mulled wine and hot chocolate. We were in the middle of this wave. And people were trying to stay away from each other. But it was very Christmas.

And just past the kindergarten, she lingered to admire winter berries, which appeared scarlet and orange against the gray sky, and a Norway spruce which seemed to hold out a branch to her. “A tree that comes out and gives you a hug,” she said.

Did she need a hug? Last year was tough, she said. Filming “The Morning Show” in the midst of the pandemic had meant constant testing and frequent shutdowns. (She and a few co-workers had taken to calling it “The Next Morning Show.”)

“There were days where I was like, I’m definitely going to catch this thing today. Certainly,” she said. And the turbulent emotional life of her character Mia, a producer who had a consensual relationship with the disgraced former host played by Steve Carrell, hadn’t helped.

“My character has been through so much,” she said.

A child in a stroller seemed dazzled by Mrs. Pittman. The child stared at her, then offered her a stone which she kindly let the child keep. After the water lilies, magnolias and daffodil hill, all resting for the winter, she stopped at the Shakespeare Garden, which contains all the plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays.

In front of a lemon balm, she recited a line from Cleopatra – “Poison is as sweet as balm, as sweet as air” – which she remembered from her classical training in the theater graduate program from New York University. Shoes aside, she looked every inch the queen.

Ending her walk at the Hill-and-Pond Garden, she admired the koi waving just below the still surface of the pond. Even though she didn’t have any extra money, she made one more New Year’s intention.

“I love the ensemble work, but I need to drive a story,” she said. “Power is being able to tell the story you want to tell. That’s real power. I’m ready.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: Karen Pittman is not the new Samantha in "And just like that"
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