Death By Peloton: How 'Sex and the City's' Reboot Creates a Big Issue For The Brand

The Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That... ended its first episode by killing off John Preston, aka Mr. Big (played by Chris Noth)—and many fans of the original HBO series took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the plot twist – and blame a certain company for what they saw as their role in his death.

Throughout the episode, Big talks to Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) about the big night in he has planned. While she goes to Charlotte's (Kristin Davis) daughter's piano recital, Big is going to smoke his "weekly cigar" and do a 45-minute class on his Peloton bike. After the class is over, he collapses. Moments after Carrie returns, he is dead.

Though we know that Big lived a fairly unhealthy life of cigars and steaks, and has previously had to have heart surgery, the implication of the scene seems to be that it was the Peloton bike that was the last straw this time.

Peloton attempted some damage control and released a statement that blamed Big's heart attack on his generally unhealthy lifestyle and not his use of the product.

Fans on Twitter, meanwhile, were making jokes about Peloton's role in Big's death—and generally sharing their (strong) opinions on the scene.

How Peloton reacted to Mr. Big's death

In a quick piece or crisis management, the exercise company denied the show's suggestion that it was the Peloton workout that killed Big.

In a statement, preventative cardiologist and member of Peloton's health and wellness advisory council, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, said: "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. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event."

Already, however, the scene seems to have had a negative effect on the brand. By the end of trading on Thursday, December 9 (when the episode came to HBO Max), Peloton stock had dropped 11 per cent. This may be a coincidence (the stock had a much bigger drop in November that had nothing to do with And Just Like That...), but it has certainly not been good for the company's image to be directly linked to the death of a beloved TV character.

Though Peloton tried to disassociate Big's death from his exercise regime, fans were not persuaded. Discussing his death on Twitter, fans were calling it "death by Peloton Bike," saying the episode was "not a great advert for Peloton" and that "Peloton killed Mr Big."

Other Twitter users called the scene "a publicity nightmare" and said it was "perhaps the worst product placement ever." Per the company, it was not actually product placement, as "HBO procured the Peloton Bike on their own" (per spokesperson Denise Kelly speaking to Buzzfeed News). The company did, however, approve the use of "Allegra," who is a real Peloton instructor called Jess King.

Fans call And Just Like That "disrespectful" for killing off Big

More generally, fans were not not pleased that the show began by ending its most enduring couple.

One fan summed up much of the outrage by writing: "Are you telling me after ALL these years, the only thing the writers could think of was to kill off Mr. Big in the first episode after a Peloton workout?! This is the MOST disrespectful s***..."

Another SATC fan tweeted: "YOU ARE TELLING ME THAT WE WAITED 17 YEARS FOR YOU TO DO THAT TO MR.BIG IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES!?!?!?!?"

Other reactions include:

Many fans were hung up on the idea that Carrie should have called an ambulance, despite the fact that Big died mere seconds after she came back to the apartment.

One And Just Like That... viewer, for example, tweeted: "WTF was that completely avoidable death? Mr Big had 10 times the time to call 911, and when Carrie arrives, she cuddles him instead of calling 911? You could have done MUCH BETTER..."

Another said: "I can't help but wonder.... Why the f*** didn't she call 911 for an ambulance?!"

And Just Like That airs Thursdays on HBO Max. The first two episodes are streaming now.

big death and just like that
Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker in "And Just Like That." Episode 1 of the HBO show ended with Noth's character John Preston, aka Mr. Big, dying of a heart attack HBO Max