This post contains spoilers for And Just Like That.
Peloton is a successful enough company—or cult, some would say—that it doesn’t really need the cachet of Sex and the City. Still, executives at the company must have been pretty pleased when HBO’s new revival of the series, And Just Like That, came calling to feature the brand’s expensive bikes in its first episode. Sex and the City did wonders for Magnolia Bakery, Manolo Blahniks, and cosmopolitans; what could go wrong?
A lot, it turns out—I already warned you, but definitely stop reading this instant if you don’t want to hear spoilers about the new show—because in the first episode of And Just Like That, a Peloton class essentially kills someone. And not just anyone: Mr. Big. One minute Carrie Bradshaw’s longtime love is taking a class with his favorite instructor, whom Carrie teases him about having a crush on, and the next minute, he’s having a heart attack. Carrie walks in on him slumped against a wall: death by Peloton.
Needless to say, this will not be Peloton’s Magnolia Bakery moment. A representative from Peloton confirmed to me in an email that the company “coordinated with HBO on the placement of the bike,” but did not pay for product placement. However, they didn’t know the bike was going to used in quite so morbid a manner: “Due to confidentiality reasons, HBO did not disclose the broader context surrounding the scene to Peloton in advance,” the representative said. Meaning after Big had a heart attack, Peloton execs may have felt like they were having cardiac events of their own.
Is this a public relations disaster? Where’s Samantha Jones when you need her? (London, the episode also revealed, to explain Kim Cattrall’s absence from the series.) The company quickly and entertainingly produced a cardiologist to explain that no, your bike will probably not give you a heart attack. I’ll let Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist who sits on Peloton’s Health & Wellness Advisory Council, take it from there:
I’m sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack. 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.
More than 80% of all cardiac-related deaths are preventable through lifestyle, diet and exercise modifications. And while 25% of heart attacks each year are in patients who already had one (like Mr. Big), even then they are very, very treatable. The lesson here is, KNOW YOUR NUMBERS! It’s always important to talk to your doctor, get tested, and have a healthy prevention strategy. The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.
Hear that? Peloton didn’t kill Big. His “extravagant” lifestyle did. To be fair, I believe Peloton that its bikes won’t kill me, but it’s not every day you see a luxury fitness brand blame a fictional character for his choices. I even feel a little bad for Peloton here—not because of the potential negative impressions this will create health-wise, but because sexagenarian Mr. Big was kinda lame, and their bikes are supposed to be cool. That said, did he deserve a better ending than this? Abso-fucking-lutely.