December 17, 2021 // Editor's Note: After publication, Peleton announced it was pulling the advertisement staring Chris Noth amid sexual assault allegations.
"And Just Like That," the highly anticipated next chapter to "Sex and the City," has become HBO Max's highest series debut to date.
In the premiere episode, Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, leaves Big, played by Chris Noth, alone for the night to work out on his Peloton, the at-home stationary bicycle that became a massive success during the pandemic. After a particularly intense workout with his favorite trainer Allegra (portrayed by real-life Peloton instructor Jess King), Big has a heart attack. Later, Carrie comes home and sees him lying helplessly on the floor of the shower. "And just like that," she narrates, "Big was dead."
Immediately after the episode aired on HBO Max, social media flurried over the shock of the sudden death of one of the show's central characters, resulting in a PR nightmare for Peloton (the stock dropped after the premiere) and a lot of hilarious tweets.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Peloton spokeswoman Denise Kelly expressed surprise that the Peloton bike was used fatally in the show. Kelly said the only information the exercise company got from the show was "that a bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor."
"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," she said.
On December 12, just 3 days after the two-episode premiere of "And Just Like That," Peloton released a holiday-themed advertisement featuring Chris Noth and Jess King entitled, "Unspoiler Alert," which shows the pair sitting on a couch and suggestively deciding if they should "go for another ride" on their Pelotons. Actor Ryan Reynolds, who narrated the video, posted it to his YouTube channel and Twitter.
"And just like that," Reynolds says, "the world was reminded that 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," Reynolds says quickly before the ad fades to the Peloton logo. Daniel Luger, MD, a cardiologist at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, spoke with Vulture about the likelihood of Peloton being the key to Big's demise. "So, if you have a known history of coronary disease," Luger told the outlet, "you can have a heart attack at any point. It's not unrealistic that he would exercise and then have a heart attack. Exercise slightly increases your risk of having a cardiac event, but we encourage all patients with coronary disease to exercise because the risks of having an event are low and the benefits are much higher."
But, ultimately, Luger agrees with Steinbaum. "Exercise itself does not cause an event. What caused him to have an event is that he had poorly controlled cholesterol, poorly controlled blood pressure, he was clearly using tobacco, and he has a history of coronary disease. All of his risk factors for coronary disease should have been aggressively modified in order to prevent an event," he said.
After the release of the now-viral ad, Peloton's stock inched back up by 2.5%. Peloton commented on Reynolds' tweet, saying: "To new beginnings..."
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Cite this: Could a Peloton Bike Really Have Killed Mr Big? Cardiologists Weigh In - Medscape - Dec 15, 2021.