At 9 p.m. every Sunday night, my cell phone was turned off and my life was put on hold. I was ready to enjoy the scandalous wit of my four favorite friends who I have been dying to see all week long. I laugh at their sharp jokes and their lewd mouths.
I feel their heartbreak and was with them in their triumphs. My girls: Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda – yes I’m talking about Sex and the City – hold a special place in my heart.
It sounds ridiculous, but after getting to know each character as they appeared in sharp color on my television screen through the past six seasons, I could not help but love them. What is it with fictional characters on TV shows that makes them take hold of our hearts and then run, leaving us pining for more when they decide to call it quits?
Of course, the stars of your favorite shows could seem like a part of your family or maybe remind you of one of your best buddies. They go through challenges in their lives and situations happen to them, but they somehow survive. You can relate to their disasters and even take some kind of advice from them when there is nowhere else to go.
Not only did Sex end this season, but The Sopranos, Friends and Fraiser will also end their runs. One man thinks that shows such as Sex and Friends represent the new millennium just as Donna Reed and Leave it to Beaver did for the 1950s. A professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, Robert Thompson, thinks these TV shows create an unreality for us to escape to.
“Friends is set not in the real New York but in the New York of some Utopian fantasy, where the rooms in the apartments are huge, everybody leaves their doors unlocked, and people don’t fly planes into buildings,” Thompson said.
In 1983, M*A*S*H* ended an 11-year run with the unbelievable phenomenon of 60 percent of American households tuning in for its two-and-a-half-hour series finale. M*A*S*H* was an exception in that it did not get cancelled as the average show does. Similarly, The Wonder Years and Seinfeld both made viewers tune in and watch their final episodes.
A “series finale” is a relatively new term. Created in the early ’90s by advertisers, the “series finale” creates a resolution, giving the audience a sense of closure. On May 6, 30 million households are expected tune in to say goodbye to Friends, allowing the show to charge $2 million for a 30-second advertising slot.
So as Sex comes to its end, I sadly say goodbye to my Manhattan girls. I will remember the times we’ve had on DVDs of seasons 1-6, and hopefully will find something else to look forward to on Sunday nights.
In the finale, Executive Producer Michael Patrick King sadly noted, “Even though the show is concluding, the girls aren’t concluding. These characters will live on after we say cut.” As I put on my nameplate necklace and dream for my feet to be robed in Milano Blahniks, I know he is right.
Rachel Summers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.