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TV Preview: 'Sex' is ending; time for cuddling

Sunday, February 22, 2004

By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HOLLYWOOD -- We don't know a lot about tonight's 45-minute "Sex and the City" series finale, but we do know this: Chris Noth will be back as Big. But whether Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) ends up with him, the Russian (Mikhail Baryshnikov) or no one -- which would be most true to the show -- is the $64,000 question.

"Sex and the City"

When: 9 tonight on HBO.
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker.

Related article package:

'Sex' and the single woman

At an HBO press conference last month, even Parker was in the dark about the ending.

"Don't tell me, I don't want to know," she said as executive producer Michael Patrick King jokingly threatened to reveal the show's concluding scene to a room full of TV critics.

But he did give a general idea of the feeling he hopes tonight's finale, preceded by a one-hour retrospective at 8 p.m., will convey.

"I'd like people to think the girls -- Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte -- are always in New York," King said. "Just when we [end the series], that doesn't mean that they're gone.

"I know as a writer that every good story needs an ending, but it doesn't need an end as much as completion, as much as you can, in phases of your life."

This much he promised: No red herrings, no cliffhangers that will leave viewers wondering.

"People can do something that we don't have to rectify next week," King said. "It's great, dangerous storytelling, in theory, because you can change things. Lives can change and you can mix it up."

But King said the show won't stray too far from the tried and true.

"Hopefully we're good enough storytellers that there will be some sort of a fireworks feeling to the stories but no radical altering of people's consciousness, so they'll always feel that if they go into a coffee shop, it might be the coffee shop where girls might be."

Cable Channel Changes
Beginning on or after Tuesday, area Comcast cable systems will make the following changes: PCNC moves to Channel 35, TBS moves to Channel 23 and TV Guide moves to Channel 72.

Parker, pictured in the New York Post earlier this month crying on the set after filming a final scene, spoke of how emotional she expected to be. But even last month she maintained it was time for "Sex" to conclude.

"It's becoming very apparent to me how difficult this will be to end, just because of the enormous attachment and affection I have for those who I work for and with," Parker said. "But having said that, I still think it's the right time. ... I'm thrilled that people still feel fondly toward us, and I think perhaps we should leave now."

Not all her co-stars agree.

Kristin Davis, who plays idealistic Charlotte, said it was Parker and King who decided to end the show and not a vote among the four stars.

"I think we'd still be going on if it were," she said last month. "I really feel like we should keep going. It's really hard for me to be ending. I, intellectually, understand, but it's so hard because it's so rare that you get a situation like this and a group of people who really love to work together in this way."

Multiple endings for the series were shot, and Davis said cast members took bets as to which one would prove to be the real ending for the series. Her fondest hope: Happiness for Charlotte, who's been trying to get pregnant with no success.

"I hope there will be a solution for Charlotte that she will be happy with," Davis said.

Though the show probably will be most remembered for its depiction of modern women, including take-charge Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and sexually uninhibited Samantha (Kim Cattrall), it has matured over the years in ways few might have anticipated in the first sometimes shocking season.

"I think it was started as a sitcom and became a comedy," King said. "These are like romantic comedy movies for me. We're on a channel where the characters can be good, bad, light, dark -- they don't have to be one thing. It could be romantic/tragic, comic/romantic. The fact that there was any evolution at all is a great compliment."

He's right. Evolution in a series and amongst its characters is what makes television series memorable. The outrageous sex scenes would have made "Sex and the City" a landmark program regardless, but the show's newfound maturity assures it will be remembered as a program viewers developed a relationship with. It was not just another one-night stand.

Post-Gazette TV editor Rob Owen can be reached at or 412-263-2582. Post questions about TV to under TV Q&A.

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