My family got HBO for me two and a half years ago, because I wanted to watch Sex and the City. Back then, HBO was still considered uncool in New York. Now, of course, things are different. HBO has Sex to thank for that. I have always watched Sex with my parents -- even the dirty parts. Together we have grown to love it. Now, on summer Sundays, I crowd in bed with my family, four or five friends and anyone else who appears in our entry foyer. That is something I will miss.

Every so often a television show comes along that transcends its medium. It becomes more than mere entertainment and, instead, its characters become cohabitants in society, members of the social fabrics of our lives. They leave the square box in which they were conceived and enter our closets, our newspapers and our boardrooms. They become influential members of our cultural milieu.

Ideally, I consider myself a Carrie. Most people, I guess, consider themselves Carries, but I really see her in myself. More realistically, I'm a Carrie-Miranda mix with a bit of Charlotte on the side. If there's any Samantha in me, I'd like to meet her. My life would probably be a lot more exciting if I did. Sex has managed to create characters who are more than stereotypes, and who validate the importance of friendship in our lives.

In "Splat!" when Carrie says that New York is over, I want to cry. I know that Sex's demise does not presuppose a similar end to Manhattan's perfection, but I also know that with the end of Sex comes the end of an era. No longer will the hipness of a locale hinge on its being showcased on Sex. No longer will I get mid-afternoon calls like "Sarah Jessica spotted filming in front of the Starbucks at Astor place." No longer will I wonder when Big will be back.

For those of us in our late teens and early 20s, the end of Sex is more than just the end of a show. People complain that Sex is unrealistic, because nobody has that much time for their friends, but in college we do. When we're 25 we will have jobs, we'll have quit smoking and we'll have too little time for our friends and for getting really involved in TV. This may be the last show that really means something to us.

So cry when Sex ends this Sunday, whatever the end shall be. And cry some more when you watch the alternate endings on DVD, because they released them, and so you have to see them, even though it exposes the artifice of a show whose fictitiousness you do not really want to acknowledge. But value the commercialess 45 minutes of Sex you have left, and value the time you have for your real friends.

Cosmos, anyone?


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