Thank you, Deb, for having me as part of your blog hop on “TV Done Right.” This is a great follow-up to Caroline’s blog hop on TV endings that sucked. It’s ironic that we writers are doing blog tours on TV, but TV has been experiencing a “golden age” the past few years, and there’s a lot we novel writers can learn from our counterparts in the teleplay game.
Although Deb’s hop is focusing on series in their entirety rather than just on endings, I believe that the ending determines how viewers or readers feel about the show – or book, or movie – as a whole. There are millions of pissed-off “How I Met Your Mother” fans due to the way the series blew its ending. I am one of many pissed-off “True Blood” fans because Sunday night’s series finale ended with Sookie pregnant by some anonymous guy. The converse, of course, is that if a show does it right, the warm-and-fuzzies color the entire series – even if some seasons and some episodes were decidedly weak. My example: Sex and the City.
For the sake of this argument, let’s forget (I’d like to) that there were two movies that followed the end of the series, and that (God forbid) there’s even been talk of a third. Let’s concentrate on the night Big rescued Carrie in Paris, when she looked up from collecting her broken necklace from the floor of that hotel lobby, and saw him walking through the door. I still get chills, thinking about this moment, ten years later.
For a show ostensibly about the power of female friendships and women’s ability to stand on their own (high heeled) feet, it was the ultimate fairy tale moment: The Prince coming to rescue his princess. And it worked so well because these two people had been through more downs than ups during the series run; I, for one, was convinced they would not end up together.
Carrie broke up with Big when he discouraged her from going to Paris with him; he returned with a bland fiancée. (“Your girl is lovely, Webbell.” “I don’t get it.” “And you never will.”) Their first break-up happened when Carrie pressed Big to say that she was “the one,” and his response was, “You could be.” In this finale, on a wind-swept bridge in Paris, Big took Carrie in his arms and told her the words she’d wanted to hear for years: That she was the one. Natasha, Aiden, Post-It Note Guy … all those others were just distractions. Carrie and Big were going to be together after all.
It worked because, like the show itself, it doesn’t happen in real life. In real life the man you spent years loving and hating finally disappears forever, and you marry the guy who waited patiently in the background. In real life writers don’t have $100,000 worth of shoes and live in a Manhattan walk-up. In real life no one can walk down the street in six inch Manolo Blahniks without falling flat on their face. Sex and the City was not real life. It was a fairy tale, and its ending reflected that.
Of course, even though Carrie and Big were the main attraction, I can’t leave out the other characters and their happy endings. Samantha, whose battle with breast cancer had left completely asexual and totally not herself, finding her big O again. Miranda, the cynic of the bunch, accepting everything that being part of a family included, taking care of her mother-in-law as she slid into dementia. And Charlotte, finally getting confirmation that she’d become a mother at last.
Please indulge me as I go on an aside about how much I loved Charlotte and Harry. Poor Charlotte, so desperate to marry she ended up with a guy who was not only wrong for her (Trey), but wrong for any woman. Then hiring Harry as her divorce lawyer because he wasn’t good-looking and she wouldn’t feel the need to impress him. Falling for him anyway. Converting when Harry told her he couldn’t marry a woman who wasn’t Jewish. Becoming completely immersed in Judaism. And then the angry fight with Harry: “I gave up Christ for you!” that breaks them up. Being adopted by the bubbalas at her temple. Attending a singles event at the temple, where even the absolute perfect man can’t shake her funk about Harry. And then when Harry shows up, she apologizes and asks if they can start over. He says no. Then drops to his knees and proposes. Oh, God, what a moment that was!
And the series finale reveals just how perfect these two are for each other: When an adoption falls through, Harry cries and Charlotte is the one who comforts him.
So I won’t get into the many missteps the series had along the way. They were erased from my memory as I watched Carrie swagger down the street, fortified by brunch with the girls, and answer a phone call from “John.”
Tune in tomorrow for Monique McDonell’s choice!