From nine until 10 last Sunday night, nobody spoke in the Ezra Stiles College common room. And it was not because it was empty, as is usually the case. By the time the lights went down, 40 students had crammed into the small space. They squeezed together onto overstuffed couches, tried to get comfortable on hard-backed chairs, perched precariously on wooden stools and tables. But nobody was paying attention to the discomfort, or to the others in the crowd. All eyes were riveted on the screen.
There, of course, played the final episode of “Sex and the City.” Six seasons after it first shocked and titillated HBO audiences across the globe, the last show aired at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Perhaps this fact seems as though it should affect few people beyond the cast and crew themselves. After all, Sarah Jessica Parker and her three female co-stars are now known worldwide as “Carrie and the gang”. The show’s ending will impact them tremendously. But to everyone else, well, it’s just a show, right?
Just a glance around the Ezra Stiles common room that night– or, indeed, at any of dozens of dorms and common rooms showing the final episode–was proof that, to avid fans, “Sex and the City” is much, much more than “just a show.”
Even before the episode aired, eyes were misting up. And after it ended, the emotion in the room was palpable.
And it’s not that Stilesians are particularly emotional. Annie Galvin ’07 said one girl at Silliflicks was so upset by the end of the show that Galvin thought about getting her medical attention.
“She was hyperventilating,” she said. “I was contemplating calling DUH, because we all thought she was going to die.”
While Galvin comparatively kept her cool, she said she did tear up, as did many of the members of the audience. And afterwards, she said, there were a lot of “hugs and condolences.”
“It was very dramatic and emotional to say goodbye,” Galvin said.
Natalie Krinsky ’04, author of the Carrie Bradshaw-style, Yale Daily News column “Sex and the (Elm) City”, agreed.
“I was really sad. I’ve never been so … attached to a show in the same way,” she said. “It’s the end of an era.”
But why such an attachment?
Some fans commented that despite what others may think, their addiction to the show was not expressly because of Carrie’s wardrobe or Samantha’s sexual exploits — although such additions certainly made it more fun.
Instead, they said, the real reason the show was so compelling was its boldness and honesty, especially in dealing with female relationships.
“It brought the world of women and what they talk about to global attention,” Dayo Olopade ’07 said. “There was a common thread [throughout the episodes] of talking about what you’re not supposed to talk about, doing what you’re not supposed to do — and doing it fabulously.”
Olopade said that as well as emphasizing that discussing sex and life did not have to be taboo, the show was instructive about real-life events. From testicular cancer to abortion, she said, the show dealt with serious issues head-on.
Krinsky also said the show’s themes ran deeper than one might assume.
“I didn’t think it was about sex,” Krinsky said. Ê”It was about the relationships that women have with one another.”
Knowing the show has been splashed on screens across the world, Olopade said she hoped that women felt more encouraged to be honest and open in their relationships. She said that if this was accomplished, the show had “done its job.”
Others said, though, that while the show was entertaining and compelling, they were not affected by it in any substantial way.
“I don’t think that I really take it as a role model for my life,” said Becky Levy ’06.
And when asked whether she thought she had learned anything from the show, Carrie Coughlin ’05 said, “I recognize more [fashion] brands because of it.”
Still, fans said they felt close to the characters and would miss them greatly.
“They really become important to you in a weird way,” Olopade said.
Olopade should know.
For the past four years, she has refused to give up her “old-school” G-3 Macintosh computer. Why? Because Carrie had the same one on the show.
“Sex and the City” is officially over now. But Olopade refuses to let go.
Of her computer, that is.