The Watcher - So long, farewell

Bidding Sex and the City" adieu"

Carrie's dumping me. Samantha's dumping me. Miranda and Charlotte are too. The end of "Sex and the City" (HBO, Sundays at 9 p.m.) is coming, but I hoped the ladies would come to their senses. Do another season, renegotiate contracts, just do whatever it is they need to do so we can keep spending Sundays together. Alas, they're ready to say goodbye, and I'm feeling as unwanted as a pair of last season's shoes.

The ladies aren't making it any easier. Their exchanges are still sharply witty, antics are decadently sexy and relationships are deliciously messy. Plus the fall setting gives fashion watchers an extra thrill with layers of cool-weather couture. Superficial but delightful aesthetics aside, the ladies are maturing, which makes them harder to let go.

Events move quickly in this eight-episode mini-season. Carrie and her new lover — excuse me, luvah — Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov) are rapidly developing the most sickeningly romantic relationship written this century. Will his woo wow the romance-skeptic? Is he the One? Sure, fans ask that with all of Carrie's new fellas, but with the season ending in only a few weeks ... is he the One? Or is the other Jimmy Choo going to drop any minute.

Many of the syrupy sweet scenes featuring Carrie and Aleksandr end with a healthy dose of Miranda's romance intolerance. Although she's always been too independent for her own good, even Miranda's single-mom mantra may be softening a bit. Her rekindled romance with her babydaddy Steve is cute the way old couples are cute. She may not need him, but she's finally accepted that she wants him in her life.

After a pathetic encounter with Richard, Samantha seems to be learning to appreciate the things she already has, like young boyfriend Smith. Although Samantha's sexcapades always make interesting water-cooler talk, she's exposing her softer, gentler side, which is making her much more sympathetic — not to mention more human.

Through the years, even pristine Charlotte has loosened up. She started as a super-WASP caricature concerned with attaining picture-perfection. But then she married Harry. Bald-on-top, hair-on-his-back Harry. Unpolished Harry. Harry, who, especially in the upcoming episode, will help Charlotte realize that love is messy. Very messy. But it's still love.

All of a sudden, all the relationships are so blissful. Everyone's in love. Can it possibly last? Have we become so used to the ladies mucking up relationships that ending on happy notes will ruin it?

The relationships with men, although entertaining, weren't the most riveting part of the show. It will be interesting to see if Carrie and Aleksandr last or if Mr. Big will make one more appearance, but the more intriguing aspects of the past six seasons has been watching the dynamics of the female friendships. Watching Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte interact with each other is like hanging out with our girlfriends. We giggle over bikini waxes, chemical peels and Botox. We swoon over new purses and sexy shoes. We console each other over bad trends we unfortunately embraced. We gossip about sex and vibrators. We do things to piss each other off. We bitch. We fight. But in the end, we'll be there for each other no matter what.