'Sex and the City' begins final fling

— If "Sex and the City" puts its fans in the mood for anything these days, it might just be a good cry.

The final episodes of HBO's series about four high-flying New York women start airing 8 p.m. Sunday, and after that it's goodbye to Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.

In six seasons, the pals have run through men like disposable razors while keeping a tight grip on their friendship, provoking debate about how they stack up as symbols of contemporary womanhood.

The series became one of HBO's trademark shows, the kind it can rightly claim isn't duplicated by the broadcast networks.

It's not just the cable channel and devotees who are reluctant to see the end of the comedy-drama based on Candace Bushnell's book. The cast is feeling a bit blue as well.

"It's just really sad," said Cynthia Nixon, who plays lawyer-mom Miranda. "We all have emotional moments and a lot of nostalgic moments on the set nowadays."

As the end of shooting approaches, "we keep having the last coffee shop scene, Stanford's (Willie Garson) last day, all of these last scenes," Nixon said. Shooting was scheduled to end in February.

Kristin Davis, who plays newly married (for the second time) Charlotte, is employing her own avoidance technique.

"I'm trying to create a list of things that will be good about it (ending), so when I feel sad I have that list," she said. "And the list is small, including not having to have my hair dried straight every day."

Both Nixon and Davis said they would have happily continued with the show. But Sarah Jessica Parker, the series' star and an executive producer, has said she believes it's best to quit while it's still beloved.

The cast members are tight-lipped about how the finale will play out, partly because they're not quite sure. Each was only given script pages concerning her character, and multiple endings of the final encounter for the friends were shot.

Plot leaks had occurred and executive producer Michael Patrick King wanted to clamp down, according to Davis: "He started getting really paranoid."

The series' sixth and final season was broken into two parts, with a dozen episodes that aired through fall and the final eight wrapping things up now through February.

When last seen, Miranda had reunited with Steve, her son's father. Charlotte had tied the knot with Harry. Carrie (Parker) was starting a red-hot romance with an artist played by Mikhail Baryshnikov. And Samantha (Kim Cattrall) appeared in danger of being tied down -- emotionally, that is -- by one man, the hunky Smith.

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