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THE EMMYS | THE PARTING GIFT

At last, Parker gets her Emmy

No one is mocking the clothes as the soul of 'Sex and the City,' five times nominated, wins for the show's last season.

September 20, 2004|Mimi Avins | Times Staff Writer

In a world where single women love their friends like surrogate families and remain hopelessly optimistic in their search for love, can an unconventionally beautiful actress playing a wise-cracking, vulnerable writer finally win an Emmy after a handful of tries? Yes.

Sarah Jessica Parker has given so many breathless Golden Globe acceptance speeches that it seemed as if she had already won the award as outstanding actress in a comedy series. In fact, the statuette she received Sunday for the final season of HBO's "Sex and the City" was her first, even though she'd collected five nominations.

Parker served as the program's star, its reigning style icon and an executive producer, so if she had never taken home the acting prize, something of an injustice would have been perpetrated. Her character, Carrie Bradshaw, was the emotional center of the show, the romantic everywoman who was neither too sexually adventurous to take home to mother nor so socially conventional that her development lagged behind the audience's.

The groundbreaking show influenced the culture so substantially that it didn't take long for women all over America to ape the show's original fab four. It's doubtful that the audience would have become as attached to a less likable actress playing a woman who was often self-absorbed and occasionally duplicitous. Parker as Bradshaw made fashion addiction charming, making the world safe for unapologetic collectors of expensive shoes. "Don't mock the clothes," she warned a boyfriend who didn't understand. He may have been clueless, but her fans (or "passersby" as she called them when she won the Emmy) got the point and felt she understood them too.

Her three costars were all nominated for supporting actress (Cynthia Nixon won), but giving Parker the lead award acknowledged her as the show's star. As the loose threads of the other characters' lives (played by Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Nixon) were tied up in the final episodes, the show increasingly focused on Parker. So even if the award were not a parting gift, a thank you for years of comic intimacy, there was ample justification for seeing the finale as Bradshaw's story.

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