Arabella Weir: Some friends they turned out to be


So that's it. It's all over. And I really mean over. My life as I know and enjoy it is now well and truly finished. I just can't see the point of going on.

So that's it. It's all over. And I really mean over. My life as I know and enjoy it is now well and truly finished. I just can't see the point of going on.

Sure, I have a lovely family, a good career, a nice place to live and more than my fair share of mightily sexy shoes but what's it all for? Faced with the barren wilderness that the television schedule is about to become, what, I ask you, is there to live for?

Friends ends soon and for ever. I repeat, for ever. And as if that weren't a fatal enough blow Sex and the City also closed its doors to business a few weeks ago. Just how much can a girl take? Forget my real life, flesh and blood friends. I am going to miss these guys more than I've ever missed a pal or lover.

I realise that this sentiment might make me appear slightly freakish, perhaps even a tad lonely, but don't you see, they actually, really and truly, were my friends, honest. Granted they don't know me from a bar of soap, but hey, all relationships are about give and take and both those shows, aired so neatly only a few days apart and providing me with beautifully timed comfort, were giving me virtually all I needed in life.

And my life is well busy. Being roundly and hugely entertained by a TV show is not the exclusive province of those with a sad, empty existence. Yes, if I'd bombarded the actors with sacks full of letters telling them that I knew they were talking personally to me and urging them to embark on lasting relationships with me then I'd be in trouble, but it is possible to engage with a show without being a total anorak.

I don't recall ever having related individually to any one of the characters from either of those shows. I've certainly never worn hot pants in New York. I don't spend an inordinate and, some would say, unhealthy amount of time with my brother. And I would not look favourably upon it if he were always getting off with my friends. But I don't need to be those people to identify with their lives. What Friends and Sex and the City did so cleverly was to centre their stories on situations recognisable to anybody who has experienced modern urban life as a single person.

Thirty years ago, popular sitcoms focused on issues recognisable to their audiences - married men still hankering after the laddish life led by their carefree pals; the then saucy idea of a man sharing a flat with two attractive girls; and the shamefully accepted notion of a white man having difficulty living next door to a black man. These themes are embarrassingly parochial to us now, and rightly so. But, like it or not, they spoke of their times.

Mercifully times have moved on and nowadays it is widely acknowledged that families are not what they used to be - or, at least, once pretended to be. Most people these days would probably confess to being closer to their mates than to their family - I certainly would. And that's not because I don't love my parents and siblings - I do, but I wouldn't talk to them with the boundless intimacy reserved for my pals, nor, I suspect, would they want me to.

Once, not so long ago, we were supposed to leave home, get married and share all our secrets, fears and dreams with that one special person - for life. What an unappetising burden for that person! No wonder divorce rates went through the ceiling. Who wants to have all that dumped on them? So we started getting friends and telling them everything and then they started writing shows that reflected this phenomenon.

And now they cancel the shows. Thanks a lot. I've got close friends and a pretty nifty husband but I'd still rather watch TV ... well, certainly after an exhausting day walking about in my five-inch heels, talking to my friends in a brightly lit café (but never eating) and not doing a stroke of work all day long.

OK, perhaps that's not a completely accurate description of my day, but it's how I would like it to be. And now I can't even live the fantasy in my sitting room.

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