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Test Pattern: Five-link Friday

Bad album trade-in, unsung theme songs, more
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Five-link Friday

• It had to happen: After "The Passion of the Christ" was released, God ended up getting an . But why don't they list His agent?

• Speaking of "The Passion," here's the United States Council of Catholic Bishops of the movie. With all the publicity over every little aspect of the movie, this is an interesting take on the spirituality of the film. It's also blunt about the shocking violence in the film, calling it "much too intense for children."

• Diesel record stores (US stores in Miami, NYC, Chicago, Santa Monica, Austin, Portland, Philly and San francisco) are putting on a fun stunt: Bring the worst records in your collection to the store and they'll give you one of 12 different Diesel Greatest Hips albums. They're calling it , and I'm thinking I know a Lionel Richie album that might have just found a home.

• I knew "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"  jokes were getting a little old, but I didn't know they were getting this old. features tips such as "Cooke thy meate before svpping" and "Ovr Lord in heaven! Is that last yeares potatoe sacke?"

• Do you know the words to the "Dick Van Dyke Show" theme song? Did you even know the "Dick Van Dyke Show" theme song had words? TV Land's Web site has a page called that features fun little karaoke-style animations for classic show theme songs that even the fiercest TV fan likely doesn't know by heart. Some of the lyrics are just howlers, especially this gem from the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme: "Jeannie's fresh as a daisy, just love how she obeys me."

'Sex and the City' responses by the numbers

The biggest shock for me about the "Sex and the City" feedback: For once, real mail far outnumbers the spam in the Test Pattern mailbox. Just to try to wrap up the topic, here's an unscientific estimate of the main topics expressed in the mail.

• 80%: The ending, with Big and Carrie ending up together, was perfect, and her learning his name at the end was just the icing on the cake. Said one viewer: "In the end I felt that Miranda found her heart, Samantha found courage, Charlotte got smart (and realistic) about how to get her baby and Carrie found her way home. The only thing missing was Carrie standing in the lobby of the hotel in Paris clicking her Manolo Blahniks together and saying, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."

• 10%: The producers sold out, the ending proved Carrie could not exist without a man. One viewer declared: "Sell out. Big Time. Would the ending have been as ambiguous  (Big comes to New York. That doesn't mean things will change.) if there wasn't talk of a movie? Makes you wonder."

• 5%: How could Sarah Jessica Parker, as star and executive producer, allow the line about a $100 Guatemalan adoption? Many wonder if she has addressed the line publicly, and all I know is that I haven't seen it addressed anywhere but here. Said one reader, who's both a social worker and adoptive parent: "Adoptions from Guatemala are long and difficult for parents who adopt from that country. There are also no gay couples who can adopt from any international country. Homophobia is alive and well in the international adoption front. . . . The average cost of an adoption from Guatemala is $25,000."

• 1%: A smaller percentage were upset not by the adoption remark, but by the portrayal of a couple from Charlotte, N.C. as hicks, noting that Charlotte is a decent-sized city even if it isn't Manhattan. Said one resident: "Charlotte is a large cosmopolitan city with an ever-growing financial industry: the second-largest in the country."

• 1%: A few fans are already looking ahead to the possible "Sex and the City" movie. One has it already sketched out, saying "Bring it on!  Give me 90 minutes of Carrie and her pals planning for a Big Bradshaw wedding. . . . It should look, sound and smell like the finest NYC has to offer. I'm available as a viewer consultant!"

• 1%: While some felt Samantha's breast cancer plotline was handled well, at least one reader had an issue with it. "I know that the focus is on how the women all ended up romatically but I have another bone to pick.  . . . I am referring to the manner in which Samantha's hair grew back so quickly after chemo and just happened to grow back in a perfect pixie haircut.  . . . So much of Samantha is about her looks — it would have been helpful to see her cope with this tremendously upsetting aspect of the disease and cure. Besides, Smith would have loved her anyway."

• 2%: And the predictable percentage of responders were aghast that so much attention and thought was being given to a television show. Here was a typical response: "You have got to be kidding. Get a life, people. Get out of the house. It was just a TV show."

Grading the finale

Depending on how you feel about Carrie Bradshaw and her various beaux, you were either delighted or discouraged by .

If you were discouraged, hey, maybe they'll break up in the .

If you were disgusted not by the finale, but by the sheer amount of attention and media ink devoted to the show's end, hey, you ain't seen nothin' yet. There's a little snowball called "The End of 'Friends' " that's just gathering speed, and it'll hit us all in about three months.

In the meantime, here are some reader thoughts on on the end of "Sex."

One note: Numerous readers, many adoptive parents, wrote in to complain about a statement in the Charlotte plotline about adopting a baby for $100 from Guatemala. Many had gone through years of struggle, and much more than $100, to adopt from that country, and took the line very personally. One reader sent a link to , a site offering information and news about Guatemalan adoptions.

Empty Sundays• "Perfect ending! I'm going to miss those girls on Sunday nights. It's like having a friend leave town. There is a lost feeling I have never felt about a TV show before."  —Susie

Checking out of ER for the ending• "I am an older woman, widow, mother, grandmother. I have been waiting for the finale of 'Sex and the City,' hoping that all the women would be fulfilled. I suffered a painful kidney infection just days before the finale, and had to go to the emergency unit of our local hospital. My only thought was — I've got to get home for the finale. I did.

Everything worked out as I had hoped. Charlotte learned that she would be the Mother of an adorable Chinese baby girl. Samantha accepted love from her younger lover, and began looking ahead. I'm sure she survived breast cancer. Miranda showed her love of her husband through her kindness to her mentally ill mother-in-law. The housekeeper pointed it out to us. AND Carrie went back to Mr. Big (John), Thank God! The producers really kept us waiting. I was a wreck when finally at 9:14, he found her in Paris and brought her home. He melted and cried. She realized how much she loved him. Their final, much too short, scenes together were perfect. I was fulfilled with them." —Bettie

Cupid riding a unicorn
• "I guess if you believe in dreams as high as the stars and with a rainbow of hope, then true love will show up and prove once and for all the wishes come true and the world is a magical place for those who believe. I knew she was going to leave Paris and the Russian, they set us up for that.  It's just Big coming to save her that bothered me. I'd rather she save herself, but I guess they did not want to leave us imagining she is still out there searching for that real true love.  A lot of women end up alone and bitter that way, and that's just real unfair life, as it is designed.  It's a crap shoot, but some women do win, so why not Carrie.   Now all women may hold out hope for that one unattainable man that drives you wild and you want more than anything in life can snap out of it and fall head over heels in love with you, after playing with your emotions for 6 years. Just hold on single girls, he will come around. Is that cupid riding a unicorn?"    —Tarina

Carrie should have been stronger• "To have Carrie back in New York for sure,  but leave it hanging as to whether she falls back to 'John.' (it should have been an option — not a given). She should have remained independent, knowing that her friends were with her as they'd always been and played a little more elusive to a married man who finally decided it was Carrie that he wanted.  I thought she was stronger than that especially after the sole searching with the Russian."    —Ruth

Proved she can do it alone
• "The last 2 final scenes when the Carrie is walking through Manhattan alone, talking to Big on the phone and when she is walking at night with the girls — that is what 'Sex and the City' is. She can do it alone. She is glad to have a man to share life with. She loves her friends. It makes me feel good to be single and love my friends, and enjoy my men."    —Kathryn

Big won't change
• "We have no reason to believe that Big will be any different than he always was. He came into Carrie's life only when he needed a 'dose' of her, but bailed out each and every time. Just because the show is ending, and Big has been the one guy floating in and out of her life, doesn't mean that he is the right man for her. It was too neatly wrapped for the sake of ending the show happily. To me, the show would have made a bold statement by keeping her single, telling its audience that its OK to be single until the right one comes along. Thats what the show has always been about anyway. The finale broke away from the show's core message."    —Doug

The men finally match the women• "So in this last portion of SATC they finally show us what real men are like. Some have always been real (Smith, Harry and Steve) while Big just took a little time making the transition (but he was always real). You can see the concrete behavior that all of these men show in their actions and deeds in the relationships with their counterparts and with friendships. These were always concrete women. They have flaws and needed to grow, but they were always real. The hard part was finding men that matched their solidity."    —David

Not a classic•" 'Sex and the City' is a well-written, well-acted series. But the (expertly crafted) hype surrounding both the finale and series in general (particularly in its latter years) was over the top. SATC explored all sorts of funny, serious, real-world, personal issues for women — and men — amid the entertaining outrageousness of some of the leads' antics. But if it's considered by some to be a classic bit of television, I would say that it's a reputation enhanced by comparison with the relative drivel elsewhere in television (broadcast and cable).    —Eric