What's up with TV characters fleeing to Paris? EW looks into the trend set by ''Sex and the City,'' ''Friends,'' ''Seinfeld,'' and others

By Lynette Rice and Zachary Pincus-Roth
May 21, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

What’s up with TV characters fleeing to Paris?

This season, when sitcom characters get ready to say goodbye, they always have Paris. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie followed her beau to the City of Light in the last episodes of ”Sex and the City,” and Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel was headed to a Paris job on the final ”Friends.” While both ended up safely back in Manhattan, there’s a precedent for the big French kiss-off. On the final ”Seinfeld,” Jerry’s gang was jetting for Paris before that fateful emergency landing in Massachusetts. So was Danica McKellar’s Winnie Cooper in the ”Wonder Years” finale and Alex Keaton’s college sweetheart Ellen Reed (Tracy Pollan) when she said au revoir to ”Family Ties” mid-series. Perhaps they ran into Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), who left for Paris after her stints on ”The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and ”Rhoda,” as we learned in the 2000 ABC movie ”Mary and Rhoda.” Why all the French twists? ”Paris is the ultimate romantic destination,” notes ”Sex and the City” exec producer Cindy Chupack. ”It seemed a fitting end…that Carrie had a terrible time in romance central.” No doubt the eventual ”Will & Grace” finale will give new meaning to gay Pa-ree.