What happened to TV's gal pals?

I have a standing, 24-minute lunch date with Kate & Allie, and the reason I keep tuning in isn't because of Allie's awesome style icon-worthy puff-sleeved sweaters or the so-cute-you-want-to-pinch him Chip. It's because the show offers something that feels markedly absent on television today: a friendship between women represented in full form. Why the heck does a 25-year-old show feel so modern in its portrayal of friendship?

Kate and Allie live together in an apartment in New York's West Village and raise their kids in an age-of-divorce kind of blended family. Did you get that? They're not lesbians, they're divorcées, and the main axis of the show is a friendship between two women who are, predictably, polar opposites but have managed to be friends since high school. At the end of the day, they put their feet up on the coffee table, each have a nip of brandy, and talk about it all: men, money, kids, career, who they are versus who they thought they'd be. And it's funny. They don't take themselves too seriously (it is a sitcom, after all) give each other a hard time, keep each other in line, and support each other in starting a business, going back to school, and deciding whether or not to say yes when a boyfriend pops the question.

It makes me wonder if this very kind of show--one that depicts friends dealing with all aspects of life together--is the reason we long to remake the lady shows of the '70s and '80s. In the crest of second wave feminism, women wanted it all--love, career, family, and fun--and our television shows reflected that. Mary and Rhoda talked about their jobs as much as their dates; we looked forward to Julia Sugarbaker's indignant speeches against social injustice as much as the dreamy appearance of Colonel Bill Stillfield in his Air Force uniform.

But what's the embodiment of third wave feminism on the small screen? I believe their names are Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. The expectation of having it all on Sex and the City (and looking runway ready while getting it) is a given. We spend six seasons with the fabulous four watching them bond over one central issue: how men make them feel, and how they feel about men. And it's so wildly out of whack. These women don't come from anywhere with baggage or history or even family in tow. They spring forth in their deluxe New York apartments with success, utter confidence, and no personal conflicts other than their dogging dude issues.

Even when SATC is stripped of its boozy Balthazar lunches and closets full of Vivenne Westwood, this isn't what life looks like, and it's certainly not what friendship looks like. For the women I know, friendship looks a hell of lot more like Kate and Allie, eating deli sandwiches before spending an afternoon at the Met and coaching each other on how to ask for a raise. They go to bad school performances put on by their kids, and wait up to hear about blind dates. They build each other up so they can help each other be the women they want to be, not just so they can get the men they want to be with.

So now that Sex and the City is officially dead, what kind of show will take its place? I, for one, hope it looks a lot more like the lady shows of yore. One where women aren't just Living Single and looking for Mr. Big, but where the lives of women can take center stage and be depicted in full, with or without their misters.