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A Teenage Love Affair with New York, Fashion, Friendships, and Dating in “The Carrie Diaries”

The Carrie Diaries

A Review of the CW’s “The Carrie Diaries” by Tiffany A. White

We all knew it was just a matter of time. And that time has finally arrived…

Once again, television is hoping to cash in on the success of a previous TV hit—Sex and the City—and has created a spinoff series, hoping to attract today’s younger audience, and more than likely, all of those that worshiped the former HBO franchise. Hey, I’m one of them. Not only did I tune in every Sunday night with my girlfriends to watch Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, but I also tortured my guy and forced him to take me to the theater to see both film continuations of the series.

But The Carrie Diaries isn’t just television’s attempt to keep the Carrie Bradshaw hype alive; the series is based on the book of the same name written by Candace Bushnell, the woman responsible for Sex and the City in the first place. And which network is best suited for telling the tales of a teenage Carrie? The CW…

The Carrie Diaries follows a teenage Carrie Bradshaw (played by AnnaSophia Robb from Soul Surfer) after the death of her mother. After spending all summer grieving with her father and rebellious younger sister, Carrie jumps at the chance to intern at a job her father secured for her—in Manhattan.

This is where Carrie’s love affair with New York, fashion, clubbing, and writing about friendships, dating, and sex begins…

I won’t lie; I was hesitant to watch The Carrie Diaries at first, but the pilot won me over AND this is coming from a Sex and the City addict.

Despite the flashback to 1984, the creators did a great job of not making it look antiquated. Granted, many of the ‘80s styles have and are still in the process of coming back today, but that didn’t take away from the classic elements present in the series: the vibrant colors, shoulder pads, big earrings, Rob Lowe references, the “brick” cell phones, and the music. And speaking of music, anyone who claims to be a child of the ‘80s will love the tunes.

The character of Carrie Bradshaw is known for many things. First, she loves fashion. We see the younger Carrie’s unique fashion sense when she takes her mother’s damaged purse and paints, in nail polish, a design to salvage it. What does she paint? Her name. This reminded me of the famous Carrie necklace Sarah Jessica Parker wore throughout the years on the HBO series.

The adult Carrie Bradshaw was also known for her writing, shared with television viewers via narration, where she told stories of friendships and tackled taboo topics such as women and sex. At least women talking about sex was taboo it seems until Sex and the City hit television sets across the world. Now, it’s kind of normal…

Teenage Carrie isn’t broken, but she’s hurt. She’s trying to find herself and where she fits in this world. Like most of us, she’s learning through life’s experiences, including love and loss. The CW series describes Carrie’s first kiss, personal connections, and self-realizations via narration the way only Carrie Bradshaw could. The show tackles sexual topics such as virginity and being gay, closeted, and scared. There are touching lines: “How could he have had sex with me and treat me like this?” And there’s humor: Sex “is like putting a hot dog in a keyhole.” And speaking of humor, the dialogue is fun and appropriate for the younger audience.

It’s still early into the season, and I’m not saying The Carrie Diaries is my favorite CW program… because it’s not (The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural top the list with Arrow and Beauty and the Beast not far behind). But it does outrank others. I’m not sure it’s going to be as scandalous as Gossip Girl, a show that I couldn’t walk away from no matter how frustrating the character of Serena was, but The Carrie Diaries definitely piques my interest more than the new 90210 and a few others that have been cancelled recently or are in danger of being cancelled (Emily Owens, M.D. and Hart of Dixie). But it did surprise me, pleasantly surprise me. And it will keep a spot on my DVR queue for now.

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.


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