The Carrie Diaries Premiere Was Actually Not Terrible
3:30 pm, January 15th | by Meredith Lepore
The Carrie Diaries had all the right ingredients to be bad. It’s trying to take a beloved and critically acclaimed television series and reboot it. Or, looking at it a different way, it’s taking a not-so-beloved movie series and trying to reboot it. Plus, as cute as AnnaSophia Robb is, she ain’t no SJP (and if you watch an old Square Pegs episode featuring a young Sarah Jessica Parker in the 80′s you will not see any kind of resemblance with Robb, especially given her great head of curly hair.) Plus, this show is set in the 80′s, which is a bit tricky to pull off. And it’s airing on the CW. It had all the elements to fail, and yet, it didn’t.
I think the mindset you have to have with this show is that it is not a Sex & the City prequel. This is the story of a young girl, with an amazing fashion sense, who just happens to share a name with one of the most popular female characters of all time. The writing isn’t amazing, but it’s not bad either — if you liked Gossip Girl you will feel right at home. Plus I don’t remember SATC scripts being Pulitzer-worthy, either. None of the characters annoyed me. Everyone seems believably flawed, including Carrie, which is exciting.
Plus, it may have been because I just watched the premiere of Girls, but it was just nice to see clothed characters on television. Just saying.
One of the best parts of the Sex & the City series was its portrayal of female friendships, and that also comes through in The Carrie Diaries in Carrie’s friendships with Mouse (terrible name but sweet girl), Maggie (a young Samantha-type) and Walt (a sensitive, sweet guy who is Carrie’s gay friend that she doesn’t yet know is gay). I also thought the relationship between Carrie and her father (Matt Leschter) was very sweet and her relationship with her sister, Dorit, was realistically rendered. Speaking of terrible names, Dorit? Really, Candace Bushnell? Is it 1840? No wonder this girl has a complex. Her sister is the most charming and precocious teenager ever, and her name is Dorit. I would wear too much eyeliner too.
Here are three major things the show has going for it moving forward:
AnnaSophia Robb is very cute and not annoying, and it is kind of refreshing to see a more virginal Carrie Bradshaw. I think it’s also great to see another girl pursuing a writing career on television (we have Hannah on Girls doing that too…when she isn’t having sex or messing up her life).
80′s fashion. This is possibly the best 80′s fashion showcase we’ve had since Working Girl. Costume designer Eric Daman calls it “aspirational 80′s” which means it’s nicer to look at than it was in the actual 1980s. This is the man that gave us the looks of Blair Waldorf and Serena Van der Woodsen so we know we are in good hands. The fashion component of the Sex & the City empire is still going strong.
The show is less focused on sex. I know we all loved the racy antics of the original series and it revolutionized HBO or whatever (and is probably the reason Lena Dunham is able to be naked for 25 minutes of her 30 minute show) but sometimes it is nice to just talk about sex and not actually see it.
Here are three things the show needs to work on:
Whimsical decorating montages: There’s no way that DIY project turned out that cute. And what’s the point if you can’t Pin it?
Cheesy music choices: I love “Girls Just to Want Have Fun” as much as the next, well, girl, but sometimes there is such a thing as a soundtrack that’s too aggressively 80s.
Making Carrie too perfect: She is clearly her dad’s favorite and the hot boy in school loves her. We don’t want her sister to kill herself! And, as we well know, Carrie is hardly perfect when she grows up.