Love it or Leave it: The Carrie Diaries

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Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one. Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this series is about, taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

The CW Show The Carrie Diaries.

Background

The Carrie Diaries started its life as a book series. Two books to be exact. The prequel books to Sex and the City was written by Candace Bushnell as a young adult series.  A look at Carrie Bradshaw before Manhattan and before meeting Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte.  The Carrie Diaries was produced for The CW by the Gossip Girl/ The O.C. producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and written by Sex and the City writer Amy B. Harris.

The series follows Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) as a sixteen-year-old judging high school and her secret internship at Interview Magazine in Manhattan. She has a younger sister, Dorrit, and father, Tom (Stefania LaVie Owen and Matt Letscher) and a group of friends she has had since childhood.  The sweet overachiever Mouse (Ellen Wong), the wild Maggie (Katie Findlay) and the sexually confused Walt (Brendan Dooling).  Let us not forget her on and off boyfriend, Sebastian Kidd (Austin Butler).

Larissa (Freema Agyeman) is her boss at Interview who is flighty, silly and Carrie’s mentor and Donna LaDonna (Chloe Bridges) is the most popular girl in school and frenemies with Carrie.

In the second series, we get an introduction to Samantha (Lindsey Gort).  Quite the entrance for such an iconic character.

Rank in Pop Culture History

When the show premiered in 2013, it had mixed reviews.  Some claimed the show was too sweet or played too much on nostalgia.  While other critics argued it could have gone very wrong but turned out surprisingly right.

The series average ratings for season one on Wednesday nights was 1.14 million viewers.  Season two, which was on Friday nights, went down to 0.82.  It was canceled.  The showrunner of the show reviled that if the show were renewed the audience would have met Miranda next.

Did The Carrie Diaries Deserve Better?

Yes. I’m not mincing words on this one.  I think the idea was great. I believe the casting was perfect. I loved the 80’s timeframe and little winks to its sister series, Sex and the City.  It was poised to be great. Not only are you getting those teenagers you would get the kids (like myself) who watched Sex and the City as teenagers.

What went wrong? Well, in my opinion, The CW is what went wrong. The CW was at a crossroads when this series started.  It still had a WB vibe while trying to be edgier. You could see their DC comics revolution on the horizon. They weren’t aware of it yet, but it was there.  A lot of shows were ending that would have been good matches for the show.  If they waited, they could have matched the show with Jane the Virgin or even Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. However, you can tell they didn’t know what to do with the series. The advertising was limited. I wasn’t even aware of the show until a lovely Twitter follower told me about the show. I caught up and fell in love.  The CW just didn’t know what to do with this quiet gem of a series.

I think it deserves more credit because it is a very honest look at being a teenager.  It doesn’t shy away from sex and doesn’t play to type.  The very sweet, Mouse, would typically stay the virgin on this kind of show. However, she is one of the first in the group to lose their virginity.  The main group (Carrie, Walt, Maggie, and Mouse) feel like a real group of friends.  I know these friends. I had these friends in high school. The I also love that Carrie is close with her family.  One thing that drives me nuts in teen shows is the lack of parents. Yeah, parents are very present in a teenager’s life.  Whether it is a lack of parenting (like Maggie’s parents) or Helicopter parenting (Carries Dad). Parents have an effect in their kid’s lives.

Speaking of the parents, Carries dad, Tom has a lot of fun, Sex, and the City type storylines as well.  It asks that question, how and when does a widower start dating? How does he, after twenty years of marriage, move on.  I really liked Carrie’s dad because he felt real to me. I buy he is a widower and a parent.  Same goes for the Interview magazine crew. Larrisa, who is insane, is a lot of fun.  She gets Carrie into so many situations it makes sense that later on, Carrie isn’t all that phased anymore.  She is also a wise woman.

I was never interested in the romantic relationships of the teenagers. Sebastian Kidd (yes, you must say his name like that) is a test run Mr. Big. Carrie has experience dealing with a Mr. Big in this world.  I kept expecting, if we got a season 3, to see Carrie run into Mr. Big at college. My guess would be he is in graduate school or just coming back to give a talk to a class she attends. It would have been funny if she blew him off. Sorry, I just went into fanfiction land.

Yes, I feel like this show deserved more time to develop and a better network. It could have been a fun show for not only long time fans of Sex and the City but teenagers who are just discovering the show for themselves.  I know it been almost two years, but I’d like the show to be revived somehow.

What do you think? Did you watch The Carrie Diaries? Leave your opinion or comment below!

Until next time, before there was sex before there was the city, there was just me. Amanda. Amanda Jane. See you next week.

 

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