In the first four minutes of The Carrie Diaries
, our heroine, Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb), goes through a whirlwind of emotions: confusion, frustration, anger, shock and melancholy. Given that she is a 16-year-old girl this is hardly shocking. The fact that she is determined to find a purse of her recently deceased mother, so that she has "a piece of her" on her first day of school is shocking. Primarily because in season four of the pop culture phenomenon Sex and the City, Carrie mentions an absentee father and gives the impression of a mother still alive and kicking.
Although the show is based on the novel by Candace Bushnell and not the show SATC
could be used as an excuse. However, still not an acceptable one. If you are trying to attract an audience to a show by piggy backing on the title character of its predecessor, you better get all the facts straight.
Playing Dress Up
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When Carrie storms into her sister Dorrit's (Stefanio Owen) room and demands the purse, the brooding 14-year-old denies any knowledge of its whereabouts. While rifling through her younger sister's drawers, Carrie comes across a bag of pot. This leads to accusations of jealousy and spying and ends with hair pulling. As the girls tussle, a voice over informs us that the year is 1984, that Ronald Reagan is president, and that the family matriarch died of cancer three months earlier.
The fight is broken up by the girls' bland looking father Tom (Matt Letscher). Carrie insists she has nothing to wear, because she didn't have her annual shopping trip with mom. In an effort to comfort his eldest daughter, Tom lets her have access to her mother's closet that has been left in exactly the same condition as it was when she was still alive. In awe, Carrie's eye catches a green sundress, but her father holds too much of a sentimental attachment to it, "Not that dress. She wore it on her last birthday," he says. Instead he hands her a pair of sunglasses which prove useful on the first day of school.The Last American Virgin
When Carrie arrives at school, we find out she's a junior with three close friends: Mouse (Ellen Wong), Maggie (Katie Findlay) and fashion-forward Walt (Brendan Dooling), who give her the gift of normalcy while the rest of her classmates whisper and stare as she walks down the hall. The other big news on campus is the arrival of Sebastian (Austin Butler). As he appears all heads turn. It is hard to understand why, because he isn't especially appealing.
Turns out he does know Carrie from spending summers at the swim club when he was home from boarding school. That news pales in comparison to the fact that Mouse got herself an older boyfriend and lost her virginity over the summer, or as she puts it, "It was like putting a hot dog in a key hole." Even for a high-school girl, that is uninspired dialogue. In addition, Carrie finds out from Maggie that she too had her V-card punched.NYC State of Mind
Emboldened by her friends' sexual escapades, Carrie approaches Sebastian. It turns out that swimming isn't the only thing the twosome had done at the local pool. Sebastian and Carrie had shared a steamy kiss. It was also her first kiss, and she hadn't seen him since. While trying to work up the nerve to ask Sebastian out, Carrie spots her father coming down the hall. The only other time he had come to the school was when her mother took a turn for the worse.
Frozen and unable to speak, Carrie elegantly faints into Sebastian's arms, and he lays her gently on the floor. When she regains consciousness, Carrie finds out her father was here to meet with her guidance counselor. They decide that Carrie might benefit from an internship that would take her out of her snug little suburban town and plop her into Manhattan.Foreshadowing a Fashionista
The night before starting her new internship, Carrie again confronts Dorrit about their mother's purse. It doesn't take Carrie long to find it and see that it has been ruined; covered in nail polish. Carrie accuses her sister of destroying the beloved bag on purpose, but Dorrit denies the accusation. She tells her sister she just wanted something of their mother's because Carrie got everything, "You got the purse, your 16th birthday, the start of high school; I got nothing." Carrie has one of her famous revelations, "I never thought of myself as the lucky one, but I had precious extra years that Dorrit would never have." The damaged purse offers a glimpse at creative Carrie as she creates her own custom bag.A Chance Encounter
Carrie's hopes of a glamorous internship are quickly dashed when she's given brainless grunt work at a large law firm. At a department store on her lunch break, she is approached by Larissa (Freema Agyeman) a style editor at Interview magazine. She sees Carrie's purse and wants it for a photo shoot. In a strange twist of events, Larissa is a shoplifter who uses Carrie for cover. She also tells Carrie she collects people. She invites Carrie to go out clubbing with her that night.I'll Take Manhattan
Carrie faces her first romantic dilemma when she finds out from Mouse that Sebastian called her to get Carrie's phone number and to find out if she was going to the school dance that night. A hideous party dress is delivered to Carrie that turns out to be a gift from Larissa. After hailing a cab, Carrie is faced with choosing between any unknown pleasures the city holds or the chance of a romantic encounter with Sebastian. Carrie is lured by the bright lights of the big city and blows off the dance.No Mama, Still Drama
Carrie heads back to Castlebury a changed girl. Walt meets her at the station and gives her the details of the dance which includes a rival for Sebastian's affections. Conveniently, she and Walt run into Sebastian and high-school skank Donna (Chloe Bridges) hanging around the train station parking lot in Sebastian's Porsche. He offers Carrie and Walt and ride, but she turns him down. Although he claims things are not as they seem, Carrie remains cynical. As they walk home, Walt confides in Carrie that he's not sure Maggie is the girl for him. He also reveals that they haven't had sex yet. So now Carrie is left to wonder if Walt hasn't had his hand in Maggie's honey pot, who has?Letting Go
After Dorrit disappears for a night and returns the next morning drunk and without remorse, Carrie's dad realizes he has to start taking an active role in his daughters' lives. He also decides that it is time to pack up his late wife's belongings and tries to give Carrie the green dress she admired earlier. However, she passes it along to Dorrit instead.Big Manolos to Fill
Nothing outstanding or addictive about this tween version of SATC. The best thing that can be said about The Carrie Diaries is that it has a fantastic soundtrack of 80s favorites. Unfortunately, what happens when the music runs out?
The Carrie Diaries
airs Mondays at 8pm on the CW.
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