I have a confession.
After polishing off all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls I needed a new guilty pleasure. Finding few suitable options, I’ve settled on The Carrie Diaries, and precisely six episodes in, I have this to say:
- It’s not Sex and the City. Not that I expected it to be, but it’s just not. Wherefore art thou, Michael Patrick King?
- It’s a show made for teenagers. Just like the books (which I haven’t read) it’s teen fiction, which means the dialogue and situations are a little more Full House than I have the patience for.
- It doesn’t follow the HBO series. From adult Bradshaw, we know that she is an only child whose father abandoned her and her mother at a young age. In The Carrie Diaries, Carrie, along with her sister Dorrit (hello, what kind of a name is that?) is raised by their widowed father, while grieving the recent passing of their mother from cancer. Again, I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know if that’s how it is in there, but to me this is a flagrant violation of the origin story of our Manolo-wearing, c-c-c-curly-haired superhero. It feels a little as though they took the easy way out in telling how she became the future Mrs. Big, because for whatever reason a widowed father story is so much easier on the psyche (and viewing audience) than a dad leaving on purpose. (Again, see Full House.) They kept it light with a premise that honestly, puts Carrie on an entirely different trajectory than a life writing about the mysterious relationships with men (In A Vogue Idea she asks “You think it’s as simple as my dad walked out therefore I’ll always be screwed up about men?”). Even if the argument isn’t entirely valid, I don’t appreciate the inconsistency.
- It’s not completely Disney-ized. SATC was all about women in enduring friendships, being frank about the sex lives. I was surprised to see that theme carry over into the PG-13, teen-audience-appropriate realm. The real issues are still there, with the added awkwardness of inexperience that defines that time in your life.
- AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw is endearing. In my opinion, she does SJP proud.
- Eric Daman does Patricia Field proud as the costume designer. The Century 21 gear and 80s garb is pure eye candy. (Note: Did you know he also was the costume designer for Gossip Girl? Go figure.)
- Holy 1980s music collection, Batman. Every episode is packed with classics and covers. Here’s one cover in particular that really impressed me:
It’s not really a sit down with popcorn and the subtitles on so you don’t miss anything kind of show, but the costumes, music, and glimpse into aspects of Carrie Bradshaw we haven’t already seen five thousand times (hello, I practically have the script memorized from seasons 1-4 of HBO series), it’s worth having cued up on Netflix for a late-night palate cleanser before bed. (I’ve been using it as a chaser to American Horror Story so my dreams aren’t so grisly afterward.)