I first caught sight of The Carrie Diaries when I was watching the season finale of Gossip Girl. Every other commercial break included a spot advertising this new show. No matter how much I knew this was a bad attempt to replace Gossip Girl, I decided to tune in and watch this supposed prequel to Sex and the City.
In addition to its roots in Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries is also based off a book series written by Candace Bushnell of the same title. The show centers on the life of young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb), a junior in high school during the 1980s, who lives in Castlebury, Conn. with her younger sister Doritt (Stefania Owen) and father Tom (Matt Letscher). Her mom passed away and life just hasn’t been the same since. After taking an internship with a Manhattan law firm, Carrie becomes enchanted with the carefree attitude and confidence New Yorkers exude.
Quickly learning she cannot continue to play the innocent suburban girl, Carrie strives to stand out and break out of her shell. Carrie’s is supported by a cast of friends that help her through this transition and make life more tolerable while in Connecticut. These include the sweet Jill, or “The Mouse” (Ellen Wong), the confident Maggie (Katie Findlay) and the sensitive Walt (Brendan Dooling). Love interest Sebastian (Austin Butler) is then thrown into the mix as the new kid who stirs up things.
Though Robb does a decent job of depicting young Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries is just another overly-dramatic teenage drama series. In the pilot episode Carrie faints in the middle of the hallway after her father unexpectedly shows up at her school. Then the drama continues when her sister, Doritt, goes missing. When Doritt is finally found, more overreactions from Carrie ensue.
Nonetheless, I did find some aspects of the show enjoyable: the ‘80s fashion styles, a fun rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl” and the inclusion of other stellar period songs such Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” — not to mention Sebastian, whose attractiveness makes the show much more bearable.
But overall, The Carrie Diaries just made me miss Gossip Girl. Carrie may be exploring Manhattan, but she’s got nothing on my favorite girls from the Upper East Side.
Furthermore, this show doesn’t do the Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City justice. The original Carrie had class, a unique sense of fashion and a tumultuous, interesting relationship with Mr. Big. Young Carrie and her friends are annoying teenagers who don’t have a clue about life. Sex and the City was a highly acclaimed show, but The Carrie Diaries simply falls flat.