Fug the Show: The Carrie Diaries, pilot


There’s a lot to like about this show — AnnaSophia Robb is very natural, and looks fantastic with her Carrie Bradshaw hair; her friends are all good; the clothing is aptly hilarious in parts and nicely restrained at others; and Austin Butler, who is this decade’s Chad Michael Murray in terms of how hard teen TV wants to make him happen (except Butler is actually pretty good in everything and doesn’t squint)(wait, maybe that’s NOT a good thing; I miss Ol’ Squinty)(so thank God he’s going to be on Southland)(by the way, CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY IS GOING TO BE ON SOUTHLAND)(WITH A MUSTACHE)(!!!!!). But what threw me off during the entire pilot is the realization that I actually don’t care that much about the fact that this girl grows up to be THE Carrie Bradshaw. It’s a nice touch, and it’s a good way to ground the show, but the cast does a nice job making you like them regardless of where they fit in the pantheon. Whenever the show moves to New York City and becomes Jane By Design (internships! A double life! Better dresses! Nobody questioning her age!) and tries to tantalize you with the fact that eventually this is WHERE Carrie will be, it’s way less compelling than when she’s in Connecticut, struggling emotionally to get where we know she ends up. That stuff is better. Hopefully whatever decisions they make, they’ll work out the kinks, because ultimately we can’t be that haunted by the shadow of Future Carrie and where this all ends up, or else the journey becomes too beside the point.

Important note: I was never that obsessed with Sex and the City — watched it, enjoyed some of it, don’t miss it or watch reruns — and I made it through three chapters of The Carrie Diaries, the YA prequel Candace Bushnell wrote a few years ago, before abandoning it on my Kindle. And I think these are good things, because if Carrie Diaries is going to succeed on TV, it has to transcend both of those and stand on its own, so it’s good that I really am not qualified do any obsessive nitpicking. That, Fug Nation, I will leave to you in the comments. Onward!

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Comments (40):

  1. Kendra
    0

    Ooh I’m excited you’re covering this! I watched the pilot last week as a BIG SATC fan, and was momentarily stunned by the complete & total lack of continuity. Zero continuity. Don’t even get me started.

    So I did what I’ve learned to do with movies made from books – view them as totally separate entities (with occasional, oh that’s cool! coincidences or fan shout-outs), and I have to say that on that footing, I totally enjoyed The Carrie Diaries. Especially the lead, how freaking adorable is she?!

    • CAS
      0

      Agreed. That’s what I was thinking the entire time, she is totes adorable. I really liked the show, though I am wayyyyyy out of their target demographic.

  2. Stephanie
    0

    Remember on SATC when we see a picture of young Carrie with her dad, before he left the family and she was raised by a single mother? That is my beef with this show. That’s a big lapse in continuity with the series it grew from. Am I the only one who is bothered by that?

    • cathy
      0

      i am so bothered with this!!!!!! thank you, stephanie.
      i am SATC fan, so i am familiar with that detail, but the episode where this is mentioned is memorable (season premiere, she started in vogue and stuff)

      • GFY Heather
        0

        But you have to remember, it’s based on a YA book Bushnell herself wrote, not on the SATC series. Is the mom dead in the book?

        • becca
          0

          Yes! I am bothered by the presence of the dad. There was a whole thing about how her dad abandoned her in SATC. Also, why isn’t she smoking? Clearly she would have started smoking in high school BECAUSE HER SMOKING WAS A WHOLE BIG PLOTLINE IN SATC AND WHO STARTS SMOKING WHEN THEY ARE 32. No one.

          So mad right now.

        • Jenny
          0

          To be fair, plenty of kids I went to high school with in the early 80′s didn’t smoke until college. That’s when they really started up. I don’t see Carrie not already puffing away in high school as a huge continuity error. There is plenty of time between 16 and 32 to take up the habit.

        • chickadee
          0

          Yes! The continuity problem is with Bushnell, NOT the show. In the Carrie Diaries book, the mother is dead.

    • Beth C.
      0

      It does bother me a little, to be honest, though it isn’t a deal breaker. I wasn’t a die-hard SatC fan, but I enjoyed it if it was on.

      I think this set up always stuck out to me because it made Carrie a little more relateable to me personally. When she’s more of a blue-collar Jersey Girl who’s Dad ditched out it explains a lot of her weird materialism and relationship issues. Also? I sorta get it- the wanting THINGS just to have them because you couldn’t before and goddamn it being able to have them now proves you made it out. But then again, I had a hard time liking Carrie a lot of the time, so I think I held on to this because it made her more likeable and relatable for me personally.

      • GFY Heather
        0

        I still feel like…. this is based on a book that is the prequel to the BOOKS of Sex and the City, not a prequel to the TV series. We have to remember that. The show can’t be beholden to all of it.

        • Shannon
          0

          That’s true, except that the show is clearly hitching its wagon to SATC the show for publicity and to draw in that audience. It wants to have its cake and eat it, too.

          For me personally, I would have found a story about a working class girl with an absent father a lot more compelling than yet another story about a young white girl of privilege. And I agree with Beth C., the implied background of adult Carrie Bradshaw made her easier to understand, and a lot more likable.

        • Heather
          0

          I actually thought it made her less likable. It turned Mr. Big into one giant daddy issue.

  3. Stefanie
    0

    There is not nearly enough acid washed denim for this to be 1984. And Aqua-Net. Where’s the Aqua-Net?

    My dad used to tease my aunt (who was/is still a serious child of the 80s) that she was responsible for the hole in the Ozone layer due to her excessive use of Aqua-Net.

    • Annie E
      0

      Eric Daman (or someone else working on the costuming/show itself) said that they were trying to make it look like the 80′s, but toned down and with clothes that look like something young people today might want to wear. This inauthenticity is a weird sticking point to me – everyone should look like they are on Saved by the Bell. For instance, those girls’ bathing suits are not cut NEARLY high enough on the leg.

      • Sarah
        0

        Saved By The Bell is way too late. It needs to look like, hmm.. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can even use young SJP for inspiration.

        • mepe
          0

          Or Square Pegs!! Even though that was California it’s still about the right time frame.

      • Cee
        0

        I haven’t watched this yet because I feel like the historical inaccuracies will drive me crazy, but I am curious.

        If you didn’t grow up then, think of movies that came out in or around ’84… Gremlins, Footloose, Risky Business, The Goonies…. and then look at the EXTRAS. Costume designers always exaggerate their characters for a reason, but film extras just come to set in their own day clothes. That’s how I always look at movies for real clothing references.

        I think with this show (for clothing accuracy and character continuity), a big dose of suspension of belief is on order.

      • Vandalfan
        0

        Yes, those swim suits had leg holes cut up to the waist. The neon gals, so carefully, high-schooly coordinated, made me smile.

    • Lizzy
      0

      Yeah, where’s all the teased and shellacked bangs and long, permed layers of hair?
      And really big earrings – colored hoops, fake gemstones, etc..

      • mepe
        0

        Yes – these things are all necessary!! And some frosted lipstick would be good!

    • Beth C.
      0

      yeah, I don’t mind it being toned down a bit, most of it was more or less close enough for me. At the same time all I could think was “those high schoolers’ bangs should be at least 3X bigger. And the pants, why are they not pegged?”

      I do find it funny that the “NY grown ups” are way more period appropriate than the high schoolers. There was one woman in the background at the party with the most FABULOUS poofy side ponytail ever. It was awesome.

    • Trent
      0

      In fairness, this is set in a Connecticut town, so I wouldn’t expect the schoolkids to be as flamboyantly “80′s” as kids in major cities. If anything, they would still be Lacoste preppy, with toned down hair. I’m totally fine with the costuming on this show.

      Actually, as a recovering post-Gossip Girl addict, I only tuned in to this show expecting to mock it, then was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I was even moved a bit by the scene with the sisters at the end. Having also lost a parent as a teen, I thought they captured that ongoing sadness very well.

  4. Janine
    0

    It’s Martha Jones! Maybe the Doctor will pop up some time. Not a show I’ll watch (except for, you know, when the Doctor turns up :D ), but the fashion looks fun enough to read the recaps, so thanks! :)

    • LT1
      0

      Thank you! I didn’t watch the show (but plan on loving the recaps) and I didn’t recognize Freema from the pictures until your post made me go back and look. Love her.

      I feel so old knowing that Heather never read Interview. It was the go-to for city fashion and lifestyle in the first half of the 80s (Details took over for a while before it went lad mag). Lived for that magazine.

      • GFY Heather
        0

        I lived in England fro 1983-1990 and I don’t think I ever saw it over there. Don’t feel old!

  5. Carrie
    0

    As someone who absolutey HATED SATC at the end (and all of the characters in it) I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this show. It’s really easy to completely divorce yourself from the SATC “mythology” and just watch this as its own separate thing, which I appreciate.

  6. Andrew S.
    0

    Everyone needs to remember that SatC varied from its source material greatly while both book series have continuity with each other so this show following the books slightly more is nice to me.

    I was on the fence about this show but the minute it turned to sex talk they got me. It hit me in an odd way in that I like ASR’s Carrie so much that part of me is extremely resentful that she’ll grow up, theoretically, into becoming SatC’s carrie. ASR did a great job of it and managed to capture a bit of SJP’s spirit while still making this Carrie her own. And I want more time with Dorrit as her father seems very unattentive to her for NO reason.

    Overall, I’m invested in this and hope it stays relatively good.

  7. Andrew S.
    0

    Also, the opening was totally stolen from SatC and I liked their version of the call forward to that opening but in 80s clothes. Certainly ASR’s outfit was more flattering than either of SJP’s!

  8. Steph
    0

    I haven’t even looked at the pictures yet- I just HAD to come in and thank you for giving Southland a big shout out. My husband understands that I love that show more than him. :)
    The addition of CMM should be interesting.

  9. A.J.
    0

    I read part of the Carrie Diaries. There’s a scene with her and Sebastian where they go out to dinner and he is so nasty and passive-aggressive with her, I just put the book down and never finished it.

    • GFY Heather
      0

      The book is on my Kindle. And yet I still actively purchase other books rather than pick it up and finish it. I HATED what I read.

  10. Celeste
    0

    Couldn’t they have found a kid that looked like she might POSSIBLY grow up to look like SJP?

    • trib
      0

      Who would want to grow up to look like leathery SJP?

      ASR = much lovelier. So I am reliably told by my 15-year-old daughter who is already hooked.

  11. Cee
    0

    I have a hard time believing a teen from Connecticut would have a Joy Division poster on her wall in 1984. 1989, I would totally buy it. Jussst sayin’….

    • mepe
      0

      I totally had the same reaction Even had to go back and look at that photo twice because she wouldn’t possibly have a Joy Division poster!

  12. Andrew S.
    0

    rewatching the pilot – ‘Samantha’s’ dad is the police chief, hence the caution

  13. Valerie
    0

    So I haven’t watched it, I’m wondering, do we hear Little Carrie’s Inner Monologue? Or maybe just her Inner Monologue Whilst Writing? And if so, has it yet said, “And just like that,” etc etc?

  14. Kara K
    0

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re fugcapping the show.

    I am way charmed by this Carrie. She is – like you said in the fugcap – natural, and very light. And because I’m getting Old, I am also way charmed by her dad. He makes great faces throughout the episode.

    I’m more than willing to handwave inconsistencies between SATC and this show even as I choose to view this kind of on a sliding scale of canon – especially since this is based on the YA series, which is a fictionalized account of Bushnell’s life and she didn’t have any input on SATC!Carrie’s backstory as much – even if this Carrie is less working class and more suburbia middle class, I kind of like the idea of her future materialism being part of an I Miss My Dead Mom issue and a trying to be more like her, because her mom was glamorous and probably incredibly idealized by Carrie. Though that’s maybe an overanalysis on my part.

  15. Sajorina
    0

    Damn it, now I want to watch the show!