Last night, we tuned into the pilot episode of The Carrie Diaries, and wept as we watched the life of one of television’s most iconic female characters reimagined — and in the process, skewered into twee, high school drivel, reminiscent of the worst parts of Gossip Girl and Glee. (Although, it must be said, nothing this show does to Carrie Bradshaw could even approach the damage of SATC2.)
The Carrie Diaries introduces its audience to a 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw, a high school senior living at home in Connecticut, in 1984, with her father and 14-year-old sister, Dorrit. Carrie and Dorrit have recently lost their mother, and as an internship takes Carrie to Manhattan for one precious day a week, it’s evident that the show will explore how she will cope with the travails of being a young woman in a big city without her mother – and, as a side story, how Dorrit will get on without Carrie, who finds herself taking over her mother’s role and is perpetually worrying about her sibling.
It’s a tired premise, and the show starts off on feeble footing, with an embarrassingly obvious plot. The show’s so transparent that we couldn’t help but wonder how the rest of the season will pan out. Here are some of our predictions:
- Carrie and the cute transfer student, Sebastian will start going steady
This is hinted at in the plot, as new kid Sebastian offers Carrie his condolences. And, though Sebastian says the wrong thing sometimes, there’s clearly some chemistry between him and Carrie that will be teased out over the season.
- Carrie will fall in with the school’s resident mean girls
The popular kids take an interest in Carrie after her mom’s death, and though she’s somewhat skeptical of them, we suspect Carrie will start hanging out with them – at least for a spell, before she sees sense and returns to her real friends: Mouse, Maggie, and Walt.
- Carrie will lose her virginity
Sex matters abound in The Carrie Diaries, where Carrie finds herself “the last virgin” in her group of friends. She discovers that while she spent the summer grieving, both Maggie (who’s dating Walt) and Mouse had had sex for the first time.
- Little Dorrit will grow up – and off the rails
Dorrit’s already wearing too much eye makeup, getting drunk, and stealing her sister’s stuff. OK, so she’s not exactly blazing a trail for teenage rebellion, but it’s only a matter of time before she does something else scandalous and lands herself in trouble.
- Walt and Maggie will break up
When we see Walt leafing through a magazine of male models, we suspect that Maggie was lying about having slept with him – but not about having sex, as we see her kissing another guy later. We predict that Walt will come out, and Maggie’s relationship with this other, older man will be exposed.
- More, crazier ’80s music and fashion
With a soundtrack including the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Kim Carnes, and a wardrobe of meringue skirts, polka dots and vintage sunglasses, the music and style of The Carrie Diaries are thus far its only redeeming qualities. We’re hoping to see bigger hair and brighter colors, and hear some more girly ’80s pop. Perhaps the only way to save trash is to make it trashier.
- Carrie will score her dream job in Manhattan
When Carrie bumps into Interview magazine’s style editor, Larissa, in Century 21, we know it’s the ultimate career meet-cute. Though she’s interning at a law firm in the city, at the suggestion of her guidance counselor, her heart’s in fashion. Also, the show’s executive producer, Josh Schwartz – who’s responsible for Gossip Girl, where everyone pretty much gets famous and wealthier without doing much – likes to make success look easy.
- Sarah Jessica Parker will guest star
OK, so this isn’t guaranteed, but we didn’t think we’d see Sarah Jessica Parker on Glee, and we did. Besides, we’d really like to see the show pull a Looper on itself, pitting the two Carries against each other, but armed with stilettos, not blunderbusses.
The one thing we’re left wondering is how this Carrie will fill the original Bradshaw’s Blahniks. And though we’re tempted to compare its first episode to the better show that came before it, time will tell if The Carrie Diaries comes to stand on its own. It’s not like Sex and the City is the Holy Grail of television, or anything. But if we learned anything from the second movie – abysmal enough to spoil six years of accomplished television, and the first, passable film that came in the series’ wake – it’s that we should leave it the hell alone. Where SATC2 roasted the show’s story-lines to death, the pilot of The Carrie Diaries proves severely undercooked, to the point of crumbling.