Blame it on me going to college and doing journalism like a workaholic freak when I was in high school. At 25 and a half years old, I live and breathe The CW and all it declares to be tween/teen entertainment. I’m too old for this, but as are you, you sneaky old timer Googling The Carrie Diaries! Touché, dweeb.
Most people complain about not relating to the subject matter. When Carrie got her dad to get her out of school so she could work in Manhattan, miles away from Connecticut, I relived how I spent my teen years out of school in Chicago and Springfield during the daytime. Screw you, HBO’s Girls. I have little to zero understanding of what it must be like to be Miss “Hot Thighs I Show All Day to Demonstrate I Am Every ‘Real’ Woman,” aka. Lena Dunaham, the “voice of my generation.” This is my series, where a silly, somewhat ridiculously optimistic, but smart teen girl goes from her peers’ boringville to adulthood in the big city all by herself. “Will I need a briefcase!?” Carrie asks, grinning. I remember getting my own awesome work planner book like I was the stuff. Both Carrie and I want to have it all.
I love how this series understands diversity is alive in Manhattan. The stylist at Interview Magazine, whom Carrie meets when she needs to replace her ripped hose, is a cool, nice, British blipster, our 2013 term for black hipster. Nice, pending you discredit how she shoplifted at Century 21 – way to go, everyone who wrote this, for perpetuating the Antebellum myth, “All black people steal.” When Carrie skips her school dance for the hipster city get together, I related. I understood when she spoke about her high school being run with “conformity” by the Donnas, not giving a care in the world as she hung with the very chic city crowd much older than her. Like my younger self, Carrie loves the rush when she drinks champagne underage, stays out late in a hot dress, gets her start in journalism where no one realizes she’s just a high school girl and soon splits into two people, beginning life as her adult-but-opportunistic-teen-good-girl alter ego. By day, she is bored schoolgirl who doesn’t fit in but isn’t unpopular enough for the geek team. Outside of school, she’s the girl everyone wants to be.
Allow me to nitpick the obvious. For starters, the hot guy character is rich and talks about his wealth. Hello, writers? Rich people don’t discuss their wealth, nor does anyone talk so lavishly without wealth, and certainly, not so oddly the way he describes how “the maid still keeps dinner on the table,” as his mother left his dad for the tennis instructor. A more normal guy might have said, “My dad doesn’t know how to make dinner. I wish mom were still home with us. She kept the family going.” Unless you happen to be among the new rich, in ’97 Titanic speak, which nowadays is someone like a former call girl now married to an ugly, mean, old Beverly Hills studio executive or faux rich, the reality show people pretending to be cool, nobody talks like that.
When the girls are in the library talking their first times, ah the beloved loss o’ virginity, the air feels like Sex and the City for Little Tykes. The corporate speak is gone, without Miranda and company, but the corporate flow and too scripted discussion was there. A brilliant woman such as Candice Bushnell, who oversees the show in her role as a producer, should have known better. Surely, this woman must have gone to high school at some point in her life. I recall my own high school library sex talks being a whole lot more giggly, goofy, to the point, containing slight narcissistic worrying and with a tablespoon of the American Pie series. We didn’t speak like fifty-something romance novelists recreating an HBO soap. We were teens! We were unscripted! We did something bizarre called laughing and made jokes! The CW knows what laughing is, right?
AnnaSophia Robb looks nothing like Sarah Jessica Parker – actually, she looks like Miley Cyrus – and why should she? She’s the young Carrie Bradshaw, the idealist. Another actress might have made The Carrie Diaries become SATC meets unintentional SNL parody. Robb sells the younger character pretty well by playing Carrie as AnnaSophia deems appropriate. She successfully achieves the impossible, carrying a huge show without any big credits to her acting resume. The show is for sure worth a second viewing. And yes, the popular girls’ hairstyles are impossibly funny-ugly to no avail. How they achieved super popularity status, like a Tootsie Roll pop’s lick count? The world may never know.