Carrie Bradshaw: Then and Now (HBO/CW)"I'm worried," writes a real person on a fake Carrie Bradshaw Facebook page. "I loved Sex and the City sooooo Muchhh.... I have no Idea how I'm gonna feel about this...."
We are all worried, dear soul, after spending more than a decade falling asleep to episodes of "Sex and the City" on HBO, TBS and DVD, memorizing every minute detail of the alternate universe of Manhattan--where it's always springtime, limos are always pulling up on abandoned streets not in search of prostitutes, and hot strangers are always saying things like "have dinner with me!" If a single hole is poked in the already improbable math of "Sex and the City," what will we believe? Enter "The Carrie Diaries," the new prequel series to the original HBO hit, and a sharp thorn in the side of Bradshaw loyalists.
No really: people are in hysterics over "The Carrie Diaries," (Mondays at 8pm EST on the CW), a one-hour soap tracing the origin of Carrie Bradshaw through her teen years. Sure it's based on author Candace Bushnell's writings, and its character takes her cues from Sarah Jessica's alter-ego. But the new version f---s with some details laid out in the original series, and that is seriously f--cking with super-fans' minds.
"The 90's Carrie we know was supposed to be born in 1966 making her 18 in her 1984 diary where clearly this diary is showing Carrie as 25 in 84 making her born in 1959 instead of 1966," writes a concerned commenter on the new show's Facebook page.
That's strike one.
Strike two: In the fourth season of "Sex and the City," Carrie clearly states that her daddy issues come from the fact that her father "quit" her and her mother when she was five. In the new series, dad is ever-present and supportive. In fact he's responsible for getting Carrie her first internship at a law firm on the grand isle of Manhattan. It's her mom, however, who is absent from the family dynamic. In the pilot for "The Carrie Diaries," Mrs. Bradshaw passes away tragically, leaving Carrie with only her closet full of shoes to remember her by.
Strike three: In Season 3 of SATC, adult Carrie claims she lost her virginity in eleventh grade "in a rec room, on a Ping-Pong table" according to the New Yorker's eagle-eyed reporting. This Carrie, whom we obviously hardly know, loses her virginity in her junior year to an entire city "(not to the man I had hoped, but to a different man - Manhattan.") Okay, so new Carrie still has a knack for grating pun-manship.
But wait! Before you call "The Carrie Diaries" out, the producers behind the new series have an explanation. Amy B. Harris, the new series' show runner, who also worked on later episodes of the original series, told The Hollywood Reporter any inconsistencies are not mistakes, but rather choices based on the original Candace Bushnell young adult books.Who's your daddy, Carrie? (CW)
"In the 'Carrie Diaries' book, Candace did something very interesting, which was she had the mother having passed away," Harris said. "We debated a lot about whether or not to include anything about Carrie's family backstory in ["Sex and the City"] and we mentioned once [on that show] that the father had left. It didn't feel like the right version to me, because the story felt more complicated than a parent leaving, and Candace's version in the book really spoke to me, the idea that she has a good relationship with her father, which is why she's looking for a certain type of man."
Oh wait, there's a strike four: The old Carrie is supposedly a self-made woman from meager beginnings. "No matter what level of "It" girl status she achieved, she always seemed to feel like an outsider," writes Vulture's Patti Greco, a vocal member of the slighted SATC fan club. This new Carrie comes from Connecticut's highest social echelons. Her father is a fancy schmancy Mr. Big in his own right, with the ability to wrangle a coveted internship at a high-powered New York law firm for his daughter, a high school junior.
To the show's credit, the writers have maintained some crucial Carrie-isms. Young Carrie, played by Anna Sophia Robb, still squeals like a stepped-on cat at the slightest elevation of excitement. She's part of a solid girlfriend clan (though there's nary a Miranda in a sight), she's really into shoes as witnessed by her dead-mom's-closet raid, and she really likes poofy skirts. The costumes are by Gossip Girl's style veterans, the next best thing to Patricia Field. Plus Robb has gotten some favorable reviews as the young Bradshaw in a world of '80s nostalgia. And don't forget the first person narration that frames the new series as cheekily as if were written on old Carrie's early '90s laptop.
All that may be more than enough to captivate the casual fan. But for the true SATC diehards, "The Carrie Diaries" is as frustratingly inaccurate as Deep Space Nine was for Trekkies. (We're not so different from them now, are we?) "The Carrie Diaries" does have one major thing working its favor. It's not Sex and the City 2. God that movie was awful.