Welcome to 1984, CW. I went into last night’s pilot of The Carrie Diaries with nothing but apprehension. How was a show set in the ’80s going to pan with the CW audience? Could AnnaSophia Robb even come close to emulating Sarah Jessica Parker? Just because they both have three first names doesn’t mean they’re anything alike. Would Austin Butler’s particular brand of offbeat blond hottie be enough for the “pretty people network”? If the pilot is any indication (which to be fair pilots not always are) The Carrie Diaries thoughtfully tackles these potential issues and comes out on top. I loved it. Loved it! It is permanently added to my DVR and I’ll be here every week gushing with you about the CW’s new (hopefully) hit.
The Carrie Diaries centers around Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) who recently lost her mother to cancer. An aspiring New Yorker, Bradshaw dreams of leaving Connecticut and her rebellious sister Dorit for a life in the city. When her father (Matt Lescher) suggests a once a week internship in Manhattan with a friend’s law firm Carrie jumps at the opportunity. Her first day on the job she meets Larissa Loughton (Freema Agyeman), a stylist at Interview magazine, Carrie’s favorite fashion magazine, who shows her what NYC is all about. In a Jane By Design like move Carrie doesn’t admit to her status as a high school student and instead goes partying with Larissa. And thus the NY fairytale of Carrie Bradshaw begins.
With the unfortunate cancellation of Jane By Design and the end of Gossip Girl, the 18-25 demographic is in need of a new fashion based drama. Who knew a show set in the ’80s could fill that void? The clothes on last night’s episode nearly overshadowed the plot from perfectly preppy to full on glam the fashion managed to pull us into seamlessly into the ’80s. The fact that aspects of ’80s style are brought back every year helps bridge the generation gap. This week’s Sunday Styles section of the New York Times featured the denim button down/oversized sweater look that the Mouse (Ellen Wong) sports during the pilot. The preppy colorful aesthetic of Carrie’s friends easily translates to trends of today.
At the other end of the spectrum are the mean girls led by Donna Ladonna (Chloe Bridges) with their big hair and neon bangles they incapsulate the 15 year old’s perception of the ’80s. Their style is over the top and wonderful. One of the kitschiest parts of the show and the best. Those three girls were unforgettable
The CW has tackled a reboot of 90210 and a botched attempt at Melrose Place, but The Carrie Diaries is something different entirely. While 90210 took characters we knew (or didn’t) from the old show into the future, The Carrie Diaries takes Carrie into the past. It’s likely that a decent portion of the audience will have never seen Sex and the City, but for those of us who have exploring a character whose ending we know so well is uniquely refreshing. AnnaSophia Robb did an excellent job of putting herself and Sarah Jessica Parker into the character. While she is not the real Carrie Bradshaw she definitely studied some of her mannerisms. Robb may not have the striking look of SJP, but the she’s got the carefree wide-eyed innocence down.