The Carrie Diaries

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Carrie Diaries TV Poster Image
Sex and the City prequel is edgy but has merit for teens.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 23 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There are elements of strong family bonds and positive friendships in the show, but viewers will also see less savory behavior like larceny, emotional manipulation, and peer pressure. A family copes with the loss of a mother (which happens before the show starts), and a teen's rebellion is a recurring storyline. Carrie's coming of age isn't without its pitfalls, but she's driven by a desire to make something of herself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A newly single dad copes with his new role as best he can, and the family finds some togetherness in moving on past the loss of Carrie's mom. Carrie assumes some of the responsibility for her younger sister and tries to keep her on the straight and narrow. She has a strong moral compass, but that doesn't keep her from breaking family rules (and occasionally the law) when she's swayed by the company she keeps.

Violence
Sex

Teens talk about having sex, desiring sex, and the emotional fallout from physical relationships that go bad. Euphemisms replace anatomical terms ("It was like putting a hot dog in a keyhole," one teen says), but the meaning is clear. Some kissing (between both opposite- and same-sex couples), and a recurring teen character wrestles with his sexual identity. A teen cheats on her boyfriend with an adult police officer.

Language

"Bitchy," "hell," "screw you," and "pissed," as well as slang body references like "boobs."

Consumerism

The show is inspired by a book series and is a prequel to Sex and the City.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage drinking is shown and referenced and in some cases results in drunkenness and impaired moral judgment. Teens are shown sharing what's implied is a drug of some kind, and a teen finds pot in her sister's drawer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to Sex and the City and follows the coming of age of SATC's leading lady and narrative voice, Carrie Bradshaw. The show is set during Carrie's high school years and showcases the original series' same openness toward sexuality, though here it's more a discussion point than a scene stealer because of the characters' ages. Even so, expect some frank talk about the physical and emotional nature of the act, references to sexual identity, and illicit affairs, including a teen relationship with an older man. Language is sporadic, there are instances of teen drinking and drug use, and Carrie makes some iffy judgment calls when she falls in with an older, more worldly crowd in the city. On the flip side, she values meaningful relationships with friends, loves her family, and has a clear sense of where she wants to be in the future.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11, 13, and 14 year old Written bybdumais April 5, 2014

The initials "CW" are a tip off

If you want your sons and daughters to begin down the road of Sex and the City, dehumanization and objectification as sexual objects, this show is for you. Dit... Continue reading
Adult Written byTV67 January 28, 2013

Pleasantly Surprised

So Far from just watching the Pilot I was Pleasantly surprised. I assumed it would be just another teen show over sexualising kids and portraying teens to be a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNetflixTeen January 24, 2015

OK Show, Can be Quite Inappropriate

Rated: Iffy for ages 14 and under . -Pot is found in a 14 year old's room in the first five minutes of the first episode -Drink champagne from bottle (seen... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 20, 2013

AWESOME SHOW!!

I love this show. It is funny and it is great to watch. I love it and I think mature 11 or 12 year olds can watch this but I think 13 is the perfect age. It is... Continue reading

What's the story?

With the start of her junior year of high school, life should be getting back to normal for 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb), but after the recent loss of her mom, she's anything but settled. Instead, she feels like all eyes are on her, and the fact that her best friends' lives seem to be finding direction only highlights her uncertainty about her own. But then in walks Sebastian (Austin Butler), a handsome face from her past, sparking an interest that she'd assumed was gone for good. Better yet, Carrie's dad (Matt Letscher) lines up an internship for her in Manhattan, where she meets free-spirited magazine editor Larissa (Freema Agyeman) and gets her first taste of adulthood and the glamorous city life she's long craved. She's sure she'll never be the same now that she's seen how the other half lives, but where her dreams will take her is anybody's guess.

Is it any good?

THE CARRIE DIARIES is based on a series of books by Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell and follows Carrie's formative teen years when she's first introduced to the big city. Both the show itself and Robb in particular have big shoes to fill in following fan-favorite Sex and the City and the iconic Sarah Jessica Parker, respectively. To her credit, Robb meets the challenge head on, attempting to channel Parker's appearance and mannerisms and daring you not to love her smart, well-spoken character who's driven more by her personal goals than she is by sexual infatuation or lust.

That said, the '80s-set show does lack a clear vision of its target audience. To fully appreciate The Carrie Diaries, you should be a fan of Sex and the City, but instead, the show is geared toward teens who likely haven't seen the original. What's more, if your teen does get drawn into Carrie's story, it's likely they'll want to see where she winds up, which will lead them straight to the HBO series known for steamy love scenes and frank talk about bedroom habits. But if you can set aside the connection between the two shows and judge this one on its own merit, there's a lot to like in its presentation of positive friendships, family relationships, and Carrie's passion to fulfill her dreams. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Carrie Diaries depicts relationships. Which friendships are most meaningful to Carrie? How do your friendships enrich your life? Why do they seem to have more staying power than teen romance does?

  • The loss of Carrie's mom is a defining moment in her life. What turning points have you experienced that have shaped the person you are? Are you stronger for having made it through these events? How do our family relationships influence our value systems?

  • Teens: Who do you think this show is geared for? What was the author's purpose in writing The Carrie Diaries after Sex and the City? Have you ever seen Sex and the City? If so, do you think you can better appreciate Carrie's story because of it? If not, does this series make you want to watch it?

  • Do you think The Carrie Diaries will appeal to adult fans of the original show?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strong female characters

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