A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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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?
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