Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 1, Episode 13 of The CW's "The Carrie Diaries," titled "Kiss Yesterday Goodbye."
The first season of "The Carrie Diaries" has come to a close. Leading up to the pilot, I scoffed at the idea of a "Sex and the City" prequel and dismissed it as a sham before I watched a single episode. When "The Carrie Diaries" premiered, I found myself pleasantly surprised and particularly excited by AnnaSophia Robb's portrayal of a young Carrie Bradshaw. It definitely wasn't "Sex and the City." But a show about an over-analytical teenager who wants to be a writer and finds herself obsessed with love, fashion and New York City seemed like an hour worth watching week after week. Thirteen episodes later, I am not dismissing the series, but find myself ultimately unimpressed with its first season.
Despite the pilot's positive reviews, the show experienced low ratings for weeks, struggling to find an audience at 8 p.m. on Monday nights. This was due in part to ABC's "The Bachelor" competing in the same timeslot for part of the season. Though it boasted steady online streaming views (it's offered on The CW's website for free), "The Carrie Diaries" didn't seem to hit its stride at any point throughout the season.
There were more mediocre characters than compelling ones. I could have done without Maggie and Mouse (Carrie's two best friends) and their respective story lines. I also could have skipped Carrie's short-lived relationship with George and his awful father Harlan. If the show gets renewed for a second season, I hope the writers quite literally write off the aforementioned characters, and focus instead on Carrie, her family, Sebastian and Walt.
Based on the show's final episode, it seems like that could happen. Season 1 ended with Carrie and Walt moving into the city together for their summer vacation. They are housesitting for Larissa, who is spending the summer overseas learning to be a geisha. Sebastian and Carrie are once again at odds because he drunkenly made out with Maggie. The silver lining here is that Carrie and Maggie have a huge fight, which makes it seem as though Maggie's future on the show is unlikely (phew). Maggie also calls Walt "disgusting" when she finds out he's gay -- another reason why she probably won't be around.
In a cute but predictable twist, Carrie's dad and sister find happiness, love and sex. Though Carrie ends the first season a virgin, Dorrit sleeps with her boyfriend, Miller. Tom is dating a single mother in the neighborhood, spending what seems like countless hours bonding with her bed.
Walt officially comes out of the closet with the help of Carrie's Interview magazine colleague, Bennet. Carrie and Sebastian broke up and got back together twice in this episode alone, and I found myself reaching my limit with their on-again-off-again relationship. As the show waits to hear if it's renewed for a second season, I am curious to see how show writers will write Sebastian into Carrie and Walt's summer life in the city. Or, will the second season pick up at the beginning of senior year of high school, with Carrie and Sebastian returning to speaking terms from an eight week hiatus?
Overall, "The Carrie Diaries" suffered because each episode failed to be greater than the sum of its parts. As I watched from week to week, I found myself perplexed as to why I liked most of the actors, the writing, the production design, the music, and the wardrobe; but I was dissatisfied each time the credits rolled. While the individual aspects seemed sufficient alone, none of the composite episodes really gelled. I firmly believe "The Carrie Diaries" makes sense for the CW and is a natural fit for younger viewers who miss shows like "Gossip Girl," but right now, the series rings hollow.
What did you think of Season 1 of "The Carrie Diaries"? Are you hoping it gets renewed?
Follow Rebecca Shapiro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rebeccashap