In this week's series premiere of The Carrie Diaries, the new Sex and the City prequel that takes place in the 1980s, a teenaged Carrie Bradshaw is seen working and shopping in Lower Manhattan, presumably right near the World Trade Center, but there is no reference to the Twin Towers. Turns out that was a conscious decision, and one that echoes how the franchise has approached the iconic buildings since September 11, 2001.
In a phone interview today with The Atlantic Wire, Carrie Diaries executive producer/showrunner Amy B. Harris, who also worked on Sex and the City, said that the creative team "talked about it for quite some time," adding that "from a sensitivity standpoint it was the right decision" to leave the Twin Towers out of any shots of downtown New York.
"When we really sat down to talk about whether we wanted to put the World Trade Center into any of our stock footage what we decided is this is a show about love and romance and coming of age," Harris said. "If one 16-year-old who is watching the show possibly lost a parent—if we caused them pause or hurt in any way—it wouldn't have been worth it."
Though Harris admits that a "different type of show" might have a made a different choice, she says that for The Carrie Diaries it was the right move. For Sex and the City, producers made the more radical decision to take episodes shot before 9/11 and remove the Towers altogether. Emily Nussbaum wrote in New York magazine's "Encyclopedia of 9/11" that executive producer Michael Patrick King "advocated erasing them, including from the credits, where they were superimposed with Sarah Jessica Parker’s name. The show took place in present-day New York, he said, where there was no World Trade Center." A scene with a snow globe that features the towers remained.
The Carrie Diaries does not take place in present day New York, which is why, for some members of the audience, the lack of the Twin Towers is in some ways just as jarring as their inclusion would have been. After Monday night's premiere, Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times noticed the omission and wrote: "Whether the lack of at least one shot of the towers was an oversight or a creative decision, it was a bad choice." Flint's post prompted us to reach out to The CW for comment. Even though the Manhattan that teenage Carrie Bradshaw romanticizes did include the Twin Towers, The Carrie Diaries' audience, many of whom probably barely remember 9/11, won't see them.