The Carries Diaries second season comes to an end tonight, and there may not be a third, but we've got three reasons why it should stay.
When The Carrie Diaries began last year it seemed like an inherently bad idea. Our culture seemed to regard Sex and the City as a "I couldn't help but wonder" joke, and The Carrie Diaries seemed like it could be a lame attempt to capitalize on an already existing brand. But then, amazingly, the show was good. As Richard Lawson wrote, the show displayed a "surprising level of perky sophistication." The show has maintained that throughout its second season, even as it introduced baby-Samantha Jones, tackled a teen pregnancy story line, and tiptoed into the tragic world of the AIDS crisis.
And yet the show sits on the verge of cancellation. That's unfortunate.
1. It's more an heir to Gilmore Girls than Gossip Girl.
One may have expected that a Sex and the City prequel would try to hook viewers by focusing on, well, sex, becoming—in a way—like an 80s version of Gossip Girl, a show that thrived because of it's salaciousness. But, no, it quickly became evident that The Carrie Diaries was going to use its predecessor's legacy in another way, focusing on Carrie's emotional relationships with her friends. It then added to the mix something we never got to see in Sex and the City, her family.
Though, yes, the show isn't always realistic—there is no way you can commute back and forth between New York and Connecticut as quickly as these characters do, nor are adults frequently that okay with spending all their time with teenagers—often the problems Carrie and her friends faced are grounded in teenage reality. The show relishes in its quiet moments. Perhaps one of the show's best this season was when Walt—Carrie's friend who had recently been kicked out of home after his parents found out he was gay—sat and watched The Golden Girls with Carrie's dad. It's refreshing to have a show on The CW, a network laden with superpowers and vampires, wherein one of the characters goes all Rory Gilmore on her college applications, and another is learning to treat herself well in relationships.
And, yes, there is sex, but the show isn't precious about it. Carrie's little sister Dorrit goes ahead and sleeps with a boyfriend, before Carrie herself even loses her virginity. While Carrie plans for the perfect moment, the more rebellious Dorrit is fine with sleeping with someone because she wants to, and that's fine.
2. We do want to see how the show envisions Carrie's life morphing into what we know so well from The Carrie Diaries.
Though one of the joys of the show is how it has distanced itself from SATC, we're really interested to see how Carrie Diaries Carrie morphs into the Carrie we knew on HBO. Though AnnaSophia Robb is not Sarah Jessica Parker, it is the same Carrie, the one who tends to overanalyze things, and make self-involved, self-sabotaging decisions. This season, as previously mentioned, we got Samantha played by Kim Catrall's mini-me Lindsey Gort. While Gort has Samantha down, it would be nice to see her start to progress into the successful PR maven we know she becomes.
Probably our biggest question is: What happens to this group of family and friends in Carrie's existence? Her friend Mouse could easily disappear at Harvard, and distance could grow between Carrie and her friend Mags, as tends to happen with high school friends. But what about her friends Walt and Bennet, the latter of whom decided, we learned in last week's episode, started to work at the Gay Men's Health Crisis. In an interview with Lawson at Vanity Fair, creator Amy Harris implied that perhaps, devastatingly, Walt isn't in Carrie's life because he was a victim of the AIDS crisis. Might that fate befall Bennet too, who recently learned his ex was diagnosed.
And what of Carrie's sister Dorrit? And her father? Last week's episode hinted at a riff between Carrie and her dad as Carrie said she was going to choose a job at Interview over NYU. (The teaser for this week's episode has Carrie threatening to go to California with her hunk boyfriend Sebastian.) But is that why he isn't a part of her later life at all? We know, yes, these are just two TV shows, but we see hints of old Carrie in young Carrie that we want to know how she becomes this person.
3. It has one of the best gay relationships on television.
We've mentioned Walt and Bennet before, but let's just focus on their relationship. Unlike Sex and the City, which at times used gay characters Stanford and Anthony as quippy accessories, The Carrie Diaries has given us two gay characters who are whole characters, not at all easily defined by stereotypes. Walt and Bennet's relationship—especially now that they have gotten back together—is completely sweet, without being saccharine or after school special-y. We're terrified to know what becomes of them now that the AIDS crisis has hit the show, but the show is proving that it can treat something like that with the care it requires.