The Sex and the City Prequel Looks Anachronistic in Every Way

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 26 2012 8:15 AM

The Carrie Diaries Rekindles Sex and the City Nostalgia

carriediaries
AnnaSophia Robb in the trailer for The Carrie Diaries(CW)

Like many cultural juggernauts in Hollywood, Sex and the City is a gift that keeps on giving, this time in the form of a new CW prequel series, The Carrie Diaries, which finds a young Carrie Bradshaw in her senior year of high school in 1984. The trailer has just been released, and the pitch is emphatically nostalgic—synthesizer music blaring in the background, the giddy and optimistic suburban teenagers seem to have wandered off the set of Can't Buy Me Love.

Sex and the City fans, the prime target audience here, vary widely in age, from women who remember being a teenager in the 1980s to girls who are in high school now. But it’s hard to fathom anyone over the age of 21 watching The Carrie Diaries, which is adapted from Candace Bushnell’s book series of the same name, and includes many new characters and back story about her family. The CW has made its name off of soapy teen-driven narratives like Gossip Girl and a revamped 90210, and it may be difficult to get older viewers to tune in there.

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What’s more, Sex and the City was a turning point in the way women’s relationships—mostly with each other, but also with men—were depicted on television. In its wake, numerous shows have pushed the envelope further, including The L Word and Girls—which is already a Sex and the City prequel of sorts. While The Carrie Diaries doesn’t have to be as preoccupied with sex as these others shows (“Sex isn’t everything,” one character says), it also shouldn’t feel this anachronistic. You can certainly make a period TV show that feels of its moment, Freaks and Geeks being an excellent example in the high school dramedy genre. Judging from this trailer, though, “of the moment” is not a phrase people will be applying to The Carrie Diaries anytime soon.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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