A few weeks ago, The Carrie Diaries, the long-anticipated prequel to Sex and the City, premiered on the CW. The series follows Carrie Bradshaw’s days as a suburban high schooler and the beginnings of her love affair with New York City. And Sex and the City, it is not. The contrast between networks like HBO and the CW should be indication enough – despite sharing a lead character, these shows don’t necessarily correlate. And that’s okay. The two series are meant to connect with separate age groups from separate eras.
However, there are some glaring inconsistencies between Carrie’s life in Sex and the City and her life in The Carrie Diaries. To be fair, I’ve never actually read the book version of The Carrie Diaries, so I can’t speak to whether the show is loyal to that, but what I do know is that the portrayal of our much-beloved columnist’s childhood is a far cry from what most SATC viewers might have envisioned.
From the very moment the pilot episode of The Carrie Diaries begins, the tone is set for a story of a strikingly different life than that of the “grown-up” Bradshaw. The camera follows Carrie as she storms into her little sister’s bedroom in their upper-middle-class Connecticut house and her charming father attempts to break up their argument.
In Sex and the City, Carrie mentions in the fourth season that her father walked out on her and her mother when she was five years old. This shapes the way she views her world. Would Carrie have even become the girl she is in Sex and the City without that defining part of her past? It is also implied in SATC that Carrie is an only child – she never once mentions a sibling in the series’ six years. And yet in The Carrie Diaries, she has both a rebellious little sister and a doting, lawyerly father. Instead of growing up without a dad, Diaries Carrie is facing a whole different hardship – dealing with the recent loss of her mom.
I did a little historian work, and in the original series it is revealed that Carrie moved to New York City in 1986, around age 20. In The Carrie Diaries, she is said to be 16 years old in 1984, when in actuality she would have been 16 in 1982. Why alter such a straightforward piece of her chronology?
What doesn’t change from one series to another is Carrie’s trademark insightful nature and her devotion to her friends. In both shows, she is dedicated to her work and ever curious about the way the world (and love) works.
So what’s next for teenage Carrie? Well, if we’re going by ancient history here, in Sex and the City Carrie claims she lost her virginity to someone named Seth Bateman in high school, and before that she dated a boy named Jeremy (who she later reconnects with as an adult). Will either of them make an appearance? The Carrie Diaries seems to be going its own route and rewriting her past. In one of her few recollections of her high school days during Sex and the City’s run, Carrie waxes nostalgic about listening to Styx on vinyl and driving her parents’ Oldsmobile without them knowing. Maybe we can look forward to seeing some of that on The Carrie Diaries.
Have you noticed any other inconsistencies SatC fans? I know you’re out there. Please leave your comments below and help us sleuth out the rest of them.
Claire is a writer and actress based in New York City who likes telling peoples’ stories in whatever way she can. She goes to liberal arts college and spends a lot of time taking pictures and dreaming up ways to get Lena Dunham to be her bestie.