The Carrie Diaries S02E01: "Win Some, Lose Some"
It's really unfortunate that The Carrie Diaries is never going to be that popular of a show—and that it probably won't even survive beyond this season—because on top of being a rock-solid teen drama, it really knows how to cast. However you feel about the original Sex in the City, you have to admit that AnnaSophia Robb does a wonderful job of embodying Carrie Bradshaw in a way that's both fully her own performance and recognizable to those of us who are familiar with Sarah Jessica Parker's older version of the character. Robb doesn't mimic Parker, but she's clearly picked up on some important mannerisms, resulting in an enjoyable level of consistency to the two shows.
"Win Some, Lose Some" introduced perhaps the second most important figure in the Sex and the City mythos (I'm a Charlotte man myself, but I know I might be in the minority there): Samantha Jones. Or, as she was initially referred to here, Sam Jones. At first she was presumed to be a guy, because Donna was apparently too concerned with finding her own Patrick Bateman that she couldn't bother to inform Carrie, Walt, and Sebastian that her cousin is a lady, not a dude. In any event, The Carrie Diaries' version of Samantha is just as successful as its Carrie. Lindsey Gort was probably cast because she looks just enough like Kim Cattrall, but she basically nailed the performance right off the bat. This Samantha is tough, resourceful, and charming. Frankly, it's actually kind of nice to hang out with this new (old?) iteration of Samantha, since Sex and the City turned her into a caricature by the release of the franchise's last film. And although some things are quite different—she's working as bouncer... er, "keeper of cool"... at a rock n' roll bar, wearing so much black, and ranting about the danger in having too much stuff—it didn't feel like The Carrie Diaries changed things just for the sake of change. Let's be real: She wasn't wearing any underwear. That still seems like Samantha to me.
This was the perfect time to introduce Samantha, too. Although Carrie appeared to be having quite the summer in the city, it was just that—an appearance. She's still bummed about Sebastian and Maggie drunkenly making out, mostly because she loves Sebastian and doesn't really want to get over him. Things got worse when Donna brought him to Manhattan, flustering Carrie so much that she sat her CARRIE PURSE on the sidewalk, only for it to be obviously stolen. As a symbol of a younger, perhaps more naive Carrie—and for Season 1 as a whole—it was nice to see the purse go. "Win Some, Lose Some" probably beat that theme a little too hard, but with the purse gone and Samantha in the picture driving Carrie to hijinks (picturing anyone standing on AnnaSophia Robb's shoulders is funny, and seeing it in the flesh was even better), The Carrie Diaries is on the right track for a second season full of new friends, identity shifts, and hopefully fun. The Carrie-Sebastian relationship drove much of the action in Season 1, and it was often effective doing so, but I hope the show tries some different things in the dozen episodes still to come. Carrie deserves to be happy—if not satisfied—every once in a while. Maybe she too can lose her underwear sometime soon.
– This episode was structured kind of oddly, with Carrie almost immediately leaving the city to go home so she (and we) could catch up with all the other characters and the drama that happened at the end of last year. You expect shows to lay the exposition on pretty thick at the beginning of any given season, but that was just awkward. And apparently you're only a true New Yorker if you eat lox and bagels. I can barely look at lox, let alone consume it.
– Dorrit's boyfriend Miller met Mr. Bradshaw, and it went very well, so she responded by wearing more eye makeup and being emo. Props to Stefania Owen because every word out of Dorrit's mouth might as well be punched up with "UGGGH GOD."
– Maggie worked at a country club, but got fired because Mouse caused a scene at the Fourth of July party. It's nice to remember how many of this show's running storylines convalesced at the end of last season, but Maggie hasn't had enough to do outside of hooking up with men to make her a remotely sympathetic character. She has no money for college, though. Possibly that's The Carrie Diaries' attempt to trace the origins of our national student debt crisis? Probably, right?
– Just in case you were wondering, Sebastian Kydd is such a great person for recognizing all his mistakes with Carrie and mostly being willing to accept his punishment. He also knew Walt was gay the whole time, doesn't think it matters, and would never want Walt to apologize for it.
What'd you guys think of the premiere? How does The Carrie Diaries' Samantha stack up with the original?