The first season of The CW's The Carrie Diaries saw young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) experiencing a lot of firsts and the youthful excitement that came with them. From her first foray into Manhattan to her first big city party to her first couture dress, Carrie had a lot of "Ooh and aah" moments (best put by the series showrunner herself). She also had some less than stellar moments, some of which led to getting her heart broken. And now in its second season, The Carrie Diaries is looking to take all of the lessons from those experiences and apply them to a more confident Carrie.
"If last year was coming of age and the age of innocence lost, this is the consequences of that," The Carrie Diaries executive producer Amy B. Harris said to LA TV Insider Examiner.
"This season we really felt like 'You said I love you and you got your heart broken; you've gone to a book party'-- these are things we're not going to take for granted this season, but they come with a more confident, more experienced way of looking at the world."
So what are the consequences of the events of the second season premiere for the various characters and relationships in Carrie's world? We talked to Harris about all of that!
- Carrie's purse symbolized so much more than just her keen sense of fashion; it kept Carrie connected to her mother. How symbolic was her purse being stolen of just how much Carrie will be moving on from this season?
"What I loved about having the purse stolen and having Samantha say 'Honey get over it; move on!' is I felt that the first season, appropriately so, was about that first year when you lose someone important to you, everything is sort of connected to that loss. It's the first Thanksgiving without that person; it's your first birthday without that person; everything is sort of in relation to that person. I felt like with the new year coming, to sort of say 'You have to release that, Carrie. Now how you define yourself is going to have to be not just about having lost your mother,'" Harris said.
- Carrie's spending more and more time in Manhattan and making new friends. Does this mean her life in Castlebury is just something to "get through" and she doesn't actually have much in common with her childhood friends anymore, causing her to pull away?
"With Maggie, that's the conclusion she's sort of coming to already, but I think certainly Walt is spending a ton of time in New York, and even Mouse, so for now people are still very much in the [same] universe. Whether in a season where Carrie's out of high school, what that will look like, I think will change, but for me, when I was in high school even though I had internships and was going into DC-- because I grew up in DC-- and wasn't with my friends, I started to see a bigger world out there and was excited. I think I knew in a year we'd all be apart, and some of us would keep in touch-- and some of us didn't-- but I don't think this season is one where we'll see a lot of breaking apart of those friendships," Harris said.
"I believe that even with an exciting life in New York, your senior year of high school is still a big deal-- figuring out where you want to go to college, living in a world where your ex-boyfriend walks down the same halls as you, it's still dramatic, even if you are starting to see what your career could look like down the road in a great city, going to great parties. You could be picking up an Emmy but if you're getting your heart broken at home, you still feel it. So to me, that's kind of the fun juxtaposition of Carrie: not so much that she feels Castlebury is an obligation, but now there's these two worlds that hold equal power now."
- Speaking of Manhattan, how much more of it will we explore and who else may find their way into the city to hang with Carrie?
"With bringing in Samantha, Bennett with Walt, Donna [being] an actual relative of Samantha, we were really able to start, in a great way, bringing a lot of the kids to Manhattan a lot more. You know, Mouse this summer ends up in Manhattan for a chunk, and she has a lot of lessons to learn from Samantha's more experienced way of looking at all forms of sex. So it was really, for us, a great way to ensure that Manhattan became a front and center version. I don't anticipate Samantha sitting at the diner in Castlebury, but I certainly see coffee shop scenes in Manhattan, or [ones with] the ladies and Walt," Harris said.
"My one dream for the whole show was the shoot in front of the Lincoln Center fountain, which we're doing this year and I'm super excited about! ... [Carrie's] going to McSorley's, which is this old school institution bar that's been around for 150 years. The thing I'm most thrilled about for the season is how much we're showing off Manhattan. It definitely feels like, like with Sex and the City, it's becoming a big character on the show, and we have a lot of iconic spaces. We're doing fantastic Christmas parties for Bongo jeans, and our whole thing this year was we'll do a big event if it makes sense for the story. We loved the idea of Carrie at her first 20-something house/apartment party in New York. And we also really want to do the sort of John Hughes/Sixteen Candles/when parents go out of town house party. So we're really exploring a lot of fun. There's a gay bar scene with Lady Godiva on a horse. So we're doing some really fun, big events throughout the season, and I think in a great way really showing off Manhattan and all it has to offer."
- Walt seemed comfortable in his skin and actually identified as gay in the premiere. Is he ready to start telling more people?
"In the world of Manhattan, he is ready to explore what being gay means to him. But in the town of Castlebury, he's not ready to tell his parents. Walt's challenges this season, for me, are kind of two-fold [including] how do you be authentically yourself when you're hiding a lot of who you are?" Harris said.
"You can get your ass kicked in a 1980s high school if you're gay. No one's going to be like 'That's awesome; join the Gay and Lesbian Club.' There was nothing like that...He's got a lot of challenges ahead of him, and some of them are internal, but some of them will be external as well. He's lost in terms of what kind of gay man does he want to be? And then the other part is there's AIDs in Manhattan and there's a lot of homophobia. We've been doing a lot of research on the time, and one of the things we keep [coming up against] is AIDs was running rampant through the city and homophobia ran rampant pretty much everywhere else. So he has a lot to manage, and I think what his parents' reaction would be to finding out he's gay would be pretty devastating."
- Does Walt want a romantic relationship with Bennet (Jake Robinson), or does he see him more as a mentor?
"He really would like to be with Bennett. And his eighteenth birthday is looming large for him. But I think for Bennett, who's already firmly ensconced in his life, that looming deadline is not a big deal to him, and I think that's going to become an issue between them," Harris said.
- Samantha (Lindsey Gort) moved in with Carrie and Walt (Brendan Dooling). How will she fare when fitting in with Carrie's friends?
"I think most get a kick out of her. I'm not sure Walt is going to enjoy living with her. I don't necessarily think he doesn't love her, I just think he doesn't want to live with her, and that will be some fun stuff that comes up in the next episode for them. She's rather uninhibited is how I will explain it. But mostly they think she is kind of funny, terrific, and out there. But of course the other funny, terrific, and out there woman is Larissa, and sometimes two people who have too many similarities, that's going to be epic in its explosions, I think," Harris said.
- Will Carrie's relationship with Samantha soften the way she thinks of Donna (Chloe Bridges)? Are those two growing closer this season?
"Carrie very much respects the fact that Donna has been there for Walt and is protective of him. I don't know that they'll ever be close, but what I love is that Walt and Donna are close and that I think there's going to be some surprising friendships that develop among Carrie's friends with Donna as the year goes on. I love high school for that reason: you sit next to someone in class and they make you laugh and suddenly you're like 'Oh that person isn't so evil!' You start appreciating them for what they can bring you. I think for Carrie that Donna has brought her Samantha is huge," Harris said.
- We saw Sebastian (Austin Butler) be very gentle and tender towards Carrie at the end of the season premiere, so it's obvious he still cares about her. Is Carrie aware of how deep his feelings still run? Can she even be open to considering his feelings, or is she too afraid of getting hurt again?
"She is pretty terrified because even when he had strong feelings for her, he made a pretty big mistake. So I think she's pretty terrified of letting him in because if she does and he breaks her heart again, how easy is it to repair a heart twice? It keeps getting harder because you have to keep getting mad at yourself," Harris said.
"She's attempting to find a more mature way of handling it, but I think at the end of the day she's going to have to say what she feels, and that may make things worse or make it better. She's starting to put it together-- even if it isn't always the kind of together you want."
No matter how much more mature Carrie is-- or trying to be-- she still has a way to go and a lot to learn. She will stumble; she will freak out; she will grow. And of course there is still one big first left for Carrie, too-- the question of losing her virginity. And though it is too early to get into too much detail about that, Harris did share that she and her writers are planning on addressing that head-on in season two, with a guy who we "maybe" have already met. Come on, it has to be Sebastian, right? Who else would mean as much-- to Carrie and to the audience?
The Carrie Diaries airs on The CW on Friday nights at 8 p.m.
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