The Carrie Diaries, Season 1 Episode 2:“Lie With Me”
Written By: Amy B. Harris
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
January 21, 2013 at 8pm ET on The CW
Today’s teen dramas are too often high-concept. In order to stand out they attempt to lure the viewer in with vampires, affluence and the occasional murder. You know, teen stuff. The Carrie Diaries however thus far is proving that less really can be more. The only niche the show offers is an often-forgettable connection to Sex and the City and its easily replaceable 80’s backdrop. The show is about the characters their emotions and their real struggles, all of which it successfully executes despite the aid of choreographed dance.
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The second episode of any series can stumble on its way to finding its footing but other then Sebastian (Austin Butler) trading in his Pretty in Pink James Spader haircut for his best Jake Ryan, the progression comes off fairly organic.
As the title suggests the underlying theme of this week’s episode is “lies”. Sebastian lying to Carrie about an evening spent with Donna, Carrie lying to her boss about leaving the office and to her father about Sebastian and then Maggie lying to the girls and to Walt – and Walt lying to himself.
Much like in the pilot, Carrie is yet again stopped at a cross roads between her old Connecticut life and her new Manhattan life when Larissa gives her an ultimatum by rescheduling the shoot featuring Carrie’s purse, all while her tightly wound (for explained reasons) is giving Carrie time sensitive work laced with the threat of not signing her school credit sheet if not completed on time. Carrie, of course chooses the shoot, then on point with the episode, lies her way through the rest. But it is important to note that while she’s entranced with the glamour of it, her innocence still reigns supreme as she feels guilty about it all.
Donna LaDonna who at first glance comes off as a caricaturized version of herself, (especially when shown with her friends), does serve a purpose greater then acting at a 1984 placeholder. She forces Carrie to stand up and act for Sebastian and his masterfully mischievous grin, an act that highlights the spark ready to ignite within Carrie. Their tryst however is short lived once Carrie is caught both in her lies and by her father who later tells her she can no longer see Sebastian“because he says so”- a statements whose vagueness will surely pay off in the coming weeks.
Near the end of the episode Maggie and Walt come to a turning point in their two-year relationship when Walt (whether he realizes it or not yet), decides it’s time to shave. This brings the episode to a close, alluding to the fact that lying can only take you so far. Enter the voice-over. While CW viewers will note that this is a tactic frequented by the network, in the case of The Carrie Diaries, it comes off as more of an homage to its SATC roots offering insight over explanation as Carrie sits in the window writing away and thus ending a second enjoyable and endearing episode.