While Watching The Carrie Diaries Finale I Couldn’t Help But Wonder, Was She Always A Self-Centered Jerk?

carrie diaries season 1 finale carrie and sebastian

The Carrie Diaries is a big reminder that I’ve gotten to that point in a girl’s life where she realizes Carrie Bradshaw isn’t all that. I blindly sided with Carrie while watching Sex and the City when I was younger, but recent viewings (the show reruns ALL THE TIME) have left me feelings that Carrie is sorta horrible and self-centered. Not all the time, just sometimes. I know she’s supposed to be flawed and that makes her a more interesting character, but there were some things that I just can’t look past. Like when she cheated on Aidan, for example. I felt absolutely no sympathy for her in that situation and since realizing that, I haven’t thought of Carrie in the same way.

The Carrie Diaries gives us a chance to learn more about Carrie’s past and maybe explain why she is the way she is. On the first season, we find out that Carrie and her sister, Dorrit, have recently lost their mother and live in Castlebury, Connecticut with their Dad. The big plot lines of the season are that Carrie has a thing for her school’s bad-ish boy, Sebastian, and has finagled an internship at Interview Magazine in New York that she apparently is allowed to skip full days of school for.

By the time we reach last night’s finale, Carrie has begun actually dating Sebastian, but things aren’t all smooth sailing. At the beginning of the episode, Carrie and Sebastian get in a fight where he says, “Why do you have to think so much about everything?” True that! Twenty years later she still does it, so don’t even try, Sebastian. But he loves her, so he shows up at her house and they make up. Carrie loves him too and hates that she “sabotages things when they’re good.”

The next day at school Carrie’s all excited ’cause she’s “gonna be lovey dovey at prom!” This line sounded so future Carrie. Then, literally ten seconds after being excited about prom, her friend Maggie accidentally tells her that she and Sebastian saw Carrie’s dad making out with some chick in a car. Carrie freaks out at Maggie and then goes and freaks out at Sebastian for keeping this from her. She takes very big, very Carrie jump and goes, “Maybe we’re just too different!” and breaks up with him. Jeez, Carrie! Calm down!

Pissed off, Sebastian confronts Maggie for giving away the secret and then tells her that Walt (her ex-boyfriend/current-friend) is gay. So Maggie shows up at the diner where Walt, Carrie, and Mouse are hanging out and starts yelling at him about being gay in the MIDDLE OF THE RESTAURANT. This episode had sooooo many instances of characters showing up somewhere dramatically. In the show’s defense, it’s sort of realistic since no one was able to send angry texts, the 21st century’s version of arriving unannounced.

Carrie and Walt decide to go to New York for Carrie’s coworker Larissa‘s going away party instead of prom. Carrie wears a dress reminiscent of her future famous tutu and at the party asks Larissa why can’t love just be easy?? All she wants is to end up married with kids and a garden and a station wagon! Larissa says, “That’s not your life Carrie Bradshaw” by which she means, “You are someone that thrives on drama and you will always be that way, so go randomly show up at Sebastian’s house!” So Carrie leaves New York to go try to get back with Sebastian AGAIN.

While she’s in transit, Sebastian and Maggie have met up at a bar to drink whiskey moodily and bond over how their lives are ruined. Then they kiss. Dun-dun-dun!!!

Carrie gets back to Castlebury and shows up at Sebastian’s and I’m sooooo sure Maggie is there, but she isn’t. Sebastian agrees to get back together with Carrie AGAIN. So they cuddle and Carrie smiles while Sebastian has a look on his face that says, “Shiiiiiiittttt.”

The next day, Carrie is really happy that she got Sebastian back. But the unannounced showing up is not over! Maggie comes to Carrie’s house to tell her the truth about her whiskey make-out with Sebastian, so Carrie kicks her out. Obviously, Carrie’s really sad but then– and you’re not gonna believe this– Sebastian shows up. Carrie makes Dorrit shoo Sebastian away. What a relief! I couldn’t handle them getting back together again.

The finale ends with Carrie and Walt living in Larissa’s New York loft over the summer while she’s in Japan. Walt’s been hanging out with a new guy who mentions having a friend name Stanford. Omg, Stanford!! I get that summer on the show is gonna “happen” during the break between TV seasons, but I’d rather see Carrie and Walt’s summer in New York than good ol’ Castlebury. Plus, I really wanna meet young Stanford!

From The Carrie Diaries, we can see that as a teen Carrie was already pretty set in her ways. She messes up her relationship with Sebastian in classic Carrie fashion; only at this point it’s not yet “classic” because she’s only 16 and has no idea being a relationship masochist is in her future. I just worry that it might be too much too soon. The “sabotage everything” line was little heavy handed in it’s look-she’s-always-been-this-way message. I want to know more about why she’s this way. I want to root for her before I just write her off as selfish. Then again, I’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City and a lot of them more than once. New fans can’t reference these things. They have to come to their own realizations about their less-than-perfect protagonist and young Carrie is all they’ve got. I still say, slow it down some. This was only season one. People who are new to Carrie should get to love her before they start hating her. Would I watch a second season? Sure. The show has all the stuff that kept me watching the original: fashion, drama, New York, and a Carrie who always retains at least a little charm throughout all her bad desicions.

(Photo: CWTV)

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    • Jill O’Rourke

      If they don’t show us young Stanford, that is just cruel.

    • Laurenhfx

      The episode from SATC where Charlotte gets engaged to Harry but all Carrie cares about is that Burger dumped her on a post it! That’s when I realized what a self self absorbed awful character she was.

    • CMJ

      The answer is YES. I can’t remember what episode or when it was in my life but I was watching SATC and just though – “Waaaaiiiiitttt, has Carrie always been this whiny and insufferable?? Great shoes though.”

      It’s actually why I think Carrie Diaries is pretty good because it totally captures that about Carrie.

    • bee

      About next season, the exec producer said if the show gets renewed it would be set around the events of the summer and not skip over. Also in the books the show is based on, Carrie’s summer in New York is when she meets Samantha, so I really hope they keep that in.

    • Sky

      I love Sex and the City, and I agree that it’s interesting to learn about what made Carrie the way she is (I like her flawed character.) I haven’t gotten a chance to watch this season finale yet though because I’ve been working overtime at DISH, but I recorded it. My DISH Hopper can record up to six shows at once during primetime, so it was easy for me to record The Carrie Diaries’ finale and my roommates could still record all their shows, too. It’s great that we don’t have to fight over what to record anymore, and I’m looking forward to catching up with the finale.

    • NotaCarrie

      I’ve never watched “Diaries”, but I see you mentioned Carrie and her sister living with their Dad. I can’t help but remember the episode of SATC when Carrie went to work for Vogue and we learned that Carrie’s dad walked out on her and her mom. And I don’t remember a sister ever being mentioned. I have all seasons on DVD. My boyfriends would always mock the show…until eventually they would want me to start over from the first episode so they could watch too. Anyway, it took a few viewings of the entire series, but I did eventually realize that Carrie was a horrible, annoying, totally self-centered person. A bad friend, bad writer, totally shrill and self-obsessed. I still love the show, though. I heard someone connected to the show say in an interview that all women who watch the show think they are Carrie, but they’re not. Well, I find that very funny for several reasons. I have an ex-friend who loved the show, who I just know thinks she is Carrie. But the thing is, she really is. And I begrudgingly admitted this before I saw the real Carrie. And now that I see this version, I’m delighted that she’s still a Carrie!