Wednesday, January 15, 2014

'The Carrie Diaries' continues to soar dealing with social issues

                             Austin Butler as Sebastian and Katie Findlay as Maggie

The Carrie Diaries has quickly become one of my favorite shows on television. The CW teen/period drama that is due to conclude its second season in the coming weeks sure has had a whirlwind of a season, dealing with several socially relevant storylines. First, Maggie (Katie Findlay) finds out she is pregnant by her casual sex partner Simon (Josh Salatin), who happens to be a cop employed by none other than Maggie's father the chief. He reveals he is engaged to the "love of his life" and refuses to give her any money for an abortion, leaving Maggie pregnant and alone. Sebastian (Austin Butler), who had been fighting rumors that he and Maggie had been dating, embraces her and agrees to help her. Not only that, he poses as the child's father to avoid scandal with her and Simon. He tries to get her to have the baby and put it up for adoption, but she falls ill with complications. She is rushed into surgery with her life on the line, survives but tragically loses the child. Carrie urges her to tell her parents about her affair with Simon, resulting in her father firing him. Simon then verbally attacks Maggie in school, leading to a fistfight with Sebastian that gets him expelled. The writing was impeccable, the performances were stellar, and the story addressed the social issue of teenage pregnancy in the 1980s in a very unique way.

Then, just a few weeks ago, the series tackled another socially relevant 1980s storyline. Walt (Brendan Dooling), who had recently come out of the closet as gay and is dating a man named Bennet (Jake Robinson), is terrified when Bennet gets word that his ex-boyfriend is dying of AIDS. He takes "the test" and urges Walt to do the same, throwing him and his friends, especially Carrie, into a tailspin. Walt thinks he is being punished for being gay, which is what a lot of gays thought during the 1980s AIDS breakout. The episode ended with both Bennet and Walt being clear of the disease, but the scare was equally dramatic and just as well written as the show's last storyline. I'm sending big koodos out to the writing team of this season of The Carrie Diaries (which happens to include Terri Minsky, creator of Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire), because these storylines and the rest of them were excellent. I'm hoping for much more to come! The Carrie Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.

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