Friday, February 8, 2013

The Carrie Diaries: Let Hate-Watching Be the Judge

While The Carrie Diaries has had 4 episodes, the response is notably tepid.

Rumors of Cancellation, tepid.

This story world extension of Sex in the City had already alienated some important gatekeepers to the fan community it's seeking by changing some pretty major elements of Carrie Bradshaw's back story. The "disrespect" for the source material even alienated the major league of hate-watching at New York Magazine, and if they disdain to snark at you you're in trouble.

 More than marketing, understanding what your audience loves, or at least what brings them joy about something is essential to crafting an experience they'll invest their time in. For a show like Sex and the City, there was the idea that "water-cooler conversation" equated to "girls night chatter" or "4 Cosmo brunches." This is what hate-watching is, the more open, more public review of your project and the honest assessment of the people who love your show most. If you can't even inspire that, you genuinely need to rethink why you're doing it.

If your show doesn't inspire people to be funny, and excite people to talk about it, it's already dead.
 
If you want to see what the triumphant eviscerating hate-watching could be/have been, I've included two sources you might/might have enjoyed tuning in for:

From Jezebel: "We Watched the First Four Episodes of The Carrie Diaries so You Don't Have To."
"Being something of a professional Sex and the City-eviscerator, I fully planned to watch the premiere of The Carrie Diaries and offer hella bon mots about peplum skirts and Samantha's future-vulva. But then, you know, life and not-caring got in the way, and now we're four episodes in and there are already rumblings about cancellation! And I haven't even figured out yet whether or not I should care! As ratings have been rather dismal, it seems as though most of you haven't figured it out yet either. But don't worry. I'm on it. Below, you'll get the dirt on everything that has happened so far.
Entertainment Weekly, Bless their Hearts, also gave it the old college try, but much like the rest of the world, doesn't seem to be able to pull it together enough to care about the show. 

"So basically we find Carrie Bradshaw living in Castlebury, Connecticut with her dad Tom (Matt Lescher) and her younger sister Dorrit (Stefania Owen). Side note: what kind of name is Dorrit? It doesn’t really blend with Carrie. I feel like her sister’s name should be like Kathy or Paula or Megan. It’s kinda like when my youngest brother was born and I wanted to name him Taylor or Connor or something jazzy and my parents were like, “Those don’t really fit with Tim and Ryan” (we eventually chose Matt). Also, Dorrit is real goth and apparently likes taking Carrie’s things, like their dead mother’s patent leather purse. "
I wish this show inspired more excitement, even within the narrow boundaries of its demographic requirements or the frame of the Sex and the City franchise. It just doesn't feel like it has, or has found its heart. It's thoroughly generic despite having a brand identity with a strong essence it could have drawn from.

While it's largely the same critique one can apply to the Sex and the City movie sequels, the franchise doesn't feel like the stories are more than "Brand Extensions". Rather than the organic growth of an interesting story world. Maybe it's the length between extensions, can the creators capture the enthusiasm of the first stories that were so much of a moment and so specific to the zeitgeist of that time? My job being to help creators find that core and extend it I can't help but feel like they lost track of their themes, never defined them explicitly for themselves and are having a terrible time understanding what timeless elements would apply to any story in their world.





Did anyone read the book? Is it reflected in the series? I suppose that's my next assignment here. I'll let you know when I'm done. If you want to read it with me in the Mystery of Girls' Media Book Club, hit me up on Twitter @Caitlin_Burns

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