This week’s episode of “The Carrie Diaries,” titled “Hush, Hush,” was a turning point for the series. There were romance shake-ups, major secrets revealed, and perhaps the biggest nods to “Sex and the City” Carrie that we’ve seen thus far. If you haven’t watched yet, look away!
First of all, Sebastian broke up with Donna and came clean about his feelings for Carrie. Though his attempt at a big NYC grand gesture was thwarted by some parental awkwardness, the two ended up sharing a sweet moment back home in Connecticut anyway. Meanwhile, Maggie and Walt split after Donna revealed that Maggie had been cheating on him! In a surprising twist, though, Donna told Walt that she’d been crushing on him for a while and after they shared a make-out session at the lock-in, they became an official couple. (That’ll end well.)
Oh, and that parental awkwardness? When Tom and Carrie ran into each other at a club, her secrets all got spilled. Tom found out she was working at Interview, Larissa found out she was only 16. Everything is about to change, so we naturally had to have a chat with executive producer Amy B. Harris and find out where all these new twists are going to lead.
Zap2it: I was surprised that Carrie’s dad found out about her secret double life in Manhattan so early! I had figured it’d be your season finale drama.
Harris: I never wanted the premise of the show to be “Carrie Bradshaw’s double life.” What I liked about it as a plot device in the beginning of the series was that sexy secret world of Manhattan that she was becoming a part of. But when she went to Interview, realistically, that was going to blow up in her face. What I liked about this episode was the surprise of just how it blew up.
Zap2it: Before everything fell apart she was having a pretty great night. She had her first cosmopolitan, wore her first Manolo Blahniks.
Harris: That was a fantastic piece of the puzzle for us. Amy Heckerling, who obviously is an ’80s icon, directed the episode, and she said to me, ‘The cosmo and the Manolos are basically getting their own shot with their own special lights twinkling,’ and I said, ‘Fantastic.’ The cosmo was love at first sip. We liked the idea that she was hanging out with that guy and, in a way, what he gave to her was the drink.
Zap2it: Carrie experiences that horrible teenage moment of seeing her dad as a real person for the first time, not just a parent. Nobody wants to run into their dad in the club, even as an adult. That’s terrible.
Harris: When my husband’s parents were divorcing, they ran into each other at the Limelight. That was sort of the inspiration for this — that horrible feeling of, there’s a person you don’t want to see in a certain context, and there they are, boogieing down on the dance floor. Obviously, this is Carrie and her dad instead of a couple, but we were always building to this moment of the white-man-overbite Tom, boogieing away and getting really into it and how Carrie would feel about that. We’re setting up the idea for the rest of the season of how Carrie doesn’t want to see her parents as people. She just wants to see them as parents.
Zap2it: It also changes the way her dad sees her. When she says, “I want my own life,” I’d imagine that’s a very weird moment for a parent.
Harris: I always felt like this season, Carrie’s got many important relationships that she’s exploring, and to me that relationship with her father has always been sort of moving along rather swimmingly, because he always felt like his dreams were her dreams. We started this show with him setting her off on the journey of meeting Manhattan for the first time, but what he didn’t realize was that the journey would lead her to realizing that she isn’t who he thought she was. She’s going to have her own dreams. That’s a very relatable story to tell — no matter how close you are to your parents, you have to start learning to define yourself in opposition to them.
Zap2it: I loved the dynamic between Mouse and Sebastian in this episode.
It’s very funny when you put these two people who have no business
being friends together.
Harris: That’s been a really fun one for
me, because they really are the yin and yang. He is so cool, so
play-it-by-ear, so easy-going … and Mouse is very organized, very
intense, wants to plan ahead. They’re very fun to write for.
Zap2it: I have to ask about Walt. We’ve talked before about how much I love that you guys are easing into him discovering his sexuality. But I was not expecting him to get together with Donna, of all people.
Harris: I know! And speaking of the Sebastian-Mouse relationship, Walt and Donna are another pair who are just so different that they’re really a blast to write. It’s so fun putting them together and seeing what happens. The surprising thing that happens coming up is that we’re going to see a deeper side of Donna. A lot will be revealed next week, but they’re a surprisingly nice match. In revealing more of Donna’s layers, we’ll reveal more about Walt.
Zap2it: I love a good teen drama grand gesture, but I also love that it was thwarted in this episode. The whole universe conspired against Sebastian and Carrie having a big moment at Limelight.
Harris: I loved that the “Hey, hi,” at the beginning — which she’s so sort of mad about — is the moment at the end that’s really the most romantic. I loved having the idea that they would meet at Limelight, obviously blasted up when she sees her dad, but it’s a better way for this particular relationship to start at a diner saying “Hey, hi” than a romantic embrace at Limelight.
Zap2it: Sebastian sort of represents the high school side of her anyway, not the cool Manhattan Limelight side.
Harris: I agree. That’ll be something that comes into play in the next few episodes in a very “Sex and the City” way, with Carrie in her first, no pun intended, big relationship. There are two worlds and she’s trying to manage those two worlds at the same time — her relationship with Sebastian and the intense feelings she’s having for him, but her also wanting to have Manhattan too.
Zap2it: Are Sebastian and Carrie officially dating now?
Harris: They are. What I love is, as any good disfunctional girl loves, is the question of what happens when things are actually going well. I always think that tends toward disaster in my own relationships, and I think Carrie is someone like that. She has a hard time feeling safe. She’d sooner self-sabotage something than wait around to see what goes wrong.
Zap2it: One of the really interesting moments for me in this episode was Maggie’s freak out at the door. It was a very vulnerable moment for her, her panic attack.
Harris: In talking to Katie Findlay early on about Maggie, she said “I feel like Maggie is someone who carries several huge trays with lots of stuff on it, and she’s always saying everything’s great, but ultimately, she’s going to drop the trays.” She’s constantly welling herself up. She’s going to lick her wounds and sort of disappear and try to make the best of it, but with Maggie it always ends up badly. She’s the most tragic figure on the show for me. She’s so deeply insecure that as a teenager, she’s never looked at the guy she’s dating and thought, “I’m adorable, why don’t you want to have sex with me? It might be you.” She always sees herself as the problem. Those are open wounds for her that are very hard to heal.
Zap2it: Right now, she feels like the breakup is on her, because she betrayed him and wasn’t honest — but in the end, he hasn’t been honest with her, or with herself, either.
Harris: That’s the great tragedy. You’ll see a lot of this with Donna. If Maggie had had more faith in herself, she wouldn’t have stayed with Walt, and Donna does have that confidence. To me, Walt is hugely responsible for where Maggie goes to. Those two people together were the worst, because Maggie wasn’t going to stand up for herself and say “I want to date someone who’s attracted to me.” Maggie is really in the middle of his dilemma, which is very relatable and incredibly sad, but she gets hurt and she feels like she takes the blame. That’s all going to come to a head this season.