‘The Carrie Diaries’ Got Everything Wrong About Carrie Bradshaw’s Upbringing

During the run of Sex and the City, fans learn extraordinarily little about the four main characters’ family lives. That was a purposeful decision. Instead of focusing on how their lives were shaped, the production team wanted to focus on the lives they built for themselves. Over the years, tidbits of information were released that helped make Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones, and Charlotte York more dynamic. Fans were mostly OK with the mystery, and then The Carrie Diaries came along. The prequel series completely upended everything we knew about Carrie’s early life.

Carrie Bradshaw’s backstory is a bit mysterious

Carrier’s backstory was probably the most mysterious of the four main characters. She talked about sex and dating openly, but she never mentioned her mother directly. Her father didn’t get a ton of talking points either. In fact, she only mentioned her father once in response to Julian’s question about what her father would think of her quitting. In that moment, fans learned that Carrie’s father had walked out on her when she was five. 

AnnaSophia Robb and Freema Agyeman on the set of 'The Carrie Diaries'
AnnaSophia Robb and Freema Agyeman on the set of ‘The Carrie Diaries’ | Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic

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The rest of Carrie’s early life remained a mystery as the series drew to a close. Viewers never found out where she grew up, whether she had siblings, or how she became a columnist. The Carrie Diaries, a prequel of Sex and the City, aimed to provide some answers. It did the opposite. Everything fans thought they knew about Carrie was turned upside down by the book and short-lived TV adaptation.

The Carrie Diaries gave Carrie Bradshaw a much different upbringing

The Carrie Diaries was supposed to be all about Carrie as a teen, but fans of Sex and the City found the Carrie of The Carrie Diaries was absolutely nothing like the narrator of the famed HBO series. In the prequel series, Carrie was from a fictional, affluent suburb in Connecticut. Her father was very much in her life, but her mother had died.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in 'Sex and the City'
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw | Getty Images

The teenaged Carrie had a sister, worked an internship at a law firm, and was struggling to make peace with her mother’s death. Fans could also surmise that Carrie’s family was wealthy, partially because of their home and partly because of the wardrobe her mother left behind when she died. Fans of the original series have lamented the plot holes and errors, suggesting the teenaged Carrie would have never grown up into the sex columnist they grew to know and love.

How was Carrie of Sex and the City different than the Carrie seen in The Carrie Diaries 

Younger Carrie was just as much a fashionista as her older counterpart. Still, fans argue that that is where the similarities end. Aside from the glaring plot hole regarding Carrie’s father and mother, fans point out that they long assumed the elder Carrie had come from a more working-class background. It also seemed odd to some fans that the elder Carrie would have never mentioned growing up in Connecticut when the state was referenced multiple times during the show’s six-season run. 

Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker
Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker | Tom Kingston/WireImage

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Vulture notes that Sarah Jessica Parker’s version of Carrie appeared to be scrappier and from much more modest beginnings. Although it’s never said outright, the show’s storytelling seemed to indicate that Carrie was never particularly comfortable around wealth. She always appeared to feel a bit outclassed when running in circles with high society members. Parker’s version of Carrie also didn’t seem to have family money to fall back on, making her far more tolerable as a character. So, was Candace Bushnell’s teenaged Carrie a poor attempt to craft a backstory? It is possible. Frankly, it seems as though The Carrie Diaries may have attempted to cash in on the name recognition that Carrie Bradshaw brought to the table. The story could have been about any other person. Nothing tied teenaged Carrie to the adult character that fans grew to know and love HBO.