Much like The Golden Palace or After MASH, most people think The Carrie Diaries, the prequel series to Sex and the City, will be a stain on a beloved series that time will eventually forget. Whether the series stays around after the first season (the ratings are not the best) remains to be seen, which is a travesty because The Carrie Diaries is a surprisingly charming show. Seeing Carrie Bradshaw in her high school world, flirting with Manhattan, is fun, and since it’s Sex and the City, Carrie has to have her gay ... but unlike the case later in life, her gay best friend is a confused teenager trying to fight his natural desires.
Carrie has her gal-pals, one of whom is dating dreamy Walt (played by Brendan Dooling), who at the end of the first episode is revealed to be longingly staring at Rob Lowe on the cover of Interview magazine before throwing it down in disgust. It comes out, so to speak, the following week that even though Walt and his girlfriend have been dating for two years, they have never had sex and rarely show any physical attraction. This causes trouble for the relationship, and a dramatic high school breakup follows.
On tonight’s episode the gang attends a Halloween party in the city, where Carrie and Walt dress as Prince Charles and Diana from their wedding day (remember, this is set in the '80s). While teenage drama erupts, one major moment of crisis comes from Walt (correctly) being mistaken for gay by a fellow partygoer with a same-sex kiss. What repercussions ensue post-kiss remain to be seen, but as someone who is struggling with his sexuality and recently broke up with his high school girlfriend, the outcome is probably not the best.
Even though Dooling is straight, he has said that it is a “cool challenge” playing a character who is so conflicted sexuality, and he appreciates how Walt isn’t just a cliche. The fate of Walt and The Carrie Diaries is still up in the air, but in the last decade since Dawson’s Creek showed us television’s first prime-time adolescent gay kiss, it’s nice that the teenage torch has been passed to another worthy successor.
The Carrie Diaries airs Monday nights at 8 on the CW.