It may be fall where you live, but when The Carrie Diaries picks up Season 2 tonight, it’s still summer in the Big Apple.
On "Win Some, Lose Some," we find the young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) and newly out Walt (Brendan Dooling) enjoying summer life in the city... but things not only go awry pretty quick, we also meet Samantha Jones (played here by Lindsay Gort) on the opener.
How will the older, wiser and more sexually experienced Samantha influence the growing up of Miss Bradshaw and those around her? I asked series creator Amy B. Harris for the lowdown on adding another Sex and The City character to the mix in Season 2, among other scoops and tidbits offered up by the producer...
TV Fanatic: From the season premiere, one thing is clear – everyone seems to be growing up. Am I reading that right?
Amy B. Harris: You for sure are. I loved the idea of a coming of age story and the first season was really about how you lose your innocence and what does that look like. Season two for us is really about once you’ve sort of seen the world for what it is and you’re starting to experience stuff, how does that play out for you and so the stories we’re telling we feel like are very adult.
I think the show is edgier and the stuff they’re exploring is edgier. We were talking about this the first few weeks we were back that even the actors seem more grown up, I mean, even AnnaSophia and Stefania (Owen), who plays Dorrit, were kids last year. They both came back sort of-it was like, “Oh my god, awesome, I love it.” So it feels like it’s all sort of moving in that direction and that it’s sort of moving in that direction for everybody.
TVF: Talk about the challenges of casting Samantha, which we knew was coming in and Lindsey Gort is such a good fit!
ABH: She’s so amazing to me because we talk about this a lot like when you’re trying pull a performance from an actor and shape her performance she can do it every which way. We can basically say, ‘Go for the big Samantha version,’ or ‘Give us vulnerable version of Samantha at 23.’ So she is kind of delivers on levels I’ve been very shocked by and it’s always nerve racking to bring in a new character, particularly one with such a high profile, an amazing icon in front of here but she has handled it so beautifully and for me she just really helps me shape the character in just such amazing ways. She has a lot of vulnerability but a lot of toughness and it doesn’t hurt that she looks a lot like Kim.
TVF: We see in the season premiere that Sebastian (Austin Butler) is still pining for Carrie but what’s coming next for them?
ABH: They’re going to be in each others lives…they’ll be walking down the same halls of school pretty soon, this is still summer, but they are going to be in each other’s lives throughout the season and not necessarily together for a large chunk of it but they are very important people in each other’s lives and they’re never going to truly be apart. I think for at least the first few episodes and we’re introducing a potential new love interest for Carrie so it’s going to be difficult for her but they are going to be moving on from each other.
TVF: Walt came out at the end of last season so are we going to see that he is dating around a little bit?
ABH: In episode two, he’s turning 18, which is sort of the magic number in his mind of when he and Bennet (Jake Robinson) can hook up…but I think for Walt the journey really is trying to figure out…I think Walt is the one who’s lost, sort of trumped his gay on many occasions. It’s him trying to figure out how to sort of be the person he wants to be while still being very much in the closet in Castlebury and not wanting his parents to find out and in a way to some degree he’ll be living sort of parallel lives while he’s sort of figuring out who he is in a romantic, sexual way while also trying to hide parts of himself from his high school.
TVF: And I know we talked about this in season one but will we see the AIDS epidemic come into the show since it was very relevant for the times?
ABH: We are. We felt like with it being 1985 and ’86 New York that not to bring that up would be sort of washing away history. That’s going to come up in a very big way for Walt in this season, later in the season but very much in the season. We really wanted you to sort of be invested in Walt’s life as a gay man in Manhattan before we sort of scared the hell out of him.
TVF: What’s Dorrit’s journey? I love her so much and I like what you did with her in this first episode about her relating to her father and that sort of thing but what’s her journey?
ABH: You know, what I love about Dorrit is she is a much more pragmatic person when it comes to relationships and romance which actually allows her to be in them more easily than Carrie. She sort of loves someone-that’s it, doesn’t love someone-you’re out. So I think for Dorrit this year is really about sort of figuring out what she wants in a romantic partner.
I think it’s a fine line between a lot of typical kids between the feeling like Dorrit and feeling smothered and where that line is. It’s like when Miller shows up at the house, is he just being savvy and smart, and made a good choice for him and Dorrit or is he crossing lines and making choices that Dorrit should have been a part of.
TVF: Will we see Donna (Chloe Bridges) kind of continue to be the bitch or is she going to kind of soften up a bit or do you like her kind of being the nasty one of the group?
ABH: I do not think of Donna as a bitch. I think of Donna as a truth teller even if it kind of hurts. I think she’ll always be a truth teller. Particularly for her and Carrie, the fact that she was such a good friend to Walt is going to be a very important piece of the puzzle and I think she’s going to definitely integrate more and more with our group. She gave Dorrit good advice last season, she and Dorrit are going to have some connections again, and then towards the end of the season she’s going to have sort of a surprise relationship with another one of our group that would maybe be surprising. I like Donna because she’s just telling you the truth, she’s not a liar or manipulates...she’s just someone who tells it like it is and that is either very hurtful to you or very helpful.
TVF: I know a lot of the last season was about Carrie being torn between these two worlds, is she still going to be torn or has she found a better balance even with her father kind of being in on what she’s doing?
ABH: I think what we’ll find about this season is that the worlds are very much more integrated and that her journey and her conflict is going to be less about Connecticut versus New York and sort of how to go about being a sort of good person in a city that doesn’t always celebrate-that doesn’t always reward moral behavior.
I think if she’s going to be fighting hard to get more responsibility at the magazine, she’s going to have some more grown up relationships along the way and then of course we’re going to through this love triangle stuff into the middle of it that’s sexy and romantic.
The Carrie Diaries Season 2 airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.