The Carrie Diaries Tackles AIDS Outbreak, Packs "Emotional Wallop"

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Valentine anyone?

While we’re about a month away from February 14, The Carrie Diaries Season 2 Episode 10 will dive into the holiday, but bring with it a not-so-happy part of 1980s history: the AIDS crisis.

But first, as creator Amy B. Harris told me in the following exclusive interview, the relationship between Carrie and Sebastian is challenged, Donna works her curvaceous magic in a caper with Mouse and Maggie and then there’s Walt... whose Valentine’s Day is interrupted with some very real news.

Getting Unexpected News

TV Fanatic: Talk to me about what we’re seeing with Carrie and Sebastian in this episode since they develop a wrinkle in their relationship that’s more career-based this time.

Amy B. Harris: What we really talked about was the idea that when Sebastian came back from Laguna, what was he going to do when he got to New York? We didn’t want him to have nothing going on and just sort of be moping around the loft waiting for Carrie to be finished with work. When we really started thinking about it, when we started thinking about what could be some of the cool things that his character could be doing what we also realized is that if he is doing really interesting things that are sort of servicing his own excitement and passions and drive that would be a surprising, new thing for Carrie because even though he has, to some degree, been the bad boy who was potentially unattainable or they were having problems along the way…she was his anchor, he really needed her. We sort of loved the idea that when the dynamics shift, what happens?

So, I think one of the things we’re really playing with for them for the rest of the season is as they are sort of becoming more confident in their relationship and their problems are sort of outside of the relationship, how can they hurt or help each other during that process?

TVF: Walt is hit with something that was very real during the 1980s. How is he going to deal with the AIDS epidemic now being a part of their world?

ABH: I think everybody, when they’re sort of faced with life and death thoughts, comes at it in a way that’s sort of true to their personalities. I think for Walt, retreating and kind of shutting down has been sort of his go-to in his family life in general. I think for someone like Bennett he might act out more but I do think Walt’s journey for the rest of the season is trying to figure out if he can’t live a certain type of life that he wants, which is better?

To not have real love in your life and be true to yourself or to chase down some idea of what other people think the right life is for you? I think he’s going to really struggle with that. Obviously, Carrie, I think as always is going to be a very good sounding board for him.

TVF: I was going to ask if the other cast members get pulled into that story. We see in the episode just how much it affects Carrie as Walt’s closest friend.

ABH: I was so blown away by AnnaSophia’s performance in the moment when she sees Sebastian and she’s been looking for Walt. You suddenly realize every person in your life is affected by just those words that were said at a club, like ‘he has it.’ He has AIDS. It’s like suddenly its reverberating for everyone who’s around him. I thought she did such a beautiful job sort of giving us that emotional wallop of what that would feel like to be 18 years old and know your friend might have been given a death sentence.

TVF: The story with Mouse and Donna and Maggie and the Army recruitment made me laugh because I thought in any kind of caper you want Donna there because she’ll get you through any kind of hoops.

ABH: I’ve always loved the sort of surprising pairings. For me, the Mouse/Donna thing really made us all laugh in the writers’ room. Just these two very different people who have very different goals for themselves [and] realizing that they think the other one’s funny and enjoy spending time together. Then, of course, adding in Maggie who hates Donna and Donna who doesn’t really enjoy Maggie made for some fun.

We’re heading into the end of the season and they’re moving into the idea of leaving for college and leaving the nest [and] oftentimes people who haven’t always gotten along kind of find their way to get along because the problems you’re facing are so much bigger than just a petty fight at school. And, of course, Donna wanted to meet a hot military man.

TVF: I love that you’re educating younger people on things that aren’t as known about from the ’80s. Like even mentioning [the Woody Allen movie], Hannah and Her Sisters, which is one of my favorite movies. I love that you’re putting those little bits in there as references, not just the Madonna and the Andy Warhol stuff.

ABH: I mean, for us, The Golden Girls episode where [Walt is] addicted to that show and had just come out. We love being able to kind of lay in those sort of iconic things for the time that aren’t necessarily as meaningful to kids today. But if any kid decided ‘I’m going to go look up Golden Girls,’ I would be personally very happy.

TVF: Is it safe to say the episodes after this one are going to be ramping towards the finale and towards, hopefully, a season three?

ABH: Yes. We’re definitely in a big ramp to the finale starting really with 10. We felt like with the beginning of where we’re setting up a lot of stories that are going to have some big payoff for the finale. Our idea for the finale was really kind of exploding a lot of different pieces of the puzzles while sort of setting other pieces in motion. We have a lot of stories to tell for, hopefully, a season three.

The Carrie Diaries Season 2 airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on The CW. 

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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