‘The Carrie Diaries’ vs. ‘Sex and the City’: Dare to compare

Carrie Bradshaw is back on the small screen, but there’s not a trace of Sarah Jessica Parker in her

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"Don't compare it to the original; just embrace it for what it is."

That's what "The Carrie Diaries" star AnnaSophia Robb said before the show's Monday night premiere. Robb plays a teen version of the iconic "Sex and the City" character Carrie Bradshaw, so a warning was definitely needed.

"We want audiences to enjoy this and not scrutinize every little detail."

Sorry, honey -- too late!

Because let's face it, "SATC" devotees are diehards. We've watched every episode, bought the pricey DVD box set, cried over Aiden, yelled profanities at Berger, and ran to the theater to take in the two big screen sequels.

It's weird now to go back in time to see Carrie in an alternate universe that has her sans Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. The 1984 Carrie is missing something, and it's not just her Manolos.

In "The Carrie Diaries" prequel premiere, Carrie is shown as a Connecticut high school junior whose mother has just died. Dad (played by Matt Letscher) is raising both Carrie and 14-year-old sis, Dorrit (Stefania Owen).

Hold it! Fans of "Sex and The City" clearly remember that in the HBO version, Carrie was an only child with a deadbeat dad. In the 2002 episode "A Vogue Idea," she told Vogue editor Julian (Ron Rifkin) that her dad walked out on her and her mother when she was a child.

"He quit my mother and me when I was little. I mean a long time ago. I was five," the adult Carrie said, before adding that she had no idea why he left: "Never said."

Next up, who is this Dorrit person? Carrie's "sisters" are Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha, aren't they? The addition of Carrie's klepto kid sis begs the question: Where had she been all of Carrie's HBO life? Even if they weren't "close," you'd think Dorrit would have been invited to Carrie's and Big's big-screen wedding. (You know, the one where he jilted her?) It's hard to now take in the fact that Carrie has a long lost sister.

But author Candace Bushnell rewrote Carrie's history in her 2010 novel, "The Carrie Diaries," so the new series is actually staying true to the book.

That explains why in the new series, high schooler Carrie is still a virgin. In the 2000 "Sex and the City" episode "The Big Time," Carrie revealed that she lost her virginity in 11th grade to a guy named Seth Bateman. The scene of the crime: on the ping pong table in his smelly rec room.

"Half a joint, three thrusts, finito," she told Charlotte.

Not the case in this series, where a virginal Carrie -- who was absolutely horrified to find pot in her sister's dresser drawer, by the way -- is eyeing hot new guy Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler) but is nowhere near ready to go all the way with this kid, who looks like Steff (James Spader) from "Pretty in Pink."

In the new series, Carrie's posse includes The Mouse (Ellen Wong), Maggie (Katie Findlay), and Walt (Brendan Dooling), who dish about their love lives (or lack thereof) -- not in a coffee shop or over martinis, but in the school cafeteria. The sexually active Maggie is this show's version of a young Samantha, while Walt is clearly channeling Stanford Blatch as he peruses a beefy Rob Lowe magazine spread.

Remember Carrie Bradshaw's awestruck first trip to Paris with arrogant artist Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov) in the final episodes of "Sex and the City"? That's approximately the same reaction the younger Carrie has when she visits Manhattan for the first time on "The Carrie Diaries." On the new show, the Connecticut Carrie gets an internship at a law firm in the Big Apple, and she quickly hearts New York, thus paving the way for her lifelong love story with the city.

One plot point that is explained better in the new series than in the original is Carrie's deep passion for fashion. In "The Carrie Diaries," her deceased mother's closet full of designer frocks and shoes is like forbidden fruit. When dad unlocks the massive closet and lets her borrow a pair of her mom's sunglasses for the first day of school, it's almost like Carrie's first foray into the Vogue accessories closet (urban shoe myths aside). We discover that Carrie's obsession with fashion is a way to hold on to a piece of her mom.

This turn of events does explain why Carrie ended up a bit damaged. Sure, we thought Dad walked out on her, but now we find out that she lost her mom to cancer when she was a teen, and she had to help co-parent her rebellious younger sister. So thank you, "The Carrie Diaries," for clearing that up.

The premiere episode of "The Carrie Diaries" ends like most "Sex and the City" episodes did -- with Carrie's written word. This time, she writes in a journal with scrunchie in hair. Hey wait, didn't this newfound Manhattan fashionista later slam boyfriend Jack Berger for his book character of a New York gal who constantly donned the telltale fabric hair tie?

"No New York woman would be caught dead in a scrunchie!" she declared in the episode "Pick-A-Little Talk-A-Little." OK, OK, we'll let this one slide; she didn't say that until 2003, and this show is set in the '80s, when scrunchies were new and not yet a fashion faux pas.

Still, no Charlotte or Miranda? No Big? No martinis or Manolos? What kind of alternate universe is this Carrie Bradshaw living in? Well, I guess we were all young once!

 Here's a sneak peek at Season 1:

"The Carrie Diaries" airs Mondays at 8 PM ET on The CW.

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