My most recent TV binge addiction – when I find time between work and play – is The Carrie Diaries. Two months ago, I would have been ashamed of my future self for even suggesting that I enjoy watching the Sex and the City prequel, but in a surprising turn of events, I couldn’t stop watching until I caught up. The show is full of quirky characters, goofy story lines, and even some really intense, emotional moments. And as hooked as I am on all of that, I can’t help but notice one detail the show never really addresses, but is staring me straight in the face: the casual nature of alcohol consumption.
The first episode of The Carrie Diaries proudly announces that it is 1984, and introduces the lead protagonist, 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw. It’s always been Carrie’s dream to live and work in New York City as a writer. When her dad tells her that he arranged an internship for her in the city, she has to quickly adapt to city life. And, if she wants to land her dream job at Interview Magazine, this includes NYC nightlife as well.
Throughout the series, Carrie and her friends hop from one fancy loft party to another, sipping cocktails and shooting liquor as they go. As they do, drinking and getting drunk are never really crucial to the plot, but are part of the scene just like dancing or talking would be. It’s all completely natural, and normal, and cool, and everyone’s okay with it. Adults and parents included.
Excuse me, what? Carrie is 16. Yes, she gradually turns 17 and even 18 at one point, but never once in the course of the show (so far, anyway), is she legally allowed to drink. In spite of all that, Carrie never had a problem being served at a bar or let into a club (at least not because of her age). Only in one instance did anyone even mention needing a fake ID, and the subject was never broached again. As much as I love this show, the parents are more concerned about breaking curfew than breaking the law, and the editor at Interview (and one of my favorite characters) encourages her underage employee to go out and get wasted in the middle of the week.
I may be weirdly obsessed with this show, but the calm manner in which adults are not addressing the underage drinking is highly unnatural. That being said, it is really refreshing for a show to depict teenagers and young adults drinking without making a big scandal about it, or introducing a plot line that blatantly translates into: “drinking is bad.”