Why is it that the things we try so hard to keep we end up pushing farther away? This is the question Carrie should have asked at the end of this episode, but instead we spend an hour chasing a hamster, talking about a stuffed bear, and loosely tying things together with a metaphor about labels.
Carrie is still forbidden to date Sebastian, but her dad won't tell her why. Dad Bradshaw is too busy buying tampons and the wrong frozen foods for his daughters. Carrie figures out that the Kidd family has used her father as a lawyer, so she goes snooping into her father's poorly-hidden box of confidential files. Carrie learns that Sebastian had an affair with his Art History teacher (sexual in nature, but this is back in the ‘80s when it was fine if not awesome).
Meanwhile, Maggie is sad about her breakup with Walt and tries not to be a drama queen (or tries to be one, I'm not quite sure) about it. Maggie ends up slicing open a giant stuffed panda bear with a knife, but it still didn't make me care about her as a character.
Mouse plans to meet with Seth, the guy who hit it and quit it, in the city for a date. Carrie goes to the city with Mouse, to get away from teacher-loving Sebastian, and drags them to another one of Larissa's crazy ideas — a performance art show in which a porn star sits on a throne and shows her vagina. Mouse and Seth leave, probably realizing they weren't essential to the storyline, and agree to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend.
Back at the vagina thing, the porn star encourages Carrie to reclaim her power by showing her vagina. The porn star also tells Carrie not to let a man control her decisions, but all Carrie heard was, "blah blah blah porn porn porn." Carrie does not show her vagina, but tells Larissa she's going to reclaim her power by insisting that her father allow her to see Sebastian. Larissa's all, "OK. Fabulous. I'm British," and that's the end of that chapter.
Elsewhere in the city, Carrie's father, Tom, is learning from his gross friend that telling women about your dead wife is a better pick-up line than telling them about tampons and all your problems. Tom is not a dynamic enough character to take this idea any further, though, and abandons the singles bar/this plotline.
Carrie tells her father that she has decided she is going to see Sebastian. Her dad still says no, and Carrie tells him that she peeped his file and knows everything. This makes her father understandably angry with Carrie. Carrie, still failing to see any repercussions, tells Sebastian all about it too, and he gets overwhelmed and ends whatever it is they were starting to get into. Good riddance, I say.
Oh, and while all that was happening, Dorrit stole a hamster from the pet store, named it Morrissey, lost the hamster, thought she stepped on it in a moment I think was supposed to be funny but failed, then found it again and manipulated her father into letting her keep it. The winner of this episode is Morrissey, for not allowing anyone to step on him, and for reclaiming his power by showing his vagina.
I was hoping that this week's Carrie Diaries, coupled with the premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5, would be about throwing shade. The title of the episode is "Read Before Use," but Carrie's narration at the beginning explains that a different kind of reading is fundamental. She's talking about the importance of reading labels. I'm glad Carrie will keep letting us know what each episode is about, because I don't think I can pick up on the subtlety and nuances offered by The Carrie Diaries
But Carrie is right, in this instance -- it is important to learn which labels each one-dimensional character holds because a show like this really doesn't have time to build depth. So there's the Jocks and the Class Clowns, and the Bitches (Donna) and the Bad Boy (Sebastian). The only one without a label seems to be Carrie, which is suspicious because a girl that pretty and interesting by comparison should at least be Popular.
Carrie mislabels Sebastian as "The Boy of My Dreams." In case you missed last week's riveting episode, Carrie's friend, Mouse (the Nerd), gets us caught up. Carrie's dad won't let Carrie see Sebastian because of some country club, white collar, one-percenter snobbery. Carrie mistakenly thinks her dad sees her as perfect and too good for any boy. Parents just don't understand, and neither do kids.
As an Asian, Mouse knows all about never being able to meet her parents' expectations. Maggie, the other friend, is a Slut, so her parents have very low expectations. She fears that her parents will blame her for her breakup with Walt, but I kind of feel like they might not care all that much. Are parents really that invested in their teenagers' relationships? Are viewers? These teens seem to think so.
Carrie and Mouse label Maggie as a "Drama Queen," and when the acting doesn't quite measure up, the dialogue insists this is a true facet of Maggie's personality. Speaking of drama queens, Carrie is spending more time with Larissa than makes sense with her internship schedule. Larissa, perennial giver of bad advice, tells Carrie that if the boy isn't bad, he's no good.