In the Carrie Diaries this week, the theme is Thanksgiving. Carrie wants to have the perfect Thanksgiving because that was her mom’s favorite holiday; she is obsessed with making the holiday perfect – so obsessed that while she is making out with George when he is giving her a tour of Central Park, Thanksgiving is all she can think and talk about. But as we see Carrie and her friends celebrate their respective Thanksgivings, we see the truth – that often holidays which we want to be perfect are not perfect at all.
Carrie expects to help her Grandmother Sue make the meal, when she finds out that there is a storm in Florida and her Grandparents won’t be able to come to Connecticut for the holiday. Her dad suggests an alternative plan: To invite his friend Harlen and his son George (Carrie’s new boyfriend) over and order take out. Carrie, however, insists that she will cook the Thanksgiving meal – which needs to be perfect since it’s the first one since her mom died. Dorrit has other ideas, including a catchy line where she admits she wants to live and not eat Carrie’s food. Both Dorrit and Carrie’s friends mentioned Carrie is not much of a cook. I think Carrie is so caught up in commercialization of thanksgiving and her wanting to make things seem as normal as possible that she forgets what many women know – holidays seem perfect because people put so much effort into making them seem perfect.
Carrie hides all the things in her room that could embarrass her in front of George, such as a picture of Sean Cassidy which Dorrit discreetly places by the front door when George and Harlan arrive. It seems that Dorrit might be sabotaging Carrie’s Thanksgiving plans. George oddly thinks Dorrit is pretty cool and is just going through a phase (as his psychiatrist would say). But Carrie finds that all her mom’s valued holiday recipes are smudged and illegible and that the cook books with anything related to Thanksgiving are missing. She calls Mouse, who brings over the appropriate cookbooks and tries to help Carrie. I would say at this point Carrie is already doomed with Dorrit determined to ruin her perfect Thanksgiving and perhaps she should be finding out why. Carrie’s Dad is oblivious to all this while he watches football with Harlen in the Den.
Some hilarious moments ensue, such as Carrie and Mouse removing the disgusting insides of the Turkey, Mouse freaking out because Harlen thinks she is the Asian help and the oven smoking like crazy. An argument follows between Dorrit and Carrie, where Carrie is furious with Dorrit for going outside to smoke pot and ruining Carrie’s perfect Thanksgiving. What she doesn’t understand is that for Dorrit, having Thanksgiving without their mom is torture, especially because she used to help their mom in the kitchen. Carrie is trying to make Thanksgiving the same as always, when it clearly never will be.
Meanwhile, Maggie goes over to Walt’s for Thanksgiving and gets mad at him for not standing up to his Dad and telling him he does not want to go to Dartmouth. A joke at the supper table is made when she talks about going to school somewhere close to Walt. Maggie realizes that she doesn’t have any plans past Walt. In her family, there is no money for her go to college even if she wanted to. The first plan she makes is to not sleep with the police officer again; she decides to be faithful to Walt. In fact, the idea of Maggie deciding to think about her actions and how they affect other people is a big step for her.
At the end, George and Harlen go home and Maggie comes over to Carrie’s. Sebastian shows up after his Mom ditches him on Thanksgiving, and Carrie’s dad allows her to invite him in. Sebastian asks Carrie if she ever wishes she could go back and change the past. Carrie tells him that choices get made and things happen because of them, and you can’t go back and change the past. These are wise words from Carrie, who perhaps could have ended up making a mistake with Sebastian at this moment.
As everyone enjoys Carrie’s Dad’s Frito’s and Bean Dip for dinner, Carrie ends the episode with some of her patent wisdom: If you focus on the goals in your life alone, you might miss a detour that will make your life more rewarding. She says that goals give us control, but as Carrie realized making dinner, we often have no control and have to work with the detours in life.