Last night, while I was dog sitting at my parents’ house, lazing around, flipping through a real TV with real live channels, I *stumbled* across the premiere of MTV’s newest scripted drama, Finding Carter. Ok, not stumbled. I’d heard of it and was super excited for it and happened to forget the premiere was last night and/or on MTV.
Here’s the thing, MTV’s original programming slate isn’t usually my jam. Besides Awkward and, in the early 2000’s, TRL with Carson Daly – RIP live TV after school/before homework! You are now a mere figment of my teenage imagination – MTV shows tend to lean in the more grotesque/trashy/male audience/gross humor direction. Think Jackass, Jersey Shore, Ridiculousness, and the upcoming “Virgin Territory,” which is exactly what it sounds like.
HOWEVER, Finding Carter – created by Emily Silver (a lower level writer on Bones), and executive produced by Terri Minsky (creator of The Lizzie McGuire Show, former writer on all the awesome lady shows like Sex & The City, successful working mother, word wizardess, and personal and professional hero of mine) – is awesome. Premise, writing, acting, production, all of it. Insert heart emoji here, my mind was blown.
Finding Carter follows Carter, teenage badass played by Kathryn Prescott, as she transitions to her new (but actually old) home after realizing she was abducted when she was three, and returning (unwillingly) to her former family. That’s right, her super chill awesome understanding mom who she eats gummy bears with in the first scene is actually her kidnapper. And she has two siblings, one of whom is her twin, and another mom who she refuses to call Mom, and a creepy Rob Lowe lookalike of a dad. And a new school. Also, new/old mom wants to get kidnapper mom arrested, and will stop at nothing to do so. Sooooo juicy! Tell me more!
The tone/pace of the show remind me more of The OC and My So-Called Life than other teen dramas of today. While the soapy elements and hookups are surely present, it’s pretty chill and real for a show about kidnapping. The opposite perspective is refreshing too. After finding out her mother kidnapped her, Carter staunchly refuses to call Elizabeth (real mom, who looks like she got her face perma-botoxed into a frowny furrowbrow as soon as the show got picked up) “Mom.” That’s for the woman who raised her. When it comes to her siblings, however, Carter is more open. She takes her twin, Taylor – the good/smart/responsible/beautiful sister (Anna Jacoby-Heron) – to a party and bonds with her younger brother, Grant (Zac Pullman) easily because he is obviously the best kid in the family and character in the show.
Perhaps most amazing is Kathryn Prescott’s performance. The genuine emotion she portrays and the likability with which she infuses Carter is contagious, and elevates the whole cast. She has great energy, and even manages to make the rebellious-but-smart-teenager-with-a-heart trope feel original. Also, she’s cute and a badass.
Find Carter on Tuesdays at 10/9c on MTV, or wherever you can on the Internet.