5 Things To Do Before Watching 'The Carrie Diaries'

by Jessica Marshall

Before Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, Aidan and Mr. Big, there was...the 11th grade. And shoulder pads.

The CW's new show "The Carrie Diaries" adds a prequel chapter to the saga of Carrie Bradshaw, dawning on a wide-eyed, teenaged Carrie living in a wealthy Connecticut suburb with her father and sister. The year is 1984. Madonna is queen, neon is in and Carrie has just lost her highly fashionable mother to cancer.

The show explores the humble high-school beginnings of everyone's favorite Manolo-wearing relationship columnist as she begins her long love affair with the only real "man" in her life: Manhattan. AnnaSophia Robb plays the 16-year-old version of Carrie in this new series based on the bestselling book series by "SATC" author Candace Bushnell.

Before you tune into "The Carrie Diaries," premiering Monday at 8/7c, here are five things you absolutely must do:

Watch the original HBO series "Sex and the City"

This one's a no-brainer. In fact, we're not sure why you would even watch "The Carrie Diaries" if you weren't already a fan of "SATC." The entire reason for its existence is to tell Carrie Bradshaw's origin story. Half of it won't even make sense if you haven't at least watched a few episodes of the original series. Check out our list of five must-see episodes!

Listen to lots of '80s music

The entire pilot episode of "The Carrie Diaries" is set to fabulous '80s music and remakes. It's so upbeat and synthesizer-rich that you may actually consider investing in a time machine. Or at least spend some time digging through your parents' basement for a Walkman.

Take a trip to Manhattan

While the teenaged Carrie still lives in Connecticut (and has not yet come upon her iconically fabulous, rent-controlled, one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side), the specter of Manhattan looms large in her life. When she takes an internship working for a law firm on Wall Street, her dreams of becoming a true Manhattanite start to come true. Watching it on TV is one thing, but actually taking in the sights, sounds and smells of New York's most famous borough? You'll get a much better idea of what all the fuss is about.

Go to Century 21

The popular downtown department store is singled out as a wonderland of fashion, where big shoulders, neons, sequins and Hammer pants live and a woman can reinvent herself during a 30-minute lunch break. Make this a stop on your tour of Manhattan. While fashions have changed, the bounty of affordable yet fashionable clothing available in this store has not.

Start a journal

As was the case with the original series, so too is "The Carrie Diaries" a chronicle of Carrie's life through her writing. While the original series put her in front of a laptop during every episode, the retro version of Carrie begins her career with hand-written journals.

Will you be tuning into "The Carrie Diaries" tonight? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!