While it's hard to argue that Carrie Bradshaw is the star of The Carrie Diaries, The CW's 1984-prequel has done a sensational job surrounding their formative fashionista with the kind of friends that would do Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte proud.
Personally, I'm most enamored with Brendan Dooling's Walt, who is on a journey to gay self-discovery, but through the lens of 1984, it's truly uncharted territory for the character and the audience. ETonline caught up with this bright new star to talk about Walt's journey and what fans can expect from tonight's all-new The Carrie Diaries!
ETonline: This is the first time an entire generation of people have seen their version of a coming out story represented on TV. Do you feel any pressure about bringing that to life?
Brendan Dooling: It's a big part to play, not just in the show, but also in the grand scheme of things. But it's also not cut and dry, like, "Here's your Sex and the City gay character." I didn't realize at the time of my audition just how big a job it was, but I also don't feel any pressure. This job is all about telling an emotional story to as large a group of people as possible, and it would be nice to know there are kids today who can also get something from Walt's storyline, whether that's advice or wisdom or comfort. I think that's really the most important part.
ETonline: Given the time period, Walt's experience couldn't be like anything we've ever seen on TV before. What do you like about how it plays out?
Dooling: It's not only a great arc for me as an actor, but also for Walt as a person. It's a gradual discovery -- it's not in his face, but he's coming to terms with things. As new experiences happen to him, Walt begins to piece things together and understand himself a little bit more. I like that it's not a sudden revelation. It's very gradual and real.
ETonline: Did you do any research into what it was like for young gay men in 1984?
Dooling: I did. I mean, it's gonna be a very confronting time once he finally comes to terms with what's going on. That was the big AIDS epidemic; I mean it used to be called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency Disease. It was a scary time. We're on episode 10 right now and he still doesn't realize this is something that pertains to him, necessarily. It's not even a thought on his mind, but once it's in his face, the two are going to converge and he's going to realize it as current events of the time become more prominent. It's going to be a wicked transition.
ETonline: I'm worried that Maggie might taint the other girls against Walt. How much will we see him worry about losing Carrie and Mouse as well?
Dooling: Maggie continues to take it very hard. She's resentful but I think she knows there's a light at the end of the tunnel for her. The love he has for her is very true, it's just not exactly what she wants it to be and that's one of the main motivations in Walt's breakup scene. He desperately wants to hold onto his friends. He needs his friends, that's his core. If he lost them, I think Walt would fall into a harsh downward spiral.
ETonline: In tonight's episode Carrie takes Walt to a party in the city, what can you say about Fright Night?
Dooling: It's a big episode for Walt. Things get interesting for him tonight. It's all about new experiences for Walt as he goes to the city and things he never thought would or could happen to him start to happen. Tonight is a big step towards Walt piecing things together for himself.
The Carrie Diaries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.