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John Hughes’ Carrie Bradshaw

“The Carrie Diaries,” a prequel to “Sex and the City,” which begins tonight on the CW, has an infectious if semi-idiotic positive attitude: Like the handbag stained with nail polish that a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) decides to cover in more nail polish to make it cool, it’s kind of chic despite itself. And like that same handbag it is unexpectedly innocent, harking back to a day when Day-Glo spatter patterns and puff paint were the leading edge of cool — even if that day never really existed.

“The Carrie Diaries” is set in 1984, a few months after a high-school-age Carrie’s mother has died — a discontinuity with “SATC” that will surely not be the show’s last. Carrie, her father and her 14-year-old goth-in-training sister, Dorrit (presumably named after the Dickens character, which really complicated my vision of Carrie’s parents' inner lives), live in Connecticut and are trying to figure out how to go on just the three of them. Inevitably, it involves clothes.

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