When I saw the previews start to surface for Finding Carter, I was thoroughly intrigued by the concept of the show. The plot revolves around a 16 year old girl, Carter, who discovers that the mother she has known all her life is actually her kidnapper. While the plot was refreshing, and certainly more real than some of the “reality” television that MTV broadcasts, I still felt wary knowing that this show could end in one of those “wow, that plot could have been done really well” type of shows. Even so, as the show premiered last evening, I sat down to watch all two hours of this new teen drama.
The episode started off refreshing as a witty teenager who actually gets along with her mother (first big shock) heads out for a night with friends. Much to my surprise, MTV actually depicted what typical teenagers would do on a night out. The gang broke into a closed carousel, one of Carter’s friends smoking weed, and (as the perfectly typical cherry on top) a discussion of friends with benefits even ensued. The evening ends in the arrest of the group, leading the police to finally discover Carter who had been missing since she was three.
The title character, Carter, is played by the wonderful Kathryn Prescott (who you may remember from the original British Skins). When I say wonderful, I mean she is the lead of the show for a reason. Prescott, who is 23 in real life, plays the 16 year old as if she was an actual 16 year old girl. It is demeaning sometimes how shows depict all teens and young adults as if they have no feelings or emotions that really matter. The dynamics of Carter alone will keep me coming back to this show.
I cannot only commend Prescott, though, because all of the characters show much more depth than of any show adapted for teens has recently. Carter’s birth mother Elizabeth (played by Cynthia Watros) is a strong, determined woman. So far, in the premier and the following episode that played consecutively after, Elizabeth has only been focused on finding the woman that kidnapped Carter, whom Carter still refers to as “mom”. This adds tremendous depth to the story and leads us to wonder is Carter truly better off with her “real” family? The lingering question of Carter’s seemingly fit mother’s intentions when she kidnapped her is thickening as well and I for one cannot wait for the official revelation of her motive.
The most brilliant aspect of this new drama is how it incorporates true feelings, emotions, and story lines in with teenage drama that inevitably comes. The females characters on Finding Carter are not just viewed as “weak” or “strong”, but actual complex individuals, both the mothers and daughters. This aspect, as well as the depth of the other characters on the show, will keep me coming back for more. As far as teen dramas go, Finding Carter feels the most engaging of the many that air.