Full disclosure; I love Gossip Girl.
While Gossip Girl has gotten particularly ridiculous in recent years when it first started out I was pretty impressed. Especially in its relation to its source material. The Gossip Girl books were pretty awful. I read them all. I couldn’t help it. I picked the first one up at camp, not realizing it was the beginning of a series, and couldn’t manage to stop because I cared just enough about the characters. But, all the characters were flat, lead blonde Serena, was too perfect to be real, and the boys were flat cutouts of what they could have been. It was okay, it was what you’d expect from a YA teen series. But, when the show started I was really impressed with what they did with the characters. Their basic stories stayed the same, but the characters grew and became people. It was good.
It’s not hard to see Gossip Girl as a modern day Gatsby. [I talked about this here.] What the story was denied, of course, is an ending. Oh, of course Gossip Girl will end someday (perhaps this season, no one seems quite sure of that) but after five seasons worth of twists and backstabbing it’s impossible for it to go out with any grace. And that’s okay, because one thing that Gossip Girl is fully aware of is what it is. And what is that?
Well, Gossip Girl is about a group of Upper East Siders in a Manhattan that I’m not fully convinced exists. They’re all pretty ridiculously rich and completely careless with their wealth because, basically, they’ve always been so. They think nothing of jetting off to Paris for the summer or destroying designer dresses because they feel like it. It’s the kind of wealth that’s popular in television shows so that viewers can live vicariously through them. Their lives are all chronicled by a mysterious blogger called Gossip Girl. People send “blasts” to the website, pictures and information regarding the goings on of the lead characters for the less privileged to follow. Sort of like a constant stream of Page Six. Gossip Girl serves as a sort of narrator for the series, voice overing the beginning and end of each episode with tidbits through in between. She’s also a constant thorn in the side of all the leads, as it makes it relatively impossible to have any secrets. And the information, as it’s often misconstrued, leads to the bulk of the plot lines.
And while I mentioned it had gotten ridiculous recently (the writers have apparently run out of ideas as to why Chuck and Blair can’t be together [really, why can’t they? it’s getting old] so they’ve brought God into it, yes GOD) there are several things that will never fail to make this show worth watching for me;
1) Chuck Bass’ outfits.
There’s really no other character that I have ever been aware of that persists quite so steadfastly in dressing like a complete dandy. There is, of course, his love affair with bow ties and pastels colors. And that’s not even mentioning the pocket squares. Now, a normal person would put on these outfits and look like a complete idiot, but somehow when a character continually uses the phrase “I’m Chuck Bass” as an excuse and explanation for pretty much any sort of behavior it somehow makes them entitled to wear whatever pieces of flamboyance they see fit.
2) Their hilarious habit of recreating classic movie scenes.
The girls of the show have a penchant for dreaming in classic movies. It’s sort of fun to watch. Obviously this comes from Blair’s obsession with Audrey Hepburn in the books (and to some extent in the television series) I wondered if they’d work this in and I think it’s cute when they do. Blair is always Audrey and so far she’s done Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, and Roman Holiday. And in the 100th episode Serena joined the party by recreating Marilyn Monroe’s iconic role as Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Or pearls as it may be.
3) The scheming.
Let’s be honest here, I wouldn’t like the show if I didn’t like the plots. And yes, I agree that they’re not as tight as they were in the beginning, they’re silly, contrived, and very unlikely to happen. But I don’t watch Gossip Girl for it’s realism, I watch it because it’s fun to watch. I watch a lot of TV and I find that sometimes I look at my list of DVRed shows and feel as though it’s a slight chore to watch some of them. Oh, not because I don’t like them; once they’re on I’m fully ensconced in the plot, but rather because I know, after a day of dealing with crap at HOE, they will require me to think. But on Tuesdays (when I invariably get to watch my Monday shows) I find myself all too willing to be entertained. And what’s more, I don’t see anything really wrong with that. On Gossip Girl someone is always scheming against someone else. Sometimes it’s frustrating. You know, when those two best friends have failed to even talk to each other before assuming the worst and planning a full scale attack? But most of the time it’s unabashed fun. Maybe I’m too old for this. Fact is, I really don’t care.
But then, on January 30th, at the end of Gossip Girl‘s one hundredth episode they finally told us the one thing I never really wanted to know; the identity of the titular character. I’m really not completely sure why the producers thought this was necessary. Like in the novels (if you can even really call them that) the role of Gossip Girl was really just that of figurehead, a narrator, a reason why this story is being told. And who is it? [AVERT YOUR EYES SHOULD YOU WISH NOT TO BE SPOILED]
Yes, the grand master, troublesome, schemer who shows up at least once a year to fuck with our main characters has been revealed to be none other than the mysterious blogger who reports on the lives of New York’s elite. So far this character has shown up mysteriously bringing up Serena’s mistakes of the past, been involved in the drug overdose of a dude, gone to Bible camp, been banished, dated Dan, gotten pregnant and tried to convince Dan it was his baby, and gotten married and moved to Brooklyn.
Of course the internet immediately exploded. (Yes, I swear you guys there are people who actually care about these things.) Some people have decided that Georgina has taken over the Gossip Girl website, some people have decided she’s A Gossip Girl but not THE Gossip Girl. Some people are dismayed that Kristen Bell didn’t rock up at the end of the episode (she does the weekly voice overs for GG herself). But when I watched the… rather eventful episode (really, it involved a royal wedding, I’m not kidding) and the last twenty seconds rolled by revealing this bombshell I sat there going “What?!” then “Georgina?!” because I think this sucks. Gossip Girl, as a character, only worked when she was an unknown. A voice from afar. I LIKED her as a narrator. And, after all, when writing the books Cecily von Ziegesar never felt the need to reveal Gossip Girl, why does the show?