Wednesday, May 21, 2008


After watching the season finale of Gossip Girl on my resurrected TiVo (it lives, yay!), and after long and serious consideration I have come to a conclusion: I don't quite get the hype about this show.

This is not the first time that I've failed to embrace the current "it" show. But I'm a little perplexed by my ambivalence to G.G. because, you see, I LOVE teen dramas. I actually consider myself a bit of a student of the teen drama genre, which is a high-falutin' way of saying that I have watched A LOT of shows that I'm now probably much too old for.

So why can't I fully get on board with Gossip Girl? I'm not sure if it's due to my advancing age, my evolving taste, or simply the fact that the show is not that good. I'm inclined to think it's probably a combination of all three.

To be fair, I haven't seen all of the first season. I dropped it off my Season Pass after the first few disappointing episodes, then decided to pick it back up after New York Magazine somewhat hyperbolically declared it the Best. Show. Ever. Sure I may finally be older than the actors playing high school students on TV, but that's hardly a reason to allow myself to fall off the cultural radar completely, right?

The frustrating thing is that the show can be addictively fun and it does have flashes of snarky brilliance, usually when it's satirizing the cutthroat machinations of the Upper East Side social scene. But I just don't think that any of the characters--with the possible exception of Blair--are all that interesting. Take the season finale in which (OMFG) no one actually slept with anyone except for the old people, Buffy's sister was sent packing with a minimal amount of drama and Nate "Manbangs" Archibald's dad, who no one cared about anyway, fled the country.

And also, why are we supposed to be excited about the Blair-Chuck pairing? Did I miss something? Didn't he try to date rape at least two of the characters at the beginning of the season? Why are we supposed to root for the romantic inclinations of a would-be sex offender?

I think that my main problem is that even though the show is based on a series of books, which granted I have not read, it still seems so blatantly derivative of The O.C. In fact, a lot of the characters are just watered down versions of their West Coast predecessors.

To wit:

-Often distraught, substance-abusing heroine? Check

-Hyper-verbal, lovelorn hero who finally gets the girl he's pined after? Check

-Kids from the wrong side of town thrust into world of wealth and privilege? Check (although, come on, a giant loft in Brooklyn is still a looong way from Chino.)

-Childhood friend and first love who turns up again for sole purpose of causing trouble for golden couple? Check

-Skinny blond mother character? Check

-Wisecracking but wise father character? Check

-Loser father character indicted for financial improprieties who conveniently disappears from show? Check

-Every episode being built around "THE party of the season," which will inevitably end with someone getting punched? Check

-Season finale revolving around a wedding and a break-up, culminating in poignant slow dance? Check

So does that make Georgina the Oliver of Gossip Girl? And if Josh Schwartz is basically going to re-package every character from his first show, then where oh where is Julie Cooper?