In the golden age of television, some shows made a mark with their excellent writing and stellar performances, and then there were those which can be classified as indulgence, and Gossip Girl falls in this category.
The teenage drama premiered in 2007 and soon made a place in the hearts of the young audience who loved it for its fashion and the deliciously soapy storylines. The show remains one of those guilty pleasures that you keep going back to. With You’s second season out on Netflix, this is the perfect time to look back on Gossip Girl.
What is Gossip Girl all about?
For those who haven’t seen the show, Gossip Girl is set in the Upper East Side of New York where the kids of rich and famous New York elites go to school. Their lives are full of drama but what rocks their boat in almost every single episode is the internet blog Gossip Girl that posts regular updates on their personal lives. But who is the Gossip Girl? This question got answered in the very last episode of the series, and no one liked the answer.
When the show came out in 2007, the internet wasn’t as intrusive as it is today. However, for its time, the show’s depiction of blog culture was quite spot on. The show never claimed to be realistic and hence, the heightened drama was completely accepted by its loyal audience.
The show’s protagonist was Serena van der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively. She was ably supported by Leighton Meester’s Blair Waldorf, Penn Badgley’s Dan Humphrey, Chace Crawford’s Nate Archibald and Ed Westwick’s Chuck Bass.
What works for Gossip Girl?
The first thing that loyal Gossip Girl viewers love to discuss about the show is its high-fashion that was in no way approachable but certainly made for some beautiful television. While high school dramas are often restricted to modest teenagers, here, the teenagers were so rich that they wore couture and spent time in Paris and Rome.
For the audience, their window into this world was Dan Humphrey who was shown as the love interest of Serena. The regular middle-class boy was an outsider in the rich kids’ world and on most occasions, the only relatable character.
Since the characters here were all teenagers, the show tried to incorporate issues like peer pressure, drug use, pregnancies, mental health issues but all of this was done in the style of popcorn entertainment rather than intense storytelling.
Kristen Bell’s voiceovers as the Gossip Girl were catty but suited the tone of the show perfectly. Her signature sign-off found a place in pop culture.
The best bits of Gossip Girl
As the show started, the audience was swayed by Taylor Momsen’s Jenny Humphrey. Her transformation from the girl-next-door to someone who will go to any lengths to make her place in high society was probably one of the best tracks that the show ever offered.
The frenemy arc of Serena and Blair stood out from the start, and while their lives might not be relatable, their chemistry clicked with the audience instantly. Serena’s love story with Chuck was one of the most loved tracks of the show. Though Chuck was a problematic character in the pre #MeToo world as well, the audience somehow accepted this extremely flawed character.
Dan’s track as the boy who is an outsider but wants to date the most popular girl in school started as a cute romance but eventually lost steam in the subsequent seasons. The storyline with Serena’s brother was quite shocking but gave way to a few emotional episodes.
Through the run of six seasons, the character of Dorota became quite a fan favourite.
The worst bits of Gossip Girl
It wouldn’t be surprising to say that Gossip Girl thrived on its teenage relationships. After the second season, it was the same set of people getting matched in different combinations. It was honestly hard to keep track of who was dating whom, and by the end, the show became quite tiring as the makers just kept experimenting.
There were some seriously absurd tracks on the show. The one where Chuck’s father dies but then is eventually revealed to be alive was nothing short of strange. The whole storyline of Serena’s mother as she kept hopping from lover to lover and gave a speech about true love every single time was childish. It was in moments like these that you wondered if the grown-ups in this world were also teenagers. Not just Lily, most relationships amongst the adults of this world were quite childish and did not create any impact.
But the biggest disappointment came in the form of the revelation of the identity of the Gossip Girl.
Who is Gossip Girl?
In the finale, it was revealed that Dan Humphrey was the Gossip Girl all along. This did not go down well with the audience. The makers spent a few episodes in the earlier seasons that left the audience guessing and it was a popular fan theory that Nate Archibald would be the titular character. The actual revelation was quite unbelievable for the audience as it did not fit with the events of the show.
Nevertheless, Penn Badgley eventual role as Joe in Netflix’s You now seems like a dark extension to his Gossip Girl character.
What’s next for Gossip Girl?
With a new generation of teens, the drama will return on HBO Max in 2020. Creator Josh Schwartz confirmed that the new series will not be a reboot but will follow the new generation of Upper East Siders. None of the cast members are scheduled to return yet, but Kristen Bell will be back as the voice of Gossip Girl.
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Gossip Girl is streaming on Netflix.
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