Published on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by Emma Raleigh
“Gossip girl here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite.” I never thought I would hear these words without laughing. I mean, Gossip Girl, really? The name sounded stupid to me every time I heard or saw it, but recently I’ve had a change of heart.
Now we all have those weekends, or weeks, in my case, where we sit and watch Netflix for hours. I heard great things about the Gossip Girl series finale from my friends, so I decided to start with the Pilot episode. Two words: instantly hooked. Gossip Girl took over my life.
The story takes place in The Upper East Side of Manhattan, a magical land of ridiculously wealthy, entitled, and scandalous high school students. The show starts with a group of close knit friends and enemies who know everything about each other via an anonymous blog, Gossip Girl. Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, Serena van der Woodsen, Dan and Jenny Humphrey, and Chuck Bass walk the halls of their respective private schools. And after school hours they just as easily walk among the elite millionaires and socialites at the most exclusive bars, restaurants, and galas. I was enthralled in the world of designer clothes, personal limos, and extravagant homes.
Based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series, Gossip Girl ran for six seasons, the most recent ending in December 2012. The show is shot on location in New York, The Hamptons, and Paris, and provides more twists, turns, ups and downs than a roller coaster. The creators of the show, Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, stayed somewhat steady when it came to character development. There were a few holes in secondary character plots, but this is to be expected of any television show. The best things Savage and Schwartz did for the show was create the authentic elite Upper East Sider, and continue the story successfully into each of the character’s lives after high school. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
My personal favorite Upper East Sider from episode one was Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester. Blair is “Queen Bee” at her school and the daughter of a clothing designer. She has a close relationship with her lifelong Polish maid Dorota and a knack for scheming. Blair’s sneaky side often brings out the funniest one-liners and comments in the show that are quotable beyond compare. Her complex character is sometimes hidden by her polished exterior, but Blair has her share of secrets. Meester executes the role flawlessly, alternating between sweet and manipulative at just the right moments. Besides the spot-on attitude problem with a dash of class, Blair’s sense of style is simply perfect. She usually sports her trademark headband, along with outfits I could only ever dream of being mine. The part of Blair’s character that I love the most is her complicated relationship with the elusive, strangely attractive Chuck Bass, played by Ed Westwick. To be truthful, these two kept me watching the show at certain otherwise low points of the series. Not to reveal too much, but their relationship will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Some characters, on the other hand, I could do without. One such nuisance to the show was Jenny Humphrey, or as Blair and her minions not-so-fondly call her, Little J. She epitomizes the annoying wannabe perfectly, and she only remained on the show until the fourth season. Actress and singer Taylor Momsen portrayed Jenny well; it was the character herself who bothered me. Best friend to Blair, Serena van der Woodsen is a character I had mixed feelings about. Played by Blake Lively, Serena probably has the most secrets of all the characters, and the most boyfriends. She often would meet a man on the streets of New York and they would instantly connect, and while she is very beautiful, how many girls date upwards of 10 guys in a matter of 5 years? Besides this, Serena and Blair have countless and pointless drawn out fights over the course of the show that could have been minimized.
As the show evolves from focusing on the petty drama of high school juniors, to the more serious and sometimes scary drama of young adults, there is no way to stop watching. I see the first few seasons as the best because I like to think I can somehow relate to these entitled teenagers, (as if my life is anything like theirs). As they grew older however, I felt as if I had less in common with them. Once the beloved characters graduate, college awaits for some while the slightly less realistic task of becoming CEO of their deceased father’s company awaits others. This is where things get crazier and the events become less realistic. In high school, girls will spread rumors, and boys will be, well, boys. Post graduation, the characters of Gossip Girl were still wrapped up in this mentality, and even though we know that ‘high school never ends’, we expect them to grow up a little at least.
Despite some frustrating, unnecessary side plots along the way, the show came to a close on a more than fabulous note. Friendships and relationships were mended and everything, including the identity of Gossip Girl was revealed. The finale episode, ‘I Love You New York, XOXO’, featured a flash forward at the end after a riveting series of events. This look into the future really helped wrap up the series and left the door wide open for viewers’ imaginations. I recommend this show because although it may sound dumb, the writing is smart, the actors are talented, and the story is rich in more ways than one. It won’t disappoint, and Gossip Girl will be right in saying: you know you love me.
XOXO, Gossip Girl