Guilty Television Pleasures: In Defense of Gossip Girl
There is no cool way to spin the fact that I am obsessed with a teen soap opera.
It's one that airs on the CW, no less. The network is home to Rachel Bilson-starring Hart of Dixie, which finds yankee doctor Zoe Hart relocating to a small, southern town, and upcoming, abysmal looking Sex and The City prequel The Carrie Diaries. But to judge Gossip Girl based on its proximity to these programs would be, in a word, stupid.
Sure, Upper East Side-dwelling, super-privileged high schoolers having their oversexed lives dissected through a TMZ-style celeb news blog isn't a relatable premise. But to presume that the viewer should deeply and meaningfully connect with the show's characters would also be, you guessed it, stupid.
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Party girl Serena van der Woodsen struggles with substance abuse and perpetually makes poor decisions, usually when it comes to men. Her "poor" ex-boyf from Brooklyn, Dan, has a '90s rocker dad who marries and then divorces Serena's mom, Lily.
Van der Woodsen's on-again, off-again BFF Blair Waldorf revels in Machiavellian abuse of everyone around her, and effectively isolates herself from the world. Her soulmate, heir to real estate bajillions Chuck Bass, consistently comes up with reasons to not date, marry, or hang out with Waldorf. Most recently, Bass put off their tumultuous relationship because he wanted to send his evil dad (who faked his own death not long ago) to jail for illegally trading oil to Sudan.
Meanwhile evil dad, whose name is Bart, is blackmailing Chuck's best bud Nate, a WASP-y bozo who has made out with nearly everyone on the show with a vagina. Nate has cooked the books to keep his media empire afloat while his own coke-addled dad does time for embezzlement.
Sound silly, ridiculous, and unnecessarily complicated? Yeah. It is. Making matters worse, my mini-recap above makes me sound like your grandma when she tries to catch you up on who banged and betrayed whom on One Life to Live. I know this. I am aware.
Thing is, Gossip Girl is more than that.