The more accurate title to this post would be something like “11 Reasons the Season Premiere of Gossip Girl Was Awesome,” but that seemed too long for the journalist in me who loves those short, snappy headlines—and nothing brings out me inner journalist quite like blogging about The CW’s Monday night soap opera de force about privileged New York City teenagers and their sexual escapades!
1. After coming to terms that last year’s abortive attempt to revive my beloved Melrose Place came up woefully short, I had the revelation while watching Gossip Girl’s fourth season premiere on DVR tonight that it’s really ok, because the stuff I truly loved about MP lives on in spirit with GG. Here we have a show that takes its over-the-top, nonsensical craziness and rather than shy away, it revels in it. I give the Gossip Girl writing staff enough credit that I assume they’re at least somewhat in on the joke and realize they’re producing entertainment and not art here and thus have decided to have fun with it, but even if they’re not, they do a great job making it seem like they do, so I dig it. There’s no way anybody would ever talk or act like these characters do—I hope—and thus the writers just keep amping up the suspension of belief more and more—as they should! You have to go for it! And I’m not saying there’s not talent amongst this cast and crew, because I believe there’s plenty, but all the skill in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t recognize the game you’re playing and make yourself comfortable, which Gossip Girl absolutely has.
2. Along those same lines, where it once irked me just how much of the plot twists and tension came from the fact that nobody on this show tells each other anything and everybody finds out about everything second or third hand—I know it drove Sean T. Collins nuts—the show has found a way to get me to accept that this structure is just part of the rules, like Lost having mysteries or Mad Men having alcohol. Of course Dan would successfully conceal the fact that he became a father from his parents and everybody he knows for three months! This is Gossip Girl!
3. I love that they pretty much have characters just come out and say Serena’s a whore now and she doesn’t bother denying it anymore. Like, when Blair was listing off all the guys she had slept with in Paris, Serena didn’t try to protest or make excuses like she would in the past, she just kinda smiled. Good! It always bugged me that Serena behaved as this wild and promiscuous party girl yet was also supposed to somehow be the chaste object of everybody’s affections; she can be a self-admitted tart and still be believable desirable on a show like this, let’s be frank about it. Even her mom straight up was like, “So, how are all those dudes you’re sleeping with?”
4. On the flipside, I hope Serena’s tacit embrace of the skanky side doesn’t totally screw up the chances of her reuniting with Dan after Mr. Morality spent the summer raising a kid without asking for a paternity test. Even though most people seem to dislike the preachy (former) poor kid, he’s still one of my favorites and I still maintain he and Serena should be the center of the show, if for no other reason than so he can continue having conversations with his stepmother about how a relationship with his stepsister wouldn’t work because she wouldn’t want to be a stepmother to his new kid by her best friend-turned-archenemy, yet neither seem to think the aforementioned stepsiblings thing would be the issue here. I love this show because I can write sentences like that about it!
5. Of the entire cast, I never thought it would be Chace Crawford who would refine his acting chops the most over the last two seasons, but give credit to the guy for not just coasting on “being too beautiful for this world” (TM Sean T. Collins). Whereas I once found Nate to be the dullest character on the show, he’s now probably the most real—not exactly a challenge among this lot, but still—and perhaps the most charming behind Chuck and Blair. Now if only he weren’t consistently stuck in the most boring plotlines, which seems to be about to change, since…
6. …holy smokes, Katie Cassidy is playing some sort of crazy middle class stalker who’s obsessed with the Gossip Girl gang! At least that’s what I think. We actually thought she might be Gossip Girl herself for a moment, but I don’t think so. This show has botched stuff like this before in terms of making a character seem super cool and then having their big reveal be kinda lame (Vanessa’s androgynous boyfriend being Rufus and Lily’s lovechild), but I’m keeping the faith here. Katie was one of the few good parts of Melrose 2.0, and I was happy enough to see her playing a non-manic character since that was my major hang-up with Ella, but I’m more than happy to see her take over Ashlee Simpson’s spot as my favorite CW psycho.
7. Vanessa was used exactly in the right capacity: let her come in for a few minutes, say lines like “Let’s not talk about her George-gyna,” (thanks for spoiling that one for me, Entertainment Weekly) then exit promptly.
8. Fucking Georgina Sparks, man! I will never get sick of how this crazy bitch waltzes in and out of the show and consistently manages to outwit these stupid, stupid, gullible people. Michelle Trachtenberg is so perfect in this role, from her completely unconvincing puppy dog routine to her constantly arched eyebrow—love it.
9. I’m ok with them giving Blair some depth, but not too much, if only because Leighton Meester is so good with comedy. Her tender scenes with Chuck or heartfelt confessions to Serena are fine, but let’s never lose the subplots of her self-sabotaging her chances with a studly prince because he pulls an obvious bait and switch and she can’t bring herself to even converse with a lowly driver.
10. Chuck Bass actually has a secret identity? And it’s something as perfectly comic book-y as “Henry Prince”?! It’s really happening, Sean! The Dark Knight returns!
11. Last but certainly not least: Jenny Humphrey reduced to off-screen references and nothing more! Yay! Let’s savor it while it lasts!