Guilty Pleasures: ‘Gossip Girl’

For many of us, it has been ten years since we first heard those glorious words: “I’m Chuck Bass.” To us “Gossip Girl” fans, these words are part of our gospel, melting our vacuous hearts whenever we imagine Ed Westwick saying them as his eyes smolder across our screens. Even though the series ended in 2012, we will never get tired of “Lonely Boy” or “B,” especially because this year marks the show’s ten-year anniversary.

For those who do not know, “Gossip Girl” managed to convince thousands of teenage girls that Brooklyn is a cheap neighborhood, that headbands should be worn past the age of twelve, that you shouldn’t take drugs (at least not before the SATs), and that the solution to every problem is to spread gossip through anachronistic blog posts about your fellow New York prep-school friends.

Despite its ridiculous plots, “Gossip Girl” will always remain iconic because of its glamor and New York spirit. Though its acting is not always its selling point, the show provides its viewers with a fanciful portrayal of upper-class New York life and displays the city’s beauty. The creators succeed in doing this by featuring sweeping shots of the different neighborhoods, and bringing the city’s character to life by showcasing local talent through its wardrobe and music selection. The show also delivers some of the most saucy, recyclable one-liners of television history, such as: “A hot lifeguard is like Kleenex, use once and throw away!”

Some of its components are not as empty as some people (mainly my parents) might argue. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) in particular displays a depth and complexity unusual for any character in a teen drama. Unlike her best friend Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) with her token “daddy issues,” Blair’s problems are much more fleshed out. As clichéd as Blair’s struggles with friendships and eating disorder in her high school years may seem, they are explored with a touching level of honesty and vulnerability.

More than anything, “Gossip Girl” was also a turning point for fashion on TV because of its iconic preppy and ridiculously high-ended style, featuring New York designers like Tory Burch, Jenny Packham, and Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman (who to this day are part of the fabric that makes up this fashion capital). Its attempts to bring to life the glamor of New York, while sometimes fictitious, were grand and carried out in a style almost reminiscent of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence.” And while its portrayals of romantic relationships might be problematic to say the least, the studied depictions of these chaotic families and societal expectations are nuanced and thoroughly explored. If you’re looking for something stellar, than walk away. If you’re looking for glamor and entertainment, step right up.

XOXO,

Gossip Girl’s Publicist (Sort of)

—Staff writer Aline G. Damas can be reached at aline.damas@thecrimson.com.

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