Three Reasons Why The Gossip Girl Phenomenon Is The Worst. Thing. Ever.
OK, so let me make this clear: I like Gossip Girl. When it was on in the fall, I enjoyed bellowing at the TV, sloshing grape juice around, pleading with Nate and Chuck to kiss (just once!). And I'm looking forward to tonight's return, what with the promise of someone coming out and a Nate/Vanessa 'ship. But! That New York magazine cover story (that our own Ryan Tate took as gentle encouragement to watch an episode) about it? Complete bunk. This is not the "Best. Show. Ever.", however ironically or unironically or ironically unironic the piece's authors', Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar, meant it to read. I mean, look. Does this show have the trashy bite of The Hills? No. Does it have the warm, toothless smarts of a show like Greek? No. It exists in some awkward no man's land in the middle, and Pressler and Rovzar's attempts to make smart junk pop out of the oddly sedate show just reeks of effort and so-bad-it's-good winking gone embarrassingly awry. After the jump, in the style of the NYM piece, find three reasons why Gossip Girl, and the faux-hype surrounding it, kinda sucks.
Reason No. 1: Because, frankly, the show can be really boring.
Wasn't that crazy when Blair and Serena weren't friends for about fifteen minutes? Or how about that nutty Chuck/Blair/Nate triangle that kind of just... fizzled? Weren't you happy to see that Blair didn't make a dramatic exit from New York via gyrocopter? No? Oh, that's right. The most exciting about this show is its "scenes from the next..." clips. Everything is always wrapped up neatly, with character arcs that are low and shallow and the same all-too-wise teenagers figurin' stuff out shit that made Dawson's Creek an execrable horror. But, like I said, I do like it. Or rather, I like its potential. Hopefully now that the show has (arguably) become The CW's flagship series, the writers will feel comfortable stretching a storyline out over more than two episodes. Maybe for once Dan won't do the right thing or Serena won't beam beatifically, feeling sorry for someone. Oh, and maybe they'll just toss the parents out the window all together. Could someone please explain Rufus Humphrey to me? Are we really supposed to want to watch the mumblings and fumblings of a someone who looks like he just wandered off the set of Singles? Get rid of him, get rid of all of them (even the likable Kelly Rutherford and Margaret Colin). No one wants to watch the olds. They're a prime example of how off-tone the show is, both in its timidity and its characterizations. Please, writers, go back to the books. Realize again why they were so popular. (Hint: because everyone was fucking and doing drugs all the time. Not making fake winter wonderlands or talking to their parents.)
Reason No. 2: Because, actually, no one gives a shit.
Let's use the The Hills as a comparison. The MTV reality show, unlike Gossip Girl, is actually a cultural phenomenon. Yeah, yeah. I know "everyone watches GG on THE INTERNET! Isn't that revolutionary!" and so on. I say pshaw. That's all spin by a savvy PR team. The general public doesn't actually care about this low-rated show. The Hills, on the other hand, got John McCain to say that Heidi Montag is a "very talented actress." The Hills' brilliant marketing plan has metastasized into a medium all its own. It's big, it's messy, it's (surprisingly) real. Gossip Girl's zeitgeist is all overly manufactured and too carefully choreographed (and, apparently, easily bought into by reporters from New York magazine). The problem is that the show is fiction, and when you have the real lives of the stars competing against the fake lives of the characters, the what-should-we-care-about vote is split. If this show was as popular as it's purported to be, well I suspect that it would actually be, you know, popular.
Reason No. 3: Because "ironic" enjoyment of television is overdone.
All right. We get it. You're too smart for it. But you love it anyway. It's the same reason you bray at the screen when Bret picks Ambre over Drunk Girl or whatever. I'm just as guilty of watching crap and raving about it as anyone else, but let's face it: everybody has guilty pleasures. Everyone stands in the kitchen in their underpants eating cold pizza sometimes, and everyone watches something that's not "well respected." At this point there have been so many articles and blog posts and all other manner of crap in the "so bad it's good" vein, that the whole idea has become so bad it's bad. It's not funny or exciting or interesting when a magazine puts out a "Best. Show. Ever." cover story on a show as placid and flaccid (shoot me) as Gossip Girl. Could they be trying any harder to build up a mediocre show? It's about New York! We finally have a new Sex and the City to analyze! Ironically! Hahaha, isn't it all hilarious and kitschy (and queer) of us? No. It's just normal. It's just people being people. Get over it.
All right, that's it. Rant over. I shouldn't write anymore. The New York article is forced and wayyy overdone, but nothing on The CW deserves this much attention.
Spotted: R., the pajama-clad Gawker writer, seething with jealousy that his far more respected "colleagues" got to meet Chace Crawford. So sad.