When Gossip Girl debuted five years ago, Dan was a Lonely Boy outsider, Serena and Blair were at war and Jenny Humphrey was around.
The latter might not be true but, for everyone else, the more things change the more they stay the same on the Upper East Side.
I enjoyed comparing the very first episode of Gossip Girl to its most recent, the season five finale. While it was hard to get used to seeing the fresh faced and über-thin Blair and Serena at first, by the end of the exercise I’m not sure which incarnation of the show I like better! The first season had so much promise, but it also had Chuck as a date rapist. The current season has the abominations that are Lola and Ivy, but is veering back towards that so-bad-it’s-good soap opera quality of yore.
Anyway, back to the task at hand: fairly early on the final, Serena and Blair call it quits on their roommate arrangement and friendship, with Blair finding Serena’s leakage of her diary to Gossip Girl unforgivable. I dare say Blair’s right: Serena has always been a selfish bitch, and Blair was as accurately harsh on her for spilling her secrets as she was for sleeping with her boyfriend six years ago.
Speaking of the wedding at which Serena slept with Nate, six years on and the marriage didn’t seem to last, with the couple hosting a divorce party at the same venue. Cue Serena’s inappropriate sex life and substitute step-brother and Blair’s current squeeze Dan for Nate and you’ve got Serena screwing over (pun intended) her bestie again.
After Dan realises Blair’s rebuffed him for yet another shot at love with Chuck, and Serena’s the shallow vixen she’s so often proved herself to be, he seeks revenge on the Upper East Side, enlisting Georgina to “help me write the book I should have written from the beginning,” you know, because his status as a bestselling author is nothing without Georgina’s “photographic memory and passion for social upheaval”.
Now that Dan’s been burned by both Blair and Serena, Chuck opts out of Blair’s tour de indecision, telling her he’s done with her because all she does is ruin his business prospects and “bet against him”. In a casino, in case you didn’t grasp the metaphor of gambling on love before, Blair accosts Chuck and puts her chips “all in” in her quest to win back his love.
Meanwhile, it seems Bart Bass’ return has left Rufus and Lily’s marriage up in the air, as she’s technically married to both of them! As in the first episode, Lily’s snooty and antagonistic treatment of Rufus leads her to choose to stay with Bart.
This flashback to perhaps better times (Gossip Girl has been renewed for a final season later this year; rumour is that the season will only have ten episodes) is not accidental: the writers make reference to it often in the characters’ dialogue. For example, Blair knifes Serena with the revelation that, “The best time I ever had was when you were gone six years ago!” Just watching the first episode again you can tell that Leighton Meester was playing wounded soul well, as Blair looks miserable in it. Talk about growth as a character. Blair goes on to tell Serena that she didn’t “steal” Dan, and that she “would know that if you’d grown up at all since high school”.
When Chuck has his pride and joy, the Hotel Empire, ripped from his hands by his zombie father, he’s told it’s because he’s “never grown up”. That may be true, but it could also be said of the writers of Gossip Girl. Do-over?