TV: Gossip Girl Becomes Even More Irrelevant in Its Final Season.

Gossip Girl premiered its sixth and final season in the States two weeks ago and it’s being fast-tracked to Fox8 in Australia like so many U.S. shows are these days (I can’t keep up!). While its finale is a long time coming and I’ll always be nostalgic for the good old days of GG (seasons one and four were probably my favourites), I think Gossip Girl has finally lost the plot.

Last season’s finale seemed to juxtapose where all the characters started out with where they might end up, and fans held out hope that the show would return to its soapie-scandalous roots with Dan wreacking revenge on the Upper East Side, Serena being the lost cause that inevitably rears its head at least once per year, and Blair and Chuck teaming up to drag everyone down with them, namely the traitorous Bart and Lily.

Two episodes in and the season’s not starting off as strong as it could have, and Dan’s struggling to avenge the wrongs he feels he’s been handed by his socialite set of former friends and lovers. Partner-in-crime Georgina spent last week’s episode arranging meetings with all the major New York publications—New York, The Nation, Vanity Fair et al—but Dan instead opts to publish his exposé in serial form in Nate’s Spectator, a fledgling newspaper that’s struggling after Nate let the “who is Gossip Girl” scoop go in exchange for finding Serena.

Seriously?! I mean, despite the fact that The Spectator is a new newspaper in a sea of old-media extinctions run by a presumably not-even-21-year-old that relies on unmasking a high school blogger to sell copies, channelling Dominic Dunne, who rose to fame with his Vanity Fair pieces on crime and justice for the rich and famous in the ’80s, Dan is barking up the wrong tree in trying to get “the memoir he should have written” serialised in a magazine, only highlights the show’s irrelevance.

Georgina opines that once they can get a magazine to bite, in will roll the money, fame and movie rights. Um, hello, blogs are where it’s at these days. Look at all the Tumblrs and Twitter accounts that now have books, TV shows and movies based on them: Suri’s Burn Book, Fuck! I’m in my 20s, Shit My Dad Says, The Social Network, Stuff White People Like, The Sartorialist… I could go on forever. We know Dan did the whole book-to-movie deal, Rufus crapped on about “creating a groundswell” by word-of-mouth, and Serena tried her hand at blogging last season, but if Gossip Girl wants to “move on” from high school and debut in the adult world, as Serena so desperately desires, she’d better stop living in the first half of last decade.

Sage, Serena’s boyfriend Steven’s 17-year-old daughter and Nate’s new girlfriend (phew!), perhaps puts it best when she said, “Nobody in high school reads Gossip Girl. It’s for old people.” Or people who just can’t move on from the way things used to be.

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TV: Gossip Girl Season 5 Final—What Goes Around Comes Around…

 

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.

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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?

Images via Serena Van Der Woodsen Sucks, Sockshare, Gossip Girl Screencaps.

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Last week’s episode, where Russell Thorpe lured Blair to the roof of Chuck’s hotel in a payback attempt at Chuck, was a better storyline than the finale’s with Chuck saving Blair, them sleeping together, Blair trying to tell her prince of Monaco fiancé that she can’t be with him because she still loves Chuck, and Chuck butting in to tell Louis that he and Blair have his blessing, as he realises Blair’s a better person with Louis.

Or Charlie faking a psychotic break, attempting to jump from the top floor window of the GG brat pack’s former “stomping ground” in Serena’s cotillion dress, being talked down by Serena, who says it’s not as easy being her as people think, Georgina accosting Charlie, whom she believes isn’t really on medication for a psychological disorder, and giving Charlie her phone number to use if she’s ever back in the city. Turns out Georgina was right, and Charlie is actually revealed to be Ivy, who posed as Serena’s cousin to extort money from her trust fund, at the request of Lily’s sister, Carol.

Or Vanessa stumbling across Dan’s manuscript, which she thinks is the best exposé “on the Upper East Side since Bonfire of the Vanities”. When Dan tells her to leave his stuff alone and get out of his life, I’m not sure he meant for Vanessa to steal the manuscript, pitch it to a publishing house, and hightail it to Barcelona.

Or Darota cleaning Blair and Serena’s adjoining bathroom, in which a positive pregnancy test has been discarded.

Now the latter three story arcs are intriguing, I’ll give them that, but the writers did a piss-poor job in making the audience actually care about them. The Charlie thing was really hard to follow, and the fact that her character is almost as infuriating as Vanessa’s doesn’t lend itself to viewer satisfaction.

It’s pretty easy to see that Charlie/Ivy’s going to return to the Upper East Side to wreak havoc with fellow bad girl Georgina. Blair’s the one who’s pregnant, probably to Chuck. And so their relationship is dragged on for another season. Dan will flail around while Vanessa milks him for all he’s worth and Serena will give up her potential screenwriting job (more on that later) on the West Coast to return to the city where she left her heart. Or something.

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Images via MegaVideo.