TV: Gossip Girl Returns to Form as it Takes Inspiration from its First Season.

Finally, Gossip Girl is slowly but surely returning to its so-bad-its-good dramatic roots, taking inspiration from its first season as the show did in its fifth season finale: Blair struggling to stay on top, Rufus and Lily at loggerheads, and Dan and Serena rekindling their flame on a Vespa!

Nelly Yuki is finally getting the last laugh against her high school nemesis Blair who, try as she might, can’t seem to find a way to revive her mother’s struggling clothing line. Eleanor Waldorf returns to make sense of the mess Blair has left, what with Sage Spence’s penchant for stripping off Blair’s designs, and shames her daughter for being a sexual deviant. While I’m not a fan of the slut-shaming, Eleanor makes a good point when brings up that the plotting and scheming that we all know and love Blair for is so high school, and urges Blair to embrace her “Grace Kelly side”, not her “Grace Jones side” in order to save Waldorf designs.

Enter Nelly, who is now a Women’s Wear Daily reporter, much to Blair’s chagrin. Reverting to their high school selves, Nelly finds Blair contemplating her navel on the Met steps, a location GG die hards will know from the early days of the show that Blair and her minions frequented. When Nelly insinuates that Blair—wearing a headband to boot—is essentially still stuck in high school, she has an epiphany: Blair needs to embrace her striking-fear-in-the-hearts-of-teens attitude in order to be a tastemaker for the 12-25 set of young fashionistas. Ahh, the Met steps: inspiring people everywhere.

Just like in the inaugural episode of the show, Lily and Rufus are fighting in an art gallery. Rufus’ gallery opening is all set, but when Ivy checks the RSVPs, it turns out everyone’s going to a charity art benefit that Lily’s hosting. Ivy, using CeCe’s money gifted to her by Lola, buys all of Lily’s art and replaces it with the artwork from Rufus’ gallery. Meanwhile, Chuck is trying to prevent the sale of one of the works Lily has donated as he thinks Bart has hidden evidence of his illegal oil dealings in it. He has, but Ivy buys the painting off Lily and intercepts Bart’s documents before Chuck can get a hold of them. Phew! Got that?

Finally, it seems the love between former step-siblings Dan and Serena has reignited, after Serena offers to take Dan apartment hunting. Conveniently, Dan has bought a Vespa after his summer in Italy, and, his and Serena’s first date five long years ago. From the photos leaked from the set of the final episode (wedding!), it looks like this time around their relationship is for keeps…

Related: Gossip Girl Season 5 Finale—What Goes Around Comes Around…

Alexa Chung, It Girls & Gossip Girl.

Images via Sockshare, Hello Giggles, Gossip Girl Screencaps, Internet Movie Cars Database.

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.

TV: Gossip Girl Thinks Bloggers Aren’t Good Enough.

 

When Serena feels backed into a corner by Gossip Girl and has to defend herself by penning her own blog at the typically British-named Diana’s (played by Warney’s squeeze Liz Hurley) New York Spectator, Blair harangues her, saying, “I’ve always thought you were too good to blog.” Thanks Blair; great to know where we stand.

But Blair’s is not a unique viewpoint: traditional forms of information gathering and sharing view blogging as the black sheep of the family. Because seemingly anyone can run a blog (though not everyone can run a good blog), those who excel in their field are sometimes deemed not as worthy of acceptance and recognition as those in conventional or “old” media, who rose up the ranks the old fashioned way. We all know one bad blogger can give the rest of us a bad name.

It wasn’t just Serena and her overt blogging dilemma that was relevant to budding online wordsmiths. When Dan freaks out that his book, Inside, has dropped from number nine on the New York Times Bestseller list last week, to completely off the chart this week, and forgoes his book touring commitments, trust old Rufus gives him a pep talk:

“It just takes one person to connect with your art, who feels like you directly communicated with them, to start a groundswell. But you can’t connect with that person unless you show up.”

So, disheartened bloggers, if your blog’s not bringing in the hits yet, just you wait: provided the content’s good (and even if it’s not!), it’s only a matter of time before you start a groundswell of your own. Now I’ve just got to remember that myself…

Related: The Problem with Serena van der Woodsen.

Image via Home of the Nutty.