New York Magazine continues the media’s love affair with intellectualizing completely non-intellectual shows with its seven page think piece on the CW teen drama Gossip Girl. Born of the mind of The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, the show chronicles the lives of wealthy Upper East Side high school students as they fight, betray and fuck each other.
The article is written by two self-pronounced “fans,” Jessica Pressler and Chris Rovzar, whose basic thesis revolves around the idea that because the show is based on blogs, picture messages and how these two mediums affect high school students nowadays, it is changing the way we watch TV.
I kind of have to disagree on that one. I mean, does anyone remember The O.C.?
I love Gossip Girl. Dan is hot and Blair is a bitch. It’s the New York version of The O.C., only now with a snide narrator who uses the internet to mess up the lives of the main characters, as opposed to an actual plot. The series is based off of Cecily von Zeigesar’s popular novel series (which I was addicted to in high school), but is it really changing anything at all? Using blogs to drive the story forward and perpetuate the idea of “gossip” is less groundbreaking than it is culturally relevant. High school and college students alike are all too familiar with the internet serving as a breeding ground for making or breaking your reputation, but the fact that GG utilizes these technological trends is simply a testament to their connectedness with today’s youth, not a concentrated effort to break any new ground. And it certainly doesn’t mean Gossip Girl is the Best. Show. Ever.
Sure, the parents are just as messed up as the kids (Nate’s dad has a coke problem!), but does anyone remember Kirsten Cohen’s alcoholism that reigned supreme during the last few seasons of The O.C., another Schwartz product?
And despite the fact that their money can bail them out of any situation, rendering their actions completely consequence-free, is this really any different than Sandy Cohen using his legal prowess to repeatedly keep Ryan out of trouble?
Furthermore, the cast’s real life cat fights and dating troubles are splashed across magazines, not unlike The O.C.’s Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson. Their onscreen romance kindled the fire of their off-screen one, fueling pages upon pages of tabloid fodder. How is that any different from Page 6 writing about Blake Lively and Penn Badgley canoodling at The Waverly Inn? It’s not, but as New Yorkers perhaps we feel like it is because it’s happening in our own backyards, and not some bronzed sunny cellophane world with bikinis and palm trees.
I’d venture to say that Gossip Girl is simply the east coast counterpart to the rampantly popular O.C., which ended with a dutiful bang in February 2007. Gossip Girl’s take on the media aspect of high school is simply a reaction to the changing technological climate youngsters are forced to navigate today.
“The Genius of Gossip Girl” is little more than a media ploy to get viewers watching; after all, the show does re-premiere tonight at 9pm on the CW. And, just like the loyal O.C. viewer I was, I’ll be there to watch all the unoriginal drama unfold, best show ever or not.