Spotted: 10 Reasons You Should Watch Gossip Girl

By REBECCA, April 27, 2012

Gossip Girl

Okay, so I came super late to Gossip Girl. Yeah, I had a friend or two who watched it. And I knew what it was, sure: a superficial show about a bunch of privileged kids with nothing better to do than talk about each other and swap lip gloss colors. Right? Right! And yet, so very, very WRONG! I stand before you humbled by the power. The power of Gossip Girl.

So, I have compiled the following list of reasons you should watch Gossip Girl if, like me, you have either a.) operated under the assumption that it wasn’t worth your time, or b.) have had it on your list and just needed a little shove into the upper East Side.

Or, for those of you who were on it from go, maybe this list will remind you that, oh, look, global climate change likely has us in for a hellish summer—what better way to spend it than inside with air conditioning, a frozen cocktail, and Gossip Girl?

Without further ado, here are 10 Reasons You Should Watch Gossip Girl!

Veronica Mars Kristen Bell1. Kristen Bell. I wouldn’t necessarily say that everything is better with Kristen Bell’s presence. Nope, I just double-checked on IMDb and I can confirm: Everything Is Better With the Presence of Kristen Bell. It’s like, actually, all the times when I thought to myself, “self, this show Gossip Girl is probably crap,” myself should have said, “shutup, RP-G—it has Kristen Bell in it.” Even though she’s only voice-over, she manages to seem like she knows everything and yet could be anyone. That, my friends, is talent.

[Sidebar: once, my friend A— tricked me into seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall (ok, she didn’t trick me; I was writing my dissertation and she basically had me at “want to go to the mov—”). When we got there and I realized that it was a romantic comedy in which I was going to have to watch people be laughed at for humiliating themselves I was un-pleased. However! Within like 14 seconds of Kristen Bell coming on camera, I was laughing. (Well, and then there was that thing with the puppet musical of Dracula that just slayed me.)]

Sugar Cookies xoxo

Image: Whipped Bake Shop, Philadelphia

2. Relatedly, the signoff “xoxo, Gossip Girl.” This is one of the most addictive and delightful inventions of the information age. The “xoxo, —” provides an email salutation that is simultaneously warm and suggests a shared cultural milieu,  but isn’t overly intimate and can always be explained away as a GG citation were the recipient to feel it intrusively intimate. Besides, Kristen Bell’s snarkly little “you know you love me. Xoxo, Gossip Girl” is about the best ending to a tv episode ever. It works no matter what the state of the cliffhanger. Because we do love her!

3. Incestuousness. Among the core cast, that is. I love when even the cast photos make it clear that a show is going to have all the cast members sleep together.

Gossip Girl Queer as Folk The L Word 90210

America's Next Top Model

Hmm.

Seriously, though, sometimes it’s infuriating to see a show where the couple combos just keep flip-flopping: it’s like, what, show, do you not have the budget for a new character—go to a coffee shop and meet someone. But in Gossip Girl, with the familial expectations of marriage, the incredible elitism, and the suspicion of people being after them for their money, the inter-relating actually makes sense. And it’s kind of cool to see a model of how a small group of people can be friendly after dating, rather than the character having to leave the show.

Blair Waldorf

Image credit: Colormecourtney.com

4. Fashion, of course. Unlike many teen shows where fashion isn’t mentioned and the designer clothes, coiffed hair, and high heels are supposed to just be naturally occurring, in Gossip Girl fashion is talked about, aspired to, and expected. This is so much more realistic (narratively), and it actually acknowledges the time, money, and effort that it takes to look put together, much less stylish. My particular favorites in the fashion department are Blair and her school cronies. Blair’s gowns are stunning, and her school clothes (dictatorially echoed on her ladies in waiting) are like British school boy uniform + Godard waif + Marie Antoinette + money.

Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf Gossip Girl Serena Van der Woodsen Blair Waldorf

5. Champagne. It’s as effervescent as the nightlife and as fizzy as the fashion. The folks of Gossip Girl remind us that it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve or a wedding to pop the cork on some bubbly. And, especially with summer coming, Gossip Girl has inspired me to pair my YA with a bit of the Brut, thank you very much. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go get a bellini.

6. What I called the Random Appeal Factor in my list of 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Make It Or Break It.  I’ll just be honest. I’m really not the intended audience of Gossip Girl. I mean, I’m like the anti-Gossip Girl. But I LOVE it. And then one night my sister was hanging out, and we were all, what should we watch while sipping whiskey, petting the cat, and brainstorming how to topple capitalism? Well, Gossip Girl, obviously. I was in the middle of season 2, and I just popped it on, telling my sister we’d change it if she didn’t like it. By three minutes in, she was like, “wait, pause it and tell me EVERYTHING about EVERYONE.” And I did. And then she kept calling me after work and after hanging out with her friends, all, “oh, yeah, hey, um, I’ve got like 48 minutes before my next thing—you wanna watch an episode of Gossip Girl?” Yes. Yes, I do.

7. Blair. Sure, it’s “Serena” that gets whispered in the opening credits; sure, it’s Serena’s return that whips the upper East Side into a tizzy in the first episode; sure, dudes seem to find her irresistible. But who cares about Serena when the HILARIOUS Blair Waldorf is in a scene? Oh, Blair, you are so crazy. You’re insecure, entitled, uncompromising, spiteful, vindictive, petty, and dictatorial. And HILARIOUS.

I have discussed my love for monomaniacal characters here and here, and Blair definitely makes the list. And that’s why I actually love her; because despite her many, many horrible qualities, she is a hella hard worker who goes after what she wants and is willing to appear ridiculous to get it. And, as Chuck remarks to Blair, “you don’t get nearly enough credit for your wit.”

8. Chuck. Chuck Bass. Chuck Basstard. Mother Chucker. Speaking of monomaniacs with extremely questionable ethics! Ok, Chuck, I hated you in the beginning of the show because I have a soul and you treat women like disposable party favors. And yet, despite finding every element of your politics despicable, with each passing 42 minutes I found myself more and more delighted by you. Dude, you are fucked up. And hilarious, ambitious, smart, and resourceful. Plus, you can say things that would sound ridiculous coming from any other character/actor. (In response to why he should be chosen for a position: “Because I’m Chuck Bass.”) Chuck Bass, you diabolical, screwed-up fiend.

Chuck Bass Evil Genius

9. Chuck and Blair! If you look up “synergy” in the dictionary, you will find the equation “Chuck+Blair.” Okay, you won’t; you will find something like “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements” (dictionary.com). Or, as George Orwell would put it, 2+2=5. These two superpowers are each formidable on their own. But whenever they join forces, it’s seismic. Their scenes are far and away the best written scenes on the show, and it’s worth the price of admission just to see them glower at each other, admire their own and each other’s craftiness, and dress impeccably.

[slight spoiler for Season 1:]

“Blair: Do you . . . ‘like’ me?
Chuck: Define like.
Blair: You have got to be kidding me.
Chuck: How do you think I feel? I can’t sleep! I feel sick, like there’s something in my stomach . . . fluttering.
[disgusted]
Blair: Butterflies? Oh no, no, no, no no.
[horrified]
This is not happening!
Chuck Bass: Believe me no one is more surprised or ashamed than I am.
Blair Waldorf: Chuck, you know that I adore all of God’s creatures and the metaphors that they inspire, but those butterflies have got to be murdered”

Image: January Jones Prints on etsy

10. Scheming, Plotting, and General Mischief Making via Gossip Girl. Okay, so ordinarily, I’m not a fan of lying and scheming on shows—it so often feels like the writers couldn’t create drama without a convenient “misunderstanding” that leads to plotting, etc. But, in Gossip Girl, the scheming seems so much a part of the characters and the world they’ve been raised in that it all makes sense (we even see how Upper-East-Side-itis can be contagious . . .). Despite all their money and connections, there is so little that these teenagers have control over in their worlds that they seem to crave the tiny pops of control that they get when they reveal something via Gossip Girl or use it to punish someone else, even if they know they’re inviting retribution.

Image: Blue Ribbon General Store

These people use Gossip Girl to measure their social cachet, perpetrate retribution on one another via truth and lies alike, and air confessions and grievances. And they variously describe Gossip Girl as ally and threat. As Gossip Girl points out at one point, though, it is only through the very active participation of each person who sends tips to Gossip Girl or acts in accordance with her tips that she has any power to destroy their lives or tell their secrets. As my sister astutely pointed out: even though they would be better off if they simply didn’t play the game, it’s like a very well-orchestrated self-destruction that they all participate in because they believe momentary notoriety and the upper-hand are the only forms of capital they have.

And so, the scheming, lying, vicious truth-telling, innocent acts caught on camera from the wrong angle, incidents of omission, and flat out manipulation creates drama, yes, but it’s a dynamic and dangerous drama, even when it’s based on lies and misunderstandings.

So, there you have it. Have I missed your favorite (or most hated) thing about Gossip Girl? Your favorite Chuck- or Blair-ism? Let me know in the comments!

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28 Comments

  1. brian

     /  February 18, 2017

    my sister watches gossip girl, i saw about 2 minutes of it and nearly got brain cancer..

  2. Loved this post, I just started watching but I am OBSESSED!!!

  3. becca

     /  May 14, 2014

    I LOVE Gossip Girl. It has been less than two months and I am on the final season already. The only issue is my insatiable addiction to this damn show! I cannot simply watch one episode a day it’s pretty disturbing to my loved ones, but all the while I am just like, “BUT CHUCK AND BLAIRE, BLAIR AND SERENA, GOSSIP GIRL IS:” I either need to stop watching.. or finish this thing once and for all and regain my actual life! Gossip Girl is TOO addicting.

    xoxo,
    HELP ME

  4. caterina

     /  March 28, 2014

    truthfully – i starting loving gossip girl when it first came out but between work and starting a family it went astray…fortunately through the miracle of netflix I am now watching the whole season and believe it is teen drama genius. i also note that my top ten would echo your top ten. Blair is awesome and Chuck is my dream guy…well, at least for a season. Jenny, Serena and Vanessa (Ed Westwick’s reallife gf had nothing to do with it…wink wink) nauseate me. xoxo.

  5. JEnny

     /  March 5, 2014

    I LUV GOSSIP GIRL I CANT STOP WATCHING IT . ITS VERY INTRESTING

  6. Salome Mdolo

     /  October 22, 2013

    I love Serena, she doesnt have to look-for because she is given. No matter what happens good luck follows her.

  7. ike Garza

     /  September 19, 2013

    I just finished watching gossip girl! I hopped on the train early April of this year bc I wanted to watch it with my gf lol BUT then we ended up not being bf/gf and I kept watching it.. and just finished! at 5 o’clock in the morning haha

  8. Karly

     /  June 11, 2013

    I LOVE this post! It speaks to all of my own feelings towards the show. I, too, was hesitant to watch but after giving it a try I literally couldn’t stop. I spent the next week watching the entire show back to back during all of my free time! (And I’m not sure my world is ready for the lack of Chuck+Blair that comes with the end of the show.) I’m glad I have a kindred spirit in my opinions of the show (and in your blog–I’m a newcomer and already a fan).
    Cheers!
    -KMG

    • Thanks, Karly! Yeah, I’m always so glad to be wrong about such things. Many thanks for reading!

  9. Hello,
    I am the developer of Gossip free app, please contact me for details.

  10. Celine

     /  January 8, 2013

    I totally adore gossip girl. Literally ı grew uo with it. I love the show a loti but my opinion is, tht after Jenny(Taylor Momsen) was gone, it was different. I liked it better beforw she started to have that racoon make up. And I am a total fan of Chuck and Blair.

  11. Teresa Garrett

     /  October 25, 2012

    You nailed it! I am about midway through season 2 and I can’t get enough. I love Chuck & Blair and want them together again, darn it!!!

  12. Alexia

     /  June 11, 2012

    At first I was hesitant in starting this new show, but after starting I would find myself not leaving my computer! Number 9 is defiantly my favorite! I LOVE leighton meester and ed westwick! Their relationship in the show is just so interesting, I love it!

    • Yes! I was hesitant too, but I’m *so* glad I took the plunge. Dude, Chuck + Blair = Amazing TV!

  13. loveyalitem

     /  April 28, 2012

    In another VMars connection, Leighton Meester was in a couple episodes (she outs the teacher who slept with a student). Blair Waldorf and the fashion are the only things keeping me watching these days. The early days were so much better. I miss high school.

    • Oh, right—I totally forgot that was Leighton Meester! That’s a great mini-arc. Yay, Blair!

  14. Margalit

     /  April 27, 2012

    Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever consider that I might be convinced to try “Gossip Girl.” Until now. 1) I didn’t know/forgot if I ever knew that Kristen Bell was in any way involved, and 2) just the photographic association with “Queer As Folk” is enticing. And now that I’ve watched that Blair clip, I’m in! Please pass the bubbly…

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