Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me

At long last, the strike is over (Hallelujah!) and our shows are back in production. And you know what that means – pictures from the set!

At least it does if your show is Gossip Girl.

There’s been a steady stream of paparazzi pictures coming in all week and it’s such a tantalizing taste of having the show back. And just in case the daily pictures weren’t enough, tonight I spent an hour and a half watching the live streaming video feed from the Gossip Girl panel at the Paley Festival. What a pretty, pretty cast full of people with ridiculous names.

After suffering through the cancellations of so many shows over the last few years, I was ready to wash my hands of The WB/CW this season. But then along came Gossip Girl. Josh Schwartz + NYC + rich prep school kids? That’s like catnip to me!

I hadn’t even realized until this week how much I’ve missed the show during the strike. The pictures brought it all back. S & B on the steps of the Met! The cracked-out fashion! The homoerotic vibes between Chuck and Nate!

Are they making an Emmy-caliber television show? No. But it’s fun and surprisingly addictive. It’s TV chick lit that’s actually better than the chick lit it’s based on. To me, anyway. I may be the only person who likes the show better than the books. I could only make it through a few of the books before I wanted to punch every character in the face. I much prefer Dan, the cute, less-twitchy Seth Cohen to Dan, the creepy, pretentious, bad-poetry-writing stalker.

Unlike most shows, Gossip Girl left for the strike hiatus on a high note. The last episode they aired was kick-ass and would have made a great season finale, had it come to that. Dan and Serena exchanged “I love you”s, Blair became an outcast when the world discovered she’d slept with Chuck and Nate, Chuck and Nate threw down, Jenny was poised to take Blair’s place and be a total bitch to some poor, desperate girl, Rufus had a prospect for a girlfriend that wasn’t Lily, and, after a tearful helipad conversation with Serena, Blair chose to stay and fight for her reputation instead of running off to France to weather the scandal.

All in forty-two minutes! That is drama, people.

Now we’re at least getting five more episodes. And the semi-spoilers are starting to make the rounds.

It just came out (hah!) today that one of the male characters will reveal he’s gay before the season ends. And you know? That’s not an easy route of speculation. Dan goes gay for a little while in the books. But he’s in love with Serena and they’re adorable, so no. Nate has that Zac Efron hairstyle and mysteriously disappears with Chuck off-screen. Chuck is the most flamboyant character in the world, who also tries to date-rape every girl he meets, when not having threesomes with hotel staffers or taking Blair’s virginity. Overcompensation much?

Still, my money’s on Serena’s little brother, Eric. They’ve never given a reason for his depression and suicide attempt pre-series. Difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality would fit. And he’s got highlights at fourteen! I think Lily’s reaction to his coming out would priceless. Plus, this gives the show a great excuse to not go any further down the Eric-and-Jenny path. They’re friends and they’re cute together and they’re the only characters their age on the show. But it’s already icky enough that Rufus and Lily are mooning over each other while two of their kids are dating. If Eric and Jenny even thought of hooking up, the Humphreys and van der Woodsens would become one big incestuous heap. Which they sort of already are.

The GG development I’m not thrilled about is the casting of Michelle Trachtenberg as an uber-bitch wild child. When Mischa Barton passed on the role, that was good news. Or so we thought. I was once a big Buffy fan. And I don’t think any Buffy fan can embrace the idea of Michelle Trachtenberg joining their show. The hatred that she instilled as Dawn… it doesn’t go away. I don’t know if it’s fair to blame her acting or if it was solely the atrocious writing for her character and storyline. Either way, her presence there wasn’t a pleasant experience.

At least we’ll get to see some of Serena’s badass past.

And now I’ve stayed up all night watching six episodes in a row and indulging in the joy that is Gossip Girl. We need to get back to the cattiness and snark. We need to revel in soap opera cheese. We need more Dan/Serena cuteness and Lily/Dan banter.

Is it April 21st yet?

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