Susmarski: Why I Won’t Miss ‘Gossip Girl’ – Thoughts of a Former Fan
The CW has scheduled the series finale of Gossip Girl—its television adaptation of Cecily von Ziegesar’s bestselling book series—for December of this year.
Sorry “GG” fans, but it’s about time. The end of this teen drama-turned-evening soap opera has been long overdue.
When Gossip Girl premiered in the fall of 2007, the show gained an immediate following. As season one progressed, the plots proved predictable but enjoyable and did not cross the line into completely unbelievable territory. The conflicts behind the high school drama—such as Serena’s wish to change herself, Blair’s perfectionism, Dan’s outcast stance and Chuck and Nate’s struggle to live up to their fathers’ expectations—greatly contributed to the show’s initial appeal. These conflicts showed that behind their seemingly perfect appearances, the characters had troubles that could be expanded upon in future seasons to create an edgy, possibly different kind of teen drama.
Then, something occurred in later seasons. The writers increasingly relied on repetitive, overly dramatic storylines that became too implausible for even the most ardent fan to stomach. Gone were the days of Blair’s bulimia, Serena’s brother’s depression and the parental divorce that changed Dan’s family. Somewhere between Blair getting engaged to a Monacan prince and Chuck discovering his dead father was not really dead, the writers emphasized “shock value” over character development, even as Serena and friends transitioned from high school to college and then into adulthood.
Indeed, the characters’ lack of progression manifested in both their relationships and their personalities. For the majority of the show, romantic relationships remained within same Upper East Side circle even if they weren’t compatible at the beginning, a la Dan and Blair. These relationships broke up, got back together or “could not happen” ad nauseam in a dramatic fashion (such as when Chuck said he and Blair could not be in a relationship because “it’d just be a matter of time before we messed it up”). The relationships the characters had outside of the clique tended to end quickly rather than expand into a meaningful, self-assessing experience for the characters (such as the four-episode long relationship between Chuck and a French girl named Eva).
Regarding personality traits, as of season five Blair still expresses the jealousy and anger towards Serena that she did at the beginning of the series. As of season six, Dan still bashes the Upper East Side yet does not distance himself from it, just as he did in season one. Nate finally has a plotline in season six—albeit a convenient one of trying to find the identity of Gossip Girl—after seasons of serious neglect by the writers, except for season three when he again became Serena’s love interest of the moment.
Last May, long before season six of Gossip Girl premiered this fall, Remote Access reported that the sixth season of Gossip Girl would “be more dramatic, dark and chaotic than ever.”
Unfortunately for the writers and producers of Gossip Girl, they missed their chance to create a darker, edgier show after season one. Instead, they opted for a re-hashing of the same “appeal to viewers with lots of sex and drama” nonsense. They missed an opportunity to create meaningful storylines with conflicted yet likeable characters, give their fans something meaningful to watch and make a name for themselves as something other than “teen trash” writers.
The show’s fans have matured, but the show itself has not, which is why I won’t miss Gossip Girl.