Gossip Girl: Your One and Only Source into the Scandalous Lives of Manhattan’s Elite

Tooba Naveed, Reporter

The Show

Gossip Girl is a classic that everyone has either watched or heard of. It’s a story that follows through the lives of a group of rich teenage friends through their rivalries, romances, drama, and strife, all taking place in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The show is narrated by “Gossip Girl”, who runs a website that broadcasts the most scandalous moments in the lives of Manhattan’s elite. It’s based upon the young adult series written by Cecily von Ziegesar.

The show first aired on The CW September 19 in 2007. It continued for 6 seasons and 121 episodes before the series ended on December 17, 2012. Now, all six seasons can be viewed on Netflix, ready to be binge watched with a bowl of popcorn and some friends.

Major Characters

Leighton Meester plays Blair Waldorf, a rich prep school girl with an insensitive mother and the tough but satisfying role of being Queen Bee. She’s constantly butting heads with her best friend, Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) whose notoriously flirtatious and party-girl attitude has gotten her feature after feature on Gossip Girl. The show’s widely renowned rich playboy with countless secrets to uncover, Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) is a cast favorite. His best friend, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) is facing the struggle of trying to choose between whether he wants to follow in his parents’ footsteps or make a name for himself. The odd one out in the main cast is Dan Humphrey, played by Penn Badgley. He loves to write and may not come from a rich family, but was smart enough to attend the same prep school as the rest of the group (not that they’d be caught associating with him).

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Supporting Characters

Jenny Humphrey (Tayler Momsen), Dan’s younger sister, idolizes Blair and Serena and strives to become someone like them someday, resenting her family’s financial status along the way. Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle), Jenny and Dan’s father, undergoes a suffering marriage while attempting to keep his distance from Serena’s mom, Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) who he’s had a romantic past with. Lily has undergone countless divorces- and reaped the benefits of them, and is struggling to keep the mental health of her son Eric (Connor Paolo) intact and out of the spotlight. Blair’s mother Eleanor (Margaret Colin), however, has just gotten through one harsh divorce, but still comes out on top as one of Manhattan’s most successful fashion designers.

Serena van der Woodsen returns after being gone for nearly a year.
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Serena van der Woodsen returns after being gone for nearly a year.

Pilot

The episode starts off with a Gossip Girl blast: Serena is home from boarding school. She’s been gone for a year for reasons that remain unknown, and Blair, whose mother is currently hosting a party in their grand home, is not at all pleased at her surprise visit. Upon hearing the news that her so-called best friend has returned, Blair pulls her boyfriend Nate aside to “get it on”, over the slight paranoia that her boyfriend still has feelings for Serena. Serena meets her mother at the party, and asks where “he” is (the “he” being her younger brother Eric, who’s been kept inside of a rehabilitation home since his suicide attempt). Lily van der Woodsen manages to avoid the question at the chance that Blair and her mother greet Serena. Blair feigns her disappointment at Serena’s rush to leave, and Nate can’t help to stare after her. Serena arrives at the rehabilitation center to visit her brother, and sleeps at his bedside until her mother discovers her in the morning, where the two argue until Serena decides to leave to school. Meanwhile, Dan and Jenny Humphrey are hurrying off to school, while conversing with their father about his long-forgotten band days. After school, Jenny, who’s addressing the invitations to Blair’s party that Serena was conveniently not welcomed to, is seen at a mall trying on dresses for said party. She meets Serena, and secretly gives her an invitation. Later that night, Serena is spotted at the bar of her temporary home, the Palace Hotel, conversing with Blair about how she’s sorry for leaving. She hopes they can make amends to their friendship and Blair agrees. Soon after, Chuck arrives, trying to take advantage of Serena’s drunken state. Serena escapes Chuck’s wrath, bumping into Dan and dropping her phone in the process. As the scene unfolds, we are taken to a conversation between Nate and Blair, about the scandalous truth behind what Nate and Serena shared before she fled to boarding school. Blair, heartbroken, leaves in tears. The next morning, Nate apologizes to Blair and swears it’s all in the past, and Blair enthusiastically agrees to put it all behind her. At the hotel, Serena spots Dan attempting to return her phone and uses him as an excuse for her mom to avoid Blair’s party. Serena and Dan end up on a date, only to be interrupted by a text from Jenny proclaiming that she was in trouble, and it involved Chuck Bass. Serena and Dan rush to the party to rescue Jenny, causing an uproar. Blair glowers, Chuck swears revenge, and Nate sulks in a corner while the three leave the party.

I’m Chuck Bass.”

— Chuck Bass

Why it stands out

Gossip Girl is filled to the brim with passion and drama. Though the characters may come off as shallow and superficial, this show follows through their maturity, their hardships, their thrilling drama and romances, and most of all, their endearing friendship that is bound to triumph in the end. Each character has a unique personality that is crucial to the premise of the story.

What’re you waiting for?

So it may not be the type of show that requires you to dig deep and analyze, but it’s a great watch for those days where you’re just trying to relax with a group of girlfriends. All the while, it’ll keep you at the edge of your seat. So log onto your Netflix account and delve into the lives of Manhattan’s elite. Gossip Girl is the ultimate guilty pleasure.