Friday, October 21, 2011

Best Show You're Not Watching: Gossip Girl

Wait! Don't go anywhere!  Now I know that if you are a tv snob (like me) the mention of Gossip Girl being even a teensiest bit awesome probably has you making up your mind about me and this blog really fast.  But before you click away to re-read Game Of Thrones recaplets on Television Without Pity or to discover which BBC shows are now streaming on Netflix, hold still a sec.  Yes, it used to be a petty teen show.  Yes, the characters kind of sucked balls.  But it's kind of good now, you guys.  Kind of really good.

Now, full disclaimer.  Gossip Girl didn't suddenly become Breaking Bad or Dexter.  Hell, it isn't even anywhere close to The Vampire Diaries. It's not dangerous or risky nor will it ever leave you biting your fingernails out of fear that your favorite character is about to bite the big one.  No.  It will never do that.  But what it does do...interpersonal relationships, great fashion (its soooo pretty) and character conflict, well it does all of that really well.  And how did all of this awesomeness start?  When the writers decided to stop the train of guest star bedfellows and take a little Dair. (See what I did there?)

For those of you not up to speed on the shipper lingo (and for the record, I hate being a shipper or anything that links me to any kind of fandom, because lets be real - fans are crazy), Dair is Gossip Girl's little golden egg of a non-couple.  Most CW prime time soaps pride themselves on their instant sexy love triangles or steamy forbidden relationships.  When we do manage to get friendships, it's a gaggle of giggle girls or the somewhat preferable bro-mance.  But a guy and a girl actually taking the time to know each other in a non-carnal capacity?  That NEVER happens.  Which is what makes Dan and Blair kind of awesome.

To recap- Blair is the uptight (but fabulously dressed) rich bitch.  Dan is the scholarship-ed wanabe-writer hipster from Brooklyn. And for three seasons, they hated each other.  Rarely spoke, except to cut the other down to size.  Unfortunately for Dan and Blair, they kind of have a lot in common.  And after they found themselves sitting next to each other at yet another art house film, it became clear that they had become secret friends.  And it was adorable.  Eventually, as much as he hated it, Dan realized that he was kind of in love with Blair.  Which is complicated, because she in engaged and impregnated by one fellow and in love with another.  Dan is a just another complication she doesn't need.  Which is kind of great, because we want them together and Gossip Girl is going to make it a slow build to get there.  It will give us instant gratification in other ways.  For these two?  They are going to make us suffer.  And we are going to like it.

After falling for Dan and Blair, I became convinced that I could watch a crappy show for a cute couple and then what did the show do?  It made the rest of it good too! (Those bastards).   First, by having Dan accidentally (don't we all wish) publish a book based on his Upper East Side friends, which has all of them furious at him.  Now that he has everything that he has ever wanted, he has never been more alone.  It will be tons of fun to watch him claw his way back to the relationships with the other characters on the canvas.  Also alone is Chuck, who after reading Dan's book finally had a woobie moment and realized just how lonely he is.  This character can be kind of annoying and even an evil douche, but the show is finally taking him in more of a Logan Echolls-y direction, of which I completely approve.  Also he has an adorable dog now.  Named Monkey.  COME ON!

In fact, Gossip Girl has finally learned the direction all of it's characters should take.  Nate is the hot maybe stoner (GG likes to allude to nefarious acts rather than spell it out, which is more fun) who has actually become the vehicle for humor on the show.  Serena wears wacky ensembles and teeters of in a C story, which is totally where she belongs.  And the parents are actually having relationships with their children, which is...refreshing.  For the first time they are all interesting to watch.  For the first time the show is good.

So get off your high horse, will ya?  Give Gossip Girl a chance.  Come for the fashion, stay for the Dair, enjoy the actual story.  You may find that you just might like it.

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