Gossip Girl : The CW : Wednesday – 9:00PM EST
Seat42f Grade : B+
The CW launches its second season of scripted television tonight with the highly anticipated and buzz-worthy “Gossip Girl.” The new series comes from “The O.C” and “Chuck” creator Josh Schwartz and seems poised to capture the hearts of viewers everywhere and to remind us, no matter what age we are, that we were all in High School once and carry those battle-scars and victories with us every day.
At first glance “Gossip Girl” screams teen show, but it’s much more than that. Viewers of all age groups will be able to relate to the characters on some level and, much like “The OC”, Schwartz is smart enough to amp up the roles of the parents in the setup and storyline. Sure these are kids of privilege and not too many of us can relate with the size of their checking accounts, but at the end of the day they are people too. Serena, the once best friend of Blair, is the girl who escaped the big city trappings under mysterious circumstances because of a world she didn’t want to be a part of returns here to face her demons and the city and people who nearly broke her. Blair is the girl who seems to have everything but can’t land the “it” boy. Nate, Blair’s boyfriend, is the golden boy who has everything but can’t help but dream of Serena. Dan plays the outsider with less money who keeps his distance from the cool crowd, all the while watching their every move online. Dan’s sister Jenny desperately wants to be accepted and a part of the cool older crowd. Chuck is the bad boy that every girl says they can’t stand but secretly desires. Rufus, Dan and Jenny’s Dad, is longing for days gone past. Lily, Serena’s overbearing Mom, is thriving in the upper elite of New York City while trying to impose her views on Serena of the right way to grow up.
Critics will say “who wants to watch rich kids drinking and carrying on” and how “Gossip Girl” paints an exaggerated example of High School life. Has it been that long since these critics were last in High School? Kids drink, do drugs and have sex in High School. See this summers “SuperBad” for an idea of what kids do on the weekends. I won’t argue the “is it a good idea to glorify what teens do on a TV show”, but if you are going to take a snapshot of teen life and make it into a TV show then at least make it an accurate portrayal of life as a teenager. The checking accounts and clothes may change, but kids are kids all over the world.
Once you look past the window dressing and the whole innocence lost you find families and stories that all of us can connect with. The first episode is beautifully shot and of course features the Josh Schwartz musical touch that was so prevalent on “The OC”, mixing in the hottest bands to drive the scenes. The bottom line is The CW has crafted their first hit and quite possibly at the same time have created this fall’s guiltiest viewing pleasure. Once the out of the demo viewers get past the “Am I watching a show about High School kids?” it’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Is the first episode perfect? Hardly, but that’s sort of the point. The episode, like life, is flawed.