What happened to Gossip Girl?
‘Gossip Girl’ was never going to be compared to a show like ‘Homeland,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘The Wire.’ But the sixth and final season has been bad … like ‘My Mother the Car’ bad.
Watching Gossip Girl has been a guilty pleasure of mine for some time now. I mean, let’s face it: a thirtysomething single hetrosexual male probably isn’t their demographic. Despite that disconnect, I’ve watched every episode covering the exploits of our (my?) favorite Upper-East-Siders for five solid seasons now. Unfortunately, in the show’s sixth and final season, something has happened, and what we’re seeing on the screen is just plain bad.
I get that there are many that would argue that the show has been “plain bad” for a while now – like since the first episode. The show has been defined by unbelievable plot twists and turns – and not “unbelievable” in a good way – and has seen characters flipping personalities at the drop of a hat. But I’m not a fan because of the show’s well-thought out season long arcs, but because I like the way the dialogue is written. To call it smart and rapid-fire and compare it to Aaron Sorkin or Amy Sherman-Palladino is probably a stretch — and insult an insult to those wordsmiths — but the character’s of Gossip Girl have always had a very unique way of speaking. Plus, the show is as full of pop-culture (and New York City) references as much of what Sorkin and AS-P have written in the past. I appreciate a show that makes you think about what the characters are actually saying.
But this sixth season has been nearly insulting to watch. The character flip-flopping and changing personalities that fans have come to tolerate on a quarter-season basis are now happening in single episodes … and occasionally several times in one week. Long time readers know I often complain about manufactured obstacles to couples’ getting together, but the metric tonnage of obstacles that have been created to keep Blair and Chuck separated would take an aircraft carrier to remove from Manhattan. Worst of all is the quality of the acting this season. There have been a couple of scenes where the line delivery has been so wooden I wondered if the talent had been replaced by trees … with mouths … well, the analogy worked in my head.
Gossip Girl has never been home to a collection of Emmy-caliber performances, but it has certainly turned in much better work. It’s a shame, especially for fans who were excited for the show’s half-season pickup to bring the narrative to a close. Instead of ten episodes of closure, we’ve seen storylines launched in different directions with characters acting way out of character (There are other examples, but Nate sleeping with a high school student and cooking the Spectator’s books are two of the more obvious). The show has three episodes left to bring the story to a close, but at this point, the only things I’m looking forward to is counting the number of times Dan and Serena can breakup and get back together again, and the inevitable Kristen Bell cameo.