Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl
Episode 10: New York, I Love You XOXO
By: Carlos Uribe

Gossip Girl is a show about some wealthy people in New York City.

Spoiler Alert!

When I started watching Gossip Girl six years ago, I didn't really anticipate that the series would actually hook me. I had checked it out because I was watching every new show that season and I surprisingly liked the first episode. I stuck around and before I knew it, I couldn't wait to watch the next episode. The first couple seasons of the show were great. The third season saw a small decline in quality but it wasn't enough to really hurt the show. The fourth season was largely a dud with some saving graces. The beginning of the fifth season missed the spark that used to make this show so good to the point where I was actively calling out for it to end. The second half was a marked improvement as it become something watchable and fun before it was renewed for a final season. The final season had some critical flaws that threatened to overwhelm the series but it managed to have some strong elements that allowed the episodes to be entertaining and good. I'm not going to pretend that Gossip Girl completely recaptured the fun and magic it once had but it did get enough of it to feel like I'm watching a show I fell in love with. It is now the final episode of the show. Was my six-year journey with these crazy kids and their wild shenanigans worth it? For the most part, it actually was. This series finale might not have been perfect but I'm largely happy with it.

The previous episode had ended with a ridiculously executed scene where Bart dies as his son watches him fall to the ground. This episode had Lily plan a funeral while Chuck and Blair tried to figure out what to do. Chuck might not feel guilty but he realizes that the law might see his actions in a different light. Since the security cameras on the roof were off, the only witness to what happened was Blair. Uncle Jack comes in with the perfect solution: Chuck can marry Blair which grants them spousal privilege. Blair won't be forced to be a witness. This leads to two attempts for them to get married. The first is one that happens at a courthouse where they just plan to sign a piece of paper. Chuck doesn't want this because he wants an actual wedding. An impromptu wedding takes place that gets broken up when the police show up. It's not too late as Blair and Chuck did get married. The police had no evidence that Chuck was even on the rule and they decide to rule Bart's death an accident. The series shows them five years in the future being loving parents to a small kid named Henry. It's a pity that the jump to the future lasted so short because them being good parents is a great note for the show to end on. Chuck's entire season and a large part of his character has been dealing with his father issues. Blair herself was largely dealing with having to come out of her mother's shadow and prove herself. The two characters have had to confront their parental issues that making a bigger comment that they won't be repeating the same mistakes of their parents is a pretty big one.

That jump to the future is largely to tell the viewers what happened with Serena and Dan. It turns out that the two of them are going to get married. All of their relationship problems get sorted out and it ends up working out. What were these relationship troubles? Dan publishing a book that features a Serena character in a negative light and a piece in Vanity Fair that is so cruel that it makes Serena want to escape to Los Angeles. Giving her the nice piece he had written about her convinces her to stay because it completely confuses her. How can Dan be so cruel and yet claim to love her so much? It takes him more than telling her about the first time he talked to her. It means revealing a large secret that is at the very crux of this series. In other words, Dan revealed who Gossip Girl is. He didn't just tell Serena this but he made it his final chapter of his book. A chapter that he graciously gave to Nate. Dan revealed that he's been Gossip Girl from the very beginning. He may have had it temporarily go in the wrong hands with Georgina and Serena but he's the real Gossip Girl.

Which makes very little actual sense. There are simply too many times where the series has revealed important plot details to Dan through Gossip Girl blasts. There was a particular scene where Dan was surprised by the contents of Gossip Girl. The series tried to explain his rudeness towards his sister in that she knew the whole time and had sent in numerous hints to Gossip Girl. This doesn't excuse that he's been posting cruel rumors about the people he has befriended. It might have made some sense when he was an outsider and he didn't know who they were but he kept doing it once he was in their circle. What makes even less sense is that Serena's problems with the Gossip Girl site vanished once she realized who the author was. This is a character who believes that a large source of her problems has been that blog. She's tried to go on crusades in an attempt to shut down the site and reveal the identity of Gossip Girl. That Serena not only accepts Gossip Girl but that she actually thinks it's a giant love letter to her and her friends is completely inconsistent with everything she's said and done about Gossip Girl before. Also why did Dan reveal he was Gossip Girl to Serena before sending out the final chapter? It's because he wanted to explain how he could write nice things but publish cruel things to her in an attempt to get her to forgive him. To reveal that he didn't just publish a cruel article on Vanity Fair but that he's been doing this for longer than the time that they've known each other doesn't just make him out to be a psychotic stalker but should have only sent Serena running away from. His explanation that he's Gossip Girl makes no sense when he's trying to justify why he wrote a mean article and that he really does love her.

Dan giving Nate the identity of Gossip Girl was all he needed to get out his financial crisis at the Spectator. When the series first goes five years to the future, it's Nate stepping out of a Spectator private jet dodging questions about his intention to run for mayor. I'm not entirely sure how revealing the identity of some blogger was big enough to establish a media empire but the future is bright on Nate. The one notable element absent from his future is any sort of love interest. It looks like his relationship with Sage is doomed after all. That bring up the question of just why exactly she is in the finale (or most of this season). Nate is the only character shown in the future to not be with someone. This isn't a bad choice as there is nobody where that would have made any real sense. It also speaks to the character's problem ever since he had broken up with Blair: woman have largely dominated his will. By not having a female in his life, Nate is able to excel beyond any expectations or even logic. He's been able to achieve his goal of accomplishing something of his life without accepting any help from his family. That's pretty much been what his entire character has been about for the entire series and it's nice that he accomplished this goal.

The other characters have their futures revealed as well. Georgina ends up with Uncle Jack in a brilliant move that fits both characters. Ivy sells her life story to Hollywood and Lola is in the movie. Lily ended up going back to William. Rufus is with a musician that only appeared like once in the show before this. I honestly didn't recognize her and had to look up who she was after the episode ended. It makes sense that the character that the show is constantly reminding viewers never really penetrated the world of the wealthy ended up being with someone that is actually from his world. Jenny has successfully become a fashion designer while Eric grew a goatee. Of all the main characters, the only one whose future wasn't made known was Vanessa. She did make a small cameo appearance when she found out that Dan was Gossip Girl this entire time. It was nice seeing that she did make an appearance for the episode but it felt odd that a character of such magnitude was confined to a montage of recurring characters finding out Gossip Girl's identity. The best of those small snippets was where Kristen Bell and Rachel Bison acted out a pilot based on Inside.

This was a series finale that worked except in one aspect: Gossip Girl's identity. Revealing that it was Dan and he did it because he loved Serena literally makes no sense. It seemed like a move made because the series needed a main character to be the blogger when it could have easily been a recurring character like Dorota or Nelly Yuki. Even Georgina makes more sense than Dan. I didn't really have a major problem with anything else.

You Know You Love Me,

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