TV Review: Gossip Girl (2007 to 2012)

I love the original Gossip Girl. This year I watched all six seasons as a first time viewer.

The show held my interest over 121 episodes because it has some very strong will-they-won’t-they romantic storylines. These begin in the first season and aren’t tied up until the very end.

Gossip Girl varies in tone across its entire run. It might sound silly to say it, but the relationships feel more realistic in the earlier years. By season five it looks as if the writers are running out of ideas; there is a much greater emphasis on villains and plotting. This changes the feel of the show, making it more like the Dynasty reboot. But nevertheless, Gossip Girl remains an enjoyable watch right to the end.

So what’s Gossip Girl about?

It’s the story of a group of fabulously rich friends who live in Manhattan, and the Humphreys, a middle-class single parent family from Brooklyn. Dan and Jenny Humphrey attend school in Manhattan. Their attempts to “fit in” drive much of the plot.

Jenny and Dan Humphrey

At the outset, single parent Rufus Humphrey is an old friend of many times married socialite Lily. Lily’s daughter Serena van der Woodsen catches young Dan’s eye, much to the despair of Serena’s friend Blair Waldorf. I could say more, but it gets very complicated and I like to avoid spoilers.

The romance storylines work so well because of the characters. Each character has a very strong, clearly defined identity. Gossip Girl isn’t one of those tv shows about rich people where the slim white folk in designer clothes all seem pretty much interchangeable.

In fact, the Gossip Girl characters are anything but bland. I won’t list them all, it’s a large ensemble cast, but here are three just to give you a flavour.

There’s troubled billionaire Chuck Bass. Think exquisite men’s tailoring, square manly jaw and old style movie star swagger. Then there’s Blair Waldorf. She’s likeable but awful; a spoilt but vulnerable schemer. And let’s not forget Blair’s rival Jenny Humphrey, “Little J.” She has a brilliant storyline. Jenny is desperate to fit in and will do anything to get to the top.

Chuck Bass
Blair Waldorf

Gossip Girl was recently relaunched with a new cast of characters. I’ve only seen one episode from the 2021 show. If you haven’t seen either production, be warned. The first episode of the new Gossip Girl references the top secret identity of the Gossip Girl blogger in the 2007–2012 version.

I’m keen to see the new Gossip Girl. Comments on social media suggest that it isn’t as light hearted as the original version. I will take a look and let you know! XOXO

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