Grade: C +
God, the WB lives. Its teen-centric programming philosophy rises again in the form of Gossip Girl, a nighttime soap (based on a YA book series) about fabulously rich New York City teenagers who don’t get along, or have just met. The hive’s former queen is Serena Van Der Woodsen, a (reformed?) bad girl who ran away to boarding school in Connecticut after sleeping with: Nate, the boyfriend since kindergarten of Serena’s (now ex-) best friend: Blair, the crowd’s reigning queen who is possibly opening her orbit to include: Jen, the school’s new girl, daughter of a grunge-era rocker, and sister to: Dan, who gets a crush on Serena at first sight. Also featured: Chuck. Every show about high school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He’s this one’s.
The hook of this show is Gossip Girl, a faceless, nameless blogger who chronicles the main characters’ angst and posturing. Gossip Girl is voiced by Veronica Mars herself, Kristen Bell, which is why I bothered tuning in, and now I can knowledgeably say it: Bell’s talents are wasted here. Gossip Girl had maybe ten lines, and though Bell gave it her all (check out her intonation on the show’s title if you care), it’s still barely a legitimate paycheck.
The rest of the show is just 09ers being 09ers, and though the writers try to give them some depth, I keep thinking of Paris Hilton. Gossip Girl would probably be more interesting if its characters were in their twenties—a little more mature, capable of greater responsibility, and part of a social circle that didn’t exist just because they all went to the same school. There’s some serious stuff here, including a sibling’s attempted suicide and not one but two near-rapes, but it’s all safely ensconced within the realm of spoiled-teen melodrama. I like the idea of Gossip Girl’s meticulously blogging each power clash and petty victory as if they were regional defense pacts, but I’d like it more if those victories had consequences beyond a better seat at the lunch table. Pass.