Things We Heart Right Now – Gossip Girl

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Oscar Wilde would have, no doubt, delighted in meeting the enigmatic Gossip Girl. When the social Nostradamus declared that ‘the only thing worse in life than being talked about is not being talked about’, he predicted not only the ingredients for a hit television show but an attitude symptomatic of an entire generation. In a land of kingpins and queen bees, gossip reigns supreme amongst the group of New York teens as the great social equaliser.

Take Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), the ingenuous aspiring writer from Brooklyn who, by Season 3, is dating a famous actress (Hilary Duff) and feeling right at home in New York’s entangled Upper East Side world of power, politics and scandal.

Season 3 of ‘Gossip Girl’ also sees the majority of the cast strip free of their school uniforms and entering the unchartered suburban territory of Manhattan’s colleges. For the prim Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), this spelt an unbearable lack of subservient subjects while free-spirited Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr) was caught up in a rather messy ménage et trios. A healthy sprinkling of political scandal kept things current and, as usual, social butterfly Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively) was never far from the drama.

And it’s not just onscreen where the action happens. The cast provide as much tabloid fodder in reality as they do for Gossip Girl’s infamous ‘blasts’. Former onscreen couple Penn and Blake were first to take their real life relationship public, followed by Ed Westwick (who plays the mischievous Chuck Bass) and Jessica. Art imitates life as plot lines are derived from true celebrity stories (eg: the guest appearance of Hilary Duff was inspired by actress Emma Watson’s decision to attend university). Guest appearances from Hilary, Tyra Banks, Sonic Youth and Lady Gaga sprinkled the series with stars, much to the delight of GG’s almost cult-like following.

‘Gossip Girl’, in many ways, sums up a muddle of ideas from the bygone decade. It is both antiquarian in its fondness for family rivalry and modern in its media, where text, emails and IM replace traditional word-of-mouth. It chronicles our craving for celebrity and scandal and allows us to vicariously get caught up in a world of wealth and power. While it may not be so seductive seeing the damaging effects of malicious gossip in real life (yes, Britney Spears) it sure does make for entertaining television. Ex, oh! Ex, oh!

‘Gossip Girl’ Season 3 is out August 30 on DVD.
Photography courtesy Foxtel.