The writers over at Daily Intel may still love Gossip Girl, but this New Yorker has lost all interest in the heavy-breathing teen angst fest. Even if Georgina is returning in tonight’s episode. Last year at this time, the show was my everything. But some around December my interest began to wan, and now even the phrase “Good Morning Upper East Siders” elicits an involuntary eye roll. But instead of turning this into a diatribe, I’ve decided to make explanatory list. Perhaps if creator Josh Schwartz can rouse himself from the pungent aroma of loads and loads of money to read these, he’ll be able to catch the GG shark mid-jump.
1. If you don’t own a TV, you’re SOL. The CW seems to act on one flawed assumption: That people 18 to 35 own functioning televisions. I don’t have a TV. I get my fix via home computer. Unfortunately for me, Gossip Girl‘s producers refuse to post more than a handful of episodes online at any given time, making it difficult to play catch up. And don’t even think about looking for them on YouTube.
2. The characters are increasingly infuriating. Exhibit A: Dan Humphrey At the beginning of the series, Dan’s visible annoyance at having to deal with mental plebeians was somewhat bearable, and maybe even a little charming. A year and a half later, he starts to become like the unwanted obnoxious boyfriend at your friend’s birthday party — annoying, pretentious, and sort of in the way of conversation. He’s just not likable.
Exhibit B: Jenny Humphrey Since when did “Little J” become the embodiment of Nylon Magazine? Between the name-dropping, faux snark, sock-puppet haircut, and heavy black eyeliner, she’s as predictable and bland as a trip to the local Hot Topic.
Exhibit C: Serena van der Woodsen I may be wrong, but I believe Blake Lively’s character was supposed to be the breakout star of the series. But instead of being an adorable bad girl gone good, her utter lack of accountability makes her flirt-pout-then-whine routine stretch mighty thin. PS: How did she get into Brown University when she never actually seems to be in school?
Exhibit D: Blair Waldorf Maybe I was being idealistic, but there was as time when Blair was my ideal anti-hero. Smart and beautiful, with the iron tongue to rule Constance, she was the first strong female character I’d seen on TV in some time. In recent episodes, as Blair gets jilted by the same loathsome characters and falls into a cycle of self-pity, desperation, and Dorota abuse, it’s hard not feel that the show’s creators have deliberately cut her down from the solid redwood of female power she once was.
Exhibit E: Vanessa Whatever I’m pretty sure we were supposed to empathize with this character, who’s a mash-up of all things alterna, but she’s just no fun to watch. Also: She’s so unimportant to the show that I can’t even remember her last name. That’s never a good sign.
However, none of these individual characters can amount to the largest flaw of the show…
3. The complete implausibility of the plot. I surveyed several friends who had also recently left the cult and asked why. There were many answers but most boiled down to this: The show is completely out of touch with reality. Even in the most elite schools across the country, it’s still highly competitive to get into choice colleges, and the existence of a Gossip Girl-type Web site smearing the names of would-be Ivy Leaguers seems preposterous. In some districts in New York, even dodgeball (the childhood game, not the defunct web app) is banned, as it’s seen to produce “aggressive and anti-social behavior” in students.
Also: Though there’s overflowing wealth in New York City, even those at the highest rungs are feeling the weight of a collapsing economy. It’s hard for average viewers to empathize with characters who seem immune— especially when each week they’re displaying less and less emotional depth.
The bottom line: When even Chuck Bass feels tired and predictable, you know you’ve got a problem that’s too big for Rufus and his infinite dad wisdom to solve. As one friend put it best, “It’s almost like all the producers went to sleep behind the wheel. While also being lazy. And suffering from a boom hangover.”