Okay, confession time: growing up, I was a huge fan of young adult book series. I’m talking about “Sweet Valley High”, “Sunset Island”, and “Freshman Dorm”, just to name a few. There was even one called “Boyfriends/Girlfriends” with was eventually renamed “Making Out.” Oy. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to write the things, so I still troll the young adult section at Barnes & Noble sometimes, just to see what’s currently popular. So I was doing that a few months ago, trying not to look creepy as I bumped into 10-year-olds, and I saw a series called “Gossip Girl.” So I flipped through a few, and honestly, I was appalled. The jailbait girls on the covers were scantily clad, the characters seem spoiled, unlikable, and two-dimensional, and each book revolved more around sex and drugs than the last. After leaving the store, I actually called my bewildered mother to treat her to a scathing diatribe on young adult literature’s contribution to the oversexed, irresponsible youth of America.
Little did I know I’d be recapping the television adaptation six months later
But don’t worry. While I may irrationally overreact to trashy books, I LOVE trashy TV. And from what I saw of those books, this show is going to be pure sleaze, which is phenomenal. Bitchy, insecure hotties? Check. Questionably attractive pretty boys? Check. Underage drinking? Check. Allowance-bought narcotics? Check. Statutory rape? Check. And don’t forget its premise: the daily lives of rich teenagers at a Manhattan Upper East Side boarding school, as reported via blog and text messaging by the all-knowing Gossip Girl, whose identity remains a secret. Yep, we’ve got a winner. And it’s on directly after the crapfest of America’s Next Unheard of Model. Excellent. Let’s meet the players, shall we?
Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants): Our main character, Serena is rich and beautiful, as only people with last names of van der Woodsen can be. Serena is back in Manhattan after disappearing mysteriously a while back, and not even her best friends know what caused her to leave or what prompted her to finally return. I’m guessing her parents exiled her to have a b-a-b-y in some cottage in the Swiss Alps, like all knocked up little rich girls. Although, judging by this outfit she may have been taking time off to be a Hanes Her Way model. Serena 2.0 is different, and is sure to make waves with her old crowd, especially her BFF Blair…
Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester, Entourage): Serena’s supposed best friend, meaning Blair will be spending most of her time seeing just how deep a knife can go in someone’s back. Blair has been Head Plastic in Serena’s absence, and is not too eager to relinquish that position. Cat fight! Not only will Blair be fighting to keep her loyal minions in line, but potentially her boyfriend Nate as well…
Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford, The Covenant): Eww, seriously? This guy? Gross. I don’t know why the hell Serena and Blair are going to be fighting over Miami Vice here, but that’s what the previews have been suggesting. Nate is evidently uneasy with all the privileges he’s been handed by his rich daddy. Like, it’s so hard to be rich, guys. We should totally give back to those less fort–HEY! You! Get your ass off my Lamborghini, you dirty bum! God, you smell like piss, and I just got this detailed! …Now, what was I saying?
Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick, Children of Men): In case the mussed hair and insolent gaze weren’t clear enough, Chuck is our resident bad boy and a good friend of Nate’s. Meaning either Serena or Blair (or both) will be sleeping with him soon, and it’ll be a huge scandal. Can’t wait, I love the bad boys. And this one’s hot. And British. And legal, so I’m not a perv. Well, at least not as much of one.
Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley, John Tucker Must Die): This Justin Chambers/Elijah Wood lovechild is a <gasp> middle class kid there for the “quality education.” Because of his financial shortcomings (I mean, omg, he only like drives an Audi, ew), Dan is on the fringes of the inner-circle. I’m sure one of the female leads will be slumming it with him in no time, while the rich boys try to kick his ass. He’s the suburban version of Ryan Atwood. As I greatly prefer my Ryan Atwoods to wear wife beaters rather than North Face, I’ll withhold judgment for now.
Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen, How the Grinch Stole Christmas): Yep, this is that weird little girl from the Jim Carrey movie, all whored up. But don’t get any ideas, because she’s only 14 in real life. Yep, that’s a 14 year old. She’s going to look 80 by the time she’s old enough to vote. Jenny is Dan’s little sister (you can tell she’s middle class by the lack of trendy name), and judging by her skanky look, she’ll be trying her best to fit in with Serena and Blair. Ruh-roh. Side note: maybe it’s just this picture, but what’s up with that giraffe neck? Side note 2: Nope, I looked at other pictures at her, and she definitely has a giraffe neck.
Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle, Into the West): Dan and Jenny’s dad. A former rocker who’s still rocking some awesome facial hair, Rufus (seriously?) is now a reformed art gallery owner (zzzz) who wants the best education for his children. So he throws them to the wolves. Parents in these kinds of shows always bore me, so until he starts sleeping with one of his kids’ friends, I really don’t care.
Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford, Melrose Place): Serena’s mother, best known for playing the hooker with the heart of gold in the final seasons of Melrose Place. Again, another boring parent, and this one will probably be vapid and vain to boot. Since she and Rufus are the only parents who are main characters, they will probably get it on.
Isabel Coates (Nicole Fiscella): One of Blair’s supposedly loyal minions, Isabel doesn’t strike me as the type who’s going to remain meek and subservient once Serena returns to stir the pot. Watch for this girl to make a power play of her own before long – in the clique and with the guys. This is Nicole Fiscella’s first acting role, by the way, coming from a successful modeling career. Who thinks she’ll actually be able to act? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Oh well, she’s nice to look at, at least, unlike Giraffe Neck.
Katy Farkas (Nan Zhang): Evidently Blair is an equal opportunity employer when it comes to hiring minions. This girl looks pissed as hell, probably from the 40 bee stings she must have gotten on her mouth to make it look like that. Seriously, honey, back away from the lip plumper. But congrats on making bangs work. Nan Zhang is another newcomer, but she’s not a former model. Nope, she was actually a neuroscience/premed major at Johns Hopkins. Screw medical school, she’s going to be a bit player on a CW soap. Mom and dad must be so proud.
Well, there you go, the characters of Gossip Girl. The series premiere airs this Wednesday, September 19th, at 9/8c immediately following ANTM. This show looks like a lot of guilty fun, and I hope you all join me in mocking and enjoying it! Until then, what do you think of the characters? Got any predictions? Remember, no spoilers if you’ve read the books (bless your heart)!