Since 2007 I’ve been living an amoral life vicariously through those privileged kids of the Upper East Side. CW’s teen-dream drama has been the go-to fantasy world for TV viewers like me – where glamour, deceit, designer clothes no one can afford, bathroom hookups, cat fights, trust funds and sassy one-liners thrive, while naiveté and ugly wooden shoes don’t.
I remember greeting the show at first with an eyeroll, but then one night, I had it on while cleaning my room and bam! – it quickly became my chocolate-covered TV drug. I found it cheeky, smart, hilarious (both intentionally and not), ridiculous, and the cliffhangers kept me wanting more, more, and more.
Which made sense, because Gossip Girl is where excess reigns. It’s where masquerade balls happen so often that they become pedestrian; where acceptance letters to Yale, Columbia and Brown abound; where you mingle with everyone from Rachel Zoe to Jonathan Franzen; where dating European royalty is hardly impressive; and where scheming is your favorite extracurricular activity (and you better be good at it, or else you’ll be eaten alive). It’s a world where everything will never be enough.
Gossip Girl is make-believe in the way Star Wars is: These things just don’t happen in real life. Blonde ingénue Serena got offered a job by freakin’ David O. Russell while hanging out on a beach in California. While still in high school, Chuck Bass opened up a burlesque club. Dan Humphrey got published in The New Yorker before the age of 18. I mean, c’mon! Right? But the gross decadence is meant to be scoffed at and is part of the Gossip Girl charm: They never take themselves seriously, and you shouldn’t either.
However, underneath that Emilio Pucci dress not only lies the most elaborate schemes ever, but also a beating heart: Those BFF moments between Blair and Serena or whenever Chuck seeks comfort from Lily – these small, moments of humanity are what keeps viewers from despising these characters, who, by the way, are way more complex than they seem, like the beautifully complicated, Machiavellian Blair Waldorf or the tormented, billionaire bad boy Chuck Bass.
Blair Waldorf once mused, “I just need to know that, in this misbegotten corner of Manhattan, wealth, ambition, and moral laxity are still alive and well.” Oh, it is, Miss Waldorf, it is. It’s alive and well on Hulu. I’m so excited that fans, old and new, can now cast their morals aside (for a while) right here on this very website.