Last night was the series finale of The CW's Gossip Girl, a teen soap based on a popular young adult book series that, in some ways, was the first television show about the Internet. Or at least the first show that used the Internet in a crucial, central way — Gossip Girl was an anonymous (until last night) gossipeuse who devoted her (well, we thought it was a her) time to chronicling the lives of the fabulous and wealthy youngs of the Upper East Side. While most storylines on the show revolved around other, more tangible things, there was always Kristen Bell's snotty voiceover reminding us that all this high-fashion drama was operating within the framework of a nasty little blog. Let's not call this revolutionary, but as an excuse to talk about this show, let's at least say that Gossip Girl did, in some strange way, make its little mark on this big, broad culture of ours.
So that pseudo-academic justification aside, omg you guys, no more Gossip Girl! I won't lie and say that I'd been keeping up with the show recently, but there was a time there, let's say between 2007 and 2009, when it was a vital part of my life and work. It was, in fact, the first show I ever recapped, and thus the television program with which I first spent way too much time up-close. For that reason, and maybe some other Chace Crawford-related reasons, I will always remember Gossip Girl, a silly trifle that could have been so much more but was instead simply what it was. And it went out as well as we could have. Right? Was anything terribly missing?
Well, sure, it would have been nice to spend more time with ol' raccoon eyes Jenny, but actress Taylor Momsen really doesn't like Gossip Girl from what I can tell, so that she was even in one scene right at the end of the episode was probably a coup enough. And of course it would have been great to get a whole episode of little Eric van der Woodsen waxing rhapsodic about his fabulous new life at Sarah Lawrence. But Connor Paolo is busy with Revenge, so he and Jenny had to occupy the same single scene together last night. But other than that, I'd say we got just about what we, and the show, deserved. Having not tuned in for quite some time, I was a bit at-sea with the lesser characters: What was that Charlie person doing and what did it have to do with Billy Baldwin? Why weren't people more freaked out that Bart Bass came back from the dead only to die again? Who keeps employing Michelle Trachtenberg? But with all our near and dears, things pretty much made perfect sense. Blair and Chuck are, after several extremely frustrating years, actual years, of back and forth and on again/off again, finally married. I can't pretend to have been that invested in this relationship, which spent more time being annoying than it ever did being charming, but at least the question is answered. He's Chuck Bass, she's Blair Waldorf, and they are at last joined together in wedded bliss. As it should be.
Dan and Serena are married, too! Yeah, in the Josh Schwartzian O.C.-style flash-forward epilogue we saw the two tie the knot in front of friends and family. We also learned that Blair and Chuck had a kid named Henry, that Rufus ended up with Lisa Loeb because why not, and that Nate is considering running for mayor. Bwahaha, yup. Last night, porcelain sex doll Chace Crawford played a character who was considering running for mayor of New York City. If that's not a perfect example of how simultaneously silly and downright stupid this show could be in its day, I don't know what is. Ah, well, at least Crawford got to put on a suit and act all big and important and fancy for an afternoon. But the biggest reveal of all, the thing that both satisfied the show's central question and posed a whole hell of a lot of new ones, was that our own Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl this whole time. LOL. Dan, he of the floppy 'do and only barely controlled body hair, has been our snarky whisperer all along. He explained that he became Gossip Girl in order to shape the tony Upper East Side world that he wanted into — a Brooklyn boy can only manipulate his way into uptown society, he cannot get there on merit alone. It was a strange way to wrap up that character, but OK. I'll go there with you, Gossip Girl. In some ways all that reveal did was gently nudge Dan a little forward, telling us that he was the real main character all along. I don't exactly buy that when looking at the whole span of the show, but in the way that series finales often harken back to a show's first season more than any other, this made sense. Dan, our initial eyes into this whole scene, was in control all along, even though he seemed like the country mouse dope. Sure thing, Gossip Girl. Whatever works.
And that is basically it. It's all over now. What, if anything, does the end of Gossip Girl mean? Well it means that teenagers have gotten older, that kids who started watching the show in ninth grade are now sophomores in college. That kids who started watching it later in high school are now done with their learning and drifting around the professional world somewhere. It means that time has passed. For me personally it means that I outlived something that I once wrestled to explain. That's part of what you do when you recap a TV show; you try to crunch it down into context, place it on its appropriate shelf. There's a reverence for the show but there's also an antagonism, a sense of wanting to conquer a thing. Gossip Girl is now over and yet here I still stand (or sit). We all had a nice cultural moment with Gossip Girl when it first started, it said something to us about a luxe brand of New York privilege that most of us scrambling around downtown and in Brooklyn and wherever else will never know. It then became a fable, an alternate universe, when, a year after its premiere, all of our money disappeared down an enormous sinkhole. It lied to us about lots of things — not just economics, not just New York social behavior, but also on matters of the heart — but most television shows do that. But because it was about kids, and for kids, Gossip Girl briefly stood out in some people's eyes as a Sign Of Something. Much like the similarly titled Girls does now. Who knows what either show is really a sign of besides their own times and places, but that we had the conversation at all means that Gossip Girl must have gotten something right.
I can't say I'll exactly miss this often ludicrous, sometimes tedious show. But I might just miss the years it dwelled in, all the time it spent distracting me from other things. Ah, well. Nothing to do about it now. xoxo.