Gossip Girl is a tv series on the CW channel in the US. It portrays the lives of ‘Manhattan’s greatest elites’ and their ‘scandalous lives’. The main characters, Serena Van Der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, Chuck Bass, and Dan Humphrey, strive to survive amid the rumors, scandals, and gossip in the wealthy, luxurious Upper East Side. An anonymous figure called ‘gossip girl’ runs a blog about everything that goes on in the Upper East Side, and gleefully sees all and tells all. As secrets are revealed, wars are commenced, love lines are formed, and characters are developed.
Gossip Girl has reached success because it portrays a delicate yet unmerciful and harsh world, and presents certain characters and figures in such a magnificent way. I have analyzed Gossip Girl and its factors for success.
Firstly, the concepts of ‘gossip girl’ and gossip are fresh and interesting. The main, most major role in developing the complex story line of Gossip Girl is done by the very ‘gossip girl’ her/himself. Anyone can send photos or true stories to gossip girl in order to have everyone’s secrets out in the open, whether it’s your best friend/family member or your worst enemy that you want to destroy, and the sources of the information sent in to ‘gossip girl’ are kept strictly confidential. The very idea of an anonymous person revealing the deep dark truths about such rich, influential people is exciting and new. This concept creates a whole new form of indirect conflict that hasn’t been seen before in other regular teenage tv series. ‘Gossip girl’ is used as a tool to create humiliation and turn the whole society against people in a one-on-one dispute. Gossip is a weapon, used to take an individual down by using society. Gossip Girl shows(bitterly and excitingly) how great the influence of other people’s opinions and reputations are in life. It shows a different side of ‘gossip’. Usually, teen gossip is portrayed as light and unimportant. However, ‘gossip girl’ hurts people by simply being honest about everything that is happening. It is interesting(and unfortunate) how truthful gossip can have such an immense impact on people.
Secondly, Manhattan’s Upper East Side is depicted in an exotic, delicate way, making viewers feel that they want to be a part of the Gossip Girl world. The money, benefits, expensive items, limos, parties, glamour, fame etc are all things that any teenager would yearn for. The Upper East Side is a place filled with all the shiny luxury and yet soaked in scandal. It is alluring and interesting to any average person, and the fact that most people aren’t a part of the elites’ uptight, urban, very exclusive world makes people long for it even more. Serena’s world seems so superior. Blair’s spoiled-little-girl remarks seem fascinating. We(GG viewers) wish that we could be a part of the Gossip Girl world. It’s an escape from our daily lives as an average teenager. The lifestyle of people in the Upper East Side make them so independent and different from the rest of the world that people want to start imitating them. It seems like a separate, contemporary world where the characters are living a much more exciting life.
Thirdly, the Gossip Girl characters are very well allocated and built. They are called by the first letters of their names- S, B, C, N, and D. This makes them individual ‘figures’ and gives them each their unique identity.
Serena Van Der Woodsen is the ultimate ‘it girl’ of the Upper East Side. She is the kind of girl that can come to school in ridiculous pyjamas and be praised for having a unique style. Everyone, including her best friend Blair, secretly envies her and has a crush on her. However, she makes terrible mistakes and decides to change. She has two different people inside her- the party girl S, and the new and improved good S. I personally did not find Serena an interesting character, and probably everyone else felt the same way because she started getting less attention throughout later seasons.
Blair Waldorf is a more interesting figure. She has many complicated relationships with people, and has her own philosophy about life on the Upper East Side. As Serena’s best friend, she loves S yet hates her for always stealing the spotlight and the love. However, she cannot let go of S because she does get the spotlight and love, which is ironic but very true.
Blair raises questions about love. She mainly hovers between Nate, Chuck, and Dan throughout different seasons, finally getting married with Chuck Bass. At first she was sure that Nate was her true love, and jealous that he had always had a crush on Serena. She dreamed of getting married to him and living happily ever after. After Nate she loved Chuck. Blair and Chuck’s love is strange and romantic. They argue with each other to prevent themselves from getting tired of one another. They fight, both against and for each other. Unlike Blair’s love with Nate, where she tried to completely believe the thought that beautiful Nate was ‘the one’, Blair sometimes has trouble trying to deny her infinite love for Chuck Bass, the bad boy of the group. It seems as if she is addicted to Chuck. She cannot restrain her feelings for him yet she knows he is capable of doing worse. She says that he makes her vulnerable. However, Dan makes her feel respected and confident as an individual. Their love is healthy and ideal. They share thoughts and care for each other. Blair is confused between Chuck and Dan on which kind of love is the right love. In the end, she follows her heart and turns back to Chuck Bass.
Blair is a very spoilt, bossy character. She is one of the most intricately built characters, as she is cold and enjoys scheming and playing her games. Since the times when she was the Queen of Constance High School, she has been bribing and blackmailing her way through hardships and has proved herself to be skilled at manipulating her minions to carry out plans. However, she uses her powers to protect the people she truly cares about. She would do anything to protect Chuck and her family. She hates poverty and Dan, who lives in Brooklyn, but learns to love him after opening her heart to him. She does have a heart, which makes her appealing to viewers.
Chuck Bass is the bad boy. He is similar to Blair in many ways. It would be valid to say that he is a richer male version of Blair Waldorf. Chuck Bass mainly has family issues. He is usually cold and exclusive, but when it comes to family he is the most sensitive character. Like in all stories, the tough cookie always has a sentimental weak spot.
Nate Archibald is the good guy. As Chuck’s best friend, the two make a good pair because they clash often but complement each other’s weaknesses.
Daniel Humphrey is a complex figure. He is my personal favourite, because I believe that the creation of the storyline of Dan is the greatest achievement and masterpiece of Gossip Girl, because his ‘change'(although I do not like Dan’s ‘change’ – I personally think he should have stayed true to his original identity) is so carefully and intricately shown. He is ‘different’ and an outsider. He is the only main character that has to deal with both worlds, the Brooklyn one and the Upper East Side one. He has to balance these two worlds so that he can be an insider but still keep his inner self. However, his intentions are never clear, and he does very unexpected things, like going against his own sister/father. Viewers observe his change throughout the 6 seasons. In season 1, Dan is labeled ‘lonely boy’. He is unknown to the world of gossip and scandal, and he tries his best to fit in. Serena, the ‘it girl’, loves him because he is not like the others, who are driven by scandal and reputation. He is genuine. As he learns more about how to survive on the Upper East Side, and watches his ‘friends’ betray and blackmail for their own profit, he starts to do the same. The world on the Upper East Side is built up of ‘respect’. He learns that it is a cold, superficial place, and although it is a sophisticated high-society, it is based on the most primitive of rules. (This is a major flaw of the Gossip Girl world that I do not like.) You kill, or get killed. Dan starts changing for his own survival and turns into a different person. He imitates everyone else, and expresses his true feelings through his harsh writing about people on the Upper East Side. His writing earns him respect and money. Finally, in season 6, it is revealed that Dan is Gossip Girl, and had been GG since 9th grade. Ironically, he was always the ultimate lonely outsider from Brooklyn who would never fit in, but he was the one ‘pulling the strings’ and manipulating people the whole time. This is one of the greatest twists in an American Tv series that I have ever witnessed. Dan’s change is carefully portrayed, and the bomb eventually explodes.
Gossip Girl takes people into a different universe that they never knew existed, and shows them an adventure filled with gossip, action, and love. It’s the most interesting combination I’ve ever seen in one single neighborhood.
XO XO, Gossip Girl.