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Catching Up on 'Gossip'

March 25, 2008 9:45 AM


Hollywood shined a little younger and brighter Saturday night as the cast and creative team of The CW’s “Gossip Girl” took the stage at PaleyFest. The show, the latest offering in the pretty-rich-white-kids-with-issues genre, is based on the popular teen novels and was created by the same folks who brought us the teen sensation “The OC.”

“Gossip Girl” follows a circle of overprivileged youth on New York’s Upper East Side and how their lives are affected by the rumors published on a popular blog called Gossip Girl. OK, so maybe it’s like “The OC,” but with really expensive clothes and a little more tech savvy.

All of the key actors from the show were at the Arclight Hollywood for the panel discussion, including Blake Lively (Serena van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf), Penn Badgley (Dan Humphrey), Chace Crawford (Nate Archibald), Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass), Kelly Rutherford (Lily van der Woodsen), Matthew Settle (Rufus Humphrey), Taylor Momsen (Jenny Humphrey) and Jessica Szhor (Vanessa Abrams).

Also on stage were Cecily von Ziegesar, author of the "Gossip Girl" books; producer Amy Kaufman; executive producer Bob Levy; and executive producers and co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.

While the series hardly makes headlines for its ratings, it has some of the hottest buzz of any of this year’s new shows—at least in some circles, which mostly include entertainment and gossip sites written by girls and gay men. With such a fan base, however, the kids on these shows are poised for superstardom in no time. After all, isn’t it “Sex and the City’s” Samantha Jones who reminds us, “First you get the gays, then you get the girls, then you get the gigs”?

When we left the series before its writers strike-induced hiatus, queen bee Blair was met with a meteoric fall from grace when Gossip Girl revealed she had a pregnancy scare after she cheated on her emotionally conflicted boyfriend Nate with his ill-repute best friend Chuck. Nate's emotional conflicts stem from his cokehead father, plus he still has feelings for Blair’s former/current BFF Serena, who fled town to Prada-only-knows-where after sleeping with Nate. But Serena is good, we think, finding romance with the sensitive writer Dan, who is poorer by comparison and lives in Brooklyn (ew!) with his father, Rufus, and sister, Jenny, Blair’s handmaiden/pseudo-protégé. But don’t feel bad for Dan—his dad is a former 1990s rock star. Actually, Rufus still has feelings for his ex, Lily, Serena’s mother, so there’s potential for step-incest (so “Cruel Intentions” right now!), but not if Lily goes through with her plans to marry Chuck’s father.

If money, sex, lies and blogs don’t make for popular television, it must be sometime before the Internet.

The cast and producers were not afraid to gossip about what’s in store when the show returns April 21. Among the things to expect:

-Mr. Schwartz said viewers are “going to start seeing more of bad Serena when we come back.” Ms. Lively also cautioned, “Maybe the reason [Serena] slept with Nate wasn’t the reason she left. Dot, dot, dot.”

-A new character, Georgina Sparks, played by Michelle Trachtenberg, will join the show. Georgina is someone from bad Serena’s past. Mr. Schwartz assured the audience that “Blair fears Georgina.”

-Ms. Savage said Serena’s father, unknown to audiences at the moment, should be making an appearance.

-Blair and Jenny will “go to war,” while Serena and Chuck will have to deal with becoming siblings.

-Kati, one of Blair’s stylish lackeys, will not be returning. The actress who plays her enrolled at Brown University without informing the crew. Oops!

-Vanessa, Dan’s childhood best friend, begins hanging out with Nate.

-Viewers will get to see Rufus’ band perform.

-The rest of the season will build up to a wedding, but the cast and creators didn’t say whose or if it happens at all.

Don’t go reading the novels for hints at what’s to come on the show, either. The producers and author assure that they’re different from each other, and fans have two vehicles from which to get their Upper East Side fix. That means those bets you made with friends about Chuck’s monkey, Vanessa’s baldness, Dan’s gay smooch and Jenny’s giant boobs are moot.

The rest of this season will cram what was meant for nine episodes into five. Meaning, if you miss an episode, you miss out!


Daily Blink

— Sergio Ibarra

Updated: 03/25/08.


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