May 15, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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It’s appropriate for GOSSIP GIRL, of all shows, that news about it be conveyed via online buzz.  That buzz says that the series’ upcoming 6th season will be shortened and final–and really, it’s time.  Past time, in fact.  The show has reached that point where its characters are simply being moved around like chess pieces, and repetitive chess pieces at that.

Let’s revisit some of this year’s major plotlines:

Princess Blair.  The better part of 2 seasons were devoted to this endlessly dull storyline, as we waited for Blair (Leighton Meester) to first marry, then extricate herself from, Prince Louis of Monaco (Hugo Becker), as charmless and boring a representative of European royalty as pop culture has ever seen.  Prenups and annulments, mean mothers and meaner sisters–it was a wrongheaded waste of time.

Who’s Ivy?  Another story that meandered on and on, circling back on itself until it became its own retread.  First we had fake Ivy (Kaylee Defer), then real Ivy (Ella Rae Peck), lying mothers and fathers were added to the mix, a dead grandma’s inheritance was thrown about like the ball in a game of hot potato, and who ever cared which Ivy was which?  This almost all paid off in the recent episode where both Ivys were recruited to serve as fake hookers in one of the show’s infinite schemes, but since Gossip Girl doesn’t air on HBO, that didn’t go anywhere.

The Family Bass.  Chuck (Ed Westwick) finds his long-lost mother.  No, he finds his real father.  No, she’s a fake.  No, he’s a fake.  Wait–Chuck’s father Bart (the ubiquitous Robert John Burke) is alive!  Everyone doublecrossed everyone else at least twice, and the only part that was remotely believable was when it turned out that Elizabeth Hurley was an aging madam.

Blair and Dan.  This was the season’s most disappointing storyline, because it started with so much promise.  Originally, Blair and Dan (Penn Badgley) were actually pretty cool together, in a rom-com bickering-but-really-crazy-about-each-other way.  But once they became an official couple, any chemistry that had existed between them turned to dust, and the recent episodes where Blair had to choose between Dan and official Love Of Her Life Chuck had no tension at all.

Gossip Girl of the Week.  Making the identity of Gossip Girl its own story, with various characters taking over the persona and being poisoned by it like Gollum’s ring, must have seemed like a good idea in the writers’ room, but it never worked dramatically:  Michelle Trachtenberg’s Georgina was just silly (although there were a couple of amusing scenes where she made her henpecked hubby mind the Gossip Girl store), and it all led to the season’s most idiotic notion:  Evil Serena.  Whether because of the writing or Blake Lively’s shortcomings (or both), Evil Serena was like a Kristen Wiig character that had wandered onto the wrong show–you kept waiting for her to say that she was just kidding as she set out to destroy people.

None of this was remedied by tonight’s season finale, written by Co-Executive Producer Sarah Goodman and directed by J. Miller Tobin.  Characters acted not for any believable emotional reason, but because the writers decreed it, like Lily (Kelly Rutherford) dumping Rufus (Matthew Settle) for the ever-creepy Bart, even though he’d just publicly humiliated Chuck, who Lily supposedly genuinely cares about.  Or Chuck being on the wrong end of Blair’s profession of love for the umpteenth time.  Of course Evil Serena made an appearance, seducing Dan away from Blair (the season’s last scene made it clear Serena will get more Evil before she gets less).  And now Dan’s going to write yet another roman a clef novel exposing the superficial monsters of the Upper East Side!

Enough.  Gossip Girl was a guilty pleasure for a while, but now it’s just guilty.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."