“ Genre: Television - Gossip Girl / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Actors: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Kristen Bell ... / DVD released 2008-08-18 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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I first came across gossip girl whilst looking through the tv channels for something to watch. I had seen it advertised but never watched it before. From the first episode I saw I was hooked.
Gossip girl is based on a book of the same name by Cecily Von Ziegasar. The pilot is almost identical to the first book but after that they don't follow the same storylines. Gossip Girl first aired in the US in September 2007 and the UK was always shown it a matter of weeks after.
Gossip girl is a blogger who posts tips sent in from the people of Manhattan. Most of her tips focus on the main characters.
Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester): the queen bee whos relationships with boys and her best friend S are often posted on GG. B craves attention in the Upper East Side and is always presenting herself in a sophisticated way (as her fave actor Audrey Hepburn would). She is sarcastic and witty and an expert manipulator. With the help of her on off boyfriend Chuck they can take down anyone, even their BFFs.
Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively): the it girl and wild child S left for boarding school in Connecticut leaving secrets a plenty. Now she's back, rekindling friends is harder than it looks, especially when it's B. Will she ever change?
Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick): Cs up to his old games with whoever he can. Watch out J. He is very much like B and when together she is the only person to see his softer more vulnerable side.
Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford): N is best friends with C and is torn between which girlfriend to choose. He is often caught up in his families problems.
Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgely): D is the outsider who so desperately wants in. He has a lifelong crush on S and loves to write. He lives in Brooklyn with his father and sister, somewhere no Upper East Sider would ever visit.
The first series focuses a lot on their life at school and the cliques they are part of. B is often hangs out on the Steps to the Met with her minions as she has decided that the top step is for her, the important one, and all her friends sit lower down. All of the main characters attend exclusive private schools, Constance Billards for Girls and St Judes for Boys, and although they are at same sex schools they are right next to each other and often integrate for assemblies or break times. This can cause trouble.
This show is full of scandal, relationships, and elite teenagers as they attend school and home with an addition of rich wealthy events only they could attend.
This show often films in New York City which gives it an impressive look. I am now desperate to go and see NYC for myself.
Some bonus features on the DVD are:
The beginning: how the GG tv show began.
GG couture: the influence GG has had on fashion choices and what characters would wear.
A GG wedding: how the big day was made.
LOL gag reel: my fave bonus feature, hilarious.
I bought this for £18 a few years ago but it's probably cheaper now. It includes all 18 episodes of the first series.
You will not regret buying this DVD. I have watched it so many times, I'm surprised it still works!
The story begins with the return of it girl Serena Vanderwoodsen, who mysteriously vanished after a party lifestyle with not even a goodbye text to her best friend Blair Waldorf. Blair has taken the crown of queen bee at Constance school for girls and has the perfect boyfriend Nate Archibald...or is he? Rumour is he fancied someone else who isn't around anymore. Best friend Chuck is despicable and rich, two deadly combinations. He is ruthless and has no cares in the world, except maybe impressing his father Bart Bass. Bart is having a secret affair with Lily Vanderwoodsen, Serena's mother who has a burden to carry as son Eric Vanderwoodsen is taken into the Ostroff centre-a place for trouble teens and alcohol and substance abuse. Serena returns to see her brother but falls in love with "Lonely boy" Dan Humphrey a nobody from brooklyn, at St Judes school for boys but doesn't fit in with the other students. Dan's sister Jenny goes fom nobody to Blair's arch enemy-not a good place for anyone to be standing in. Dan's father Rufus Humphrey was in a band in the nineties, but the love of his life was Lily Vanderwoodsen-Serena's mother. Who will Lily choose? Succesful Bart Bass or teenage sweetheart Rufus. Will Dan fit in to Serena's fancy lifestyle? Will Blair and Nate stay together? Why did Serens Leave town in the first place? Will Jenny go down fighting? Will Chuck ever win the approval of his father-or anyone for that matter? Who knows? Gossip girl will find out if any of these things happen. Acting as narrator for the series, a website called gossip girl follows the wrong doings and fancy frolics this gang get up to.
I started watching Gossip Girl after reading all the books as a teenager. OK, so the series is NOTHING like the books (bar the names of the characters) but what an entertaining show!
The main plot of this season gathers around Serena VanDer Woodsen; a beautiful and popular rich girl, who has come back from boarding school- and why? It also centres around the rest of Manhattan's elite; Blair Waldorf, a rich snobby girl; Chuck Bass, an heir to the multi- million pound Bass industries (chain of hotels); Dan and Jenny Humphrey, a sister and brother combo from a poorer part of time trying to fit in to the elite world and Nate Archibald, a rich and good looking young man with family problems.
There are many sub plots and scandals throughout this season, and in my opinion is definitely the best of them all so far.
The acting is great and you either love or hate the characters. The actors/actresses are all very attractive, which of course makes for pleasant viewing!
I bought the DVD from play.com (cheapest place by far, plus free p&p)!
A great DVD for girlie night in.
Gossip girl is a strange show, guys shouldn't like it but it draws you in when you watch it. The basic story is about young rich New Yorkers squabbling over the usual teenage things and a few things that only the rich deal with. There is a lot of emphasis on fashion, something that most guy in the north of UK wouldn't give a rats ass about but there are some interesting story lines. The show has a unique ability to draw you in and make you care about the petty squabbling presented in the story.
The casting is ok, Blake Lively is kind of cardboard in her performance, I find it difficult to imagine her as the life and sole of a party, Leighton Meester provides much of the comic relief which is needed, but when story lines are serious her weaknesses as an actress shines through. The male cast of Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford are a bit hit and miss in that order, Ed plays a Broody rich teen well but Chace like Lively is cardboard. Taylor Momsen probably has the hardest part to play as she evolves from a goody too shoes to a fashion trend setter over the course of the season, its hard to believe this actress is only around 15/16 and puts the older cast to shame. But the strangest casting decision is to have Kristen Bell just as a narrator, I say its strange because she is a much better actress than any of the female leads (check her out in Veronica Mars), it just seems a waste.
While the story lines are a bit pointless to the average man, it can be entertaining none-the-less. And it keeps you up to date with the sayings which young 'ens are saying these days.
The series is on 5 discs, extras include unaired scenes, featurettes on the concept and fashion and also a gag reel as well as a link to download the audio book the series is based read by Christina Ricci.
I first came across Gossip Girl when bored flicking through channels one day. I thought this looks like it could be good and I got pulled in immediately and I realised that I wanted to watch this from the start. I asked for both Season 1 and 2 on DVD for my birthday and have just recently finished watching season 1 so here is my review on that box set.
Gossip Girl is set in New York in the Upper East side where a group of privileged teenagers attend an expensive private school. It was based partially on books by Cecily Von Ziegesar. The teenagers are all trying to get through the teenage years at school and get into a good college. They also have to try and navigate their way through all the gossip that surrounds them due to the online blogger 'Gossip Girl'. No one know who she is but she pretty much rules all their lives and nothing seems to happen without her picking up on it. In this first series we are introduced to all of the main characters and we start to see how the actions of them all affect each other and create a big tangled web.
I really like the setting with this programme. After visiting New York I realised it is definitely one of my favourite places ever and so therefore any TV show that is set there is likely to appeal to me. I like that the majority of the characters are very privileged as it makes the show very glamorous and there are always exciting parties going on. The storylines that are used within the season are great and really get you hooked. These vary from people getting together, to parents who have broken up to people lying about who they are. There is always something exciting happening and you never get bored. Each episode leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.
There are some great characters in Gossip Girl. There is Serena (Blake Lively) who has just come back from Boarding School. she seems to have some big secret that is eating away at her but she is trying to move on with her life and is starting to date Dan. Dan (Penn Badgley) is not as privileged as the others at the school and his Dad has to work very hard to send him and his sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen) there. Dan and Jenny have been under the radar until Dan starts to date Serena and suddenly finds he is suddenly one of Gossip Girls favourite subject. Blair (Leighton Meester) was Serena's best friend but after Serena left without even saying goodbye she now sees her as competition. Blair seems to live the perfect life with the perfect boyfriend Nate (Chace Crawford) and her designer Mother but things aren't as great as she lets on. Nate isn't sure his feelings are the same for Blair anymore and he is having even more problems with his Dad pressuring him to go to a college he doesn't want to. Nate's best friend is Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). Chuck is extremely rich and pretty much does as he pleases even if that involves things that could get in a lot of trouble. Other characters include Dan and Jenny's Dad Rufus (Matthew Settle) and Serena's Mum Lily (Kelly Rutherford) who seem to have a bit of history.
I love all of the characters in Gossip Girl and each of them has a lot of depth which is what I like about them. You find out more about each character as you watch each episode and it makes you feel like you almost know them. I think the writers could have easily made the characters just glamorous people who squabble but there is a lot more to them. I like how even the characters that at first seem like the obvious baddies aren't as bad as you think and have their own problems too. Although Blair and Chuck are the two most manipulative characters the more you watch of them the more you grow to like them. The show certainly wouldn't be the same without them. I also like how all of the characters intertwine although it can get confusing remembering who is with who.
The acting in the show is very good, which is probably why you get to like the characters so much. There are a lot of young actors in the show, some of which haven't really done much before but have really shown themselves to be very talented. I am particularly impressed by how Ed Westwick who is in fact English comes off so convincingly as being American. It wasn't until I was reading something about him I realised he was actually English. As I said the actors have to deal with a lot of different storylines, from funny to serious and they manage to pitch all of these just right so it is believable.
One of the things that really makes Gossip Girl great and enjoyable especially for girls to watch is the fashion in it. The wardrobes that the main characters have are amazing and make me a bit jealous frankly! I have read in magazines about how much the stuff they wear is worth. The clothes make you want to have the life these privileged teenagers do but obviously without the drama involved. I also love the school uniform they wear as well, makes you remember these people are just teenagers although they seem a lot older sometimes.
Each episode of Season one is around 45 minutes so they allow enough time for you to become really involved. It also means that with the boxset costing around £10 now on Amazon you get a lot of viewing time for your money.
Overall I really enjoy Gossip Girl and it is a firm favourite of mine now. It is aimed at a young female audience so it may not be everyone's cup of tea. If you like a show with lots of drama, bitchiness and glamour then you may love it as much as I do.
As you can see from my profile, I'm a huge fan of American teen TV shows and this is one of the best around at the minute. It was one of the most highly anticipated shows of the 2007-2008 season. Season 1 was nominated for 10 awards and won 6 of them.
Teen choice awards:
TV show drama
TV breakout show
Actress drama - Blake Lively
Breakout female - Blake Lively
Breakout male - Chase Crawford
TV villain - Ed Westwick
Gossip Girl is set in Manhattan's Upper East Side and follows the lives of students of two prep schools, St Jude's for the boys and Constance for the girls. No one knows who Gossip Girl is but she knows everything about the students...especially their secrets. Even though no one knows Gossip Girl's identity, they all know how to get in touch with her.
Serena Van der Woodsen aka S - Blake Lively
The year before, Serena was the most popular girl in school but mysteriously left to go to boarding school and now she's back, but why? Why did she leave in the first place? Serena's family is less than perfect and all she wants is to forget the past and get back to normal.
Blair Waldorf aka B - Leighton Meester
Blair has been the new Queen Bee at Constance since her best friend Serena left and isn't willing to give up her spot now that she's back. Blair is a scheming bitch that will do anything to get who or what she wants. Blair's mother is a fashion designer who never has the time for her and leaves her to do as she pleases.
Dan Humphrey aka Lonely Boy - Penn Badgley
Dan Is from the other side and is definitely not one of the socially elite. Dan and his family live in Brooklyn, far away from the lives of the Upper East Siders. No one really knows who he is but all that is about to change when he finally gets a chance with his longtime childhood crush.
Nate Archibald - Chase Crawford
Nate is part of a very rich and successful family who have somewhat of a lack of morals. Nate's long time girlfriend is Blair but a huge secret is about to change everything and Nate is going to have to realise who his real friends are.
Chuck Bass - Ed Westwick
Charles is the son of an immensely rich and powerful business man. His mother died and his dad doesn't really want anything to do with him. Chuck is always alone in the Bass Hotel and has many loves in his life but unfortunately they are women, drink and drugs, which he never seems to be without.
Jenny Humphrey aka Little J - Taylor Momsen
Jenny is Dan's little sister but way cooler. All Jenny wants is to be part of Blair's crowd but she doesn't realise that it will come at a price and I'm not talking about money. Although Jenny wants to be like Blair, she still cares what people think of her and often has to fight with her morals.
I started watching this while I was living in Canada and was hooked from the very first time I saw it. I'd really recommend watching from the first episode though or the story can get quite confusing but after you know what's going on, the episodes are normally ok as stand alones.
Gossip Girl to me is like the Dirty Sexy Money for teenagers and young adults. The storylines are fresh and exciting that always leaves me wanting more. Although Gossip Girl is a teen drama it is northing like The OC or One Tree Hill. There aren't always happy endings and the shoes doesn't mask important subjects like sex, drugs and peer pressure. If anything, the show blows them up because of everyone being so rich and being able to do whatever they like.
The whole cast are amazing and although I thought Blair and Serena's characters seemed quite flat for the first couple of episodes but they really came into their own as the series went on. I liked that the majority of the actors were quite unknown before Gossip Girl because I don't really like having an idea in my head of what they'll be like to begin with. Chuck Bass is my favourite character and has been throughout. He gets all the best lines and seems to have the most amusing storylines. I know we are all supposed to hate him but I cant but love him and his bad boy ways.
Some of my favourite lines from this season:
Chuck - Why should I be chosen to be an usher? I'm Chuck Bass!
Blair - Funny, Brown doesn't offer a degree in slut.
Serena - Can you just get it over with Chuck? Say whatever pervy thing you're about to say and leave.
Gossip Girl is definitely worth watching, just don't dismiss it as the average teen show before giving it a chance.
Gossip Girl - Series 1
If you are a fan of shows such as: The Hills, The City, Dirty Sexy Money and the O.C, you will love Gossip Girl.
Set in Manhattan's Upper East Side, Gossip Girl is a website, run by a girl and no one knows her identity, but if you're an Upper East Sider, attending schools such as St Jude's (for boys) or Constance (for girls) and mix in the social circles you were born and bred for, you will know Gossip Girl, or at least her reputation and have her number on speed dial.
When I was at school if someone started a rumour about you, it went around, perhaps ended up written on the toilet walls but this is another level, this is how the rich play.
Meet the characters:
Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester)
With a top designer mother who is more often than not, too busy for her daughter, Blair is left to her own devices. She has an evil streak and is top dog, or should I say Queen, Blair is Queen at Constance since the departure of her best friend Serena Van der Woodsen. Blair gets what she wants through plotting and scheming, her partner is crime is often the house keeper Derota.
Serena Van der Woodsen (Blake Lively)
Previously the most popular girl at school, Serena went missing for a whole school year, and has now returned. Where had she gone? Why is she back? With a serial marrying mother and a neglected younger brother, Serena returns to get her family back on track. Has she changed? and will she be welcome?
Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick)
Chuck (Charles) is son of the richest businessman in Manhattan, his mother died and he has since been all his father has, although his father is not interested and has an awful relationship with Chuck. Chuck has a passion for women, drink and women. He lives alone in the Bass Hotel and does as he pleases.
Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford)
Nate is an Archibald, he is one in a line of many rich, successful Archibald's. Will Nate take the usual route, or will his parents cause Nate to divert from his expected path?! Nate is popular and dating the Queen of Constance but if things change and secrets come out will Nate discover his true friends?
Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley)
Dan is sensible, while he is the same age as the others he is most definitely NOT an upper east sider, he lives in Brooklyn with his dad and sister (Jenny) and goes to school at St Jude's, he has no friends and likes keeping himself to himself, that is all about to change when he suddenly becomes friendly with his long time crush.
Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen)
Jenny, the younger sister to Dan wants to be the opposite of her brother, popular. Jenny cares what people think and wants to be part of the Queens entourage. She witnesses what happens to Dan and what the older kids are really like, will she fit in to the upper east side click or die trying? (Not literally).
Gossip Girl (Voice: Kristen Bell)
Everybody knows gossip girl, although no-one knows her identity, she is famous for her sudden alerts, which consist of usually some damaging information, anybody can text gossip girl there latest find and wait until she releases it to the world. Gossip girl is the most popular website on the upper east side, and after watching one episode you will see why.
I absolutely love this show, it is such easy watching, the first series was fantastic and I was addicted after one episode. Gossip Girl series 2 has just finished on itv2 and was without a doubt more fresh and exciting than the first series. It is definitely a girl program (although a gay guy friend loves it too).
It's got drama, secrets, money, fantasy, sex, everything and is still a teen show.
It is easy to watch and if you miss an episode, it is relatively easy to pick back up, the stories are fast moving and original (as well as can be), I think all the actors play their roles well, Blair is brilliant, Leighton Meester has taken her to a whole new level, it helps that most of these actors were quite unknown but perhaps these persona's will be hard to shift as they really are these characters!
Great series 1 - you must watch series 2, it's even better - I can't wait for series 3!!!
Gossip girls is full of drama, scandals, beautiful, rich people, romance, friendship and betrayal. It is highly addictive and you can't help but envy their lives. The plot seems to get more and more outrageous as you discover the hidden pasts and lives of these rich group of friends. They've had everything given to them and throughout the series they begin to discover that life isn't always what it seems. It's such a glamorous program and you feel like you are transported into the upper class society. The series leaves you on edge as the story unfold and more twists and turns are unravelled. It leaves you loving some characters and hating others which is always a sign of a good show. It also leaves you quite emotional as you sympathies with with their dilemma's. Although it is quite hard to relate to their lives it's very entertaining to watch. Just as you think something is working out a twist develops and throws it all upside down so it's very unpredictable. These teenagers seem to be capable of doing a lot of damage and even though on the outside their lives seem perfect they all have their own dirty secrets and thats' what gets you hooked. Discovering their imperfections and their vulnerabilities makes their characters come alive and you feel as though you are there with them. The actors and actresses do an amazing job and are fully convincing in their respective roles. Gossip girl is full of everything you'd want in a t.v series and the second series is just as enjoyable.
I love this series. It features everything you would want from an American teen series... pretty girls, hot guys, lies, drama, gamour, love, romance...you name it, Gossip Girl has got it. Primarily centred around a group of rich teens from Manhattans Upper East side, their ups and their downs. I was hooked from the very first episode. The twists and turns will keep you hooked and dying to watch the next episode.... this is the type of show that if you miss one episode you will be lost because things happen and change very quickly. Despite the twists and turns you will truly fall in love with all the chracters, even if you initially think that you hate them. It is a bit like Sex and the City (in that its filmed in New York and has the money and fashin) crossed with the OC (in that it is a teen drana)...but much better than the OC! Love it!!!
Gossip Girl is by far the best show I have ever seen. The minute I started watching the show I was gripped. If you love fashion you will love this show as it always feautures the latest fashion.
This show stars Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Taylor Momsen, Penn badgley, Chase Crawford, Ed Westwick as the main characters. It tells the story of Manhattens upper east side and the dramas they face which are not your everyday things which make the show very entertaining.
Overall i think that this series was worth every penny. I also think that buying the series was a good idea as just watching it on the tv you don't get all the extras that the dvd provides, such as bloopers, deleted scenes, gossip girl fashion and much much more. This is definetely a series that you will never get bored of and that you can watch over and over again. It is a must buy if you want the full gossip girl experience. Two thumbs up. It's FABULOUS. XOXO
DVD boxsets really are the lazy student's best friend. Although I have work to do, places to go and people to see, I always seem to find a lot of time for lying back in my room with a DVD or two, or even watching them while I'm doing something else, such as my hair or my nails. Whereas I love watching a good film as much as anyone (or maybe more), most of the time I find myself putting on a TV series when I'm in the mood for watching something, and so have built up quite a collection of DVD boxsets, though still borrow quite a few from my friends as they have lots of them too. I first discovered Gossip Girl when I borrowed the first series from my friend down the corridor, and after watching it and loving it, I decided to buy my own so I could watch it whenever I wanted to. Now that I've seen the series several times and am still obsessed with it, I decided that it was time to review it and share its greatness with all of you, while I wait for the second series to come out.
Gossip Girl is an American series based on the books of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar, and is about a group of elite teenagers from the Upper East
Side in Manhattan. These teenagers are rich and practically royalty in the city, and attend exclusive private schools and aim to attend even more exclusive Ivy League colleges when they leave school. Their world is full of scandal and secrets, most of which are exposed on everyone's favourite website: Gossip Girl, where an unknown girl spreads information about these elite few so that everyone can see it. This leads to even more scandal, as well as a lot of bitching and fights, and lots more juicy secrets.
The main cast of characters includes Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Serena van der Woodson (Blake Lively), Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), and siblings Dan and Jenny Humphrey (Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen respectively). Blair is queen bee in this elite world, with her gorgeous boyfriend Nate Archibald by her side and many admirers and friends. Her best friend Serena, however, disappeared without a word six months ago, and has just returned to the city, sparking off interest anew as to why she left and why she has returned. Dan has always had a crush on Serena, though has never approached her as he is not in with her friends, due to being from Brooklyn and not being part of the Upper East Side elite. Dan's sister Jenny, however, is desperate to become one of the popular girls, and is willing to do almost anything to get there.
I reckon that lots of you will read that summary and think that it's not for you, but don't dismiss it yet! Although Gossip Girl sounds like a very teenage and very girly show, it's actually amazing, and appeals to a lot more people than would be expected. The reason why it's so good is that although it's based around the lives of Manhattan's elite, it feels like it was made for people who don't know that world, which is most of the population and so most of the viewers. The presence of two outsiders, Dan and Jenny, means that there is a good comparison between the 'ordinary people' and the upper class characters, which is interesting and enjoyable to watch. Gossip Girl feels like an insight into the lives of rich and elite teenagers and shows what it is really like in their world, while also showing that these characters are real people and not all plastic and perfect. Yes, some of the girls are very spoilt, and most of them are very bitchy, but then most teenage girls are bitchy and mean at times, and wealth or lack of it doesn't make a difference. The show includes many issues which are important to teenagers, such as love, fidelity, divorce, sex, getting into college, meeting parents' expectations et cetera, so it will appeal to most teenagers on this level if not others. Also, most of the main characters parents have large parts in the programme too, which is also interesting to watch, and means that it appeals more to adults as well.
In conclusion, Gossip Girl is an amazing TV show, and is currently one of my favourites. I love watching it for the bitchiness and the storylines, as well as for the amazing clothes and scenes of New York City. All of the actors are gorgeous, so there's lots of eye candy for everyone, and they're not bad at their jobs either. Series 2 is currently showing on ITV2 and the first half will be out on DVD in April, but until then, go out and buy Series One and prepare to get as addicted as I am.
I couldn't wait when I heard of Gossip Girl coming to TV last year! Having read all the books, sad I know, I realised that a visual representation of them would be a great deal better, and I wasn't wrong! This is a series that has hooked teens in America and having arrived in the UK continues to do so. The actors do a great job at portraying the idealistic lives of their characters, the lifestyle is what every teen only dreams of, and seeing it splashed across the TV screen just brings them that little bit closer to it.
The plot is twisting and gripping like any drama TV series but this series just has that little added class, and the anticipation for the next episode is ever present. Currently series 2 is on itv2 at 9- on a Wednesday evening and is in its early stages so I recomend sitting down to watch and once your familiar with the characters you'll be hooked!
I started watching Gossip Girl during 2008 on the recommendation of a (male) colleague. I had never heard of the Gossip Girl books prior to this, probably because they're not especially aimed at my people in my age group. I think they're probably more targeted at people in their mid to late teens and people in their 20s. Whichever age group Gossip Girl, the TV series is aimed at, it doesn't stop me, someone who hasn't been a teenager for over 20 years) from watching and enjoying this show.
Although the show started airing in 2007, I never saw a single episode until early 2008 and got so hooked on it that I was rather wound up about the famous 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike which meant I had to wait for ages to find out what happened next...
~WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?~
Basically the show is about a group of teenagers from age 14-18 who attend a rather elite high school St Jude's which is based in New York's Upper East Side. Gossip Girl is a narrator, who is unseen during season 1, I can't comment on future seasons as to whether or not this "invisible" character is shown, who starts off each episode with a summary of what went before and ends each episode with a summary of the lessons that could be learned from the episode or some witty remarks about the characters. The character of Gossip Girl is someone who is sent "gossip" via text message and then the news is forwarded on to practically everyone at the school often much to the embarrassment of the subject of the gossip.
The show's main characters include:
Serena van der Woodsen (played by Blake Lively) is a glamorous blonde who returns from a seemingly self-imposed exile at the start of season 1. Her character comes across as someone who has done a lot of soul-searching during her exile and has gained maturity and personally I find her to be one of the more likeable characters in this season. Serena's character is linked to alcohol and she has some history of drug abuse (although not in this season).
Blair Waldorf (played by Leighton Meester) is the daughter of a famous but aging fashion designer whose husband left her for another man! Blair is quite prim and proper and it seems status is extremely important to her, more so than anything else in life. She is portrayed as a bit of a virginal princess type who also is Queen B to a group of girls at school who have a gang mentality but really are just a bunch of snooty girls who like to think they're above everyone else in terms of fashion, wealth, looks and social status. Blair is often seen to be drinking cocktails or champagne as if they were just water.
Chuck Bass (played by Ed Westwick) is the son of a wealthy businessman whose mother died giving birth to him. Chuck is portrayed as a regular drinker and marijuana user and with very little in the way of morals. He sleeps around and is not fussy who with, sometimes bedding several women at the same time and is shown to be very proud of his prowess with women at such a young age. He is a bit of a sly dog and not adverse to using blackmail to get what he wants, which he mostly does.
Dan Humphrey (played by Penn Badgely) is the son of a rock star, Rufus Humphrey, is not like the other kids at school in that he and his sister have been brought up modestly by their parents (who at the beginning of the season have just separated) and is not classed as one of the in-crowd at school. Gossip Girl refers to Dan as "lonely boy". Dan is portrayed as being of extremely good character in general and not bothered about attending society parties or fitting in with the so called "in crowd".
Nate Archibold (played by Chace Crawford) is the son of a cocaine addict of a father and society mother who pretends nothing is wrong in their lives. Nate is portrayed as someone with lots of teen angst and is often seen to be looking pained and confused with life!
Jenny Jumphrey (played by Taylor Momsen) is Dan's younger sister who is an outcast like her older sibling but she is determined to get with the in-crowd. So determined is she to fit in that she is seen to go to ridiculous lengths to pass "initiation" even though it's evident they'll never really let her be part of their inner circle.
Well that's a summary of who I see as the main cast in the first season but there are quite a few supporting characters in the show that some might consider to be lead characters but I didn't feel they were really lead characters in the first season.
Rufus Humphrey is the rock musician who never really grew up, is a good father and has strong feelings since his separation from his wife for Lily van der Woodson who happens to be Serena's mother. They are shown to have a brief relationship but then she gets a new love interest, Bart Bass, Chuck's very rich father, and it is shown that she has conflicted feelings towards her old love Rufus or her new amour, the man who can sustain her place in high society, Bart Bass. We see Eleanor Waldorf as the fashion designer who has little time for her daughter Blair when it's evident to the viewer that this is something that Blair yearns for. Vanessa is introduced partway through the season as Dan's childhood sweetheart/friend. We also meet young Eric, Serena's brother, who's been away in hospital and has some real issues which his mother and sister have to face and support him with.
Within our main characters there are various relationships - Blair and Nate are portrayed as the perfect society couple at the start of the season but as the season progresses we see there are many cracks in their relationship, including a naughty encounter Nate has with Serena just before her self-imposed exile. Serena is determined not to rekindle their fling on her return as she is Blair's best friend and was the "Queen" before she ran away and Blair assumed that particular position in the school "gang". We see Blair and Serena having a very troubled time with their friendship in this first season and only time will tell if they can get their friendship back to the sisterhood it once was, not least because Blair finds out about Serena's indiscretion with her boyfriend which leads to Blair being indiscreet with Chuck who she claims to hate but she does it to prove a point. This situation is made worse by the fact that Chuck and Nate are also best friends, so it starts getting rather complicated. Then Serena and Dan fall for each other, a relationship which is highly discouraged by her best friend Blair who treats Dan like something she stepped on and is made more complicated by the fact that Serena's mother and Dan's father were once lovers (are you still with me? Come on now, keep up with me)! Not forgetting that Blair's dad ran off with one of her mum's male models and has set up home with him and she resents her dad for the fact that she's not number one in his life anymore.
~WHAT I THINK OF IT~
There are lots of little storylines weaved into the main storyline for each episode and there are running themes throughout the whole season too which can really capture one's imagination. One can get really engrossed in the situations that these characters get into and you want them to get out of each situation really well but at other times I wanted to scream at the screen "Are you mad? Who cares about such stupid things?" But of course, I'm no longer a teenager and the things that once seemed so important are mere trifles these days. I can imagine teenagers being addicted to this show but I hope they don't use any of the characters as role models for their own behaviour and moral guidance. If I had teenage kids I certainly wouldn't want them to aspire to be like any of the characters on the show, except maybe Dan Humphrey, who comes across as an upstanding young man of exceptional character.
Even with the "grown ups" in Gossip Girl, who presumably are around my age, I feel that they are quite immature in some of their behaviour and yes, I know it's entertainment but I wish that the adults were shown to have a better sense of responsibility and show better judgement. I know the actions of the parents reflect on the children and if such and such a character's parents didn't neglect them so much, they might be a better all round person and if another character's parent didn't have a serious drug problem, the character might be more stable.
As an avid watcher of this show, I would have to say that the acting skills of the main characters are pretty spot on. Ed Westwick is fabulous as Chuck, he really carries of the evil side of Chuck with aplomb and when we get to see why Chuck is the way he is, you see a somewhat more vulnerable side of him - all due respect to him for making the character so hateful at first and then believable as quite the misunderstood teen.
I would like to mention here as well that the background music for the show is quite upbeat and trendy. Characters are often seen in bars and nightclubs and although underage they seem to have no problem getting served with alcohol, which as far as I know the legal age is 21 in the USA (in the UK it's mostly 18 and the lead characters aren't even 18). There is lots of opportunity in the episodes for funky music to be played during scenes but it's not obtrusive in the least.
As someone who is in the age group of the parents of the teens in the show but not having kids of her own, I personally feel that many parents might find some of the scenes a bit risque for young teens to watch. The show in some ways glamorizes behaviour such as promiscuity, drinking, drugs, underage activities (for all of the aforementioned), excessive greed, jealousy, etc, and often I see the main characters behaving in a manner that would get most normal kids grounded for months. Generally the parents in the show don't seem to give these beautiful teens much in the way of moral guidance or attempt any form of discipline. So whilst I think it's an entertaining show, sometimes I worry that it's sending out the wrong message to some younger viewers...
~ADVICE TO THE CHARACTERS~
I thought I'd be very cheeky and tell you what advice I would have given as a "grown up" to some of the characters on the show:
"Don't sleep with your best friend's boyfriend!"
"Don't sleep with your best friend's girlfriend!"
"Don't fall in love with your best friend's lover!" (I'm not specifying male or female as you need to be left guessing about some things; otherwise why watch the series?!)
"Don't get so stoned off your face that someone takes a video of you doing naughty/illegal things - this will ultimately come back to haunt you!"
"Don't be so caught up in fitting in that you resort to breaking the law! It's not cool, no matter how much you want to fit in!"
"Parents are mostly (not always but MOSTLY) right!"
"It's kind of hurtful to run away with one of your wife's best employees, especially if you're coming out of the closet at the same time..."
"When announcing something horrible about your best friend to a public forum to humiliate her in revenge for her sleeping with your boyfriend - like she has a drug problem severe enough to have been institutionalised over it - make sure you've got your facts right, it might turn out that it wasn't her but someone else that you care about who had the drug problem and you got your wires crossed!"
"When you promise to take the person you love to Tuscany on holiday for the summer, don't leave them standing at the airport waiting for you whilst you hook up with someone you just met!"
And one last very important one:
"Be careful who you try to hurt by sending info to Gossip Girl - she takes no prisoners and will publish all gossip she receives - even when it's about YOU!"
Overall I found season 1 of Gossip Girl to be very entertaining. Although it's not aimed at people in my age group, I've become a firm fan and I'm not ashamed to admit it. You do get immersed in the insecurities of the characters and sometimes one can see why they choose to do what they do, but most of the time, I feel I would have taken the other path had I been in their shoes. At the end of the day, the show is there to entertain the audience and keep them wanting more. If they did what we wanted them to do, it might become a bit predictable and who wants that?
Some might compare Gossip Girl with the recently revived Beverly Hills, 90210 (which I watched when it was aired in the early 90s till I stopped keeping track of it in the mid 90s) but I think the shows are quite different, except that all of the main characters are high school students and are rather gorgeous. Several of the main characters in Gossip Girl are depicted as being quite malicious and morally corrupt in some ways to make the show spicier. It's not rocket Science - but it's an easy watch. I'd give it a strong 7 out of 10.
I'd like to point out here that I haven't read any of the Gossip Girl novels so I can't make any comment on how similar the TV show is to the books. From what I understand the series is only supposed to be loosely based on the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar.
The series has won several awards since its conception including Teen Choice Award 2008 for TV Show Drama, TV Villain (Chuck), Breakout Female (Serena) and Breakout Male (Dan).
DVD release date: Aug 2008
No. of episodes in season: 18
Run time: approximately 40 minutes per episode
Certification: 15 (UK)
Extras: extra scenes and a couple of featurettes about the show and a gag reel (nothing really exciting, to be honest)!
This review may appear on other consumer review sites under my same username.