A Proud Legacy 2: Gossip Girl Is Melting My Brain

January 23, 2010

About two weeks ago, we introduced our newest feature, “A Proud Legacy,” wherein we highlight once-promising drafts that were never finished or never posted. With the return of Gossip Girl imminent, it seemed like the time to post my belated thoughts on the show.

Thanks to a bad hangover on Saturday, Dash was left incapable of doing anything. A night of Harvey Wallbangers will do that to you, I suppose. So with Gossip Girl hype at an all time high, I decided to give it a try and watched Season 1 online. I should note that one other thing happened this weekend: Sarah Palin was nominated for VP. In my mind, these events are now indissoluble–especially because Gossip Girl is a terrible show and Sarah Palin a terrible choice (more on that later, I’m sure).

The last day of my life went something like this: watch an hour of Gossip Girl and feel horrible at myself for watching it, consistently noting that there isn’t even that much sex. Thoroughly disgusted, I’d then read Andrew Sullivan and feel mortified over the travesty that is Sarah Palin and her bat shit craziness (a technical term). This cycle probably lasted about eight hours until Gossip Girl melted my brain.

Allow me to explain. GG is a bad show, with characters barely sketched to the level of archetypes. Its appeal seems to be a minimal veneer of fashion. But if you watch enough episodes, you lost all faculties of aesthetic judgment. You lose the ability to define Gossip Girl outside of reference to itself. Instead of saying, “Gossip Girl is a bad show,” you are only able to say, “That was a bad episode of Gossip Girl.” Somehow Gossip Girl resists referentiality and interpretation, resists comparison to other shows. It is its own world.

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