Connivery, thievery, treachery, infidelity, romance, deceit. Are all of these…the characteristics of a Shakespearean play? Perhaps a soap opera? Not quite—try a mid-aughts show about a group of preppy high schoolers whose favorite accessories are thousand-dollar designer shoes and candy-colored leggings. I’m talking, of course, about the original Gossip Girl.
Though the show premiered when I was six, I thought I’d have a lot in common with the girls and boys of Constance Billard and St. Jude’s. I went to school in Manhattan, peddled through the city in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, and traipsed down the streets of New York City with my crew like thousands of other high schoolers. Although I’m no Upper East Sider (scholarship-based commuter student here), and the closest museum steps to my West 13th alma mater were at the Whitney, I figured I’d at least see a few of my old haunts onscreen and feel waves of nostalgia. All city teens snacked on a slice of dollar pizza and Arizona Tea after school, no matter where they were from, right? Wrong, apparently!
Watching the likes of Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, and the rest of New York’s fictional 1% was like entering a fever dream—a dramatic, high-stakes, plot-churning fever dream. But I buckled in, and what I can say for sure is that I was never, ever bored.
Here is everything I thought after watching Season 1 of Gossip Girl.
I Wasn’t Prepared for How Many Scenes Would Leave My Jaw on the Floor
Chuck Bass is nasty and petty. That’s the first thing I wrote down after cartoonishly gasping when Chuck—scorned and possibly heartbroken—revealed Blair’s almost-pregnancy to Gossip Girl. It was truly a flipped-switch moment: One second, Blair was dissing him, and the very next, he was furiously blasting her business via text on his Motorola Q.
Also, familiar as I thought I was with the casual plotting and scheming of the Constance Billard girls, I was not prepared for Georgina Sparks to enter the picture. When she cried on command to Dan, pulling that boyfriend-stalker story out of thin air; took the batteries out of his phone; and then hooked up with him, all so that Serena would go back to clubbing with her…I knew I hadn’t even seen the worst of the Upper East Side yet. Troubling as Georgina’s behavior was, however, that girl clearly had a gift. Perhaps she should have channeled it into a Hollywood career instead of just…teenage subterfuge?
Is 2000s Fashion Back? Or Have I Just Been Staring at Colored Leggings for Too Long?
I’ve probably seen more colored tights this month on the streets of New York than I have since the 2010s (honestly, I’ve seen red tights maybe three times), and the one thing I knew about Gossip Girl was that the show doubled down on that trend. It did not disappoint.