9 things nobody wants to admit about Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl. Photograph by Courtesy of WarnerMedia
Gossip Girl. Photograph by Courtesy of WarnerMedia /
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Gossip Girl
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 31: Leighton Meester and Penn Badgley on the set of “Gossip Girl” on the Streets of Manhattan on October 31, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage) /

3. Dan and Blair worked better than they should have

In season 1 episode 4, there was a small glimmer of something. The tiniest look into what it would be like if Blair didn’t actively loathe Dan. As Blair’s jealousy over Serena modeling for her mother points to bigger insecurities, she briefly opens up to Dan, learning to get along (somewhat) with her best friend’s new boyfriend. And what did we learn? Leighton Meester and Penn Badgley have insanely watchable chemistry just acting together as Blair and Dan.

Oddly enough, the tables would turn in season 5 and “Dair” would set sail. Dan and Blair’s relationship was super divisive at the time, though it had its vocal supporters. Some time away from the initial shock of the coupling seems to have fans realizing that Dan and Blair were actually weirdly good together. But like I said earlier, the ships were messy. Dan and Blair’s separate histories with Serena meant they could never realistically be endgame. But they sure did work much better than anyone would have ever thought!

2. The first season simply can’t be beat

Don’t you just love when a show premieres with a fully formed identity in its cast, characters, storytelling, and tone? This is a show that knew exactly what it was from the beginning and never let its foot off the gas for a second for the entirety of its first season. Although it was only 18 episodes due to the 2007 writers’ strike, season 1 was the series at its absolute strongest. The music, the coming-of-age moments, the romances, the DRAMA!

Beyond just being simple and fun and fresh, season 1 also had the one-two punch of GG’s anonymous novelty and the truth about Serena’s return and what caused her to flee the city in the first place. These were mysteries that kept viewers hooked and tuning in week after week — not to mention the parents councils clutching their pearls (though looking back, the show was rather tame). When I think of Gossip Girl, I think of this impeccable and unbeatable first season.

1. It’s the last truly great teen drama of its kind

Obviously, the series didn’t reinvent the teen drama wheel, and it wasn’t the last teen drama to ever air on television. But it was part of a dying breed, a genre that was an endangered species. The CW’s 90210 ended during the same television season, and the double whammy of their departures caused a marked shift in the teen drama landscape. As the television industry started to turn to streaming and Peak TV ramped up, everything got darker.

Teen dramas suddenly needed to have a hook. Whether it was murder, mystery, sci-fi, supernatural, or some other subgenre, the bare bones coming-of-age shows targeted to teens were falling out of style. You could argue that Gossip Girl had a mystery hook, but that wasn’t the totality of the show’s story. In my eyes, it’s merely a centerpiece on the table that’s otherwise filled with a delicious feast. Simply put, we’re just not getting these 22-episodes-per-season teen soaps that defined a generation and left a lasting legacy in the same way. Euphoria and The Summer I Turned Pretty are the new queen bees, but you can’t dethrone royalty.

All six seasons of Gossip Girl are available to stream on Netflix in select territories, including the UK, Ireland, France, Latin America, and Spain.

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