Monday, September 01, 2008

We Live in a Golden Age of Televison, #2: Gossip Girl Kickoff

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Writing about William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Frederich Engels wrote that "The first act . . . alone contains more life and reality than all German literature." Walter Cohen suggests that perhaps what Engels admired in the play was the "dramatization of the middle class as it is being formed out of social tensions and verbal distinctions, out of disparate and often contradictory elements."


To the extent that The Wire - which this blog has praised ad nauseum - accomplishes that goal in describing the "social tensions and verbal distinctions" of those who live in and around the misery of the drug trade and gang warfare of the urban environment, Gossip Girl - which premiers tonight (Monday) at 8PM - does the same thing for Manhattan elite, or, rather, a obviously ficticious and heavily satirized version of such an elite. The real genius of the show is not so much the fodder, recycled plot of teen romances and heart-breaks, family troubles and dissolutions, pseudo-existential crises and realizations (all topics that Schwarz incidentially handled better in Season 1 of the OC), but rather the extent to which Schwartz's depiction of UES'ers is a carefully and subtly constructed farce, meant not to necessarily reflect reality but rather toy with, exploit, and ultimately undermine the expectations of a half-jealous, half-critical, half-naive middle class audience (this is cable, after all) that might also be characterized as strivers in the sense that the presumed opulance and decadence of the UES'ers is appealing, but only insofar that the mishaps, and in some cases, lack of scruples of the main characters make them distinguishable; if you were there you would never be as cruel as Blair Waldorf or as treacherous as Chuck Bass . . . We think in this aspect GG is in top form . . .


It's really difficult for us to describe beyond the above why we love Gossip Girl. Some of it has to be the same sort of intangible Josh Schwartz "magic" that attracted us to season 1 of the OC, some of it has to be to chic wardrobe and cool locale in the Upper East Side of Manhattan (hey - won't some of you be living and working there this summer? Write off the time as "career research"), a part is certain the strong soundtrack (another Josh Schwartz main-stay), and finally we need to give credit to a sort of novel concept: a series that revolves around - and is indeed driven by- "gossip" insofar as it is pandered on a (yet-to-be-identified) student blog.


It's worth noting that GG is no longer available as a free stream; you have to watch it Mondays on the CW at 8, or, in the alternative, pay $1.99 to get from iTunes. Bastards.

After that, catch the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers taking on the UCLA Bruins in LA. The line for the game is Tennessee (who last year almost managed to beat national champions LSU in the national champtionship) by -7.5. We don't endorse gambling, but if we did, we'd recommend buying down to -7 and then taking the Vols.

Previous Coverage:
We Live in A Golden Age of TV (A Running Series)

2 comments:

Rechtsberatung said...

Both are looking very nice.

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