Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gossip Girl would be better if I were consulted.

Lately I'm getting the feeling that the people who write recaps for Gossip Girl put more thought and attention to detail into the show than the actual writers. I love Gossip Girl, but I would love it even more if they actually managed to capture the tone and enthusiasm and depth of feeling that the recaps often achieve.

I do think that the last couple of episodes of Gossip Girl have been ambitious, which I appreciate. Last week I was impressed by the thematic consistency of the various plot threads, all involving different characters using each other, being used, or both. And this week, it really seemed like the writers were carefully orchestrating a series of explosive confrontations, but then instead, each dramatic turn just quietly fizzled out. It seems like there is so much potential in every episode, but it is usually squandered by sloppy writing.

If I had my way, the characters' back stories and defining traits would be more consistent. Their personalities should drive the plot instead of conveniently fluctuating in service of the plot. Seriously, if the audience can remember the various nuances of each character, the writers ought to be able to do the same. I'm getting tired of the mental gymnastics required to make each characters' actions feel plausible.

Nate can't even remember why he was mad at Chuck or Vanessa in the first place. Vanessa and Dan desperately cling to their moral high ground, yet they never refrain from engaging in their own inept attempts at manipulative scheming. Dan is clearly a terrible writer, and yet he had a story published in the New Yorker and famous authors are willing to mentor him? Eric vanishes completely, only to reappear whenever someone else needs a sidekick. Chuck loves Blair but doesn't bother to attend her 18th birthday party? He begs for his father's trust, affection and attention, then breaks into Bart's safe and exposes secrets that drive away his new wife and stepchildren? Blair agonizes over Cyrus Rose becoming her new stepfather but displays utter indifference toward her future stepbrother? Bart knows the intimate details of Eric's love life before Eric does, but he doesn't recognize the extent of Lily's current relationship with Rufus? Or the fact that Dan was investigating him for an article? Jenny watches Agnes burn her dresses without attempting to stop her or slapping her in the face? Aaron makes grandiose, elaborately planned romantic gestures before becoming interested in an actual relationship with Serena? And then out of nowhere, abruptly announces that he is ready for monogamy?

Serena is actually the only character whose inconsistency no longer bothers me. At the end of last week's episode it became apparent that her personality is so weak and flimsy that she basically just reacts to the people and events around her, while having no core values, interests, goals, or deeply rooted traits of any kind. I guess that's why everyone finds her so charming all the time, because they can just project their own personalities on her.

Don't get me wrong, Gossip Girl is fabulous, but it's also frustrating because I know it could be so much better.

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