'Gossip Girl' Aftergasm: I Hate the 80's (Spin-Off)
'Gossip Girl' Aftergasm: I Hate the 80's (Spin-Off)
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Last night on Gossip Girl, we were all taken hostage by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage in their cliche-powered time machine to 1980-something and forced to come along for an asinine exploration of Lily's "wild" past. On a normal week, this might be a bit forgivable because of all the flashy, distracting 80's fashions and music. (And No Doubt!)

Maybe. But, to add insult to sepia-toned injury, this week in Gossip-world was Constance/St. Jude's Prom Week.

PROM, you guys! And we missed it. Well, most of it. All so we could listen to Brittany Snow ask some poor-man's-Ed Westwick (who actually is poor, and also too clean-cut to be a valley punk): "Is this the moment when you fall in love with me?"

Actually, no, Lily, it's not that moment yet. How about never? Does never o'clock work for you?

Listen, Josh 'n' Steph: First, you impose your boring Lily backstory on an episode that should have been devoted solely to our actual characters' pinnacle high school experience. Then you try to cover up the fact that you're hijacking our show to pitch an unrelated spin-off by forcing connections between the real story and the craptastic 80's flashbacks that are tenuous and superficial at best. Sewing together a horse and a rhino does not a unicorn make.

Especially when the rhino is as ugly as this one. Sorry Gossip Girl producers, but here are the reasons I hope the rumors are true that your spin-off is D.O.A.:

The Cast:
Minor characters aside (because Cynthia Watros as CeCe and Krysten Ritter as Carol were not half bad), Brittany Snow as Lily was a joke. She's got the vacant, infantile, annoying but non-threatening, doe-eyed presence of a suburban cheerleader, not the uptight, undersexed, overspoiled, daddy-issues-deluded superiority of a WASP-in-training. Plus, Snow has huge, overpowering BLUE eyes, unlike Kelly Rutherford's slimmer, obviously brown eyes. And don't get me started on Owen and "Shep" (I can't forgive that name), who make Jenny Humphrey look like Debbie Harry with all their rocker edginess.

The Script: "Is this the moment when you fall in love with me? It is, isn't it?" A good actress couldn't even save that line from going into my ears and coming out my mouth in vomit-form. And Brittany Snow ain't that. The parts of the script not covered in cheese were still so terribly obvious and explicit. Especially the introduction of Carol, that sister we barely/never knew Lily had, but whom everyone else does know, making it both bad writing and cheap exposition when Lily says things like, "Hey Mom and Dad, remember my sister Carol, the one who ran away and wanted to become an actress, but she's not good at it? Yeah, her. Carol. Free bird, bad actress. Crazy ol' Carol."

The Plot: So Serena got arrested, which compelled adult-Lily to gaze out the window and wistfully sing, "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" as she remembered her own wild days of mayhem and incarceration, and realize that they aren't so different, she and her buxom young blonde daughter. They were both repressed by horrible mothers, and they both ended up in jail because they were brave enough to fight the good fight defending what was good and true, hopes and dreams, freedom and justice, what have you. Except that Lily is the one who GOT Serena arrested by lying to the police about her daughter stealing a bracelet that she GAVE to Serena to show her pride in how much Serena had grown and matured. Adult-Lily defended her manipulative and immoral mothering, and then turned around and told her own mother how much she still hated her for always playing evil puppeteer with her children's lives, so CeCe should just get out and stay out, forever. So the spin-off hopes to tell the coming of age tale of a character whom we all just witnessed--as a grown-ass woman in command of three minors and many billions of dollars--has the emotional maturity and sense of responsibility of a hormonal preteen. Great start.

Gratuitous 80's References: The spin-off is set in the 80's. We get it, and that's great. But at a certain point what you probably think is "striving for temporal authenticity", or even "striving for a balance of fun, campy callbacks" becomes "striving for lazy and gratutious." You jammed Rubix cube, MTV/music videos references, Olivia Newton John/Madonna/Janet Jackson outfit-changing dance montage, Tom Cruise lookalike, and at least 5 fannypack jokes into your twenty-minute 80's adventure. It was a sleight of hand that sacrificed too much actual plot for nostalgic glitz and glitter. And the trick was obvious.

So thanks a lot, Josh and Stephanie.

You made our final Gossip Girl Prom rushed and unsatisfying--words that should only be reserved for losing one's virginity after Prom.

You pawned off a million storylines to the finale episode: Georgina Gone Bad, Ponzi-Poppy, Lovechild, Yale Money, Proposal, Queen of the Steps, Uncle Jack on New Year's Eve, and Taking Down Gossip Girl. You have no chance of successfully resolving them all--but if this last rush job is an indication, I'm betting you will try, which will distract from the one story we all love, the story you half-assed last night: Chuck and Blair.

And you did it with a poorly executed spin-off exposition that made me kind of hate the 80's.

And for that, I'm not sure if I can forgive you.

Read the Recap: Gossip Girl Episode 2.24 "Valley Girls"

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-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of the CW


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