Last week, the Parents Television Council wrote a stern letter
to CW affiliates urging them to pull last night's episode of Gossip Girl
, in which three characters engage in a threesome. The details of the three-way play were vague at that point, but the PTC made one point crystal clear: kids love to watch Gossip Girl
, and Gossip Girl
should not encourage that kind of sexual behavior among its viewers.
As a concerned parent (Note: I am not a parent) of a small child (Note: This child does not exist) who loves to watch and reenact exactly what he sees on our TV screen each Monday at 9 PM, naturally I could relate to the PTC's concerns, and I was troubled by the prospect of my child's favorite show, which up until this point has been a powerful and realistic moral beacon in our household, all of a sudden encouraging dangerous behavior with my dear young son, Dustin. (Note: There is no Dustin.) I mean, the drinking, drugs, philandering, backstabbing, cleavage-bearing, and revenge-sex-having that frequently occur on this kid's program is one thing. It's our responsibility to depict the world as accurately as possible for our impressionable children, to prepare them for life's tough brunches and Ponzi schemes ahead. But where do we draw the line, as responsible parents? It's not like we can just turn off the TV. Something needs to be done!
Well, I am happy to report that that 'something' is actually nothing. My fellow PTC members, we can call off the troops with this whole "threesome" thing, because what I saw last night presented the topic with just as much maturity and realism that I have come to expect from my son's favorite program, Gossip Girl.
1. It encouraged child literacy.
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How did Dan, Vanessa and Olivia decide to experiment with their bodies? By READING. And not with that new-fangled "Kindle"-mabobber thingy that will make all our children blind before they're 40! Our children's fictitious role models encouraged good, old-fashioned civic-minded reading... of an actual NEWSPAPER! Now more than ever, kids need reminding that those actually exist.2. It happened to the nerds.
What better way to boost the self-esteem of our less attractive, socially-handicapped youth than to give them this example of two of their own kind (for the uninitiated, Dan and Vanessa are major
nerds) managing to bag a big-name movie star for a night of respectful, consensual sexual exploration? Better yet: how did they do it? By GOING TO COLLEGE! This mental link between sex and higher education is invaluable to our goal of encouraging the love of learning among children, and will no doubt increase college attendance among both book-inclined and boob-inclined adolescents.
3. It was gross. If you were watching last night's episode with your young child before bedtime, as I was, you should have noticed an inverse relationship between how much sexual activity was being shown on screen and your child's level of visible arousal. This relationship is what I like to call the "Clockwork Orange Principle," wherein children are excited by the concept
of a sexual threesome, but once such a scenario is gratuitously provided before their eyes, they are consumed with feelings of disgust, revulsion, and second-hand embarrassment. Watch enough of these overly mature programs with your child, and soon you will find even the slightest mention of an awkward sexual encounter will incite convulsions and vomiting. Congratulations! Your child is now waiting until marriage.4. There was cuddling after.
Many of us are concerned that media images of extreme sexual behavior may teach our kids that members of the opposite sex are nothing more than playthings to be used and then thrown away. Last night's liaison provided a vision of something different: respect and love. With the image of Dan sandwiched between his two female lovers, sleeping soundly and secure in the double-spoon of their warm embrace, our children were taught that the most rewarding threesome is the threesome between three best friends who respect each other--and themselves!--enough to make a full slumber-party out of it. 5. The consequences are coming.
As we see in the promo for next week's episode, this menage a trois
is going to be anything but consequence-free. Sure, no one seems bound for a visit to the free clinic or a double-pregnancy scare (if anyone has it in him, it's not Dan
), but for those children who watched last night and thought, "Wow, these three mature friends really care about each other and had one special, intimate fun night upon which they will look back and smile. I hope I can try that when I am 18 and have the consent of two adult partners!"...well, they're in for a RUDE AWAKENING. All that cuddling is just leading up to the explosion of jealousy, embarrassment and rage that will tear apart each participant in this "innocent" act, until even the bedsheets spontaneously combust, ignited by the shame of their own involvement.
In the end, the whole episode became quite a learning experience for both of us, and I look forward to continuing to expose my child to the wholesome lessons of Gossip Girl
, worry-free. I hear that next week Lady Gaga will be performing! Dustin can't wait. He's already asked for some nipple tape of his own, bless his little heart.
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff WriterImages courtesy of the CW