In the series finale of Gossip Girl, we finally learn the identity of the titular blogger. But does the revealed gossip monger make sense?
Now it could be debated from here to Brooklyn and back again whether or not the show had to reveal Gossip Girl at all. Unlike a show built around eventually solving a mystery, Gossip Girl had never promised us answers to the identity of the show’s chronicler of Upper East Side misdeed. In fact, in the opening of every episode, Gossip Girl promises that her identity is the one secret she’ll never divulge.
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It certainly wasn’t built into the fabric of the show that we would eventually need to find out Gossip Girl’s identity. This wasn’t finding out ‘A’ on Pretty Little Liars or discovering the origin of the island on Lost. We could have gone into the last few minutes of the series without ever finding out who authored all those catty gossip blasts.
But going into the last season, the show decided it was finally time to peek behind the curtain and learn the identity of the show’s true gossip wizard. It didn’t have to, sure, and perhaps doing so will take some of the mystery and fun out of the show for some viewers. But once the show decided it was time to go there, the main question becomes: Is the answer satisfying?
Below are spoilers for the series finale of Gossip Girl! Read at your own risk. Or go watch the finale, have Jack Bass fix you a drink, and come back.
The reveal of Gossip Girl was one that seemed both crazy and also crazy obvious. Dan Humphrey has always been the ultimate outsider on the show and has been more obsessed with the tony world of privilege than almost anyone outside Jenny “my hair is alive” Humphrey.
When you watch Gossip Girl from the beginning, will Dan’s role as Gossip Girl always make sense? Eh, probably not. As a huge fan of the show, I can’t think of any glaring moments that would disqualify him, but a lot of elements likely won’t add up 100 percent correctly.
Someday you’ll probably be watching an episode and go “Why in the world would Dan post that?” and there’s probably not a good explanation for it. They tried to explain away some of the Jenny shenanigans, but to me it doesn’t really explain why Jenny would have wanted her boyfriend publicly outed and her crown striped away in the first season.
Do I really believe that the Gossip Girl creative team knew it was Dan the whole time? No, not really. But that’s fine and here’s why: because Dan as Gossip Girl makes sense with the way Dan’s character has been established since the first season.
Gossip Girl, as a show, has always been more interested in the psychological lives of the characters than whether the plot always made sense. (It usually didn’t.) It feels within Dan’s character to have been Gossip Girl this whole time, especially when you think back to how much he’s always been obsessed with the idea of fitting in.
He’s always been obsessed with the idea of two distinct worlds. There’s the Brooklyn Humphrey world of mason jars, waffle making, and marrying Lisa Loeb. And then there was the glittering world of the Upper East Side, a world he was glad to decry because he secretly wanted in so badly.
Hasn’t he always been chronicling the lives of our favorite posh, morally bankrupt Upper East Siders? Since the very beginning, when he wrote a story about Serena that was published in the New Yorker. Or there was the time he wrote an exciting story about “Charlie Trout”. Even before we formally knew he was Gossip Girl, he’s always been profiting from writing about his friends and family in ways that were sometimes less than flattering. Is it such a jump from the Charlie Trout and “Inside” stories to Gossip Girl?
When the show started, Dan was presented as the moral center of the piece. The Humphrey family was wholesome where the Upper East Siders were twisted. The central theory running through the final season was that Dan had finally gone mad from years spent trying to play the game with Manhattan’s power players and always being one step behind.
But as Serena so accurately points out in the series finale, Dan has actually been pulling the strings this whole time. Which goes to show the separate worlds Dan always whined about, Brooklyn versus the Upper East Side, don’t exist after all. People don’t live in neat little worlds that are morally painted in black and white. We weren’t watching the devolution of Dan from Lonely Boy into bitter writer thanks to the corrupting influence of fame and power, because he had been the man spinning gossip yarns this whole time.
He’s used his pen to draw them together and to tear them apart with equal aplomb. Last season his book “Inside” could have just as easily been titled “I am Gossip Girl Shimself: A Novel”. In retrospect, it seems obvious with the amount that Dan has outright chronicled their lives that he would also be the shadowy figured defining their fame from the sidelines.
Dan learned the lesson Gossip Girl has always been the first to teach us: you’re no one until someone is talking about you. Therefore he started the buzz about himself, back before social media meant you could safely record every moment of your day without seeming pathological.
At first, just happy to be able to record the lives of the rich and flossy, Dan soon inserted himself into the story like a 12-year-old fan fiction writer or Perez Hilton. He decided the one way to become part of their world was to write himself into it.
Looking back on the series, will Dan as Gossip Girl make sense in every episode? Probably not. Did they plan for Dan to be Gossip Girl all along? Also probably not. But it makes sense in the way that things do on Gossip Girl, which is by a long and circuitous route that ultimately stacks up correctly against the characters we’ve come to know and love. And that works well enough for me.
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What did you think of Dan being Gossip Girl? Were you satisfied or did you hate it? Gossip it out in the comments!
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(Image courtesy of The CW)