Stay Tuned
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Gossip Girl" Review: Needs More Suds

Mix the story of six high society teenagers with the creator of “The O.C.” and you should get some good soapy fun.

Unfortunately in the case of “Gossip Girl,” should is the operative word…

“Gossip Girl” refers to a website that New York private school students are addicted to. It dishes all the gossip on NYC’s elite. And the person behind the website (voiced by Kristen Bell) serves as the show’s narrator. Thankfully, however, the show doesn’t try to make her all-knowing since there’s no way Gossip Girl could see everything.

The show opens with some major gossip from the site. It girl Serena (Blake Lively) has returned after a year at boarding school. But her BFF Blair (Leighton Meester) isn’t too happy about it since Blair has become the new it girl. And she’s not crazy about the way her boyfriend, Nate, looks at Serena.

Outsider Dan (Penn Badgley) is happy to see Serena back in town since he’s been in love with her for years—even though she has no idea who he is. Dan’s sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen) is working her way into the elite crowd by doing tasks for Blair.

Nate (Chace Crawford) is also happy to see Serena because, yes, he does indeed have a thing for her.

And then there’s Chuck (Ed Westwick). Chuck is the troublemaker who preys on any girl he can, especially impressionable freshmen like Jenny…

What we know that Gossip Girl doesn’t is that there’s much more to Serena’s departure and return than meets the eye. She’s returned because her younger brother tried to commit suicide. She left after she got drunk and slept with Nate. Now she’s trying to change her partying ways and erase the guilt she feels. She does manage to patch things up with Blair, until Nate tells Blair the truth, freeing himself to pursue Serena. That is until his father reminds Nate that he’s trying to close a major deal with Blair’s mother, which makes Nate go back to Blair, promising he’ll never talk to Serena again.

Serena, meanwhile, starts on a new path by going out with Dan. But she’s sucked back into Blair’s world again when Dan has to go to Blair’s party to rescue Jenny from Chuck, who threatens to expose all of Serena’s secrets.

At the risk of majorly repeating myself, “Gossip Girl” isn’t a bad show. It just doesn’t have that “O.C.” zip—yet. But there are real possibilities here.

However, there’s one thing that will always hold the show back for me—Chuck. It’s been a long time I’ve reacted so negatively to a TV character, but Chuck is just so vile, I can’t help it. I know he’s supposed to be a smooth operator, but he just makes my skin crawl.

And if Dan hadn’t gotten to Jenny in time, I would’ve never watched the show again. Hopefully, the show will start giving Chuck some other traits besides his roaming hands. And hopefully the show will find a way to kick up the suds.

Maybe Gossip Girl needs some better sources…

“Gossip Girl” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CW…