“All of you have to go back.”
Dear Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl, Chuck, and The OC,
Hey Josh, it’s me, Woody. Let me first say that you, sir, give good teen dramedy. You’ve assembled an all-star squad not once, but TWICE. That Stephanie Savage is awesome. You’re absurdly young, and have succeeded several times to take me down a peg when I think I’m doing well for myself.
You’ve given us Summer, Serena, Blair, Seth Cohen, Chuck fucking Bass, and single-handedly resurrected Peter Gallagher like Neo in The Matrix. If that dude hasn’t been sending you gift baskets every bank holiday, he’s one ungrateful pro bono lawyer cum surfer. Without The OC I wouldn’t be out here, living a dream and having the time of my life. Good on ya, Josh.
That said, get your head out of your ass.
Have you learned NOTHING?!? You’re looking at the college years like Jason Bourne looks at Moscow Police roadblocks! Ease off the gas, dude! Remember the lessons learned from your first hit TV show! You Jumped The Campus and everything went Hindenburg! (too soon?)
Summer went solo to Brown! Seth stayed home! Misha Barton got President Palmer’d! Kiki got PREGGERS! Ryan become a cage fighter! A CAGE FIGHTER! No, no, NO! All of this is WRONG!
JUMPING THE CAMPUS
This is what happens when teen shows go to college. You can make the argument that no teen show has Jumped The Campus and gotten away with it. Minus my college buddy Mike who could tell you the specials at The Max, Saved By The Bell: The College Years was nowhere near as good as the days of the old school and it lasted one season.
The OC, once everyone graduated high school fell apart like the 2008 New York Jets (I’m a bitter Bostonian! Deal with it!)
Now, Dawson’s Creek had the right idea. They feinted with their characters going in different directions at the end of season 4, but within two episodes they were all in Boston. However, this wasn’t a true Jump The Campus moment, not everyone was in college…maybe not even half. Never mind. The point is everyone we cared about was in one place.
Here is what you have to do, Josh: you have to send every single Constance/St. Jude’s student to Yale. You have to. You’ve asked us to suspend disbelief for far worse.
WE HAVE TO GO BACK, BLAIR! WE HAVE TO GO BACK!
I compare your situation to the Oceanic 6 in Lost, and Yale is the island. For the rest of this season, you have to figure out how to get all the characters to Yale. If you don’t, all those you’ll leave behind will be destroyed. You have to bring everyone, Josh, including the cold corpse of Nate Archibald.
(Things John Locke and Nate have in common right now: they’re stiff, constantly hidden away, and look great in makeup. I’m not compensating for being jealous of Nate’s incredible good looks. I’m not.)
Here’s why we may just be boned, folks. There’s a lot of baggage behind. Jenny, Vanessa, Erik, Rufus, Lily, Dorota (scratch that, she’ll probably get bottom bunk), they’re all left in New York. All those characters kinda work if left to their own devices, though it’s pretty cringe worthy. Let’s be honest, unless they’re orbiting Blair or Chuck, it’s a toss up.
Here’s why we’re probably ok, kids. Despite leaving the baggage behind and no conceivable way to kill them all by the end of the season, we’re still tethered to the main characters by keeping them somewhat local. Yale is close enough that everyone could come back every weekend, while still having character arcs of Blair’s accidental hippie phase, or Dan stumbling into Skull & Bones (come on, SOMEONE’S getting in there).
The X Factor, as always, is Chuck Bass. We’ve set him up for a decision at the end of this season: to run Quantum or not? I think he’ll take the reins and stay in New York, which could be smart. Chuck has a sort of gravitational pull on Blair, Blair has pull on Serena, Serena has Dan. In a weird sort of way, Chuck can constantly be pulling our favorite characters back to NYC, making them those roommates who were never around on weekends, so you stole their beer. (The case of “who pissed on my Epson” is open and unsolved to this day, btw)
SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN = HURLEY (WHAT?)
Let me just say one last thing before I wrap this up: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD SERENA GO TO BROWN. Don’t even entertain it, not even for two episodes in the beginning of next season.
I know what you’re trying to do. You’re creating real distance between Dan and Serena so there’s something to overcome, while at the same time they have their space to encounter new people and wonder if they should really be with each other. You know what? YOU CAN DO THAT AT YALE! If anything, it’s more genuine. Here’s the reason you can’t put Serena in Rhode Island: it’s outside of the Blair Solar System. With Serena outside Queen B’s gravitational pull, she’s going to go spinning off into a black hole.
The OC did this to Seth and Summer and it never recovered.
Shush. It didn’t. Never mind the Dan/Serena relationship, you just CAN’T do it. Even if you have her go to Brown and have a teary farewell, AT BEST you’re going to waste two episodes with Serena wondering if she made the right decision, throwing her hair around, talking to Erik about the mistake she made, deciding to come back, and calling the Dean and getting back in because they REALLY DO CARE about being on Page 6. Excuse me while I slam my head against the wall for forty-five seconds.
Right now, Serena is like Hurley. She’s in absolute mortal danger of being left behind and everyone should be rightly freaking out about her foolhardy decision to not go with the group. Someone get Ben Linus (Blair) to manipulate her into coming with. Promise comfort food…and by comfort food, I mean champagne with a strawberry dropped in it. Mmmmm.
LET’S BE HONEST. THIS ISN’T THE WEIRDEST THING WE’VE CAUGHT YOU DOING.
I get it. It’s nearly impossible to explain why all those students would get into Yale, but let’s call a crepe a crepe here, Josh. This season, you:
Killed Bart Bass
Introduced a love interest for Serena who beat all the odds and our heads in.
Made Nate a gigilo.
Made Nate homeless.
Made Blair say “I love you, Chuck Bass.”
Got Dan into prison, then Yale.
Created, killed, then resurrected a child of Rufus and Lily.
Shaped Jenny into a fashion icon with Mini Cooper.
You mean to tell me you CAN’T get everyone into YALE? Yes you can. Look at me. Yes you can, and yes you should. It would be awesome, it would be unprecedented, and it’s not like you can’t take a -5000 from New York Magazine. I’m beginning to think those points aren’t based on any system at all!
But no, you’ll do what every teen show does right before they fail. You’ll get a boner for your characters being split up and discovering themselves in new places, yet still staying kind of connected to their friends. You’ll put Serena in Brown. You’ll keep Nate in Brooklyn with Vanessa. You’ll send Blair and Dan to Yale to, in a less ill-conceived twist(?), hook up. Chuck will stay in NYC to run BI. You’ll think you’re doing the right thing. You’ll be damning your series.
This leads me to believe that you either:
A) Really haven’t learned from your last series.
B) Just don’t care.
Wait. Waitaminute. Don’t you have another show? Is it not doing as well? Are you devoting more time to “Chuck” than to Chuck Bass? Is it possible you’re not even in the Gossip Girl offices right now? Could you just be a disembodied hand at the chair of Dr. Claw? Oh…my…
Dear Stephanie Savage,
Let me first say that you, ma’am, give good teen dramedy.
You know you copy/paste/pawn me off as your own thoughts,
Filed under: Essays, Gossip Girl Review | Tagged: ben linus, blair waldorf, chuck, chuck bass, dan humphrey, dawson's creek, destiny calls, Gossip girl, hurley, john locke, josh schwartz, lost, memo to gossip girl, nate archibald, saved by the bell, serena van der woodsen, stephanie savage, the cw, the oc, we have to go back |