There's something about writing this blog that gets me to freely admit to all my trashiest pleasures.
I found a new one last week...it's Gossip Girl. Geez, I know. But it's so much fun to watch! It's all scandal and drama, unfolding at an addictingly breathtaking pace. In a refreshing move away from the oversaturation of shows about high schoolers in Southern California, Gossip Girl takes place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It's about smart, bratty uniformed kids at a prep school and their sensational, overwrought lives.
This show is surprisingly good in all the ways that new "women-friendly" shows like Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia are not. It's exceedingly well-cast, with pretty rich boys and perfect princess girls. More importantly, the cast noticeably gels together instantly-- from the first episode they fit together and are believably friends, unlike the aforementioned Sex in the City ripoffs, which seem shallow and awkward. This show zips along, understanding its subjects effortlessly; a major portion of the show is the oh-so-2008 spread of gossip through cell phones. Something scandalous happens and every character knows instantly -- it's already been texted to them, or they have checked out the Gossip Girl blog, where the unnamed narrator of the show presides over regular posts about certain 'in' prep school kids' every move. This all creates an accelerated feeling of excitement -- most soapy nighttime dramas slowly unfold their drama over weeks of overly fraught and extensive close-ups. This show smartly recognizes that the nature of technology has brought us to the point where if a school mate is buying a pregnancy test and anyone happens to see it, within 2 minutes everyone not only knows, but has a damning picture of the event taking place thanks to their handy cell phone. Thus, the action on Gossip Girl is pleasingly quick, sort of instantly thrilling and constantly moving on.
The central characters of the show seem realistic to me, also. They are kids, mostly spoiled kids, who have been exposed to gross amounts of money, power, drugs, divorce, etc to the degree where it's all just life to them. In some cases the parents are the real kids in the family, in others money bails members out of whatever trouble they get in, etc. The show exposes the kids' scattered family lives and the psychoses behind their bad behavior. There's two kids though who come from a "regular" family and are at the prep school through scholarships. (They live in Brooklyn, of course, not Manhattan.) The show smartly spends a good deal of time looking at the rich kids through these "regular" kids' eyes, so the rich world of privilege and luxury seems accessible to everyone, including the generally more poverty-stricken viewer.
New episodes start April 21 on -- gasp!-- the CW...and though I am somewhat loathe to admit it, I will be watching.
And if you are like me and are kinda waiting around for a fun and frothy Sex In the City replacement, this is about as close as we can get, aside from busting out those DVDs for the 1000th time, till the SItC movie comes out in May.