Wassup Rockers

Must Watch.

So yesterday I had the day off and I spent some ~*QUALITY TIME*~ watching TV on the internets. I’d missed the most recent episode of Gossip Girl, the unfortunately titled “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?” The ep previous to that one ended on a cliffhanger, but I already knew (everyone already knew) who’d been offed from Gossip Girl-land, so I hadn’t exactly been in a hurry to watch it. Except now I’m kicking myself for not having watched it sooner.

(1) I cried multiple times during this episode.
(2) I gasped out loud several times as well.

And it was well-deserved, too. For such lowbrow, escapist entertainment, the writers (and the cast and the wardrobe department, among others) put way too much effort into their work, and the results are really fantastic. I don’t care what anyone says about how stupid it seems, how decadent it is, how wreckless and mindless. I see the depth in this show and I fucking revel in it. The lines they throw out are the kind that you just repeat over and over and you can’t get over the fact that they’re so damn awesome.

I remember how unimpressive the pilot was, and it really felt like an East Coast OC. But in a very short time, Gossip Girl has really grown into its own beast that pretty much crushes The OC. Even with unlikely, implausible plotlines and way too many hookups that I don’t care to untangle and figure out, this show has created two of the most compelling characters on TV: Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass. It’s their world, and we just happen to live in it. In this world they have their set of rules, which I think the show does a very good job of showing us, and we get to see what happens when the rules are inevitably broken because they set such a ridiculous standard that no one can follow.

Dude, did I seriously write that last sentence? I don’t even know if that makes sense. I’m… really tired.

Anyway, after the funeral, Blair and Chuck get into a tizzy because Chuck is all mopey (and drunk!) and Blair has never been more sober in her life. He’s mad and trying to run away, and she just tells him–more like she just explodes–everything she’s felt about him in the past year or whatever. She’s so awkward when she tells him and it’s so NOT the right time to dump such an important statement on the dude, which makes it even more real. His response is absolutely brilliant and so motherfucking fitting. All I could say to my computer screen was “Oh, shit.” I couldn’t even hold back the tears. The subsequent scene that Chuck and Blair share, which is acted without any dialogue, is fucking brilliant and just shows how complex the two characters are, both as individuals and as a couple.

I had a similar reaction when I watched the last ten minutes of Mad Men Season 2 finale, when Peggy tells Pete what she’s been hiding from him for the past year. (Peggy and Pete–another compelling pair!) In a nice parallel, in this show it’s Pete who finally opens up and tells Peggy how he feels about her, and she brilliantly dumps the truth on him. Damn, and the way she says it has so much bite, too. I’ve rewatched those 4 minutes over and over on YouTube and I can’t get over how well both of them play it. I just experience a simultaneous high and low when I watch it.

In both the Gossip Girl scene and the Mad Men scene, I felt like I was watching a crucial moment in the history of these two shows. They felt like a (very satisfying) climax to everything that has happened in the shows up to that point, and they felt like the beginning of a lot of huge shit about to happen. To have the pleasure to witness these moments executed so brilliantly? What a thrill.

A couple more notes:
(a) Wallace Shawn on GG = awesome to the nth power.
(b) The female characters on MM are so so so interesting, mostly because the societal norms are in flux and so they get to test boundaries a lot more. It’s amazing to watch the different ways the women cope with every obstacle they face.


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