“And who am I?”

That’s one secret that should never have been told. Did I enjoy the Gossip Girl finale? Yes. Does it make one lick of sense that Dan is Gossip Girl? No. Should Gossip Girl’s identity have been a plot point ever in this series? IMHO, no.

I felt that way back when I was writing Spotted, my book on Gossip Girl, and included this sidebar on the potential of revealing GG’s identity toward the end of my season 1 episode guide:

“And who am I?”

While it may be the one secret she’ll never tell, the question “Who is Gossip Girl?” is asked at the beginning of every episode. Her identity was never revealed in the book series, with Cecily von Ziegesar commenting, “Originally the books were going to be this unfolding mystery about figuring out who Gossip Girl is, but then the characters’ stories took over. And that became a behind-the-scenes mystery that didn’t really matter anymore.” Stephanie Savage gave an equally vague response to the question, saying with a laugh, “We are all ‘Gossip Girl.’ We all feed that chain, participating in that circle and circus of information, whether we want to admit it or not.”

From the first episode of the show, it became clear that while Gossip Girl has agency in the plot and affects the lives of these characters (spreading information, encouraging characters to take action, ruining Blair’s birthday party), she’s a narrative device. Period. She has the omniscient ability to see and know things no army of cell-phones-in-hands gossipmongers could tell her.

Exhibit A: in the pilot episode, Gossip Girl instantly knows that Blair and Serena have had a falling out before the girls have even talked to each other — Nate’s told Blair about the Shepherd wedding, and Chuck has confronted S, but the rest of the world has no way of knowing. Ah, but what if one of them is Gossip Girl? On to exhibit B: when Blair and Chuck start making out at the end of “Seventeen Candles,” Gossip Girl calls Chuck “the gift that keeps on giving.” (Ha ha! Ew.) How does she know they’ve hooked up before and are hooking up again? In the next episode’s home page story, she’s back to not knowing (“What did Serena see?”).

Gossip Girl is used well and to the writers’ convenience to provide snarky commentary and truisms, to drive the plot, and to raise the stakes, but let’s all cross our fingers that her identity is never revealed. It would be like asking the audience to pay no attention to the writers behind the curtain.

Ah well. At least crossing my fingers for Kristen Bell to make a cameo worked.


Goodbye, Gossip Girl

old skool

The end of Gossip Girl is upon us, and it’s making me all nostalgic for seasons past… Season 6 has not been my favorite, to put it kindly, but as the plot meanders and the characters spin in circles, one thing that has not wavered since the show’s premiere back in 2007 is how flipping good this show looks. So well made. I wonder how it will all end tomorrow…

I went to NYC a few weeks ago, and somewhat unintentionally it turned into a Gossip Girl Nostalgia Tour. First off, we were staying at the Empire Hotel (which I stayed at a few years ago), and just across the way is the Lincoln Center and the David H. Koch Theater (another GG location). Wandering around the city, it’s hard not to think of what’s been filmed there, and of course when we happened upon the Palace Hotel, it was mandatory photo taking time. Luckily, we ran into Maurice, the Palace Hotel employee who takes GG fans on impromptu mini tours of the hotel. He was the best.

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He showed us the Gilt bar, the kitchen where Chuck had the grilled cheese made for Serena, the cotillion ballroom, the brunch room and the staircase S and N scurried down, the library — and every room is stunning. This hotel is well named, and built in 1882 as a private residence. Wander around the lobby if you get the chance. It is luxurious. [Sorry for the slightly terrible photos — we were moving quickly!]

"The Big Sleep No More" So many creepy masks. Less smooching IRL.
“The Big Sleep No More” So many creepy masks. Less smooching IRL.

That night, we went to Sleep No More, which you may remember from last season, at the suggestion of my friend who does not even watch Gossip Girl. I could pretend like I was just super cultured and into experimental NYC theater and that’s why I knew what she was talking about. It was creeeeepy. At first, I was giggling under the mask that I wasn’t allowed to take off (and no talking!) but then I got into it. The “hotel” is huge and full of all the nightmarish things you can think of. You just wander around, you can follow the performers if you like, or open up drawers and peer inside. Sometimes it felt like being in a live immersive episode of So You Think You Can Dance — the performers don’t really speak (they make some grunting noises at times) but they dance the scenes. I think you could go multiple times and see different stuff — we didn’t follow the performers around too much (it can get a bit crowded with other masked audience members) so I’m sure we missed some of the Macbeth-ish action. (Tho we did see the King killed!)

All to say, that trip made me wistful about Gossip Girl. It was the first show I ever wrote seriously about. My book on the first two seasons of the show was a huge undertaking for me, one I was not sure I was capable of, and it set me off on a path that I didn’t know was ahead of me! I loved writing about Gossip Girl; I loved talking about GG with Angela and company on TGAD; it’s the first fandom I was a part of and the first show that introduced me to awesome people online with whom I became friends.

Gossip Girl gave me a crash course in classic American film, in fashion, in New York. It led me to discover people like Norman Buckley, who I think the world of, and it paved the way for other series I adore like Pretty Little Liars. (It also gave me a go-to Halloween costume for a couple of years: my B was only 100% less elegant than Leighton’s.)

So it’s with a heavy heart that I bid Gossip Girl adieu, and I know I’ll be busting out my DVDs for rewatches time and again when I have that Upper East Side nostalgia for waffles, Cedric, gossip bombs, the steps of the Met, the lobby of the Empire, hairbands, summers in the Hamptons, cotillion, Thanksgiving hijinks, trans-borough pop-bys, Chuck’s limo, B hollering for Dorota or her spot to feed the ducks in Central Park, but, most of all, for the Non-Judging Breakfast Club.



For the third year in a row, I am going to the Frankfurt Book Fair — I depart today! For me, FBF is a weird mix of hectic and stressful and super fun and cool. Publishers and publishing types from all around the world gather at the Messe and there are probably 1,000,000 meetings over the course of the five days. And, of course, I eat sausage and potatoes a lot — but also the best Indian and Thai food. For reals.

After a week of Frankfurting, I am going on holiday for a week after! This is my first proper holiday in YEARS. (Book writing is the death of holiday time.) And I’m going to Iceland! With three of my best friends! I will see things like this:

Reynisfjara Beach (photo by Seattle’s Travels).

It is our mission to see the Aurora Borealis; October in Iceland is apparently quite a good time of year for a good Northern Lights show. Blue lagoons. Geysers. Wild horses. I think I am going to overdose on the wonders of our planet, you guys. Also, maybe Jon Snow will be there and we will fall in love?

The downside to the adventure: I’ll be in Deutschland (or en route) when both Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries premiere. Ugh, work and adventuring getting in the way of timely television viewing. The worst.

I’m determined to get my post on the TVD episodes over to the fine folks at Vampire-Diaries.net by the Sunday following the ep — once again this season, I have the honor of doing my ‘in review’ responses there — and I’ll probably do a double GG post upon my return to Kanada the week of the 22nd. I’ll miss the twitter explosion of watching live, which I love and adore, but I’ll be back in the game for episodes 3.

And when I return, be prepared for an onslaught of photos.


Gossip Girl: The Princess Dowry

Good morning, Upper East Siders! Another fun, wacky Gossip Girl episode last night — I can honestly say I never imagined an Irish wake taking place in the VDW apartment.

I am really liking the real Charlie Rhodes — and Lola and Nate seem to actually suit each other! A Nate relationship I can get behind! Actually both Charlie Rhodes (Rhodeses?) are in my good books: Ivy/Charlie was treated so horribly by Carol and Lily and Serena, and fair freaking enough that she kicks Lily out of her home. Haha, hilarious. Quick question: how the heck did they get Cece’s coffin into the apartment?? Really large service elevator? What has been a little on the ridiculous side is how drastically Cece’s character has changed since we first met her when she was all blueblood judgy mcjudgerson in season 1. But fine, getting cancer changes your entire life view and personality — to the point that your funeral is attended solely by the help, your immediate family, and the fake granddaughter you love so dearly. I also found it hilarious how Serena kept trying to convince Charlie/Lola that she and her family are actually good people — haha. Nope!

Also glad that this royal wedding business is finally tied up! thank the heavens. Free Blair. Georgina’s turn as a slightly unhinged Gossip Girl has been entertaining, and thankfully wasn’t drawn out too long. Will Serena accept her new role as GG? Is she so sad and purposeless as to become the thing she hated most? I hope so! That could be an interesting turn. I’d like the real Gossip Girl to return in season 6 (played by Kristen Bell, naturally) and there could be a GG battle for dominance and destruction. Or something. I am not a GG writer, people. Just bring Kristen Bell on the show — at least for one cameo before this whole thing ends.

While Blair’s explanation to Chuck that she loves him, but isn’t in love with him was kind of lame — and she certainly seemed in love with him pre-accident — I am a believer in this whole Dan and Blair thing. And in the way that their relationship is sooooo completely different from what Blair had with Chuck. I doubt they’ll be the end game couple (but I’d be fine if they were), but in the meantime, there is a hilarious dynamic, true feeling, and snark galore with these two. So sweet when Dan was all taken aback that Blair actually called him by his name. (A note to MuchMusic: please don’t put the final moments of an episode in a commercial for that ep — kind of ruins the entire thing, you spoilers.)

Most unrealistic moment: Serena correcting her father about the name of the Congo. Where Eric is. Laughing forever….

  • What secret does Georgina have on the royal family?
  • Will William van der Woodsen tell Lola/Charlie that he’s her father?
  • Will Blair and Dan sleep together? (weird!)
  • Will Dan finally cut his hair? (This has gone on too long. And is too long. It almost ruined that final scene for me.)
  • Will Uncle Jack Bass be returning? Hurrah!

We’re on a mini break til April 2nd — in the meantime, read Tierney Bricker’s proper recap of the ep here!


list of excellent things

i have become increasingly terrible at blogging, but there are things I want to tell y’all! so here’s a cheat: a list!

  1. I have been on a John Green reading bender — Paper TownsThe Fault in Our StarsLooking for Alaska. I think maybe reading them in order of publication would’ve been better — because his latest is the bestest and going backward seems unfair to earlier books which are wonderful in their own right! — but I’m gonna keep on marathoning. Next up: An Abundance of Katherines.

    These are books that I know I will re-read, hopefully often! The depth of feeling and philosophy and straight-up enjoyable, compelling characters — I don’t know, I just rarely think so much about what it means to be a human being, I guess? These books are like a gateway to thinking about life. That sound sort of overwrought, but I truly mean it.

  2. I’ve been running the Toronto chapter of Dance Dance Party Party for something ridiculous, like, 5 years now? But lately it’s been just even more awesome — and if you’re a Toronto lady, I encourage you to come out and dance with us. It’s just simply good times. And if you live elsewhere, there may be a chapter in your city already — or you can start one yourself. I am not a do-er/organizer type by nature but was able to do this, no problemo!
  3. Though I’ve been remiss in blogging about it, there has been some highly entertaining stuff going down on Gossip Girl — the Dan/Blair relationship continues to delight and entertain me, and now that that whole rip-off of The End of the Affair is history (that was the worst, imho), I feel like we’re back in business. The high-school party from the last episode was a stroke of genius — and seeing Chuck Bass’s signature scarf again? Oh man. My heart was warmed.
  4. I just bought this dress. So if you are having a fancy butterfly-themed party, please invite me as I have just the thing to wear (and nowhere else to wear it…)
  5. I probably bought that dress due to my recent Downton Abbey marathoning. I could wear this dress to a regular weekday dinner at Downton! (Remember when the Dowager Countess was like, What’s a weekend?) Watched the Christmas special last night, and just was aflutter with love. Those snowflakes in the final scene — magic!
  6. my brother came back from Korea after being gone for two years! (he also likes Downton Abby. actually mostly everyone in the English-speaking world does?)
  7. I should probs get back to work — book writing, laundry doing, et cetera and so on. happy family day / presidents’ day / monday to you.

Gossip Girl (ep512): Father and the Bride

it’s been SO long since I posted on Gossip Girl, but as it is soon Blair’s big day — and I really liked last night’s episode (some entire plot lines aside) — I thought it was time to jump back in!

First of all: all hail Princess B. I thoroughly enjoyed her drunken bachelorette party times, her telling-it-like-it-is to Beatrice (and she is right, they’re cut from the same cloth), and it was strangely refreshing to see a whole other side of New York — it felt authentic? I dunno, but I liked it!

The other highlight for me was the twist at the end: finding out that Dan wrote Louis’s vows for him, the vows that Blair sneakily read and now feels that Louis truly understands her. Love it. It is, of course, absolument ridiculous that Louis would send a note explaining exactly what his big secret is on his own freakin’ stationary. And what — did he rewrite Dan’s vows in his own handwriting? I guess? But the heartache this whole Dan loves Blair from afar induces is perfect, even if some of the plotting is not.

I did miss the first 5 minutes of the episode — I’m trying this thing where I turn off the power to all my electronics while I’m at work, or sleeping, but if you don’t get home in time for your shows then your PVR is…powerless — but the whole Nate versus Serena versus Tripp versus Gossip Girl thing fell flat for me. Tripp cut the brakes to a limousine after “Charlie Rhodes” ex failed to do it? Whaaa? (And a complaint from last episode: the gang manages to take Gossip Girl down, and we don’t even find out how? It’s just done?)

Also: I find the Dan Meets with His Publisher scenes ca-razy. Maybe this is how it works at Simon & Schuster NY, maybe Vanessa somehow legally obligated Dan to a multiple-book deal when she stole his manuscript (?), but if Dan didn’t like what his editors were saying, couldn’t he just ditch ’em and find another house? Surely a NYT bestselling author could find another publisher, even in today’s wacky book business times.

Oops. I got sidetracked into the things that seem nonsensical to me, when I meant to focus on how much FUN this episode was. Beefcake French priests aside, Blair’s bachelorette was an actual party — and I look forward to the over-the-top beauteousness that her wedding will be and all the crazy shenanigans that will go down as she walks down the aisle with her two dads. Also: Georgina Sparks!

happy tuesday the 27th to you

Sometimes I am just the worst at blogging. (And by ‘sometimes’ I mean ‘most all the time.’) My poor blog feels very neglected, and for that I am sorry.

things that have happened since last we met:

I finished my Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge to read 50 books, and as it turns out I read (a) books at work, (b) YA novels, (c) little else. If it was new year’s resolution making time (oh hey it is), I would vow to read a wider variety of books in 2012. Perhaps some for grownups as well as those for YA-loving grownups like me. On my to-read shelf at the moment I have three Canadian-authored recently-released novels, so I think that will count for something if I actually read them. (Yes, I have guilty feelings about working in Cdn publishing but being woefully poorly read when it comes to what is published by Cdn publishers. I watch a lot of TV, okay?)

It is the holiday times, and that means seeing my friends more than usual. Especially the one who doesn’t live here and comes home for the hols. That is just the best. As it turns out, I have a great deal of wonderful friends whom I love and adore a lot. This is not new, per se, but top of mind as I’ve just had an epic brunch (an annual event) and the high-quality friend times are top of mind. Also, the ones with kids tend to have kids who are really nice, charming, clever, well mannered … and I’m only a little bit biased. More procreation, excellent people!

now, what next? I have to make my annual resolutions list, and I think it will include ‘getting my act in gear in various ways so that I can go to this learn-to-surf camp next year’ (which I’ve been dreaming of going to for ages) and in all likelihood ‘stop being such a crap blogger.’ In particular, I feel I have dropped — nay, lost — the ball when it comes to Gossip Girl this season. Where have my posts been? Unwritten.

I’ve had a hankering of late to re-watch season 1 of Gossip Girl. Maybe it’s the thought of how much my dear darling Blair has gone through over the past few years — as we wait for Chuck to rise like the UES phoenix that he is — and, of course, to chart the progression of Blair and Dan’s relationship. Remember the school play in season 2? Flipping classic. Maybe that is how I should spend my remaining holiday days…parked in front of the television. Sounds not bad (and not that unusual).

But before I do that, I have to put together a little announcement for y’all. Hint: it has something to do with a TV show and an upcoming book and a pen name and a devilish anonymous texter . . . and if you have a look at my currently reading list on Goodreads you could probably figure it out.