Gossip Girl is an American teen drama television series based on the book series of the same name written by Cecily von Ziegesar. The series, created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, originally ran on The CW for six seasons from September 19, 2007 to December 17, 2012. Narrated by the omniscient blogger "Gossip Girl", voiced by Kristen Bell, the series revolves around the lives of privileged young adults on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City.
The series begins with the return of Upper East Side "it girl", Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) from a mysterious stay at a boarding school in Cornwall, Connecticut. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), whom creators describe as the queen at the center of their chess game, is a longtime friend and occasional rival of Serena's, and the queen bee of Constance Billard School's social scene. The story also follows Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), the bad boy of the Upper East Side; "golden boy" Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), Chuck's best friend and Blair's boyfriend for many years. However, their relationship had been rocky ever since Serena left for boarding school. Other characters of the turbulent Manhattan scene: Dan Humphrey(Penn Badgley), Dan's best friend Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr), and Dan's sister, Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen).
The show has received numerous award nominations, winning 18 Teen Choice Awards. The CW officially renewed Gossip Girl for a sixth and final season on May 11, 2012. The final season, consisting of 10 episodes, premiered on October 8, 2012, and ended on December 17, 2012.
The Gossip Girl book series was originally supposed to be adapted into a film starring Lindsay Lohan with head Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. When the film project did not get off the ground, Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz took over the project to create a television series. As of October 2006, Schwartz was working on the pilot. He said: "I was very skeptical. I don't want to do The O.C. NYC. But I thought the books were smart. The characters are worldly in a way that Orange County kids aren't." The characteristics for each character in the pilot were based on the first Gossip Girl book.
The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz and fellow writer Stephanie Savage have served as the show's executive producers throughout the series' run, followed by Bob Levy and Leslie Morgensteinof Alloy Entertainment, who were assigned in aiding the adaptation of the novels into the series. Following the success of Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls co-producer, John Stephens was approached by Schwartz and Savage, having previously worked with him on The O.C., and hired him as an executive producer. Joshua Safran, who started as a writer/consulting producer before becoming co-executive producer, was later added as an executive producer. On April 24, 2012, it was announced that he would leave the show at the end of the fifth season to be the new showrunner of NBC's Smash. To fill in Safran's void, co-executive producer Sara Goodman was promoted to executive producer for the sixth season.
"When Veronica Mars was canceled, the following season of pilots for The CW had been announced, and one was Gossip Girl. I read it, and I knew I was sort of old to play any of the kids. I called Dawn Ostroff -- who was the head of The CW at the time -- and said, 'Hey, I did so much narration on Veronica Mars, can I narrate this show? And she said, 'Hey, that's a very good idea.' They knew I had a younger voice, they liked me and they knew I'd show up for work, and I guess that was all I really needed. It was so clear to me how sassy and catty she needed to be.— Kristen Bell on how she landed the narration spot of the show
Featuring nine regular speaking roles, the majority of the ensemble cast was assembled from February to April 2007. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester - who started auditioning in December 2006 - were the first two actresses to be chosen in February for the lead roles of Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, respectively.Penn Badgley, who had previously worked with Stephanie Savage on The Mountain,Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford, Kelly Rutherford and Connor Paolo also auditioned successfully and landed roles in the series in March, as did Florencia Lozano who appeared only in the pilot, and was replaced by Margaret Colin.Actors for the roles of Chuck Bass and Rufus Humphrey were found in April when English actor Ed Westwick and Matthew Settle were cast. Westwick first read for the role of Nate but was then asked to try Chuck. As rumors swirled about the impending cancellation of Veronica Mars, it was revealed at The CW's 2007 Upfronts on May 17, 2007 that Kristen Bell had narrated the pilot, thus making her the title character of another show on the network.Jessica Szohr was signed on to portray the recurring role of Vanessa Abrams and received regular status during the fourteenth episode of the first season. Kaylee DeFer joined the series in the eighteenth episode of the fourth season and was promoted to series regular for the show's fifth season.
At the conclusion of the fourth season, Taylor Momsen, who went on an indefinite hiatus during the season while retaining regular billing, and Jessica Szhor both left the show. Throughout the series' run, Connor Paolo consistently declined to elevate his recurring role of Eric van der Woodsen to regular status, citing personal reasons for his decision. After becoming a regular on the ABC series Revenge, In August 2011 Paolo confirmed his departure from Gossip Girl.
As the show progressed, numerous recurring guest stars appeared in the show. Michelle Trachtenberg signed on to portray Georgina Sparks. The role had previously been offered to Mischa Barton who passed. Francie Swift and Sam Robards took the parental roles of Anne and Howard Archibald, respectively. Caroline Lagerfelt portrayed Celia "CeCe" Rhodes, Serena and Eric's grandmother and Lily's mother. Sebastian Stan made several appearances as Carter Baizen throughout the show's first three seasons.
The second season premiered at the Hamptons and began filming in mid-June. The season premiere opening montage showed a scene at Cooper's Beach that was instead filmed in Rockaway Beach followed by an elaborate white party. For the sixth episode of the season, Columbia University was used to film the Yale campus, an episode that followed disappointment from Yale fans due to its erroneous portrayal of the admissions process and reliance on Ivy League university stereotypes. During the season's seventh episode, the Brooklyn Inn is integrated into the show. Remaining true to its New York locations, the show filmed at the Russian Tea Room.Primarily filming in New York, Gossip Girl has been declared by New York Magazine as the "Most Restauranty Show Since Sex and the City", citing the pilot episode filming locales such as the Japanese restaurant, Geisha, the Campbell Apartment where Nate and Serena were filmed having sex and the New York Palace Hotel bar Gilt. Other New York City landmarks and well-known establishments were filmed throughout the first season. Victor/Victrola filmed the fictional infamous Chuck Bass burlesque club, Victrola, at The Box Manhattan, a sister club to The Box Soho in London. The fictional Constance Billard-St.Judes School, based on novel writer Cecily Von Ziegesar's alma mater, Nightingale-Bamford used external shots of the Museum of the City of New York.
The fourth season premiered on September 13, 2010 with the first two episodes filmed in Paris. New York Magazine revealed several locations shot at the French University, La Sorbonne in the Latin District (or Quartier Latin) of Paris on July 5.Other locations include the Musee D'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, Gare du Nord, Avenue Montaigne. and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Columbia University became the primary filming location for the first few episodes of the season following the Paris story arc.
The fifth season premiered on September 26, 2011 with the first two episodes filmed in Los Angeles, California.
Because of its location in New York, executive producer Stephanie Savage said "We were quickly told it would be too expensive, too complicated" at the beginning of the series. She told it had been proposed to shoot in a Los Angeles studio that would recreate Central Park but they eventually filmed the series in New York. Savage explained their choice to film there: "There's no New York City on TV, or there wasn't when we started making the pilot, except what you could see in the background behind the dead bodies on cop shows. We've never seen the city from the point of view of teenagers. It felt like a world with high stakes for young people." Schwartz added: "What's funny about these teenagers is they grew up watching Sex and the City, even though it wasn't about them. And I think they've probably incorporated that into how they mythologize New York. I fought really hard to shoot the show in New York because we want New York to be a character in the show."
Each episode begins with the home page of the Gossip Girl website with Serena's picture from the pilot episode. Afterward, a recap of events relevant to the upcoming narrative is shown, which ends again with the home page of the website, only this time with a picture from other character(s) with a text about a recent event connected with the picture.
The narrator is Gossip Girl, voiced by Kristen Bell. She begins the recap with the sentence "Gossip Girl here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite," and ends the recap with whispered voices saying "Where has she been?" "Serena" then the voice of Gossip Girl says: "And who am I?! That's one secret I'll never tell. You know you love me.. XO XO Gossip Girl."
During each episode, there is always an event taking place that can be small or large. Joshua Safran explained, "we structure it [the show] so that every week, the episode leads to an event. I feel like it is much like a procedural."
All of the episodes' titles are based on the name of a film or a novel. For example, episode "The Wild Brunch" evokes western film The Wild Bunch and "Seventeen Candles" Sixteen Candles. Episode "All About My Brother" refers to Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother while "Pret-a-Poor-J" came from Prêt-à-Porter. "There Might Be Blood" took its title from 2007 film There Will Be Blood. "The Serena Also Rises" was titled after novel The Sun Also Rises. Episode "Easy J." was titled after Emma Stone's hit movie Easy A. Episode "The Age of Dissonance", which was titled after Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence, saw a high school production of the novel taking place.Also "The Blair Witch Project" (horror movie) into an episode called "The Blair Bitch Project".
Cast and charactersEdit
The first episodes of the first season included the original concept from the books, mainly following the lives of the five wealthy and privileged teenage characters in their high school years. Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) is often described as the 'it girl'. It is revealed that she has had a scandalous past that continues to haunt her, she is known for her many on-again, off-again relationships with countless male characters and is also known for rebellious drive outs. Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) is an outsider who becomes a part of the turbulent Manhattan scene, an aspiring writer and fairly straight-arrow guy with a good heart and morals. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) is the beautifulQueen Bee of Constance Billard School's social scene, as well as Serena's best friend and occasional rival. Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) is the perfect "Golden Boy" of the Upper East Side, always being fought over by the prominent female characters. Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) serves as the show's antihero, being a womanizer and party lover with a troubled life and past that provide a hidden vulnerable side.
Besides the five regulars cast members mentioned above, three more characters appeared in the pilot episode. Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) is Dan's younger sister, who desperately tries to become the next queen bee, a goal that eventually makes her realize the true values of life; Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) Serena's mother; and Dan and Jenny's father Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle). They share a romantic past that follows them throughout the show, and eventually leads to their marriage. The Humphrey family is centered upon as they explore life on the 'Upper East side', Dan trying to look after his little sister as she discovers the party scene.
Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr), enters the show in its first season as Dan's past love, and becomes a series regular after the 14th episode. Other characters include Eric van der Woodsen (Connor Paolo) Serena's kind and compassionate brother, who comes out late in the first season and becomes very close with Jenny. Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) is an occasional antagonist in the show, with a recurring role. Carter Baizen (Sebastian Stan) appears as Chuck's enemy with a romantic interest in Serena.
Kaylee DeFer plays Ivy Dickens, an actress from Miami who is hired by Lily's sister, Carol Rhodes (Sheila Kelly), to portray her daughter, Charlie Rhodes, to access her trust fund. Ella Rae Peck plays the real Charlie Rhodes, who goes by the name of Lola.
Many characters appear as guest stars as parents and other relatives of the main cast. Eleanor Waldorf-Rose (Margaret Colin) and Harold Waldorf (John Shea) appeared as Blair's divorced parents, with Cyrus Rose (Wallace Shawn) as Eleanor's husband and Blair's stepfather. Dorota Kishlovsky (Zuzanna Szadkowski) is Blair's loyal maid. Anne Archibald (Francie Swift) and Howard "The Captain" Archibald (Sam Robards) are Nate's estranged parents, while William van der Bilt I (James Naughton) and William "Tripp" van der Bilt III (Aaron Tveit) are Nate's manipulative grandfather and cousin, respectively. Bartholomew "Bart" Bass (Robert John Burke) is Lily's late husband and Chuck's demanding father, and Jack Bass (Desmond Harrington) is Bart's brother and Chuck's manipulative uncle. Celia "CeCe" Rhodes (Caroline Lagerfelt) is Serena's grandmother and Lily's mother and Gabriela Abrams (Gina Torres) is Vanessa's mother. Introduced in Season 4 is Blair's new boyfriend/fiance, Prince Louis of Monaco (Hugo Becker).