How Gossip Girl Ended Is Still Bugging Me After All These Years

Sunday, March 15, 2020
It truly is. It's been over seven years and I'm still mad about it. And with the sequel series, reboot, whatever it is, getting green lit for HBO Max, I wanted to get my thoughts down on how the original should have ended.
Season four had a quality resurgence because of one crucial character pairing: Dan and Blair. Their newfound friendship and their maybe romantic feelings for each other gave the show new life. They had such great chemistry together and were so funny together. The slow build of their friendship was so well done, while also building on their individual career aspirations was great for the two characters who were the most concerned about their future. They should have ended up together. The writers accidentally wrote a healthy relationship and threw it all away. She finally let go of Chuck in the twentieth episode of that season and I thought it was progress; I thought she was finally through with that toxic piece of shit.

So the changes I want to make start at the back half of season four. I think the development that really caused the show to go off the rails was the commitment to making Blair caught in a love quadrangle. Prince Louis' return in the second half of season 4 easily could've lasted two episodes, have her realize that the fantasy of being a princess wasn't really what she wanted for her life and send him back to Monaco, and now there's no fast engagement that made no sense why Blair would say yes to. I want her to say goodbye to Louis and turn down his proposal, realizing that the fantasy of being Grace Kelly is nice, but realistically, she doesn't want that life. To me, she always seemed like a career woman, not a socialite. And because her fantasy is broken, she can finally let go of Chuck after he treated her like shit for so long, and that she doesn't want a life with him either, always on his arm as his property, not her own person.

Through all that, Dan and Blair continue to be friends after their kiss in the seventeenth episode, and are working out their growing feelings for each other, separately.

That season finale took place at a fundraiser for the high school where they hated each other and decide to let go of their high school perceptions of the other person, and move forward with each other. I imagine them running into former classmates and Blair's worker bees still going on about high school, and Dan and Blair just over it and leave together hand-in-hand, mirroring the pilot when Dan left a party with Serena. One is two people who knew each other very little, and the other is a pair that have learned a lot about each other, which I think is the crux of those two relationships.

I pretty much want to scrap all of season five. There was some good things in there, but that stupid royal wedding was dragged out, and the divorce was dragged out, the fantasy of it wasn't fun anymore. So we start out with Dan and Blair figuring out their relationship, and Serena, Nate, and Chuck in Los Angeles like they were. Dan's book still comes out, Nate still acquires the Spectator for some reason. But I had the idea of Nate's family being more corrupt and trying to use Nate to kill stories, and Dan being hired from a rival publication to aid in an investigation of Nate's family, being used as an inside man. Nate could be really struggling to help Dan out and be a source, or continue doing his grandfather's dirty work, maybe unsure of how far the family's corruption goes. Blair would be finding her own way in the working world and in college, while being like opposition to Dan until he illustrates how far it goes and she decides to help since she's known the family so long, she'll know where to look and who to talk to.  It could come ahead in the midseason finale where Dan is attacked and Nate has to make his choice to either stand by his family or help Blair and Dan's employers finish the story. The theme of the season could be what it means to be inside society circles and the social politics of it.

Chuck I don't care about. I figure he'd be pining after Blair and doing nefarious business deals, blah blah blah.

Now it's weird that I haven't mentioned Serena. I always found it weird that Serena's partying was never really explored. We see her constantly talking about how much she's changed since the start of the series, and we see her constantly yo-yo between who she was then and who she is trying to be now. What is the root of her issues. Have her go through it instead of just for one night and then back to normal. Allow her to fully relapse, fall slowly down the rabbit hole. Examine her addiction to the limelight, the spotlight of Gossip Girl, new sketchy boyfriends, alcohol and drugs. Her character can be a commentary on what happens to child actors and young socialites who existed in adult circles far younger than they should have, and how that affects a person.

The final season should stick to that ten episode order and be about finding out the identity of Gossip Girl and what it would look like for them to be living outside of her influence. And Gossip Girl should not be Dan, because that made no sense at all. There should be flashbacks to high school, trying to remember who was around and who had motive, but it ends up being one of the background characters who were never given names. Someone who wasn't worthy of their time and attention, disregarded because they weren't deemed important, and decided to have some power over the people who had always had power over them. You could get into the ethics of exposing and doxxing people's lives and the power of cyberbullying and the fear of your life as you know it being over because of one post. Not because of any criminal act you did, but because you made a bad decision and that suddenly defines you unjustly.

Then you can do the sappy flash forward to five years later and how everyone ended up. Dan and Blair together and finding career success. Nate going into politics, doing good unlike his family. Serena either fully recovered or still in her arrested development, depending on the direction her story was headed. Chuck can fuck off.

That's how the show should've gone in its later seasons. Using characters and storylines that were previously established and further exploring them. Not throwing things out of nowhere and not recognizing the people the characters have become.

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