Big hair, big eyes, big skirts. Everything about the ’80s was larger than life and so it’s fitting that this is the setting for Gossip Girl’s newly confirmed spin off. After all, nothing in the “Gossip Girl” universe is life sized, so why should the spin off be any different?
Setting the clock back 20+ years, the new show will delve into the past of the not-so-straitlaced Lily Van Der Woodsen (played by Kelly Rutherford on “Gossip Girl”), as she learns to live without money and all that it brings. After a fight with her parents, Lily moves in with her “black sheep” sister in the San Fernando Valley, attending (oh horror of horrors) a public school and dealing with the Valley Girl lifestyle. The idea, coming directly from “Gossip Girl”‘s creators Schwartz and Savage, was happened upon in an attempt not to dilute the current show’s dynamic or story. Plus it had the advantage of not requiring a cast member to be lost. Not even Gossip Girl herself will be required, as the ’80s does pre-date the concept of blogging, texting and up-to-the-minute electronic updates on gossip and scandal.
So, will seeing Lily’s past throw some light on the relationship she shares with Rufus (Matthew Settle)? According to The Hollywood Reporter, we will indeed get to see R & L get up close and personal, possibly to the point of meeting Lily’s lovechild. Of course, that’s if the show makes it past season one. This approach to a spin off makes a lot of sense, adding to the history and story of the original show without requiring characters to depart one and join another at any point. It certainly has more depth to it than sending Jenny Humphrey off on her own, an idea which may have had merit earlier in the season but, due to her character losing steam, has lost much of its charm.
Only time will tell whether this idea’s execution will live up to the premise. In the mean time, the good producers have allowed a method for us to try before we buy, including a backdoor pilot in the current show’s storyline. Set to air in May, the episode features flashbacks to Lily in her youth, allowing us to meet the young Lily and look around her life before committing to the new series. Response to this episode will dictate the spin off’s existence, so they’d better make it good!