Gossip Girl, The CW, Airs Monday 8/7c
Episode: “Valley Girls” (Season 2, Episode 24)
Synopsis: The gang complete their journey through high school with the time-honored rite of passage – attending Prom. Blair is blessed with a fairy Godmother who ensures that her night is everything she ever dreamed of, and Serena’s bad day finally ends as she attends prom with Dan, though only as friends. Meanwhile, Lily reflects on her time of rebellion back in the 80s, when she left home and comfort for the freedom of her sister’s relaxed lifestyle.
Review: There’s always a danger when attempting to use an episode of a series to spin off a new one. Slotting in new characters, storylines and locations and establishing a new tone whilst maintaining the original’s is a tough needle to thread, and unfortunately Gossip Girl didn’t quite manage it. Don’t get me wrong, the spin off show segments(“Valley Girl” at last check) looked good, plus the show contains a large quantity of Veronica Mars alums and that’s always positive, but the episode suffered with a serious case of split personality. The overall effect was disjointed and showed it for what it was: an attempt to shove two shows together in order to save money on a proper pilot.
It’s a pity that the episode was so fragmented, as the Gossip Girl segments were stronger than some complete episodes have been this season. Blair and her perfect night, Blair realizing that Nate’s not the one for her (finally! Perhaps that particular circular plot will come to a close for good now) and even the once-faithful acolytes turning on her and attempting to give her what she deserved, all played exceptionally well. Even the Serena storyline was interesting, though that could be because Gabriel did not appear and Serena was in no way love-lorn. It was fitting that she and Dan attended prom together, and the easy way in which they fit together does give hope that their circular plot may take another turn and allow them some happiness together. Not that the writers would leave them that way for long.
The Valley Girl aspects of the show, Lily as a young woman, her sister’s rebellion and channeling of Madonna, the idea that their home life wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs either, their struggle to make it in their own right, all these came together to form the basis of what could be a strong show. Hopefully the writers won’t rely too much on montages of 80s fashion, as even the short one included in this episode was a touch too long for my taste. Yes, Gossip Girl makes fashion a main character, but not in an in-your-face, “oh my god look at what they’re wearing, isn’t it ridiculous!” manner. The fashion helps define the person and show their personality in the same way “Sex and the City” became famous for. Making 80s fashion a staple without using it in relation to the characters leaves it as a novelty tactic which audiences are sure to find boring and repetitive, probably after only a single episode. The show should be about the characters, not the era and its embarrassing memories.
The only negative about the content of the show – other than the complete inability of the writers to blend the two aspects into one seamless episode – was that the plot concerning Georgina Sparks and her plans for revenge (admittedly, I did wonder if it was Georgie behind the assault on Blair’s perfect night initially) was completely untouched. After witnessing the birth of her evil phoenix from the ashes of the much changed young girl at the end of the last episode, it was hard to simply set that image aside and continue on to the bubbly froth of prom. Then again, this approach leaves a wealth of evil material for the finale episode, so it should be explosive. Last season provided quite the shocker ending, so with both Georgie and the supposedly-dead son of Lily and Rufus on the horizon, we’re in for quite a ride.
Up Next Week: “The Goodbye Gossip Girl” – We finally reach the end of the season two. As Georgina Sparks continues her quest for revenge on Poppy Lifton, the veil of secrecy regarding Gossip Girl’s identity may be lifted when she publishes one update too many. Meanwhile, Blair and Chuck finally deal with their relationship, Serena’s college acceptance may not be as guaranteed as it once seemed and Lily and Rufus attempt to repair the connection Lily damaged through channeling her mother.
Read More: Gossip Girl Recaps
Did you watch Gossip Girl this week? Will you be watching “Valley Girl” if it makes the CW cut for Fall? If so, feel free to discuss below.