An Ode To Gossip Girl

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Jana Marquez

The second the leaves start to change and the air becomes crisp, I know it’s time for my annual Gossip Girl rewatch. A tradition just as special to me as the holidays they celebrate in the show, Gossip Girl has become customary. It’s my comfort show – especially on the cold front.

A number of things do it for me: the beautiful cityscapes and visuals of autumn and winter in New York, Gossip Girl’s cheeky one-liners, and of course- the fashion, drama, scandal, blackmail, and the high society life of the rich and privileged. Exhilarating. 

Funny enough, nothing feels homier to me than Blair Waldorf’s “ego demolitions,” her scheming and conniving, or her cold wars with Serena, and nothing comforts me more than their reunions when they decide all is forgiven and the Upper East siders gather together during the holidays, interwoven with a lesson of loyalty and love. 

Gossip Girl is the show I could recite in my sleep. I recite Blair to my friends almost religiously, borrowing the phrase that expresses my love for them best: “We’re sisters. You’re my family. What is you is me. There’s nothing you could ever say that would make me let go.”

The quotes are etched in my brain, yet I won’t hesitate to turn the show on again when I long for some warmth. Gossip Girl itself is grandiose and not at all relatable to me: I’m not a New York trust fund baby trying to break up Ponzi schemes, starting my own fashion line, buying hotels, or hunting down judges who sign off on forged affidavits. 

Yet the show made me feel like I was part of that world. Glamorous, carefree, with the world at my feet. In my real life, I crave that feeling and get it when I’m all dolled up and spend a night out on the town with my girls, or when I share a comforting meal with my best friends, or mourn another failed talking stage, or reunite with my family and bask in the life that has been built around us. GG at its core is about family, loyalty, and relationships. 

At the very least, the show was a way to live through their insane lifestyle vicariously. But I still found common ground with nearly all the characters. And as I grow older, I relearn their lessons as my own. 

I may not have an empire like Chuck, but in my own ways, I’d like to build one- and try to heal like him too. I’m trying to be a powerful woman like Blair, a “dictator of taste,” influencing the world around me. I too try to balance my Grace Kelly and Grace Jones, navigating my life with elegance and grace, but also boldness and confidence. I’m a writer like Dan, trying to write his place in the world and use his voice somehow (sans creepy exploitative memoir.) I’m free-spirited like Serena, and (hope) I’m kind like Nate. 

Gossip Girl has taught me about cultural nuance, class, and the dismantling of social hierarchy and its general upheaval. It’s taught me to appreciate art, architecture, fashion, design, and the finer things in life. 

It taught me about privilege and wealth and opulence and the ways it undermines us. It taught me that if you live in a loft in Brooklyn, and have a former rockstar dad who now owns an art gallery, you are not poor. 

Most importantly, it’s taught me that I don’t have to be born into a glamorous lifestyle to live my own, and can be the main character of my own life. 

I feel fully ready to step into 2023 having finished this year’s rewatch. I will always carry its omens: I’m not a stop along the way, I’m a destination; Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop; Once men have tasted caviar, it baffles me how they settle for catfish; It wouldn’t be my world without you in it.


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