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If your weakness runs to teen soaps (come on, it's a pop culture staple), maybe you also sat through Gossip Girl's premiere on The CW last night. I'm sort of eh about it -- mostly it made me wonder what happened to my season one box set of The OC -- but there were moments I really liked and I hear it gets better.
The show is sort of based on the popular young adult novels, so I checked in with my friend Elizabeth Scott, the author of Bloom, my favorite young adult novel in years. Her informed opinion:
Wow, that was so not what I was expecting. Everything I'd read made it sound like Gossip Girl was going to be one of those shows that was so daring you couldn't not watch but instead it was frightfully earnest, loaded with scenes like a girl texting her brother asking for fashion advice [Ed. note: nowhere near as gay as that sounds, either], lines like "Oh my god, my daughter's a woman," as said daughter stands before a mirror in the party dress she sewed herself (!), and approximately sixteen billion shots of the newly returned -- and reformed -- former 'bad girl' Serena looking pensive, and then intrigued by the decent, kind, and dorktastic-but-you-know you'll-fall-for-him-'cause-he's-sort-of-like-Seth-Cohen Dan.
But Dan was not as Seth-ish as Seth, and the punching of the scarf-wearing date rapist (I guess now scarf=EVIL!) was a very Ryan Atwood thing to do, especially as he bellowed "My name is Dan Humphrey, and this is my little sister!" during it. You know, in case we might have forgotten. Since they only mentioned it, oh, about 600 times before.
Dan (lounging above) was totally the highlight for me, and he is totally a cross between Seth and Ryan Atwood, with a dash of Supernatural's Jensen Ackles thrown in for good measure. And for a refreshing change, the queer subtext on this show resides in the fraught relationship between the two leading girls, S. and B.
While I give Gossip Girl a second (and maybe third) chance, if you're looking for a great teenage flashback, or have a daughter or niece (or son or nephew!) you're hoping to score cool points with, check out Elizabeth's book, which also has a nice queer subplot. She also recommends The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It by Lisa Shanahan and Before I Die by Jenny Downham.