This was during a period where I was also cocktail waitressing and generally panicking about life, so it was a cause for unbelievable excitement. I think it paid around $100, and I photocopied the check, so it’s doubtless lying around somewhere. I kept waiting for them to turn my character into a full time role. I figured I could be Blair’s wacky nemesis. I could wear my incredibly flimsy leather jacket and, I don’t know, steal her headband. That was the kind of plot that seemed to happen on the show a lot, then. Wacky mayhem would ensue.
Honestly, looking back on it, I don’t know how any of the plots on Gossip Girl worked as well as they did.
I think everyone who has ever been on any TV show fantasizes about being turned into a major character. I think this has happened to maybe one person, in the history of cinema, and I think she probably blackmailed the director by taking pictures of him having sex with a potted plant. I don’t know how you do that, exactly, but I think you begin by looking for the ficuses who are dressed the sluttiest.
Then, some time later, I went back to be on the winter ball episode. I seriously considered wearing my brown leather jacket again. I felt pretty good about the way my character was pursuing a career as a model but still making time to go to her high school’s seemingly bi-weekly black tie parties.
I was not allowed to wear my brown jacket, so, if you were searching for this subplot, it might be lost on you unless you watch the episodes in very slow motion.
But when I got to the actual set, I couldn’t help noticing that it looked, well, that time, a little bit fake. And then I realized that all drinks in martini glasses were made out of water and various kinds of grape juice. And they kept being reused over and over, so that the glasses would get vaguely sticky and revolting throughout.
And, while I knew the scene would look great on TV, as it did, everyone who was actually there looked really, really tired. The shooting started very early and could go on for a good 12 hours. I mostly just remember people beginning to droop like houseplants that had let themselves go. It occurred to me that at any party in real life, people would leave if they were tired, and they would not be made to cling to the same damn martini glass for twelve hours.
Real life is fantastic that way.
Remember that scene in The Producers where Leo says he just wants everything he’s ever seen in the movies? Sure you do. It’s one of the best scenes in cinema, which there is inexplicably no YouTube clip of. I think it was only then that, while everything you see in TV is great, I realized everything might be a little bit better in real life.
And, I mean, hell, a major upside to real life was that you could have an actual martini.
I started going out a good deal more, after that. I think it made me bolder. I still got lost a lot, and I’ve never found any group of people who make puns involving their own names, because no one does that. Nor have I found anyone who wears purple tuxedos, because no one does that either. But I have met some people who I think could, theoretically, pull that stuff off, if they were called upon to.
So, that worked out okay.
Incidentally last week I was walking around Gramercy Park – I was having breakfast at Maialino, which I’d bet good money has been featured on Gossip Girl at least once, I was feeling successful and very New York in that moment – and I thought “isn’t it funny that I used to get lost trying to navigate my way around the streets around this park?” I thought that as I walked entirely the wrong direction. I went back and I retraced my steps and managed to hurtle off in another wrong direction. I stared up at the sky, angrily. Then I hailed a taxi. I think it’s what a modern day Myrna Loy/Blair Waldorf would have done.