When I was a kid (i.e. 7th/8th grade), I began reading the Gossip Girl series. Like many young folks my age, I was intrigued by the idea of constant yacht parties, frequent sexcapades and spoiled teenagers who were somehow always able to obtain martinis despite being a mere 2 to 3 years older than I. Then, the series came out and, once it finally hopped over to Netflix, I became totally hooked. Thus began my obsession with the Gossip Girl voice.
As I have mentioned in the past, I was not always a very nice person (and for this, I am ashamed). Being unkind will forever — and I do mean “forever,” not “until a few more people reassure me it’s cool” — linger in the back of my mind as one of the biggest, saddest mistakes of my life. I was bullied a ton in elementary/middle school; why would I ever, ever want to put somebody else through that?
Thus why the Gossip Girl voice stands for what I both adore and abhor about high school: the absurdity of knowing everything about everyone, even those strange people you’ve barely just been acquainted with in senior year biology, while simultaneously using it as a device to progress conversation. But is gossip considered “conversation”?
Yes, of course it is — to an extent. I have had many a serious, personal talk in front of a fine-looking, non-drinking fellah or lady who simply wished to discuss his or her opinions on public events (i.e. why LiLo should probably go to prison, for example). But does that mean I’m cruel about other folks or want to maliciously expose their secrets? No. Does that mean that I believe in simply flitting around, talking about people’s inner triumphs and trials and everything in-between? No. Not, not one bit.
And what’s worse is how mean people can get on the Internet. Some of you may already realize this, but all of us here regularly have our appearances and intelligences mapped out for us or criticized or e-slapped, so we know how mean the world wide web can be. Instead of having to at least acknowledge their actions and what those may do to another person, people can just press the “Enter” key and avoid any form of emotional repercussion. But I digress; back to the show!
In the faux opening of Gossip Girl, Kristen Bell “auditions” and reads the part of (obviously) her own exact part. It’s a clever take on the cameo, which has been all-too-played out towards the end of television shows. So, good job, Gossip Girl! I am proud of you; you finished up your run with an interesting reveal: little ol’ Dan Humphrey was the real voice of GG. Voila! Who would of thought? (Not I, considering I think it’s weird to discuss your sister’s escapades, as Gossip Girl does throughout the series.) As the last episode said:
I wasn’t born into this world, maybe I could write myself into it … And when Serena came back from boarding school, I wrote my first post about me. Lonely boy, the outsider. The underdog. I might’ve been a joke, but at least people were talking about me.”
Don’t worry, weirdly-personal-voice. You and I are trying to write about strangers with whom we frequently share nothing. This may seem like a “joke,” but in reality, this is how everybody gets their damn news these days, so I presently have a significantly less contemptuous view of Gossip Girl. Plus, it’s the end of an era, many will say. The end of a very, very fashionable and underaged era. Can we just end the anonymously being unkind era, too?
Photo: Fibber McGee & Molly