8.7% from a canned four-pack
In the past I’ve discussed mingling with transvestites, proudly jogging shirtless through Chelsea, and my unabashed love of fruit beers, but this may be my “gayest” post ever. Fans that love me for my machismo please avert your eyes and surf to another site before I tell you my darkest secret, a secret that will leave many of you cold and stupefied…
Are you ready?
Here it is:
I love “Gossip Girl.”
A ladyfriend of mine was curious about the phenomenon and quite frankly I wondered what all the fuss was about too, thus we decided to catch up on “Gossip Girl.” And, courtesy of Netflix and iTunes we tore through the entire series up to the present in just a couple of weeks, culminating with the three most recent episodes last night. A triumph I celebrated with some Oskar Blues’s Gordon, but more on that in a sec. (If you just read the Vice Blog for the beer reviews and tales of wine and roses, feel free to hit the page down button five consecutive times.)
Suffice to say, I quickly fell in love with “Gossip Girl” and though you may think that I like it purely as a “guilty pleasure”–akin to liking a bad reality show, anything on MTV, or Sparks malt liquor–I don’t. I legitimately enjoy this show. It’s an inconsequential program that knows it’s inconsequential and revels in that fact.
There are four kinds of shows. Important shows that don’t act like they’re important, that don’t preach messages to you, that simple let you decide what they mean (”The Wire,” “Mad Men”). There are “important” shows that are smug, self-satisfied, self-righteous, sanctimonious, pedantic, and let you know in every scene that they are (in bright lights) *IMPORTANT* (Sorkin’s “West Wing.”) Then, there are unimportant shows that think they are important. These may be the worst offenders. “Sex in the City” fits the latter bill and though it deals with the same topics as “Gossip Girl”–fashion, upper class NYC living, promiscuous sex, recreational drug and alcohol use, and “the pretty people”*–the second’s always-playful treatment of those topics makes the show vastly superior. “Sex and the City” acted like it was unlocking the secret to human existence every week. “Gossip Girl” is just trying to entertain the hell out of you.
Now, while I enjoy the show, I do have some gripes. It’s almost silly to complain about an intentionally over-the-top show where teens live more decadently than Jay Gatsby, but whatever.
Here then are ten nitpicks I have with “Gossip Girl”:
1. Myspace–The characters on “GG” don’t surf the internet much, but a few times I’ve caught them checking out a person’s profile on Myspace. Seriously?! There is not a chance in the world that Manhattan’s well-heeled teenage elite would use Myspace. Nowadays that site is for amateur porn stars, professional pedophiles, and people that like their computer to shut down every time they visit a website. The show’s characters would obviously be Facebook users. And it’s quite possible that they wouldn’t even use Facebook but rather some social networking site that is so trendy and new that I have yet to even hear of it.
2. The Humphreys’ “Poorness”–It seems like in every single episode of season one, every single person–including the Humphreys themselves–must discuss how goddamn poor the family is. First of all, father Rufus was a moderately successful nineties musician judging by the magazine covers and gold and platinum records hanging on his wall. So unless the record company screwed him–feasible–there’s no way he wouldn’t have some loot. But aside from that, the Humphreys live in, and I believe own, a fucking enormous, and badasssssssss, townhouse in Williamsburg. A place that would surely cost a few million. So while the Humphreys are nowhere close to as rich as the Basses or Waldorfs, neither are they the Ingalls.
3. Travel–The Humphreys live in Brooklyn, all the other characters and their high schools are on the Upper East Side. Yet characters travel between these two places like it’s nothing. Fuck, in one episode, Nate was back and forth between Brooklyn and the UES like 5 times in one afternoon. Not only impossible, but ridiculous. We New Yorkers are like pre-Genghis Khan Mongolians, very clan-like, refusing to ever leave our neighborhoods. I have friends that live just across town from me–under two miles in distance–but I see them only a few times a month cause I hate crossing Park Avenue. Friends in Queens that I see only a few times a year. And friends and relatives in Brooklyn that I’ve never even visited. And that’s the typical behavior of a New Yorker. So even assuming that the teens on “GG” are using their chauffeured cars, they still wouldn’t be going to Brooklyn as often as they do and in such quick fashion.
4. Schooling–Has there EVER been a scene on the show inside a classroom? Likewise, in a late-season one episode they just throw it out there that Vanessa is home-schooled. I think the writers were like, “Shit, we’ve forgot to ever have Vanessa in a school scene. Whatever, just say she’s homeschooled.” Not that we’ve ever seen any one teaching her. She’s too busy running art gallery cafes, videotaping things, setting up blackmails, and traveling to the UES.
5. Obscure references–Likewise, despite the fact that these characters are never in school and, aside from Dan, seem to have no real interest in learning, they are some of the most educated characters in TV history, throwing out obtuse references left and right. Really, Chuck Bass knows who Bertie Wooster is? And Serena has heard of Robert Mapplethorpe? And I still struggle to believe that Blair knows so much about 1940s through 60s cinema such as “Charade” and “Roman Holiday.” Most of my intelligent and well-educated friends don’t understand those references, hard to buy that seventeen-year-old profligates would.
6. Teen drinking–I have a decade of prolific drinking under my belt and I couldn’t handle the imbibing “GG”’s characters do. Chuck Bass throws back Scotch like it’s bottled water yet remains unflappable. Serena can drink Belvedere martinis left and right and stays indefatigable. Have you ever seen a real-life teen try to drink straight liquor? They can’t handle a sip of it. And after a glass they are passed out and vomiting uncontrollably on their parents’ basement sofa. Shit, I got thirty-year-old friends that wince at just the sight of straight booze. Yet, these “GG” characters are better drinkers than Bukowski. Riiiiiight. I see why parents are outraged by this show.
7. Sexy underwear–I’m 29 so I’ve dealt with my fair share of scantily clad women, of all ages. And very few times have I found anything interesting about their underclothes. But the girls on “GG” wear some of the most violently sexy undergarments I’ve ever seen. Every single time a character has to strip down, wouldn’t you know it but they are wearing some absolutely insane burlesque house, satin, ornately ruffled panties. Doesn’t any one in “Gossip Girl” land ever just pull on a pair of Hanes Her Way cotton underwear for the day? But hey, I’m not complaining.
8. Dan’s vests–Of all the absurd fashion on the show–Chuck’s ludicrous suits and bow-ties which I actually kinda like, Blair’s “Alice in Wonderland”-like frocks, Serena’s 1920s one-piece swimsuits which I think are meant to hide her inexplicably giant ass–it’s Dan’s vests that drive me most insane. I just have a visceral hatred toward them. He looks like a goddamn organ grinder.
9. Jenny’s Weight Loss–I swear to god, between seasons one and two, Jenny Humphrey lost at least forty pounds. She went from a cute well-formed girl (I say this completely asexually, Chris Hansen) to a scrawny little stick figure. At first I thought the part had been recast with a new actress, like when they switched Aunt Viv on “The Fresh Prince.” But, nope, it’s still Taylor Momsen. What I don’t understand is why no character mentions anything about it. “Hey, Jenny, you’ve lost a little weight over the summer, everything alright?” Maybe an episode about how she’s on crystal meth. Or contracted AIDS. We could at least get an anorexia scare episode with some Karen Carpenter playing in the background. I’m starting to think that Jenny’s weight will fluctuate more from season to season than Meadow Soprano’s did.
10. No one ever refutes the posts on Gossip Girl–This drives me nuts. How come ever single teen on the show accepts the Gossip Girl’s posts as 100% dogma the second they are put online? These characters are masters of lying–or, at least lie a lot–yet no one ever calls bullshit on a Gossip Girl post. Why is that? All of them are based on a rumor that usually only one person has proof of. Wouldn’t be too hard to get away with denying allegations. It’s what I’d do.
But despite these nitpicks, I still love the show. In fact, the nitpicks make the show even more enjoyable.
Also enjoyable was the Oskar Blue’s Gordon I had while catching up on the series. My first two beers from Oskar Blues, especially the Dale’s Pale Ale, were such successes that I knew I had to try the IPA, possibly my favorite style of beer. I expected a potential masterpiece so I did something I almost never do–I bought more than a single. Oskar Blues beers come in canned four-packs and with Gordon weighing in at 8.7% that would be more than enough to make me forget that I’m twofold the age of some “GG” characters. My belief in the product was rewarded when the dumb Whole Foods register girl rung the four-pack up at $3.99. No clue what she was thinking, that’s nowhere close to a correct price.
Ultimately, I liked Gordon but never fully loved it. Making it surely the first time ever that I have enjoyed a brewery’s pale ale more than their IPA. Weird.
*I know what you’re saying: “SJP, Cattrall, Nixon…SaTC was about pretty people?!” Yeah, I never got that either.