Early Season Five writer’s notes
WE ARE NOT THE GOSSIP GIRL WRITERS.
We just like to stalk their Twitter account and post all the Gossip Girl news, spoilers, and other official information we can find.
Follow @GGWriters on Twitter
We’ve always thought of Gossip Girl as a love letter to New York City. So it was wonderful to get some love back from New York journalists when the show wrapped in December. Below, three of our favorite farewells:
VULTURE (Stephanie and other insiders flip the script on GG’s most fervent recappers)
NEW YORK TIMES (Josh and Stephanie talk about what makes a satisfying series finale)
NEW YORKER (writer Emily Greenhouse offers a thoughtful tribute)
Thanks for the love, NYC!
“You’re nobody until you’re talked about.” - Dan Humphrey
Happy Holidays! Thank you for sticking with us for the past year :)
For six seasons, anonymous blogger Gossip Girl has been able to uncover pretty much any secret and sordid scandal about S, B, Lonely Boy and the rest of the Upper East Side. It’s ironic, considering what the series producers had to do to keep the identity of the unapologetically nosy snitch under wraps until Monday’s Gossip Girlseries finale (8/7c on The CW).
“It’s been very nerve-wracking for me to try to keep it a secret,” co-creator and executive producer Stephanie Savage tells TVGuide.com of the many precautions taken to keep the name concealed. “But I’m excited for people to find out. The cast and crew were definitely excited when they found out so I’m hoping our fans have the same reaction.”
The show’s crew went to these great lengths to protect a secret that almost even didn’t make it into the finale at all. “We always had an idea in our minds of who Gossip Girl was, which we needed to be able to tell our stories, but we were never sure if we were going to reveal that,” Savage says. “We weren’t sure that that was something that the audience would want to know. Maybe they would like the idea of not knowing who Gossip Girl was.”
However, it was a Season 5 story line — in which Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) and later, Serena (Blake Lively) filled in for Gossip Girl — that changed producers’ minds. “Last year we did so much storytelling with Gossip Girl in the character that it felt like this year we needed to reveal her true self,” she says.
Savage emphasizes the importance of this kind of flexibility when discussing the series finale, which was first announced last May. “I think it’s something that you might have certain ideas or images of when you start, but you really have to be open to the journey the show takes you on and where the characters go,” she says of crafting the final hour. “I think there were some character endgames that were always in our minds, but again, you have to be open to maybe that’s not where fate is going to take people.”
Savage specifically points to bad boy-turned-Blair’s knight in shining armor, Chuck, as having changed the most from the pilot to the finale. “I feel like Chuck has gone on the biggest journey of any one on the show. In the pilot, he’s pretty much a pure villain. He’s not a character that has a lot of layers. That was something Ed Westwick really brought as an actor,” Savage says. “And his chemistry with Leighton [Meester] — when we saw them together on screen and the power of the two of them working together but also being attracted to each other, which really inspired us to grow that character and give him some more layers.”
So will Chuck and Blair get their happy ending after Bart fell to his death — for realz this time! — at the end of the penultimate episode? “Obviously Chuck was up there when Bart met his demise and he was seen earlier at the event publicly speaking out against him so a lot of people will be looking for him,” Savage says. “Chuck and Blair are both where they wanted to be, but are circumstances such that they’ll be able to be together the way that they wanted to? Or have too many things happened that will stand in their way?”
Previews for the finale hint at the two tying the knot, but Savage won’t confirm or deny. “There definitely is a wedding,” she says. “Whether people get hitched without a hitch or whether there’s complications is something to tune in for.”
Savage teases several other milestones in the episode, including a flashback scene that shows Dan (Penn Badgley) and Serena at some point before the events in the pilot took place. Another big moment will be an on-screen appearance by Kristen Bell, who has voiced Gossip Girl for the last six years. “It was really funny and very, very special to be shooting with her. She’s an intimate part of our family but yet we never get to see her,” Savage says. “To be able to make her a part of our storytelling just felt like the perfect way to crown her work with us over the years.”
Although Gossip Girl will finally be unveiled, Savage says not everything will be so cut-and-dried. “It’s Gossip Girl, so I think you want to give closure, but everything doesn’t necessarily have a perfect bow on it. There’s always going to be unanswered questions and twists you didn’t see coming,” Savage says. “The tone of the show is not completely sentimental — there’s a little bit of a bite to it and I think the finale is going to have that.”
Despite these question marks and surprise twists, Savage is still confident fans will walk away satisfied. “It’s definitely emotional, but I think we left the show in a great place and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” she says.
The Gossip Girl series finale airs Monday at 8/7c on The CW.
What do you hope to see in the Gossip Girl finale?
Darcy: There are so many rumors about the Gossip Girl finale going around! Care to share any scoop on what’s really going down?
We totally would…if we could get anyone to actually talk about it. “There’s so many spoilers out there right now that I really feel like I Can’t talk about it!” Stephanie Savage tells us, though she confirms that there are either flashbacks or flash-forwards in the final hour. As for Josh Schwartz, his lips were also sealed (“There’s a lot that’s already out there unfortunately, and I will leave it at that!”) but did tell us that the show did take steps to throw people (including the pesky paparazzi) off. Translation: Don’t believe everything you hear and see!
The cast of “Gossip Girl” has been pretty outspoken about looking forward to the end of the series. Was it difficult to keep them interested in the show these last few seasons?
They’re looking for motivation, the same way the writers are looking for motivation. Any time you’re into season five or six or more — that’s a long time to be playing the same part or writing the same stories. That’s part of the challenge of TV. But the cast still shows up every day and gives it their all. There’s not a scene that Leighton Meester is not showing up for and crushing. Their excitement about the show ending is the same way you felt about college ending: You loved it, it was a blast, it changed your life, and the excitement is about what’s coming next. They’re going to have great careers.
Writers / Producers
From their obsessive rituals (Peppermint Patties! Oatmeal! Bruce Springsteen!) to the parts of their jobs they hate most (killing characters off, dealing with agents), TV’s most influential writer-producers featured on The Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the Top 50 Showrunners come clean about the people, things and quirky habits that keep them — and their shows — alive.
Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie (CW)
The show that inspired me to write:
Schwartz:The Muppet Show. Family Ties.
My big break:
Schwartz: My retrospective on the career of Steven Spielberg for my camp newsletter when I was seven. When you are not a gifted athlete you must find other ways to impress the campers.
My TV Mentor:
Schwartz: Bob DeLaurentiswas hired to help me run my first series, The O.C. He taught me about balancing the insanity of television with the sanity of life. Also, Stephanie Savage has taught me a ton over the years. Her taste and work ethic are simultaneously daunting and inspiring.
Savage: John McNamara, Bob DeLaurentis, Shaun Cassidy. And Josh Schwartz gave me my first script, which is the job that changed my life.
My proudest accomplishment this year:
Schwartz: That would have to be Stella, my nine-month-old daughter. Also I directed my first movie Fun Size, which comes out in October for Paramount. Both have been tremendous experiences for growth and learning. Only one requires diaper changing at 6:30 in the morning.
Savage: Gossip Girl finishing, The Carrie Diaries starting and our movie Fun Size coming out — all in the same week.
My toughest scene to write this year:
Savage: The final scene of Gossip Girl. Tears make it hard to see the keyboard.
My most absurd note I’ve ever gotten:
Schwartz: Pitching the pilot story of [NBC’s] Chuck to a network executive who just looked at me when I finished and said, “Why would you want to write that?”
Savage: “Could one of them be a cop/doctor/lawyer?” Writing serial dramas, we actually get that a lot.
The aspect of my job as showrunner that I’d rather delegate:
Schwartz: I am a firm believer that the key to surviving showrunning is delegating. On all our Fake Empire shows, we have incredible showrunners in place who are passionate, talented and surrounded by good people.
Savage: Anything that requires appearing in front of the camera.
My preferred method for breaking through writers’ block:
Schwartz: Asking someone else to write it.
Savage: Writers’ block is not really an option when you’re shooting eight pages a day, five days a week, nine months a year.
The show I’m embarrassed to admit I watch:
Schwartz: I make teen dramas, I’m not embarrassed to admit I watch anything.
Savage: I don’t believe in “guilty” pleasure. MSNBC’s Lockup, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, every single show on Discovery ID — if it feels good, do it.
The three things you need in order to write:
Schwartz: An idea, some time and the knowledge that failing to deliver could result in a network airing color bars.
Savage: I’ve written with a broken wrist, with pneumonia. I finished a script sitting at a bus stop on Banff Avenue during a snow storm. So long as I have headphones, a playlist and my laptop, I’m good.
If I could scrub one credit from your resume, it would it be:
Schwartz: I think the healthy answer to this is they have all been learning experiences.
Savage: None. You fall in love with everything you make.