Read the whole interview here.
In stark earnestness, what made Gossip Girl a show you found worth giving your time to? I’m not talking guilty pleasure territory here, I’m asking what genuinely quality factors do you feel it had?
STC: As one of those obnoxious people who says things like “there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure,” I have to go with stark earnestness regardless. In that light, I think it’s starkly, earnestly a fun, soapy, sexy show about attractive young quasi-sociopaths getting involved in crazy hijinks. That’s either going to float your boat or it’s not, but it certainly floats mine.
Thinking about it more specifically in terms of its place in my viewing trajectory, maybe Gossip Girl was the first television show I was able to watch with the new appreciation for glam decadence that had opened up the music world for me a few years prior, I don’t know. Looking back, I think it was the first soap I ever really watched, opening the door for The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and The Young and the Restless years down the line.
But GG always had that deliciously incoherent mixture of celebration and satire of the lifestyles it was depicting, giving it an is-it-or-isn’t-it edge that most of those other shows, however much I enjoy them from time to time, can’t really match. This was especially the case when the characters were all supposed to be 17 years old—what can I say, I’ve been a sucker for teenage sensation since I was one myself. But the decision to go full-on pervy with the love interests in the final season—Nate goes jailbait, Ivy goes Oedipal twice over, Serena and Lily have both been to seventh heaven with the same guy, etc.—showed that the show never really lost its knack for being dirty even as the kids grew up and the show lost its must-see-tv buzz. You never knew when GG was going to pull something as shiny and sleazy as a mid-’00s Goldfrapp single out of its sleeve.
Did I mention it was sexy? I mean, I sincerely appreciate that, I truly do. For squeezing Blake Lively into all those toothpaste-tube dresses, for playing lingerie dress-up with Leighton Meester time and time again, for crafting a dandy-of-the-underworld look for Ed Westwick, for every glimpse of Penn Badgley’s chest hair, for every close-up on the inhumanly beautiful face of Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl did humanity a great service.
Finally, Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf are terrific characters, as memorable as any on TV. It took them a while to get a handle on Chuck, obviously, but once they figured out what they had with him and Ed Westwick, a simultaneous Batman-and-Joker that would make “Batdance”-era Prince jealous…hoo boy. And Blair’s manic perfectionism as expressed by Leighton Meester’s chirpy caffeinated porcelain doll face—hoo boy again.