Monday, February 2, 2009

The Gossip Girl Literary Project.... begins

There are several reasons that Gossip Girl stands apart from other tv teen drama. First, the high-drama storylines that seem torn from a Henry James novel: secret-orphan love-children, selling oneself into prostitution, opium dens, accidental murder. All the things you've come to expect from gothic tales of the 19th century aristocracy but transmographied onto present-day teenagers. Second, the non-chalant use of sex and drugs by Juniors/Seniors in highschool, and, like, not just normal drugs, either, but crazy-ass drugs-- like Chuck relaxing in aforementioned opium den (presumably in China?) getting served junk through a pipe by a comfort woman; all parties in appropriate robes and dresses decked out with dragons, of course. I have counted a minimum of two anti-drug ads every episode to balance it out.

But thirdly, Gossip Girl regularly makes literary/high culture allusions, and for this, I think it is a fine education for our youngsters. Sure, it's sexed up and full of drugs-- but they mention Bukowski! And that's not even the best of it.

So, I'm beginning a catalogue of all the artistic references made on Gossip Girl. We'll see how much of that I can actually pull off.

Let’s begin with the all-time greatest comes from the Christmas episode this year, when Vanessa casually mentions she is planning to hole-up with Satan Tango.

Satan Tango, of course, is the 17 hour definitive work of auteur Czech director Bela Tarr, know for extensively long shots (like 7 minute-long shots) of emaciated figures walking through Eastern European war zones.

Dan responds, knowingly, "Well, maybe you can watch your 17 hr Bela Tarr film later, lets have thanksgiving at my house."

Right, cause people casually allude to Bela Tarr. All the time.

More to come. It's on right now.