May 12, 2009

The Gossip Girl Feminist Index - Episode 24 "Valley Girls"

Okay, the feminist index for this episode was ridiculously high! I'm focusing mostly, however, on the actual Gossip Girl stuff, and not the built-in spin-off pilot. I have no idea if that show will be feminist-y as yet.

- Plus ten points to Serena for NOT calling Lily to bail her out of jail. She's right, she should stand her ground.

- Plus five points to Serena for STAYING in jail to teach her mother a lesson. If Lily's going to accuse her of crimes falsely, Serena might as well falsely stay in jail. She's just not safe out in the world where her mother can get to her! I would give her more points, except Dan was able to convince her to abandon her protest plan too easily, so it really wasn't that great of a moral stand. I still don't think she was even in jail a full 24 hours.

- Plus ten points to Lilly for making up with her mother - finally! Judging from the spin-off pilot, Lily is kind of worse than CiCi. After all, Cici didn't FORCE Lily to go to jail. Also, interesting how Lily did grow up to go to an Ivy League school and marry the richest man in New York like her mom wanted. Dramatic irony, much?

- Minus five points to Blair for getting so excited about Prom Queen, which didn't even exist at Constance until the mean girls decided to start the tradition so they could rig the election so they could humiliate Blair. I do LOOVE the way, however, when Blair won because Chuck out-rigged the riggers, Blair said, "I'm Prom Queen! I OWN prom." Hot!

- Plus 15 point to Blair for breaking up with Nate ON prom night. She's right, he's her high school boyfriend, nothing more. I'm glad she's grown and can see that. Blair would rather be alone than with a guy she's not right for, and that's good feminism, in my books.

- Plus 25 points for Blair and Serena realizing, at the end of prom night, that they are the most important part of EACH OTHER'S high school experiences. That their friendship matters more than boyfriends or moms. They have grown together and grown-up together and supported each other. I love their homosocial bond and how they even out right compare it to that of a girlfriend and boyfriend. Lesbian Continuum, much? Adrienne Rich would be proud! That shot of Blair tenderly resting her head on Serena's shoulder? That was beautiful and sensual and a perfect way to queer Gossip Girl just a little bit. These girls are more intimate with each other than they are with their actual lovers. I love it! Now if only they could just get naked together and go at it once or twice, the show WOULD really be pushing the very thin boundaries between homosocial and homosexual love. Well, I guess that's what season 3 is for, right?

Overall Feminist Index Score for Episode 24: Plus 60.

Now I just have a couple of comments for the Lilly Pilot. I think the show is going to be called "Valley Girls," right? Okay, decent title, especially because Lily and Carol are such atypical valley girls. They play with the archetype and it's cute. But really, why does young CiCi not have a put-on British accent like old CiCi? That's just bad continuity, unless CiCi's English accent is only for New York society's benefit? LA society is a different beast, that's true. And CiCi's fickleness really helps her seem fake. But I miss the accent!

Britanny Snow was okay overall. She's a bit annoying. But what's more is the show seems soap-opera-ish to me. It's melo-dramatic like Gossip Girl (and like high school in general, for that matter), but it lacks the biting, witty dialogue of the original. It doesn't seem like a satire. It's cheesy, what with Lily actually openly trying to be "rebellious." Gossip Girl is great in part because the characters are just a bit hypocritical at all times. I mean, Serena thought she was all "peace and free love" until she met Aron, and then she realized she was just not a hippie and preferred Balenciaga to bell bottoms. Gossip Girl is first and foremost a comedy of manners, and second, once in a while, the characters drop their performances and make themselves vulnerable. That's what makes it so powerful when Chuck really does seem to love Blair or when Blair breaks up with Nate - these characters do what all of us do all the time, but just in a heightened and more self-conscious way - they perform, and only sometimes do they admit what they are actually feeling, as opposed to what they feel they "should" be feeling. They don't claim to be authentic and real like those f-ing Valley Girls. After all, none of us know who we genuinely are and we all present ourselves in performative ways to a certain extent. By camping this idea up and exaggerating it, with each character having a signature piece of clothing and living for Gossip Girl's coverage, Gossip Girl actually does something profound - it shows us the essence of humanity IS performance - playing the part you want others to read you AS. There's nothing "real" about these kids, and they don't seem to claim there is (unless they are Dan), but that's okay, because, even though it's less obvious when it comes to us, we're all fakers playing parts too. This is why I love Gossip Girl. This is why I don't love Valley Girls as yet.


Lux said...

MINUS 20 points for Blair making an offensive, heterosexist and classist remark about Serena coming out of jail "with a mullet and a girlfriend."

rantsalamode said...

Oh, good point. I didn't notice that one. I watched while drying my hair. Hmm. Not a nice comment.