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Worst TV Show of the Week

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Gossip Girl on CW


The worst thing about Gossip Girl (Mondays, 8:00 p.m. ET) is that it presents the teenage characters on the show as full-fledged adults.  Their lives – what they do, how they think, and why -- are virtually indistinguishable from the lives of adults.  If it weren’t for the occasional scenes in the halls of an elite, private high school there would be no way of knowing that the characters aren’t old enough to vote.  The episode that aired on February 2nd is a stark reminder of why the show is so pernicious.  For explicit sexual content, Gossip Girl has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.


The episode begins with lothario Chuck Bass waking up in a drug-addled stupor.  He cannot remember the events of the previous night.  Snippets of the following images flash in his mind: women wearing masquerade masks and lingerie line the halls of an ornate mansion; a businessman in a suit pins a woman against the wall while she straddles him; high-powered, older men pair off with the women.  Chuck remembers being led to a room by a beautiful seductress in a long black negligee.  The camera focuses on her rear followed by tight shots of her body, including her cleavage, as she kisses Chuck.  Though Chuck can’t recall anything else from the evening, he is certain that he must have had the greatest night of his life.  He spends the rest of the episode retracing his steps in an attempt to jog his memory.  The sexually suggestive imagery repeats itself at various points in the story until Chuck finally locates the mysterious woman he met the previous night.  She explains that she’s a high-priced escort who had intended to service Chuck’s father, who - unbeknownst to her - had recently passed away.  Chuck had inadvertently been sent an invitation an ultra-secret private gentleman’s club.  Once the escort realized she had the wrong Mr. Bass, she drugged Chuck and sent him home. 


The other story line deals with Blair’s rivalry with the new English teacher, Ms. Rachel Carr.  Originally hailing from Iowa, Rachel feels overwhelmed and out-of-place in the Big Apple.  It doesn’t help that she’s teaching pampered, privileged, entitled brats at Constance Billard Prep.  Her only bright spot is kind scholarship student Dan Humphrey, whom she occasionally sees outside of school to offer feedback on his writing.  Blair notices their closeness and starts a rumor that Rachel and Dan are having an inappropriate relationship in order to get back at Ms. Carr for giving her a “B” on an assignment, and thus hurting her chances of getting into Yale.  Blair sends out a mass text with a “Mary Kay Letourneau alert,” alluding to the teacher convicted of second degree rape of a child for having sex with her then 12 year-old student.  Amid the ensuing scandal, Ms. Carr is fired despite the fact that the rumors are unsubstantiated.  Immediately after her dismissal, Ms. Carr inexplicably decides to substantiate them.  Dan shows up at her apartment to apologize.  Ms. Carr suddenly kisses him.  “Rachel, what are you doing?” Dan asks.  She simply replies, “I don't teach at Constance anymore.”  She pulls him into her apartment.  Silhouettes of their bodies show them tearing each other's clothes off while they kiss.  Dan ends up on top of her in her bed.


For the mostly adolescent audience, these two storylines fuel troubling and wildly inaccurate fantasies.  Chuck enters his father’s sexual underworld without any thought about the dangers to himself or the women involved in prostitution.  The best sex, according to Chuck, is bought and sold with no emotional attachment.  In Dan’s case, the emotions are supposedly there.  He and Ms. Carr are depicted as thoughtful, sincere, well-meaning individuals.  But his romance with Ms. Carr is not indicative of how these relationships normally come about in real life.  Often the teachers are very troubled individuals with a history of sexual victimization or mental illness.  The teachers abuse their power over students searching for connection.  The show irresponsibly depicts teacher/student relationships as mature and sophisticated as well as titillating and exciting, rather than show them for what they really are -- manipulative and criminal.


For explicit content and for misrepresenting corrosive sexual relationships, Gossip Girl is the Worst TV Show of the Week.

Worst TV Show of the Week

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