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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
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.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.