February 13, 2008

Welcome to the East Side - Upper East Side, that is

I’ve always been fascinated with TV series depicting the high-class society, in fact, the last TV program I avidly followed on this genre, Gilmore Girls, was a personal favorite of mine, despite its female-dominated theme. Come on, boys like watching girls, just as girls like watching make out sessions in Grey’s Anatomy.

So after Gilmore Girls got cancelled, I got lonely, since I won’t have a weekly fix of Alexis Bledel and her mommy, not to mention the story was a lot better than some dramas, such as The O.C. (which is incidentally, a high-society drama), although the story got worse as the seasons went by. Then comes a teen drama entitled Gossip Girl, about the New York City community called Upper East Side.

Now it seemed coincidental the Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl had the same initials (“GG”) and both incorporate “Girl” in their titles, which for me increased my interest (Boys Like Girls, remember? They even named a band after that). However, the one main difference between Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl is that Gilmore is set in rural Rhode Island whle Gossip takes place in New York City, although not that really an urban place, like say, Times Square, or Quiapo. My interest picked up further when it starred Leighton Meester, who I first encountered on 24 as Debbie, who was killed by the terrorists since “she knew too much.”

The character named “Gossip Girl” is like Charlie in Charlie’s Angels, you’d never see her, but at least she can be heard (incidentally, the voice belongs to Kristen Bell, of Heroes (another program I liked) and Veronica Mars (a TV series I didn’t get). She’s a blogger that narrates the happenings on a high-society prep (high) school (so that means she must be one of the students?) and the students of the school read her blog. The blog revolves around Serena, the former it girl that went away to “boarding school” and Blair, her best friend that assumed her it girl place.

Now before I continue, I must say I’ve only watched the pilot episode. As for the pilot, the story is relatively easy to follow, thanks to Gossip Girl herself; if not for Gossip Girl, it’ll be difficult to understand what is going on, but of course they would’ve refactored the program to make it easier to understand (but it will deviate from the Gossip Girl concept). The backstory can be understood relatively easily, especially on the reason why Serena “really left,” since this backstory will be crucial as this will be the source of conflict for the following episodes.

In fact the storytelling of the pilot was easy to understand, which would lead this review to the other important thing: how the actors delivered their story. Blair (Debbie on 24) looked great on her role as the suggestive biatch. Serena looked too boring on the first part of the episode but her aura improved when she dressed up for her “date”. The boys were rather bland (come on, you’re making out with a girl, make me think you’re doing it – in this regard the older people of Grey’s will give them valuable lessons). Jenny’s actions are unbecoming of her “freshman” age, but maybe because that’s how she wants to be perceived. The only parents’ performance I liked was Dan and Jenny’s father who gave a rather convincing account of his character; the other parents’ interactions were empty. And Gossip Girl could use better intonation, just like how Boy Abunda delivers his (her?) lines, with “OOOOOOoooomph!”

Summing up, this program has potential, the story is fast paced (unlike Heroes that started slowly, picked up, then the second season started in a telenovela pace), the storytelling can be easily followed and Blair can teach Angelica (Marimar, anyone? Hahaha) a thing or two about biatch-tology, minus the use of deadly weapons. Now if the succeeding episodes can keep me hooked (one way is by having Blair do some nasty (and by nasty I mean not the “biatch” nasty) things) then I’m a fan.

Meanwhile, I’ll watch some Gilmore reruns.

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