Say what you will about The CW's "Gossip Girl" and there's plenty to be said there's one area in which this soap opera about rich teenagers stands head and shoulders above every other show on television.
And I'm not talking just about tonight's episode (7 p.m., Ch. 30), which is cleverly titled "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"
This is something that's been going on ever since the second episode of the series, which aired 15 months ago. After the pilot, which was not-so-cleverly titled "Pilot," the show immediately kicked it into high gear with "The Wild Brunch."
Other first-season episodes included:
• "Bad News Blair"
• "Seventeen Candles"
• "Blair Waldorf Must Pie!"
• "The Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate"
• "Desperately Seeking Serena"
• And "Much 'I Do' About Nothing"
(Blair Waldorf, Chuck, Nate and Serena are all characters in the show.)
We're 13 episodes into Season 2 (as of tonight) and every single episode title has been a clever play on something:
• "Summer, Kind of Wonderful"
• "Never Been Marcused"
• "The Dark Night"
• "The Ex-Files"
• "The Serena Also Rises"
• "New Haven Can Wait"
• "Chuck In Real Life"
• "There Might be Blood"
• "Bonfire of the Vanity"
• "The Magnificent Archibalds"
• "It's a Wonderful Lie"
• And tonight's "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"
There have been times when it would have been nice if the scripts had been as clever as their titles. Particularly when Season 2 began with some really ridiculous plots involving British nobility.
But, once the "summer" episodes ended, the show returned to being a decent soap opera with flashes of brilliance.
Which is not to say that, as the father of teenagers, I'm entirely comfortable with the series. This is the same criticism that was aimed at the original "Beverly Hills, 90210" almost two decades ago the teenage characters in "Gossip Girl" don't act like teenagers, they act like twentysomethings.
It's jarring to see them walk into a bar and be served alcohol. (And that's perhaps the least believable part of the show.)
It's troubling to see the amount of illicit drug use and casual sex. Anyone who's ever been a teenager knows that's far too believable, but there is a certain element of glamour attached to those behaviors in "Gossip Girl."
There are consequences. Characters do suffer for indiscretions. Money doesn't buy them happiness.
But it does buy them glamour. Which is why this is definitely a show that parents still need to pay attention to and decide if they want their kids to watch.
In my humble opinion, "Gossip Girl" is not for preteens or even young teens. And parents whose teens want to watch the show should sit down and watch it with them.
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