“Gossip Girl here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattans elite”
I chose to do this blog on the Tv show Gossip Girl for one very simple reason – I have been crazily in love with it since its premier in 2006 and I always will be. It has been a life defining show to me and my friends, trying our best to be like Blair and Serena and live like Upper East Siders. Many all nighters have occurred re-watching seasons and our favourite episodes and swooning over Chuck Bass. (I actually got to meet Chuck and Nate AH!). Doing this post ended up being very interesting from researching further into other people’s reactions and opinions about it because lets face it I personally don’t have a bad word to say.
My views on Gossip Girl and the debates from others are an example of a ‘Public Sphere’. This notion was created by Jurgen Habermas and is a space where citizens can come together to debate about common concerns. (Mckee, 2005). The sphere is an open environment for discussion and can draw together people of similar interests. It has become mediated in recent times which can certainly be seen in the case of Gossip Girl. Fans took to the internet after each episode blogging and tweeting about their opinions. I personally took part in this interaction discussing the fashions, New York sights, Witty sayings from Gossip Girl and the love stories between the characters like Chuck and Blair. It’s a great way to connect with fans.
In my example ‘Gossip Girl’ is an ‘unknown’ online blogger who is sent emails from everyone in the show revealing juicy secrets about the Manhattan socialites which are then uploaded without their consent. This caused a constant battle to be at the top of the social ladder and rule the Upper East Side. It was always the question of “Who’s going down next?”. Much lying, backstabbing and bullying occurred for this to happen. Privacy is not an option in their world. It was interesting thinking about this because isn’t that the case in our society today? The things we are posting online are no longer ours, nothing is owned and it can’t be controlled. We all have an inner Gossip Girl posting information online and creating diverse social networking platforms which is very concerning to certain people.
The show took viewers by storm on it’s premier giving us scandal and drama like never before. It was described as a “guilty pleasure”, but also “Mind-blowingly inappropriate”, pushing all the boundaries but quickly rising to the top of the CW Network. With the intense plot lines, it had audiences hooked from the get go. Take a quick look at following video so you know what Im talking about.
Welcome to the glamourous incredible world of Gossip Girl! I could talk forever on how perfect I think their lives are but let’s try and be critical-
From this we are already introduced to many of themes dubbed ‘inappropriate,’ promoting a society full of freedom and no parental control. We see underage drinking, social power, fashion labels, partying, love, drugs, scheming, fights and of course gossip. Keep in mind these characters are only 16 in the first season. The issues I have just stated made parents uncomfortable and wary about their children watching it incase they were influenced negatively and saw this behaviour as ‘acceptable’. Carol Platt Liebau states- “It glamorises and normalises the kinds of behaviour that may seem charmingly risqué and sophisticated when little girls see them on TV, but which, if emulated in real life, can result in emotional and psychological distress for them.”
The show also deals with many relatable concepts crucial in society today. It highlights many divorces and family struggles whether due to personal differences or the fight for business empires and it shows us the ups and downs of teenage relationships starting from their high schooling years. Through these relationships fake friends are outed, affairs are revealed, questions of sexuality are raised and their ‘sex’ lives are the talk of the school. In Gossip Girl the key is ‘your nobody until your talked about’. This saw characters succumb to peer pressure and change their ways to fit into the upscale New York scene. It involved issues of eating disorders, dropping out of college, going to nightclubs, stealing, and in an extreme case an attempted suicide. Apart from these aspects the show was seen as a major catalyst for fashion advertising, setting trends world-wide and it inhabited many life lessons through the actions of characters.
A serious issue that arose in the public sphere in relation to Gossip Girl was the formation of a Wollongong Facebook site which copied the ideas in the show. Susan Mclean, an online safety consultant states that “the reputations of scores of Wollongong teenagers were trashed on a malicious Facebook page modelled on hit US television series Gossip Girl.” She urged teenagers to re-think their actions before criminal charges were laid. This highlights how certain shows directly affect the age groups that it is aimed at. Teenagers wanted this secret blogging idea to be real and so this was the outcome.
Going back to the public sphere I hope you can now understand how Tv shows such as Gossip Girl create debate and conversation. Everyone will attach onto different aspects of any show or media outlet depending on personal opinion and interest. Our reading “Introduction: The Public Sphere”– tells us that the problem today with the sphere is that too many sources for information are becoming readily available causing fragmentation in the sphere. No one knows what the ‘biggest story’ is anymore and consumers are becomingly increasingly more passive (McKee, 2005). Individuals will no longer meet at at coffee shop for example when they have the internet at their disposal. Welcome to our convergent media bubble.
That said I highly suggest you all watch Gossip Girl.
YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME …. XOXO GOSSIP GIRL