‘Gossip Girls’ nothing more than a suitable replacement for ‘The OC’

Natalie Smith

By Natalie Smith

Staff Reporter

The new series “Gossip Girl” opens with a crowded room filled with members of the upper crust of society: mothers toting martinis in one hand while waving dramatically with the other as they engage in conversation about their daughters.

Those daughters are flitting through the room draped in the newest fashions with martinis clasped in their (underage) manicured hands, mimicking their mothers.

Their husbands and fathers are closeted in the parlor with cigars and brandy, talking about business and lecturing their sons on how to succeed in life.

The characters may be new to some, but most are already familiar with them. There’s the stereotypical girl everyone wants to be, the popular boy who’s dating her, the bad boy, the outcast who’s looking for a ticket to the in-crowd and the notorious bad girl who’s the best-friend-turned-enemy of the girl everyone wants to be.

So it comes as no surprise that “Gossip Girl” was created by Josh Schwartz, the mastermind behind “The O.C.” And while the cast, storyline and Upper East Side setting of “Gossip Girl” may be new, it feels as though “The O.C.” has simply been transported from Southern California to Manhattan.

That being said, the pilot did a great job of explaining the inner workings of the exclusive clique the show centers around, informing potential fans about the shady history between characters that complicates their relationships.

When bad girl Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”) returns home from boarding school to deal with family issues, she finds herself pitted against her former B.F.F., Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester, “24,” “House,” “Entourage”).

Things heat up when Blair finds out that her boyfriend, Nate, cheated on her with Serena in the past.

The quintessential line of the show is definitely, “Your social life is over, slut!” which bad boy Chuck (Ed Westwick, “Children of Men”) yells at Serena’s back. This is after her new friend Dan (Penn Badgley. “John Tucker Must Die”), the outcast, sweeps in to punch Chuck as he attempts to force himself on Dan’s little sister. The storyline is more than a little dizzying, but the show has potential.The acting isn’t the chink in the armor.

The problem is Gossip Girl herself, the ultra-secretive spy who reports all the latest gossip on her blog and through mass text messages she sends out to classmates. The concept comes off a little after-school-special-ish.

Undoubtedly, “Gossip Girl” will still attract a loyal fan-base, probably “One Tree Hill” devotees and anyone who continued to watch “The O.C.” after Marissa died.

The show is based on the best-selling book series by Cecily von Ziegesar and airs on the CW.