Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another smashmortion, UPDATED

this time in the Gossip Girl season finale. First, when Dan thinks it's Serena who's with child, he explains both to his father and to a baffled Serena that he'll stick with her no matter what she decides. So far so reasonable, although it's extremely unlikely a real-life Serena would do anything but have an abortion. But again, realism is not the GG way. But then there's Serena, soon after, telling a reluctant Blair to take a pregnancy test, explaining that her friend needs to know if she and Chuck are having a baby. Birth control is presented as a choice made only by the slutty (Serena and her Pill, Chuck and his condoms). As with "Knocked Up," it's vaguely clear that abortion exists as an option, but it's a given that pregnancy means there will be a baby, as though it would be too tragic to state outright that a 17-year-old might not go that route.

Surprise--no one's pregnant, Dan and Serena fight and make up, Serena and Blair fight and make up, and otherwise this episode left the imaginary Upper East Side unchanged. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that a show that is essentially set in a nostalgic fantasy of the 1950s would not be on the cutting edge of feminism. But in some ways, it is. In tonight's episode not one but two beautiful women aggressively ask out Dan's father Rufus. Being a mother stops almost none of the women in show from sleeping with whomever they please. The adult women are unrealistically enlightened, or skanky, depending on one's take on these matters. So really it's only the high school kids whose prudery makes the show seem to come from another age. Social conservatism may be a lost cause for the middle-aged, but the youth are on board all the way.


The academic applicability of Gossip Girl never fails to impress.


Matt Zeitlin said...

Phoebe, the academic applicability of Gossip Girl isn't even close to being exhausted. Suffice to say, there's much more coming down the pipe. And seeing as i'm hitting the home stretch of my High School education, I will only have more time to write long, meandering posts about Gossip Girl.

Anonymous said...

PM - I have not seen the show and probably never will. But if it was really 1950s nostalgia it would probably have less sex. This seems to be a different beast - More like an oriental-style tale designed for Americans in an imperial age.

Do you really think you could have a TV show where people get abortions as if that were ordinary? The culture warriors would go nuts (but love it).