Gossip Girl "Dirty Rotten Scandals" Review: All of These People Are the Worst

By Cory Barker

Oct 23, 2012

Gossip Girl S06E03: “Dirty Rotten Scandals”

While all of you were watching the presidential debate or sports, I was enjoying the fine stylings of Gossip Girl’s final season. I probably spent at least eight minutes trying to come up with a bayonets-and-horses joke to open with, but then I just decided to give up. Kind of like this show. However, “Dirty Rotten Scandals” was a little better than last week’s messy episode. Let’s discuss the big points, shall we?

1. Everyone is terrible…

Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve really thought about Gossip Girl in a legitimate critical context, but wow, is almost everyone on this show a horrible person. Chuck’s a bonafide sociopath, Serena is an egomaniac, Blair is a petulant child, Dan is a disturbingly pretentious twit, and I can’t tell whether Rufus is going through a mid-life crisis or just finally admitting that he was always a fraud (and by the way, is Matthew Settle on quaaludes? If not, he’s phoning in his performance more than anyone on TV right now). At least Ivy and Georgina own up to their unbearable behavior, and Sage, unfortunately, is right there with them.

That’s right everyone, the only decent human being on this show is Nate. You know, the one who’s sexing a teenager.

2. …but at least the show is sort of committing it.

Obviously, there’s no way that Gossip Girl will end the way it should—with almost everyone penny-less, alone, and without a 4G connection for their smartphones—but I at least appreciate that the writers are letting certain characters’ horrible traits totally define them this season. While Serena and Blair’s petty posturing is unbelievably immature for two young women who can’t stop talking about how adult they are, there’s no doubt that the show gets a little jolt when the two of them actually admit they don’t care for one another. Even when they came to an agreement over Sage working in Blair’s fashion show, they did so begrudgingly.

Instead of actually using the truly annoying Sage (I’ve yet to determine whether Sofia Black D’Elia is awful or perfect in this role... and maybe it’s both) to allow Serena to reflect on how miserable she made everyone when she was 17, Gossip Girl is just letting the older Serena lower herself to Sage’s high-school scheming. And although she has always been a bit abrasive, Blair has turned into an all-star whiner this season. Hey, maybe she and Humphrey are made for one another after all! Speaking of which, no story satisfies me more than Dan selling out. If the show isn’t going to do the smart thing and put Dan and Blair together for real, it might as well submarine both characters.

As it stands now, it seems like Gossip Girl is dedicating itself to blowing up all the friendships and connections its characters have people shared, which is an interesting approach to take in a final season. My fear is that the series will eventually do what it always does: Disappointed friends with reconcile and deliver vapid platitudes to each other about friendship above all else. They won’t mean anything, and I won’t believe them, but that’s something.

3. The show is really insisting on epic (fail) love

I’ve made it clear that I think Chuck and Blair being together is an insulting pairing based on the truly horrid things that have occurred between them, but no matter those feelings, the decision to have them be together-but-not-really is part of some warped delayed satisfaction thing that I can’t understand about television. If you want them to be together, put them together. Don’t have them meet up in every episode and talk about how they’re doing all these things so they can be together. If they were actually mature adults, they would work out their problems. The end of this episode suggests that Gossip Girl is actually ready to take that step, so maybe Chuck and Blair’s relationship will improve. Nevertheless, I’m already ready for them to keep spewing this empty rhetoric for another six episodes until it everything magically lines up for them in the series finale.

4. This IS the last season, right?

I know that there are still seven episodes left and Gossip Girl isn’t a show with a substantial “mythology” or whatever, but doesn’t it feel like the show is petering around right now? While I see that there's value in telling the same kinds of stories in your final season that you’ve told for the previous 110-plus episodes, there’s no sense of urgency or larger momentum to these stories. Most of them are half-assed retreads of things we have already seen. For all its countless faults, I at least respected last week’s episode for attempting to circle back to high school and the characters growing up, but it appears that those references might have just been surface-level nods.

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  • Nofaultofmine Nov 01, 2012

    my sister and i fondly refer to this show as "everybody hates Dan" cause really...

  • Lula19 Oct 27, 2012

    1. Blake lively's acting for Serena is so horrible to watch, for a girl whose suppose to be this blonde hot-mess with a huge ego, all she does is pout and speak in a low monotone voice; even her eyes have no emotion whatsoever.

    2. I really hope the writers aren't going for this 'make the characters as irredeemable as possible until like the season finale. It's getting really annoying, cause you know whatever kind of damage Dan is going to do to his "friends" and "family" its going to be resolved in like 5 minutes. Which is such a cop-out.

    3. Also its so annoying the way the show has been forcibly pushing the Chuck-Blair epic romance on the viewers. After all the crap Chuck has done to Blair (who is the best character on GG), there is no way that's romantic or true, destined love at all. For a couple with a lot of 'winning each other back', breaks from each other with the occasional scheming they would've been doomed for failure a long time ago.

    4. Also do the writers know they don't have the usual 22 episodes, there going really slow to get to the point.

    I just want them to stop wasting time, and get to the more interesting story lines that are getting no screen time/explanations: Ivy and Rufus (and Lola?) and the obvious Gossip Girl -! maybe their connected?

    Also, do you think Vanessa will ever come back?

  • cherild Oct 26, 2012

    I have always liked Blairs character over the others, but this season shes just a whiny teenager with nothing much to do besides pine for Chuck. Blair n Chuck are just so overdone. There was some passion/chemistry sum seasons back, but now just dont understand the logic of them being together. And they always split for the dumbest reasons. Dan is just horrific. His character graph has been going lower and lower. Just dont understand the whole point of the 'tell all" book or whatever it is he is writing. And the characters he is writin about, dont even remotely interest us, let alone the rest of the people who would bother! And what is Jenny doin in London, wher is Serenas brother? So funny how the characters just disappear! And Blairs divorce/marriage just poof, no consequences for her cuz of that..And Ivy n Rufus: Uggggghhh

  • suzanhach Oct 24, 2012

    The only thing worth sticking around to see is Dan's demise. He who started the show the moral compass is spinning out of control inwards, and (despite the ridiculous hair issue) his storyline is the only one that makes sense. It would have been a nice touch if Serena was on the way up, finally coming to terms with her choices (or actually making a choice).

    Other than that, you've got Nate spilling secrets left and right (seriously, don't tell him, no matter how cute he is), Blair and Serena being worse teenagers than when they were teenagers, but it's no longer entertaining, and Blair and Chuck (who I really like in theory) doing this ridiculous must get my life together before being a partner crap.

    It's all been done.

    The writing was on the wall when they brought a character back from the dead.

  • gamrgrl007 Oct 24, 2012

    I didn't think the weirdness of Dan's hairdo could be outdone, but I think Mr Bass has won this category too! WTH is with the little patch of hair atop the shaved head? Even Nate's hair looks like it's been cut with garden shears, but thankfully Blair's was better this ep thank the lanky, greasy mess they've been lately. The Sage story is a serious drag, she's so irritating, like Serena 2.0, and then some.

  • apc_zg Oct 24, 2012

    "You know, the one who's sexing a teenager."


  • smarcos3 Oct 24, 2012

    serena can just die

  • BrookeDsBaby Oct 24, 2012

    It always makes me laugh how Gossip Girl is probably one of the only shows on television where its central character (Serena) is the most hated character in the cast. She's horrible and immature and a selfish holier-than-thou brat who thinks she's above the world yet we're expected to sympathize with her and root for her.

  • abeerness Oct 24, 2012

    Dan is the worst. He is an obnoxious wannabe. They should've let him go a long time ago.

  • absolut_me Oct 24, 2012

    I'm not sure the writing is the main problem of this season - it has always been predictable, childish, but that's what we root for watching GG. It looks like the actors don't even care anymore, they just play their characters out of habit. No real emotion, laughter...

    The only way I would honestly be satisfied with this show, would be to see the good guys happy, and Serena and Dan - the worst characters of GG - fall into total disgrace and find each other again.

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