Ok, confession time. While my television watching habits do stick closely to what's acceptable at the Emmys and among the highbrow (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland, earlier seasons of True Blood and more recently Breaking Bad) I'll always have a place in my heart for the work of Josh Schwartz. The man who launched the careers of Mischa, Rachel, Adam and Benjamin, and more recently Blake, Leighton, Ed, Chase and Penn. That's right, I'm a sucker for the Upper East Side and I'd love for Sandy to teach me to surf. Oh yeah.
While everyone agrees that The O.C. wasn't the same after Marissa died and even I'll admit Gossip Girl jumped the shark a good few seasons ago (somewhere between the dodgy French accents, the lack of an actual baby bump and the fact that we were somehow still supposed to sympathise with the clueless blonde one), there is still enough in the old horse yet for them to keep flogging it, although the current season of Gossip Girl will rightfully be its last as the plots get more and more hackneyed and the one-liners lose their zing.
While the fashion mags wax lyrical over the designer dream wardrobes, I was always more a fan of the grunge look sported by Taylor 'I'm in a band' Momsen's character, but my true fashion crush of the entire series was and is Michelle Trachtenberg.
Oh come on, how could you not? That glossy, that flawless skin and perfectly applied eye makeup. I'm still trying to learn how to raise one eyebrow in quite the same pitying manner she does, and that's before we even get into the beautifully scripted brand of evil genius she brings to the show. So long as she sticks around, I'm still in.
And also, like The OC before it, Gossip Girl's ability to send a band stratospheric is not to be sniffed at. Phantom Planet may have had a following, but there's nothing like a glossy teen show to rope in the lucrative glossy teen market. While Gossip Girl has no theme song or glossy opening credits, the music choices throughout the show are often smart and often inspired. Months before it hit the radios (around a year ago, in fact), a little-known track called Somebody That I Used To Know was featured in the fifth series of Gossip Girl, Gotye's earlier hit Heart's A Mess having appeared on the show before. Within minutes of the episode ariring, 'like if Gossip Girl brought you here' comments were popping up all over YouTube, exposing this brilliant band to an even bigger fanbase who were ready and waiting when the album launched this year. A year later, the song is a global hit and stands the test of time as an outstanding popular track.
The show has also introduced me to bands I now adore such as White Lies, featured a performance of No Doubt covering Adam and the Ants' Stand And Deliver years before it finally made it onto the new No Doubt album, and had me humming Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' Home for a whole summer. While the plotlines get woolly, the cameos cringeworthy (though Liz Hurley's outrageously hammy British accent was a laughable delight) and the fashion gets tired, the show still has the ability to deliver standout song choices. Case in point, this track from the closing scene of the most recent episode, by a band called Stepdad. This track is from their latest album, available in the US in June. Hope it makes it over to the UK soon.