Okay, I'm gonna put it out there. I have been watching Gossip Girl. I'm pretending that it's for research, but am finding it strangely addictive. I've been trying to think of an equivalent show from the 70s (my prime teen watching time) but the only thing I can come up with is the Brady Bunch (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia). Which is hardly comparable. The closest Marcia got to the escapades of the Gossip Girl gang (or was it Jan?) was locking braces with some geek. I think Alice the housekeeper got more action than the teens on that show, and that was with Sam the butcher. (Hey Alice, I've got some nice pork chops there for you.) By all accounts, what the Brady Bunch got up to behind the scenes might more closely mirror the goings of the East-siders.
Does Gossip Girl just mirror where teens are at today? The teen labels of the 70s that I aspired to were Levis, Staggers and Lee — all jeans brands. Today there are designer labels for infant clothes. Teenage girls are drooling over accessory must haves and stick thin celebs show them the only way to wear that outfit properly is to be a size 2.
I've been pondering the success of GG and wonder if it's the voyeuristic glimpse into the young and rich world that most of us will never enjoy that makes it such a naughty treat. It makes the OC look like the Brady Bunch. There's a kind of reverse snobbery where viewers can take pleasure in the downfalls of the rich and young players in this teen drama.
Which reminds me of another show that was around a couple of hundred years ago — Romeo & Juliet. Maybe things haven't changed that much at all. (And no, I wasn't around then...)