Happy 28th birthday N–I mean Chace Crawford. But really, I mean N. No matter where your career (read: most beautiful blue eyes ever) may take you, you’ll always be Gossip Girl‘s golden boy man slut Nate Archibald to me.
I know that’s probably not what you want to hear since you’re pretty sure that lousy no good teeny bopper soap opera posing as a credible TV show stole your dignity, but, don’t despair, Chace. I’ve got some good news for you–and Penn Badgley and Blake Lively and any other cast member who has dissed the show that I haven’t included.
In honor of your birthday, I’ve decided to give you your dignity back. That’s right, I found it. And it wasn’t lost on the GG set. It was buried in the books of Edith Wharton. Sorry I didn’t have time to wrap it. I wanted to make sure you got it in time to blow out those candles and wish you’d never dissed the show that put you on the Hollywood map.
For those of you who didn’t spend your college years majoring in English and specializing in American literature, Edith Wharton is an early 20th century Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose books had a major influence on Gossip Girl. Both Cecily von Ziegesar, who authored the book series, and the TV show’s writers have acknowledged that. So, for anyone who thinks this was just your run of the mill oh-my-god-that-show-was-so-bad-when-it-ended teen drama, I’d like you to reconsider.
Some of Wharton’s influences on the show are obvious, like in season two when Blair, Serena, and the gang put on the high school play version of Wharton’s 1911 novel The Age of Innocence. Or the season four premiere when Juliet Sharp is seen reading Wharton’s 1905 book House of Mirth.
If you have actually read House of Mirth, the influence goes even deeper. For example, Lily van der Woodsen/Bass/Humphrey and Bart Bass take their names from House of Mirth heroine Lily Bart. And the opening scene of the TV series–Serena van der Woodsen getting off a train at Grand Central Station while her longtime admirer/lower class outsider who’s not good enough for her Dan Humphrey gazes longingly–is pretty similar to the opening of Wharton’s book (In House of Mirth, Lily Bart is at Grand Central waiting for a train when she runs into her Dan Humphrey, Lawrence Selden).
Just to add a bit of biographic evidence to my claim, Wharton grew up in and wrote about the same New York high society world where GG is set, managing to both glamorize and criticize the upper class, just like the show.
Exactly how high up on the social strata was MIss Wharton, you ask? Her maiden name was Jones, and many believe that the expression “Keeping up with the Joneses” is in reference to her father’s family. So she was kind of like a living, breathing Blair Waldorf and/or Serena van der Woodsen–you can pick which leading lady was the true leader of GG‘s NYC social scene.
In conclusion, I’d like to add that none of this excuses the show’s writers from deciding that Bart Bass should rise from the dead, that Ivy Dickens should become a regular character, or that Dan Humphrey should be Gossip Girl (I’ll probably get over that someday…JK LOLZ). I’m just saying that the show was basically a second coming of the Great American Novel, and anyone who doesn’t realize that is a literary embarrassment who wouldn’t know a good TV show if he was lucky enough to star it in. So, stop dissing it, Chace. Oh, and happy birthday. XOXO.