Richard Kensington Defends His Love of Gossip Girl, September 2012

Ambassadors of Culture

Ambassadors of Culture

Dear Todd,

Far be it for me to impugn your normally impeccable taste in culture. You were, after all, the man who finally convinced me of the merits of David O. Russell’s work. But I have to say you’ve missed the mark with your off-the-cuff dismissal of what I believe to be the most important show currently on television: Gossip Girl. Far from being “a tasteless pseudo-intellectual exercise in soapery so brazen it could make Susan Lucci blush,” the show is actually a brilliantly deep political and social satire on par with anything in media today, Jon Stewart and Armando Iannucci included.

Take, for example, the season 3 story line where Scott, Lily and Rufus’ child previously believed to be dead, returns owing to the machinations of Georgina (who here plays an expy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel). His arrival, during a tiff between the couple, mirrors almost exactly the situation between Israel, Iran, and Iraq during the dust-up in Egypt. The role of Serena, clearly meant to stand in for the Egyptian military, is a subtle but clear jab at the American stance.

Speaking of America, the relationship between Chuck and Blair is most definitely not “the same sort of will-they-won’t they flippancy that has blighted this nation’s television screens since the interminable Sam and Diane.” In fact, Gossip Girl has created in them a near picture-perfect satire of the sometimes frosty relationship between the United States and Putin’s Russia. Their affinity for roleplaying in a sexual context perfectly skewers the machinations of these two great powers.

Finally, the show’s omnipresent narrator is in no way “just a ridiculous bookend for those with short attention spans.” In fact, Gossip Girl represents our sometimes troublesome relationship with new media and the death of the newspaper. That you missed such an obvious reference is troubling. How is your therapy going?


Richard Kensington

Princeton ’05


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