Gossip Girl (season 1)
The first season of the American teen drama television series Gossip Girl premiered on The CW on September 19, 2007, and concluded on May 19, 2008, consisting of 18 episodes. Based on the novel series of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar, the series was developed for television by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. It tells the story of Serena van der Woodsen's return to Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York City following her mysterious disappearance to boarding school in Connecticut, while being watched by gossip website Gossip Girl.
|Gossip Girl (season 1)|
DVD cover art
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Original network||The CW|
|Original release||September 19, 2007 –|
May 19, 2008
The first 13 episodes of Gossip Girl aired in the United States on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on The CW, a terrestrial television network. With the exception of the 12th episode "School Lies", the first 13 episodes aired on the CTV Television Network in Canada one day prior to their US airdate. Following the 100-day writers strike, the remainder of the season aired on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. The season was released on DVD as a five-disc box set under the title of Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season on August 19, 2008, by Warner Home Video. The pilot episode was made available as a free download registered users of the US iTunes Store prior to its premiere on television. Subsequent episodes became available to purchase following their original airing.
The return of "it girl" Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) to the Upper East Side serves as the first season's focal point. Shrouded in mystery and scandal, Serena's disappearance and sudden return are announced by the omniscient blogger Gossip Girl. The news reaches Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) whose life is torn apart when the secret behind Serena's leaving is revealed: Serena was seduced by Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), the Golden Boy of the Upper East Side and Blair's boyfriend, the night she left town. Nate announces his feelings for Serena a number of times and a series of battles ensue between the former Queen Bee Serena and her heir, Blair. However, the rift resolves in reconciliation between the two and temporary peace follows. Meanwhile, siblings Dan (Penn Badgley) and Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), Brooklyn residents, are attracted by the opulent wealth of their classmates. Young Jenny becomes a cunning protégée to Blair while Dan enters a relationship with Serena. It is revealed that their relationship resembles the one between Dan's father Rufus (Matthew Settle) and Serena's mother Lily (Kelly Rutherford) in their youth.
As a subplot, Blair and Nate suffer problems in their relationship when the dangerously seductive Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) conquers Blair's fragile heart. The manipulative Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) arrives, creating a lot of trouble and revealing the real reason behind Serena's disappearance: a death Serena thought she was responsible for. When Georgina arrives on the Upper East Side she poses as a naive woman named Sarah in order to destroy Serena's newfound happiness. She succeeds in exposing Serena's deep-hidden secrets, taking Dan away from her and outing Serena's brother as gay. At the same time, Blair falls for Chuck, but as a price they both lose Nate. Not able to withstand the vulnerability a love relationship demands, Chuck leaves Blair.
In the midst of all these events, Dan greets Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr) back to his life. Vanessa is a childhood friend of his and an outsider herself. She threatens his feelings for Serena, until he realizes the real love he has for her. At the end of the season, the Upper East Siders team up to banish Georgina from New York. Serena then leaves with Nate to the Hamptons, while Chuck abandons a heartbroken Blair. Dan reconciles with Vanessa and returns to his old life in Brooklyn. A disgraced Jenny departs Blair's clique and earns an internship as a fashion designer in a company owned by Blair's mother.
Cast and charactersEdit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"Pilot"||Mark Piznarski||Teleplay by: Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage||September 19, 2007||3.50|
|The privileged prep school teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side first learn that Serena van der Woodsen is back in town the way they learn all the important news in their lives—from the blog of the all-knowing albeit ultra-secretive Gossip Girl. No one knows Gossip Girl's identity, but everyone in this exclusive and complicated vicious circle relies on her website and text messages for the latest scoop. Even Serena's closest friend, Blair Waldorf, is surprised to find that Serena has suddenly ended her self-imposed exile to boarding school and returned to Manhattan. Once the Upper East Side's most notorious party girl, Serena's reasons for returning are mysterious, although they may have something to do with her younger brother Eric. Whatever the reasons, the change in Serena is obvious, especially to Blair, whose friendship with Serena has always been competitive and difficult.|
|2||2||"The Wild Brunch"||Mark Piznarski||Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage||September 26, 2007||2.48|
In the wake of the scandalous Kiss on the Lips party, Serena receives an ice-cold reception from her best friend Blair, who reveals that she knows Serena slept with her boyfriend, Nate, before mysteriously running off to boarding school. As if it could not get any chillier, Serena decides to take Dan to archenemy Chuck's fundraiser brunch at The Palace, and Jenny seeks advice from Blair, who realizes she may have something to gain by allowing Jenny into her inner circle.
Title reference: The 1969 film The Wild Bunch.
|3||3||"Poison Ivy"||J. Miller Tobin||Felicia D. Henderson||October 3, 2007||2.75|
As the Upper East Side teens from Constance Billard and St. Jude's prepare for a much-anticipated visit from the Ivy League representatives, Blair and Chuck uncover a scandalous secret about Serena that may not remain a secret much longer. Dan has his heart and future set on the coveted usher position for the Dartmouth rep, only to be beat out by Nate, who has no interest in the school despite pressure from his controlling father, The Captain. Meanwhile, Jenny bonds with Serena's younger brother, Eric, and Rufus must swallow his pride and ask Lily for a favor to help his son, Dan.
Title reference: The 1992 film Poison Ivy.
|4||4||"Bad News Blair"||Patrick Norris||Joshua Safran||October 10, 2007||2.80|
Blair is thrilled when her mother, Eleanor, chooses her to be the new face of her clothing line. However, Blair's happiness soon turns to feelings of betrayal and jealousy when Serena moves into the spotlight and Blair finds herself back in Serena's shadow. Meanwhile, Serena and Dan are reminded once again that they come from two very different worlds, and Nate and Chuck indulge in a boys' weekend to blow off steam after Ivy Week.
Absent: Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey.Title reference: The 1976 film The Bad News Bears.
|5||5||"Dare Devil"||Jamie Babbit||Lenn K. Rosenfeld||October 17, 2007||2.41|
Dan makes elaborate plans to impress Serena on their first official date. The same night, Jenny is invited to the infamous Blair Waldorf sleepover and finds herself in a high-stakes game of "truth or dare". Meanwhile, when Lily discovers that Eric is missing from his treatment center, she finds herself seeking help from her ex-boyfriend, Rufus.
|6||6||"The Handmaiden's Tale"||Norman Buckley||Jessica Queller||October 24, 2007||2.54|
Dan is torn between two girls when his childhood friend, Vanessa, returns home and declares her feelings for him, just as he and Serena are trying to figure out what they mean to each other. At the infamous masked ball, Blair sends Nate on a scavenger hunt, but Nate is ultimately still distracted by his feelings for Serena. Although Blair makes it perfectly clear that outsiders are not welcome, a disguised Jenny and Dan sneak into the ball. Finally, Lily asks Rufus to accompany her to an Eleanor Waldorf event in order to make Bart Bass jealous.
The Handmaid's Tale.
|7||7||"Victor, Victrola"||Tony Wharmby||K.J. Steinberg||November 7, 2007||2.52|
After surviving the on-again/off-again nature of their new relationship, Serena and Dan finally acknowledge they are crazy about each other, despite their polar opposite worlds that constantly threaten to pull them apart. Chuck contemplates investing in a burlesque club in the hopes of making his hard-to-please father, Bart, proud of him. Nate confronts his father, The Captain, about the drugs he found in the house, but his father denies having a problem. Jenny discovers a secret her father, Rufus, and mother, Alison, have been keeping from her. Serena and Dan sleep together for the first time. Finally, Blair is once again devastated by Nate's actions after Jenny reveals that Nate kissed her by accident thinking she was Serena. Blair has sex with Chuck, Nate's best friend.
Title reference: The 1982 film Victor Victoria.
|8||8||"Seventeen Candles"||Lee Shallat-Chemel||Teleplay by: Joshua Safran & Felicia D. Henderson|
Story by: Felicia D. Henderson
|November 14, 2007||2.95|
Devastated by the current state of her relationship with Nate and still dealing with the guilt from her recent indiscretion, Blair puts on a happy face for her 17th birthday party and attempts to hide the truth from her friends. Hoping to ease the tension between Serena and Vanessa, Dan takes Vanessa to Blair's party so the girls can have some bonding time, but this only ends up making Serena more uncomfortable. Jenny brings her mother (Susan Misner) home for a surprise visit, but Rufus may not be ready to forgive and forget. Nate's parents (Sam Robards and Francie Swift) ask him to make a huge sacrifice in an effort to salvage his father's business as he faces charges of embezzlement and fraud.
Title reference: The 1984 film Sixteen Candles.
|9||9||"Blair Waldorf Must Pie!"||Mark Piznarski||Teleplay by: Jessica Queller & K.J. Steinberg|
Story by: Lenn K. Rosenfeld
|November 28, 2007||2.93|
When Dan hears that Serena and her family are spending Thanksgiving alone at The Palace, he naively invites them to spend the holiday with his family, creating an uncomfortable situation for Rufus and Lily whose children are unaware of their complicated romantic history. Meanwhile, Blair's emotions spiral out of control when she learns that her father is not coming home for Thanksgiving. It is hinted that Blair is bulimic. Nate spends the holiday with his mom and dad, but their awkward dinner quickly goes from bad to worse.
Absent: Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass.Title reference: The 2006 film John Tucker Must Die.
|10||10||"Hi, Society"||Patrick Norris||Joshua Safran||December 5, 2007||2.44|
Serena's plan on not attending the annual Cotillion Ball is sidetracked when her grandmother CeCe persuades her to attend; Nate sees Blair's new buoyant attitude and entrusts Chuck to find out the reason, in which Chuck tells Nate that she is having an affair with St. Jude's alumni, Carter Baizen (Sebastian Stan), creating drama at the Ball. Blair finds out Chuck did this for personal gain and ends their affair, returning to Nate once more and consummating her love to him during a passionate night. Meanwhile, Jenny attends the ball despite it being on the same night as Alison's art gallery opening.
Title reference: The 1956 film High Society.
|11||11||"Roman Holiday"||Michael Fields||Jessica Queller||December 19, 2007||1.81|
When Blair's father, Harold, comes home for the holidays with an unexpected guest—his boyfriend, Roman (William Abadie). Blair finds it difficult to hide her disappointment and hatches a plan to get rid of Roman for good. Jenny and Vanessa help Serena plan the best Christmas surprise ever for Dan, who may have a surprise of his own in mind for Serena. Chuck texts Blair that Nate has joined him in Monaco, worrying Blair that Chuck may disclose the details of their hook-up. Rufus refuses to remain the understanding husband any longer after Alison's former lover calls the house. Serena creates a Winter Wonderland for Dan and he gives her a love letter, they sleep together again and go back to their families for Christmas morning.
Absent: Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass and Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald.Title reference: The 1953 film Roman Holiday.
|12||12||"School Lies"||Tony Wharmby||Lenn K. Rosenfeld||January 2, 2008||2.19|
Serena, Blair, Nate, Chuck and their entourage break into the school swimming pool for a night of fun, but when a member of their group nearly drowns, the school threatens to expel the person responsible for the break-in. Everyone agrees to keep a secret pact and say nothing, but it ultimately creates major tension between Serena and Dan, who isn't sure he's ready to take the fall for someone else and risk his future. Vanessa is working on a documentary project about private schools and accidentally captures Blair and Chuck discussing their affair. Lily contemplates telling Rufus how she really feels about him.
Absent: Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey.Title reference: The 1992 film School Ties.
|13||13||"The Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate"||Norman Buckley||Felicia D. Henderson||January 9, 2008||2.27|
Gossip Girl takes pleasure in reporting that Serena van der Woodsen was spotted buying pregnancy tests. Of course, on the Upper East Side, the truth is often even juicier and more scandalous than the gossip, and this time is no exception.
Title reference: The 1996 film A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
|14||14||"The Blair Bitch Project"||J. Miller Tobin||K.J. Steinberg||April 21, 2008||2.50|
Having been recently dethroned as "Queen Bee", Blair hesitantly returns to school with the support of her BFF, Serena. Meanwhile, Serena struggles to adjust to her new living arrangements with her future step-brother, Chuck, while receiving disturbing packages from an unknown sender. Jenny needs something to wear to her birthday party and her drive to be popular hits an all-new time high when she does something illegal to fit in with her new Upper East Side friends.
Note: From this episode on, Szohr (Vanessa) is added to the main cast and is credited in the opening titles.Title reference: The 1999 film The Blair Witch Project.
|15||15||"Desperately Seeking Serena"||Michael Fields||Felicia D. Henderson||April 28, 2008||2.53|
Serena's Upper East Side world is turned upside down when her former partner in all things bad, Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg), returns to Manhattan to stir up trouble and Serena's past. When Dan notices that Serena seems preoccupied, he jumps to the conclusion that it must have something to do with Serena's new roomie and soon-to-be step-brother, Chuck. Nate finds romance with the last person he was expecting to connect with, Vanessa. Jenny meets a new guy, Asher Hornsby, who just might be her ticket to permanent popularity. Finally, Blair hatches a secret plan to sabotage her biggest rival, Nelly Yuki (Yin Chang).
Title reference: The 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan.
|16||16||"All About My Brother"||Janice Cooke||Paul Sciarrotta||May 5, 2008||2.12|
Georgina informs Serena that she is prepared to reveal damaging information from Serena's past, but no one is prepared for what Georgina does next. Blair and Jenny escalate their "popularity war" by spreading scandalous rumors about each other through Gossip Girl. Dan witnesses Jenny's new boyfriend, Asher, cheating with another boy who we find out to be Eric, Serena's brother, but Jenny refuses to listen to her brother's warning. Rufus goes to Lily for advice on how to handle Jenny's recent out-of-character behavior.
Absent: Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass and Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald.Title reference: The 1999 film All About My Mother.
|17||17||"Woman on the Verge"||Tony Wharmby||Joshua Safran||May 12, 2008||2.71|
As a result of Georgina revealing the true reason that Serena fled Manhattan for boarding school, Serena falls back into her old habits and Blair, Nate and Chuck must put their complicated feelings for each other aside to help their friend. Unfortunately, Serena is too ashamed to share the truth with Dan, leaving him only to assume the worst about his girlfriend. Rufus is thrilled when his band is invited to perform at a Rolling Stone-sponsored concert, but Lily is the last person on earth he expects to see at the performance, especially since her wedding rehearsal dinner is the same night.
Absent: Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey.Title reference: The 1988 film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
|18||18||"Much 'I Do' About Nothing"||Norman Buckley||Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage||May 19, 2008||3.00|
With her best friend Serena's life and reputation on the line, Blair decides to take matters into her own hands in dealing with the manipulative and evil Georgina Sparks. With Rufus never far from her thoughts, Lily prepares for her wedding day which is destined to be the Upper East Side's social event of the year. Serena finally pours out her heart and the truth about her past to Dan, but will it prove to be too late to save their relationship? And Chuck admits his feelings for Blair to Nate, allowing the two of them to mend their friendship. Heiress and model Lydia Hearst guest stars in the episode as Amelia, Lily's interior decorator.
Title reference: William Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing, also a 1993 film, Much Ado About Nothing.
The initial season had nine major roles receive star billing. Blake Lively portrayed initial protagonist Serena van der Woodsen, a former it girl of the Upper East Side, who returns from a mysterious stay at a boarding school in Connecticut, with Kelly Rutherford playing her mother Lily, a multiple-divorced socialite. Leighton Meester played Queen Bee, and the show's eventual protagonist, Blair Waldorf, who is less than happy to see her best friend return. Penn Badgley acted as middle-class outsider Dan Humphrey, with Matthew Settle playing his father Rufus, former rock star turned art dealer, and Taylor Momsen portraying his sister, Jenny, a freshman looking to fit in with the elite crowd at Constance Billiard. Chace Crawford portrayed Blair's boyfriend Nate Archibald, who has a thing for Serena. Ed Westwick played a womanizing player and 'bad boy' Chuck Bass. Originally only a guest star, Jessica Szohr starred as Dan's childhood best friend, Vanessa Abrams. Szohr gained a contract to the main cast list in the fourteenth episode.
Kristen Bell voiced "Gossip Girl", whose gossip commentary blog is widely visited by the youths of the Upper East Side social scene. Numerous supporting characters were given expansive and recurring appearances in the progressive storyline, including Connor Paolo who portrayed Serena's brother, Eric van der Woodsen, who had been placed into a rehab center following a suicide attempt. Margaret Colin acted as Blair's mother, Eleanor Waldorf, a fashion designer. Colin took over from Florencia Lozano who played the role in the pilot episode. Michelle Trachtenberg acts as Georgina Sparks, a girl from Serena's past who returns after escaping rehab in Utah. Sam Robards and Francie Swift portrayed Nate's parents Howard and Anne Archibald. Nicole Fiscella and Nan Zhang acted as Blair's loyal sidekicks Isabel Coates and Kati Farkas. Other members of Blair's clique include Amanda Setton as Penelope Shafai, Dreama Walker as Hazel Williams and Emma Demar as Elise Wells.
Other guest stars in recurring roles include Zuzanna Szadkowski as Blair's maid Dorota Kishlovsky, Robert John Burke as Chuck's father and billionaire Bart Bass, Susie Misner as Rufus' estranged wife Alison Humphrey and John Shea as Blair's father Harold Waldorf, with William Abadie as his partner Roman.
The season was produced by Warner Bros. Television, Alloy Entertainment and College Hill Pictures. The executive producers were creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage with Bob Levy and Leslie Morgenstein. K.J. Steinberg and Felicia D. Henderson served as co-executive producers. Producers include Joe Lazarov and Jessica Queller. The season was produced by Amy Kaufman. Jonathan C. Brody served as co-producer with Joshua Safran as consulting producer.
The staff writers were Schwartz, Savage, Henderson, Safran, Lenn K. Rosenfeld, Queller, Steinberg and Paul Sciarrotta. The regular directors throughout the season were Mark Piznarski, J. Miller Tobin, Patrick Norris, Norman Buckley, Tony Wharmby and Michael Fields.
Due to the show's pedigree as an adaptation of The New York Times bestselling novel series, the show was considered to be one of the more anticipated new shows of the 2007-2008 television season. An August 2007 survey by OTX, a global media research and consulting firm, placed the show on the list of top ten new shows that viewers were aware of. The pilot episode of the season gained 3.50 million viewers on its original airing, having previously been available as a free download on the American iTunes store. As the season progressed, ratings dropped with 2.48 million viewers tuning into the second episode. The eleventh episode marked a season low with only 1.81 million viewers tuning into watch the episode. The show was moved from Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. to its new timeslot Mondays at 8:00 p.m following the end on the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike where the final five episodes of the season were aired. Ratings increased for the season finale, with 3.00 million viewers tuning into the episode. Gossip Girl's digital video recorder ratings were high, increasing the show's profitability and the show had also been in the top five of iTunes sales.
Author Cecily von Ziegesar has expressed support for the show, noting that all of her major plot points were present in the pilot. The second episode in which the characters are shown to be attending a brunch gained some approval from New York magazine, stating that "there's no such thing as 'lunch' on the weekends", "that kids actually do venture outside of their neighborhoods" (since The New York Palace Hotel is in Midtown Manhattan), and "saying you live in Williamsburg makes much more sense... for real-estate emotional conflict", as well as the fact Rihanna is played "in every situation." Gossip Girl was designated the "Best. Show. Ever." in April 2008 by New York magazine. Other positive reviews came from publications Variety and the Boston Globe. John Maynard of The Washington Post felt that creator Josh Schwartz "turns it up a notch" from his former series The O.C., and cited Dan (Penn Badgley) as a standout character. Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle praised the show for its use of "Gossip Girl"'s blog as a new media element noting "there's a chance to tell a story where the Greek chorus essentially has a blog."
The show has come under criticism for containing scenes too risqué for its teen audience. The Parents Television Council (PTC) has shown particular criticism of the series, especially with its "OMFG" ad campaign used towards the end of the season in April 2008. It also named the episode "Victor, Victrola" the worst television program of the week in which the episode originally was broadcast. The Parents Council's negative comments include it being "the most-watched show among girls 12-17 and glamorizes casual sex and drug use among teens. [And that] storylines have featured a would-be teen rapist, threesome among teens, and teenage girls having sex with adults." Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret Morning News noted that the show is milder than a lot of what's shown on MTV, but still warned parents of several scenes in the pilot. He said it includes "among other things, a teenage girl climbing on top of a boy and removing his clothes; drunken teens having sex; teens smoking pot; teens drinking in bars, in a limo and at a party; a teen boy getting amorous with a girl who fights him off; and that same teen boy essentially attempting to rape a freshman girl who is supposed to be, what, 14?".
The DVD release of season one was released by Warner Home Video in the United States on August 19, 2008, after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including a downloadable audiobook, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
|Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|United States||Canada||United Kingdom||Australia|
|August 19, 2008||August 18, 2008||April 15, 2009|
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