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Based on the young adult book series, "Gossip Girl" by Cecily von Ziegesar the TV show ran for six full seasons produced for The CW network under the leadership of former "The O.C." showrunner Josh Schwartz. The show came to an end in 2006 with the revelation f who was the omnipotent narrator who had divulged the lives of the young, rich, and fabulous young people of the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The series opens with the return of Serena van der Woodsen returning to Manhattan after spending the previous year at a boarding school. The reasons behind her sudden departure were never fully explained and made all the more intriguing by the unhappiness of her former best friend, Blair at her return. The mysterious Gossip Girl blog reveals the details of the return of Serena and her ongoing feud with Blair which angers both and gives them a reason to reunite.
Serena is concerned by the motives of Blair when she invites her to a party she is throwing and tries to find a way to avoid the event she feels may be a social problem. Dan, an outsider to the group of young and rich kids of Manhattan has a long-standing crush on Serena and takes the opportunity to ask her out when he returns her phone. taking the opportunity to avoid the party thrown by Blair, Serena agrees to the date which includes a trip to see Dan's father's band play a concert. While Serena and Dan are growing closer during their date, Dan receives a call from his younger sister asking for help.
Dan and Serena burst into the party thrown by Blair and cause a ruckus when Dan eventually finds his sister, Jenny trapped on a rooftop with Chuck. It appears Jenny is about to be sexually assaulted by Chuck when Dan and Serena arrive and Dan punches the would-be attackers. The return to the Manhattan part scene of Serena comes with the added news of the attack by Chuck before the three leave the party hand-in-hand.
After the events of the previous night, Serena is seen making her way to a psychiatric institution where her suicidal younger brother, Eric is being held. The plight of Eric seems to be the reason for the sudden arrival of Serena back in New York. News of the fight between Dan and Chuck makes its way around Manhattan promoting the affair between Dan's father and Serena's mother to come to light long after it had been classed as over.
The omnipresent "Gossip Girl" leads the viewer through the action in each episode with the characters often discussing who could be airing their dirty laundry on such a public forum. The series takes many twists and turns as the various characters lives intertwine over the course of six seasons and the identity f the "Gossip Girl" remains a mystery.
Showrunner Josh Schwartz was seen as the guiding light behind the series when it was announced he would be taking control of the series from its first season. The creator of "The O.C." had become the youngest showrunner in history at the age of 26 when his first show aired on Fox in 2003. His work on "Gossip Girl" gave him the opportunity to pitch ideas to executives at The CW which led to the Rachel Bilson vehicle, "Hart of Dixie" and his promotion to showrunner on "The Carrie Diaries" prequel to "Sex and the City."
The role of Serena van der Woodsen is undoubtedly the one for which Blake Lively is best known after she took the role following her first breakout performance in "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants." Lively remained with "Gossip Girl" throughout its six-season run before returning to feature films with "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2." Other popular roles undertaken by Blake Lively include her performance in "The Shallows" and "A Simple Favor."
Alongside Blake Lively, the role of Blair in "Gossip Girl is taken by Leighton Meester who had been a guest star in many shows before arriving in "Gossip Girl." Meester had ap[peared in shows such as "Law & Order" before deciding to concentrate on her soft rock music career. After appearing in the critically-mauled "That's My Boy" with Adam Sandler, Meester took a series of critically-acclaimed roles on Broadway in "Of Mice and Men" and on film.
Alongside the mystery of the identity of "Gossip Girl," the show became known for its extensive location work completed in New York City. The show has become famous for featuring some of the most exclusive restaurants in New York and for featuring many impressive locations, such as the Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University. The use of real-life locations was highlighted by the Paris plots of later seasons which saw the cast relocate to the French capital for filming. Among the team of directors used by the showrunner, Josh Schwartz is J. Miller Tobin who worked on the critically-acclaimed "Oz" earlier in his career. Produced for The CW network, the series was the fifth most watched across all streaming platforms after it was released on Hulu and has been broadcast in more than 100 countries around the world.
The critical reception of "Gossip Girl" was largely positive with many critics declaring it was a show to dip in and out of rather than must-see TV. The Rotten Tomatoes online review website gives the show a rating of 84 percent while Metacritic gives a rating of just over 50 percent. Many fans of the books were unhappy with the lack of similarities between the latter half of the first season and the novels with the gaps between the two widening as the show progressed. The sith and final season was commissioned in 2012 to successfully bring the various plot points and story arcs to a conclusion.
"Gossip Girl" could have had a very different outcome had the initial idea for a movie come to fruition starring Lindsay Lohan. The idea was eventually shelved following Lohan's various troubles leading to Josh Schwarz taking the role of showrunner and turning it into a popular primetime soap opera. Stars Blake Lively and Penn Badgley had both found it tough to be cast in starring roles before getting their breaks in "Gossip Girl." Badgley has been open in his criticism of the show and the entertainment industry. Blake Lively owes her success to the fans of the show who were used internet message boards to call for her to play Serena following her role in "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants" which saved her from quitting the industry altogether.