You're nobody until you're talked about.
Hey, Upper East Siders, Irina Cummings here. After six years of scandals, scheming, on-and-off relationships, and fabulous outfits, Gossip Girl, the most scandalous, glamorous, and mind-blowingly inappropriate television show of our time, sadly came to an end last week on Monday (December 17). In other words, my life has lost all meaning. I mean, it's the end of a fucking era! I can't even begin to describe what this show means to me; it marked my transition from high school to young adulthood, in a similar way to the characters themselves (okay, minus the wealth). I stuck with it even when it wasn't exactly in its prime during seasons 4 and especially 5. Needless to say I am constantly wishing my life would be just like the series (admit it, you've wished it too at some point). Oh, and the weird "shipping" portmanteaus—Chair, Dair, Derena, Serenate... I'm still not sure which one I should have been rooting for.
|Ignore the asterisk|
I still remember being really excited when it was announced that my favorite novel series would be adapted for television, and even more excited when the series premiered. I'm not sure if many people know this, but Gossip Girl was originally planned as a film with Lindsay Lohan as Blair Waldorf. Yup, you heard me—the one and only LiLo/La Loca was originally slated to star as Blair on the big screen. I mean, can you possibly imagine that? I do admit I'm curious as to how it would have turned out, but honestly, I'm glad it didn't happen. I already regret wasting one hour and a half of my life on that Lifetime shitfest called Liz & Dick.
In my humble opinion, the show certainly defined our generation. No other TV series had depicted New York in such a compelling, magical way since Sex and the City (and maybe Ugly Betty), and I'm positive that no other teen drama will ever be nearly as influential and iconic as Gossip Girl. For starters, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrated the show's 100th episode with a visit to the set earlier this year on January 26, and proclaimed the date Gossip Girl Day! He touted the show's cultural influence and economic impact on the city. There was even a fucking ceremony.
Not enough for you? Well, just so you know, President Obama once namechecked the series. Not a big deal, right?
For more insight into the show, I recommend this great, painstaking New York magazine feature from 2008, aptly titled "The Genius of Gossip Girl."
Aside from the impeccable fashion and the awe-inspiring views of New York, Gossip Girl is also a true musical tastemaker, including songs by both established and lesser-known, up-and-coming artists. With that in mind, I decided to compile a list of my favorite musical moments throughout the series. As an avid fan who had been religiously watching the show since day one, I did my best to describe the scenes in a way that is clear to those who are not familiar with the storylines (believe me, even I get lost sometimes). Enjoy!
Ladyhawke, "Dusk Till Dawn"
"Poison Ivy" (season 1, episode 3)
This song by New Zealand synth-rocker Ladyhawke is played during the Constance Billard–St. Jude's Ivy Week mixer, where the students meet Ivy League representatives with hopes of getting into a coveted Ivy League university. The scene begins with Nate (played my soon-to-be lover Chace Crawford) struggling in his interview with a Dartmouth English Literature professor. Aw, poor thing. On a side note, "Dusk Till Dawn" wasn't officially released until almost a full year after the episode originally aired in October 2007.
"Victor, Victrola" (season 1, episode 7)
Definitely one of the most memorables scene of the show. Wanting to escape after finding out that Nate still has feelings for Serena (she took his virginity the year before while he was with Blair), Blair decides to go to the opening of Chuck's old-timey burlesque club, Victrola, where she takes the stage and performs a striptease to this salacious and very fitting song, blowing everyone's mind—especially Chuck's. Later that night, she loses her own virginity to Chuck in the back of his limo, but that's a different song. You go, baby vamp!
Elliott Smith, "Whatever (Folk Song in C)"
"Victor, Victrola" (season 1, episode 7)
The song plays over a record player after Serena and Dan's first night together. Serena reveals she's scared because nobody has ever looked at her the way Dan just did. Personally, I'm not an Elliott Smith fan, but I know some people who are (I'm looking at you, Brittany).
Kylie Minogue, "Rippin' Up the Disco"
"The Blair Bitch Project" (season 1, episode 14)
I was really surprised when I first heard Kylie Minogue's "Rippin' Up the Disco" on Gossip Girl, considering how relatively obscure this sexy electro-disco number is (it's a bonus track from her 2007 album X). After regaining her former Queen Bee status and her minions from freshman Jenny, Blair invites her clique to a dinner at Butter, an upscale restaurant in NoHo, Manhattan. Jenny, however, decides to fight back and shows up with Nate at Blair's victory party, knowing that one of the minions, Penelope, has a crush on him (don't we all?). Little J's move instantly brings the girls back to her side.
Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH, "Crimewave"
"Desperately Seeking Serena" (season 1, episode 15)
Georgina Sparks, an old friend of reformed party girl Serena and one of the show's most interesting characters, is back in town, much to Serena's dismay. Serena reluctantly agrees to go out with Georgina to catch up over drinks, which turns out to be quite fun at first. Little does Serena know that Georgie's real intentions extend beyond a simple reunion.
(Scene starts at 1:03)
Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"
"The Serena Also Rises" (season 2, episode 5)
My all-time favorite Gaga song can be heard during the final preparations for Blair's mother's runway show at the New York Fashion Week. Blair is not very happy about Serena ditching their tradition of watching the show backstage to sit front row with her new socialite friend, so she decides to sabotage her own mother's show. I think this song would have made a killer runway tune instead. "Poker Face" is just one of three Gaga songs used in this season (which also happens to be my favorite), the other being "Paparazzi" and "Money Honey."
No Doubt, "Stand and Deliver"
"Valley Girls" (season 2, episode 24)
This episode focuses on the teenage years of Serena's mother, Lily, in California in the 1980s, and as such, No Doubt kicked off their 2009 reunion with a very special guest appearance! The SoCal rockers play a fictional band called Snowed Out (yes, a reference to coke), performing the Adam and the Ants classic "Stand and Deliver" in the Sunset Strip club where Lily meets her older sister Carol (played by the ever-fabulous Krysten Ritter) for the first time in a year. The episode also featured several awesome songs from the '80s, including Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" and New Order's "Blue Monday."
(Scene starts at 0:15)
Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"
"The Last Days of Disco Stick" (season 3, episode 10)
It's only natural that Lady Gaga, a true New Yorker and the biggest artist of that year, would make a cameo on the hottest NYC-based show. In order to impress the elitist crowd of the Tisch School of the Arts, Blair finds a way to join their NYU play—a modern-day reimagining of Snow White featuring the music of Tisch alumna Lady Gaga—along with Dan, Vanessa, and Olivia (guest star Hilary Duff, who pretty much butchers "LoveGame" during the play). After pulling some strings, Blair wins over her classmates by taking them to see the electropop queen herself giving a dramatic performance of her smash hit "Bad Romance" in a 35-foot long dress. The original song is also appropriately played at the end of the episode, when Serena kisses Nate's married congressman cousin, Tripp (played by Broadway hottie Aaron Tveit), even after Nate confessed he still loved her. Ugh, I can't believe the bitch had two insanely gorgeous men swooning over her, and not me. Other Gaga songs used in the episode are "Telephone" and the synth-tastic "Dance in the Dark."
The xx, "Crystalised"
"The Hurt Locket" (season 3, episode 13)
Having just become an item, Serena and Nate plan on going to the French ambassador's state dinner on their first official date, but after talking to Dan, Nate decides to uninvite Serena because he wants to take things slow, leading her to ask Damien Dalgaard—a schoolmate from boarding school (and a drug dealer as well)—to be her date to the dinner in order to make Nate jealous. At the dinner, Serena confronts Nate about only wanting her because she is with someone else. Nate insists that he does want to be with her, and explains that he feared things wouldn't work out if they moved too fast. After that, they proceed to make out in the coat closet. Again, why not moi??
Uffie, "Pop the Glock"
"Inglourious Bassterds" (season 3, episode 17)
Nate and Jenny are out having burgers for lunch. It's Nate's birthday, and his girlfriend Serena makes it seem like she forgot it when she's actually planning a surprise party for him. Jenny, who has a thing for him (again, who doesn't?), decides to use this opportunity to spend the day with a dejected Nate and make a move on him. Fun fact: Uffie herself admitted in 2010 that she was totally addicted to the show! Well, we can't blame her.
New Young Pony Club, "Lost a Girl"
"Touch of Eva" (season 4, episode 4)
I really love the dark, bittersweet tone that this post-breakup song carries. Chuck is hosting a charity gala at The Empire Hotel alongside Eva, a French girl who's been his lover since she rescued him after he got shot in a robbery in Prague. Meanwhile, Blair has a big plan to out Eva.
Robyn, "Hang with Me" (Acoustic) and "Dancing on My Own"
"War at the Roses" (season 4, episode 7)
FUCK ME, IT'S ROBYN. The Swedish goddess performs the acoustic version of "Hang with Me" at Blair's 20th birthday party celebration (I'm so jealous, my 20th birthday was comparatively a failure). Later that night, after the party, Chuck goes up to Blair to tell her their peace treaty (which they signed after having been at war since Blair got Eva to break up with Chuck) is over. Following gushy claims of mutual hatred, Chuck tears up the treaty, and the two engage in hot, passionate piano sex as the urgent synth stabs of "Dancing on My Own" kick in majestically. It still gives me chills.
(Because I prefer the official, non-acoustic version)
Florence + the Machine, "Cosmic Love"
"Panic Roommate" (season 4, episode 14)
Good Lord, my vagina can't handle this many awesome musical guest stints. The English indie rock band performs a mesmerizing acoustic rendition of "Cosmic Love" at the W magazine party at The New York Palace Hotel.
Did you know that lead singer Florence Welch and Blake Lively (Serena) are besties in real life?
|Just lezzing it up|
The two met when Blake, a huge Florence fan (like me), went to the band's very first New York gig in October 2009 and brought them pizza at the after show; they've been friends ever since. Florence even performed at Blake's wedding with Ryan Reynolds back in September! I really love this sort of unexpected friendship between famous people.
The Hundred in the Hands, "Pigeons"
"The Jewel of Denial" (season 5, episode 3)
Gossip Girl introduced me to this awesome synthpop/dream pop/post-punk duo from Brooklyn. You guys should totally check their self-titled debut album. "Pigeons" comes on during the Jenny Packham fashion show; Serena's estranged cousin, Charlie, tells Lily that she doesn't want her mother Carol to know she returned to New York—except that Carol is standing right behind her. (What nobody else knew until later that season was that Charlie was actually Ivy Dickens, a struggling actress and con artist hired by Carol to impersonate her daughter in order to gain access to the real Charlie's trust fund). Also, Dan shows up with Blair's paternity test results and insists she gives it a look, after she had torn it up because she doesn't want to find out whether the father of her child is Chuck or Louis.
"The End of the Affair?" (season 5, episode 11)
A few months after Blair and Chuck's tragic car crash, she reveals to Serena the reason why she's been pushing him away since the accident, through a very emotional flashback: Upon learning that she lost her baby and Chuck is in critical condition, Blair goes to the chapel to pray. Right after she promises God that she'll keep her vow to marry Louis and never see Chuck again if he lives, the nurse comes in and tells Blair that Chuck is asking for her. "Just because we can't be together, doesn't mean I won't love you," a heartbroken Blair tells an unconscious Chuck.
MNDR, "U.B.C.L." and "I Go Away"
"Dirty Rotten Scandals" (season 6, episode 3)
"U.B.C.L." serves as the soundtrack for Blair's first Waldorf Designs fashion show, where Sage—the teenage daughter of Serena's boyfriend Steven—is walking the runway. Because Sage doesn't approve of her father's relationship with Serena, she decides to act out by unexpectedly stripping down to her bra and skimpy shorts on the runway, causing a major uproar (her father is in the audience, by the way). The wistful "I Go Away" is played after the show, when Blair and Serena—who are not on good terms for the gazillionth time—blame each other for the Sage fiasco, until Sage herself shows up and reveals it was all her idea. I must say I wasn't really into this Sage girl, she was basically the poor man's Jenny. One of my favorite songs from MNDR's debut album, "Stay," was featured at the end of episode 6, "Where the Vile Things Are."
Ellie Goulding, "Hanging On"
"The Revengers" (season 6, episode 9)
Knowing how much I fucking love Ellie, you can probably imagine how thrilled I was to finally hear one of her songs on my favorite TV show ever. "Hanging On" is played towards the end of the episode: At his apartment, Nate tells his girfriend (yes, another one) Sage that he still has the information to reveal Gossip Girl's identity; Dan goes to Serena's building with something to show her, and upon learning she is leaving for Los Angeles to start afresh, he says he still loves her and tries to convince her to stay, but she doesn't buy it after the scathing exposé he wrote on her. And because she can't keep hanging on... to youuuu aaaaand meeeee.
Florence + the Machine, "You've Got the Love"
The Pretty Reckless, "Kill Me"
"New York, I Love You XOXO" (season 6, episode 10)
"You've Got the Love" is a perfect fit for one of the final scenes of the finale. I won't describe the scene for the sake of those who haven't watched the finale, but if you want, you can choose to watch it below at your own risk.
That song's ethereal harps are soon replaced by the raucous guitar riffs of "Kill Me" by The Pretty Reckless, the hard rock band fronted by Taylor Momsen (who makes a guest appearance as Jenny in the finale, having previously left the show during season 4), as the camera pans over a new generation of teen royalty on the Upper East Side.
Several other favorite artists of mine (Sky Ferreira, Sleigh Bells, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Amy Winehouse, Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Chromatics, Class Actress...) had music featured throughout the series, but the list would have probably turned out too long if I had included them all.
Now I just want to share this mouthwatering GIF of golden boy Nate Archibald:
|This is how I imagine he'll look at me before we rape each other|
Man, I still remember that scene. Oh, yes, I do... I know, I do have a nearly unhealthy obsession with Chace. I don't care if people find Nate boring or whatever, I can't help but cream every time he
Okay, back on topic. It feels very nostalgic to look back on all these memories. I'll definitely miss Gossip Girl. At least I still have 2 Broke Girls to model my life after. Also, here's hoping that the Sex and the City prequel, The Carrie Diaries (which premieres next month on The CW and is from the same producers of Gossip Girl and The O.C.), will fill some of my teen drama void.
Thank you, GG, for inspiring me and making my life a lot less boring all these years.
You know you love me. XOXO.