Monday, September 13, 2010

Heading Uptown

Magnet # 341: Upper East Side Subway Sign

Material: Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By: Mom & Dad

Okay, I might not be so fond of the end perhaps my favorite season, Summer, but the return of Fall does have at least one benefit - new episodes of my favorite scripted shows! Yes, I know there's short summer television seasons, but I tend to like these shows much better, if only because I get 22 episodes out of them. And, for me, it all kicks off tonight, with the premiere of Gossip Girl on the CW. Yeah, I know, you're probably wondering why on Earth I'd like a show with such a silly title. Well, it is a guilty pleasure for me, and I hadn't intended to talk about it here. But then, my folks called me during a recent trip to New York City from a souvenir shop. They'd found subway destination magnets, and the only one I could really imagine using on here was this one with the Upper East Side. It's the most expensive part of the city, with real estate that ranks among the highest in the world, and it's also where the show is set and filmed. So, given that this is a pretty appropriate magnet, here goes my explanation on why Gossip Girl is worth checking out.

Gossip Girl is based on characters and plots from a best-selling young adult book series of the same name. Gossip Girl is also the alias for an unseen, unknown web blogger who exposes the private lives and secrets of a group of privileged Manhattan teens. On the show, she's the narrator and is voiced by actress Kristen Bell. And the teens whose activities she follows are, of course, very attractive and engage in all sorts of scandalous behavior. Admittedly, this kind of show isn't usually what I go for - I tend to prefer ones that mix the supernatural, spy games, or solving crimes in with the human drama, like Medium, Chuck, and Bones. But I ended up getting hooked by Gossip Girl nonetheless. Part of why I gave it a try is that Josh Schwartz is one of the executive producers of the series. Not only has he done a great job making Chuck one of the most enjoyable shows on television, he also made another teen drama, The O.C., really great - at least for the first couple seasons. He has quite the talent for combining great characters, interesting storylines, humor, and drama. I have yet to be disappointed by his work, so I'll give whatever he comes out with a try. Also, the show wasn't just about the teen Manhattan elite. It also introduced the character of Dan Humphrey, an intelligent Brooklyn outsider who has a certain amount of scorn for them, but also ends up falling for one of their most privileged members, Serena van der Woodsen. Their initial romance really got me interested in the show, and the rest of the characters and storylines kept me coming back.

Even though Gossip Girl is not among my favorite television shows, it's still fun to tune in and see what sort of trouble these teens have gotten themselves into. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it, but if my recap of the series has piqued your interest, you might like it, too. But be warned - this show pushes the envelope, and it's proud of it. Even though it's intended for teens, I'm not sure I'd let one watch it. This season, the fourth so far, kicks off in Paris and it looks like there's hope for Dan and Serena again, who've been broken up for awhile. And given that it films on location, I might consider doing a tour of where it's shot if I'm ever in New York City again - plenty of entrepreneurial individuals now offer those to tourists. But I'm betting, fitting as this magnet may be, the New York subway system is not among the destinations - most of these characters are way too rich to be caught dead on it!

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