Monday, April 21, 2008

Hyperbole, Thy Name Is New York Magazine

As anyone with eyes knows (due to the media commercial onslaught which launched in recent weeks), Gossip Girl returns with all new episodes starting tonight on The CW after being off the air for far too many months due to that heinous Writer's Strike that pretty much ruined this TV season (despite the fact that a few shows have managed to roll with the punches and have made the most of the situation). Seemingly overnight (well actually, not overnight but since the show aired its last new episode), Gossip Girl has turned into a huge sensation. I don't recall the show being quite this popular when it was airing last Fall but suddenly, it has become (to quote New York magazine) the Best.Show.Ever. Here is the cover of the new issue of New York magazine which features the white pajama-clad principal Gossip Girl cast and a few photos from the coverstory (titled The Genius of Gossip Girl) that rambles on and on and on (page after page after page) about how Gossip Girl is now suddenly the most important thing that has ever graced the television screen ... like, EVER:

The coverstory begins with a cute little narrative about how young girl fans of Gossip Girl have been going apeshizz over the filming of new eps of the show all over Manhattan and how the writers of the story identify with those young fans ... then the article goes on to explain just exactly why the show is worthy of this devotion and makes the case for its "geniusness":

[T]here should be no shame in a love of Gossip Girl. After all, it is (and we have come to this conclusion honestly) the most awesomely awesome show ever. And so on the eve of the show's return from writers'-strike limbo, we are here to give you the six best reasons you should openly love Gossip Girl, even if you’ve never seen it before. Why waste so much time writing about something so insipid? Because, dear readers, it's not.

And here are the 6 best reasons to openly love Gossip Girl, according to New York magazine:

Reason No. 1 Because 'Gossip Girl' is the Greatest Teen Drama of All Time. Reason No. 2 Because offscreen, the drama continues. Reason No. 3 Because 'Gossip Girl' is changing the very model of a successful TV show. Reason No. 4 Because of Blake and Leighton. Reason No. 5 Because there may really be a Gossip Girl. Reason No. 6 Because, against all odds, it offers profound social commentary.

At least the magazine offers up a substantial case for their argument, as I said, the article is a very long one. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Gossip Girl and I am among the throngs of eager folks waiting in anticipation of the new eps which start airing tonight but I'm afraid this bit of over-exaggeration just does nothing for me. To proclaim the show "genius" is taking things a bit far but to make the bold statement right on the cover page that it is the Best.Show.Ever. with all seriousness is just too much. It's a good show, it may be better than most but IMHO it is by far from the best show ever ... it's not even the best teen show ever. While GG is very contemporary and it really highlights all the things about teenage culture that are so popular right now (technology, blogging, high fashion), I fail to see how it is at all revolutionary. Had the iPhone been around during the days of Brenda Walsh and Dylan McKay's reign, you better believe Brenda would've been txting death threats to Kelly Taylor that she better stay away from Dylan "or else" by way of her touch-screen keypad (while Donna Martin blogs away the lonely nights about how her chastity is killing her relationship with David Silver). For me, over-reaching hype like this ridiculous fawning by New York magazine is the surest first step towards killing a fun show like Gossip Girl. Yes, it may help promote the show in the long run but as soon as you tell teenagers what is the "cool" thing they immediately become uninterested and end up proving you wrong ... just because they can. If Gossip Girl is going to be successful (and it very well may be hugely successful), it's not going to be because of platitudes like this from NY mag ... as long as the show keeps giving the teen angst, the sexy hook-ups and the fabulous bitchiness (just like all teenage dramas have been doing for years), it'll remain a very popular TV show ... for about as long as it takes for the next Best.Show.Ever. to come along. Even the reign of Beverly Hills, 90210 (arguably the most successful teenage drama of all time) came to an end eventually ... my only hope is that we're not forced to have to follow the GG kids to college and beyond -- that would most likely make it the [Source]