Gossip Girl casts itself as “your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite” in the show’s intro, but fails to mention the integral roles of the back-stabbing vampires that are Dan and Jenny Humphrey.
To begin, Dan is constantly casting himself as an outsider abruptly shoved into the fast-paced and socially demanding atmosphere of a New York City prep school. As the show begins, the audience can empathize with Dan—he’s unfairly ostracized because he comes from a substantially less affluent background than most of his counterparts on the show. However, Dan’s tortured-genius-woe-is-me attitude dwindles relatively quickly as the show develops; the aspiring writer continues to paint himself as a victim despite the fact that he actively attempts to bring down his schoolmates.
While Dan wallows in self-pity, Jenny prefers to channel her outcast status into being outright malevolent towards other characters. Jenny earns the same initial pity, but quickly tosses herself into a fit of teenage angst. Accompanied by excessive eyeliner and a bad-girl demeanor, Jenny continually makes decisions that further ostracize herself from both New York high society and her family.
The Humphrey family is interesting in that they have few, if any, redeeming qualities. Despite having a relatively troubled background, the characters lack the depth and development that makes Gossip Girl such a spectacular show to watch; as the show continues and the rest of the characters grow up, this brother-sister duo continues to make predictably bad decisions.
There are very few characters I find more interesting than Chuck Bass. From the monster that was widely hated for his deplorable actions in the first season, to a sophisticated, but still calculating, man that we see in later seasons, it’s safe to say that when the “old” Chuck and the “new” Chuck are compared side by side, they could very well be two different characters.
There are many reasons that make Chuck one of the most hated characters in the first season. The most notable moments are when he attempted to blackmail Serena about her past, and when he deplorably tried to assault Jenny. These qualities are unacceptable and are great reasons to despise Chuck.
As the series progresses, the Chuck we see changes slowly, but drastically. His maturation, coupled with the death of his father, morphs his character into a more somber, reserved, and introspective man. We still see his more immature side from time to time, but in a much more subtle and nuanced way. Along with the change in personality came some very quotable lines, such as “There’s a difference between a great love and the right love,” or “You were looking for a fairy tale ending. Next time, rent a movie. Leave me out of it.” These exemplify Chuck’s newfound qualities, the same qualities that won over fans in the later seasons.
By no means did Chuck become a role model, but it’s definitely interesting to see the character development that occurs throughout the series. Chuck becomes a direct foil for himself, and ultimately becomes one of the most wholesome characters on the show.