Gossip Girl: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (19 Sep. 2007)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Romance
7.3
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At a privileged prep school for teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the students first learn that Serena van der Woodsen is back in town the way they learn all the important news in their... See full summary »

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Title: Pilot (19 Sep 2007)

Pilot (19 Sep 2007) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nurse (as Kimberly Herbert Gregory)
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Storyline

At a privileged prep school for teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the students first learn that Serena van der Woodsen is back in town the way they learn all the important news in their lives: from the Internet blog of the all-knowing, albeit, ultra-secretive 'Gossip Girl'. No one knows Gossip Girl's identity, but everyone in this exclusive and complicated vicious circle relies on her website and text messages for the latest scoop. Even Serena's closest friend, Blair Waldorf, is surprised to find that Serena has suddenly ended her self-imposed exile from a boarding school in New England and returned to Manhattan for school. Once the Upper East Side's most notorious party girl, Serena's reasons for returning are mysterious, although they may have something to do with her younger brother Eric, who's secretly in the hospital following a suicide attempt which is kept under wraps by their overprotective mother Lily. Whatever the reasons, the change in Serena is obvious, especially to ... Written by CW TV

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Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

19 September 2007 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Trivia

This is the only episode so far in the series that Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald ride a public bus to school, unlike the usual private limo ride. See more »

Goofs

Why is Chuck and Nate going to school on a city bus. Chuck has his own driver through out the show. See more »

Quotes

Gossip Girl: [voice-over] Gossip Girl here. Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite.
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Connections

References The Invisible Man (1933) See more »

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Photograph
(uncredited)
by Air
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User Reviews

 
Welcome to the Upper East Side
23 January 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

"I don't read Gossip Girl. It's for chicks" says one of the show's leading characters (a boy, obviously) at one point in the first episode. It might be an ironic reference to the program's source material, a successful series of books that qualify as "chick lit", hence making the small-screen transition (originally pitched as a movie starring Lindsay Lohan; wonder why...) a potential marketing problem. Then again, having a male writer, not to mention the man who created The O.C., aka Josh Schwartz, as one of the two show-runners (the other one is Stephanie Savage, who also worked on Schwartz's most famous creation) solved that problem elegantly. Whether the series can live long enough remains to be seen (The O.C. started losing steam after just one season), but the first 18 episodes suggest it has a lot to be recommended for.

The series takes its name from the eponymous, mysterious woman who runs a highly popular blog on the Internet, which allows the rich, spoiled teenagers of New York's Upper East Side to know everything about everyone. This all-knowing person remains unseen - all we hear is a voice-over (done by an uncredited Kristen Bell, aka Veronica Mars) that acts as our guide in this world of greed and deception. Her news of the day? Former party queen Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively) is back from a self-imposed exile at a boarding school in New England. Her alleged best friend, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), greets her return with unexpected coldness, something that the scheming, horny Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) is happy about since he's aware of a dirty little secret involving Serena and Blair's boyfriend Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford). In a less glamorous part of town, Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) and his sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen) strive for better friends, which works out pretty well for Dan once he meets Serena (Jenny is stuck with Blair, unfortunately). And why shouldn't he be that lucky? After all, his dad Rufus (Matthew Settle) appears to have a past with Serena's mother Lily (Kelly Rutherford).

Following the example set by The O.C. and taking things up several notches, Gossip Girl is an opulent slide-show of teen drama clichés, all depicted with a gleeful self-awareness that gives the show its true narrative meat: the plotting is basic at best (we've seen this stuff a million times before) but like the equally smart (and a tad superior) Desperate Housewives, the soap opera aspects are handled with a postmodern mixture of seriousness and irony. And let's face it, it's just too damn much fun watching those obscenely wealthy youngsters hatching conspiracies against each other.

The other key ingredient (aside from a killer soundtrack, that is) is casting: none of the main young actors were well known prior to appearing on the show (something that applies to most teen dramas), a fact which helps when it comes to seeing them as those people and not, say, some former child star doing a self-parody (perhaps the Lindsay Lohan idea was best left in a corner, then). Also, just like in The O.C. and pretty much any good teen-centric series of the last decade, the adult thespians (mainly two: Settle and Rutherford) do more than just sit in the background. Besides, Rutherford's casting isn't merely a good choice, it's also a cunning nod to her most famous TV role, that as Megan Lewis in Melrose Place. And of course, Bell's uncredited voice is perfect.

What may have looked like just another teen show at first is actually a pretty smart achievement, and for a good reason: it knows about its conceptual weaknesses and makes fun of them in a loving way. The American television way.


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