Thursday, 16 August 2018

Now streaming: “Gossip Girl” worth watching for the music

Now streaming: “Gossip Girl” worth watching for the music
08 Jun

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“Gossip Girl” is the primetime drama that aired from 2007 until 2012 on The CW. It was hailed by at least one person as the “Sex in the City” for a younger generation. Which isn’t accurate, as “Sex in the City” was supposed to be a comedy. “Gossip Girl,” no so much. “Gossip Girl” was somewhat plagued by inaccurate descriptions. One of the bright spots of the show is that it often featured good examples of up-to-the-minute music, and more than a few references to more vintage performers (Morrissey) that made it worth watching for context.

“Gossip Girl” continues to stream on Netflix. It has been there for a while, and its staying power might be related to its popularity. After all, there have been Netflix originals that haven’t lasted as long.

One of the coolest songs to grace the “Gossip Girl” soundtrack is “Bitch” by the Plastiscines.

Like a number of New York shows, “Gossip Girl” was criticized for presenting an unrealistic look at New York and super rich teenagers. One point of contention is the lack of people of color. There is a tendency on the part of some show creators to make New York look as if it has the racial homogeneity of extreme northeast Indiana. Having been in both places, I can attest that the two are nothing alike.

Then there was all the sex. Yes, we know that teenagers sometimes have sex. But so often and with zero consequences? Eventually there were pregnancy scares and std rumors, but ultimately nothing. A joke was made by Vanessa about having to get an std panel after sleeping with show bad boy Chuck Bass (played by Ed Westwick). And mostly that was it. If television shows are to be believed, diseases and consequences are for poor people.

In order to have all the sex, the teens have to be unsupervised. It seems that parents show up to make matters worse or to chide the teens for behaving in ways that they have actually been groomed to behave.

Also, the very rich teens go to bars. And in at least one case, they buy them, and hotels.

I get it. It is television. Reality is blurred or eschewed for the sake of a scene or storyline. The criticism of “Gossip Girl” doesn’t stop it from being a binge-worthy show.

There is something fascinating about watching private school girls vie for power. Or, dates for a cotillion. When the mean girl leaders at other schools are likened to the five mafia families by the show’s onscreen narrator, it is seems apt. As does the song used for the moment when a new Queen Bee has been seemingly bested.  That song is “Bitch” by the Plastiscines.

The French all-girl band revels in not being good. The song doesn’t so much detail what makes the narrator a bitch, as to describe the points in the day when she is. Thus, if someone is a bitch when she brushes her teeth, or even when she sings a song about being a bitch, listeners get the point – – it’s inherent.

The song itself is catchy in all the right ways. A heavy, yet watery bassline winds through the song and serves as its dark emotional center. There are pop elements and, including some serious tambourine banging that make the song danceable. Being a shallow teenager never sounded so good.

“Gossip Girl” also showcases onscreen performances of bands like Sonic Youth and performers like Lady Gaga.

More than likely, the show will stream throughout the summer. It is the perfect opportunity to see what you missed and hear some songs that might have otherwise escaped your notice.


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