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#GossipGirl: In Defense of #Dair

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After watching yet another atrocious installment of this season’s Gossip Girl, it dawned on me that for the first time in 5 years, I am enjoying 90210 more than Gossip Girl.  This has NEVER happened before.  Gossip Girl has always been a staple in my TV diet – my necessary weekly foray into a world of Drama, Distress and Debauchery, brought to you by Dior.

I recently rewatched the entire first season of GG, and I had truly forgot how much fun this show used to have.  Not to mention how witty each of its characters were, coming up with my favorite one-liners as “That Mother Chucker” or “He’s such a Basshole.” CHEEKY!  In season 1, social statuses were constantly in upheaval, secrets were exposed by the bucketful, and the audience was captivated with every carefully plotted take-down & clandestine rendezvous.  As the seasons passed, the storylines became even more soapy, or just ridiculous (remember Rufus and Lily’s love child?  You know, the one who was a central plot point and then was never mentioned again?).  But one relationship storyline had fans in a tizzy – the romance between Blair, the Upper East Side Queen, and Dan, the Brooklyn-dwelling, Hemingway-esque outsider.  Since Season 1, the show had been pushing Blair and Chuck as the will-they-or-won’t-they couple, throwing them together and then ripping them apart (both happened almost every episode).  As someone who was thoroughly sick of the “Chair” drama, and a fan of friendship-turing-into-romance (see Joey and Pacey, Dawson’s Creek), I was absolutely thrilled with “Dair” becoming a couple.  I thought it was a smart move by the creators.  And I will tell you why!

Here are 3 GOOD reasons why “Dair” was a fantastic coupling:

#1: Blair and Dan were best friends before they started dating.  In Gossip Girl world, one-night stands are practically mandatory, and relationships bloom and fall apart faster than any of Taylor Swift’s.  But Blair and Dan’s friendship started slowly but slowly became the most consistent relationship on the show.  and grew into the least dramatic relationship on the show.  In one of my favorite episodes from Season 5, appropriately titled Crazy, Cupid, Love, Dan is finally ready to tell Blair that he’s fallen for her.  However, Blair is busy trying to set up Dan and Serena because she believes that is what Dan wants.  Blair corners him, not understanding why he seems so hesitant to go back to his (crazy, train wreck of an) ex.

Blair: Listen, you have nothing to worry about, Dan.  Serena already likes you – you know that!  Look, I’m telling you, just be your charming, wonderful self like you’ve been with me all year.
Dan: You think I’ve been wonderful?
Blair: Are you kidding me? Look at everything we’ve been through together! You kept it a secret when I found out I was pregnant, you shielded me from the world so I could deal with my paternity test and you brought me to a priest in my darkest hour. You wrote Louis’ vows for him, and then you saved me from my own wedding! Do I need to go on?
Dan: No.
Blair: So.  If you’re that guy with Serena how could she not love you? …You gonna make your move or what?

And he does make his move, as seen in the clip below:

With that kiss (and some minor drama), the relationship of Dan and Blair finally commenced.  And how could it not have?  The obstacles Blair and Dan tackled together (a few of those listed in Blair’s speech) spanned 5 seasons; unlike other relationships in Gossip Girl, we got to actually watch Blair and Dan fall in love.  Which in turn made me a bigger believer, supporter and ‘shipper of “Dair.”

#2: In their relationship, Blair never treated Dan like an outsider.  Which was the polar opposite of his on-and-off relationship with Serena, the other Queen of the Upper East Side.  Since episode 1, Dan was portrayed as the boy from Brooklyn desperately trying to fit in with his Manhattan prep school peers.  When he dated Serena, he constantly just felt like a visitor in “her world.”  But once out of high school, the Gossip Girl characters did what we all do – grow up.  The show became less about where the characters were from and more about where they were going.  This new direction paved the way for Blair and Dan to be together successfully.  During their relationship, Dan and Blair saw their differences as strength (rare on GG).  Their ultimate end had nothing to do with social stature, an issue that has made a casualty of many a Gossip Girl relationship.

#3: Penn Badgley, Mr. Dan Humphrey himself, acknowledged his appreciation for the “Dair” storyline.  In an interview with Vulture, Penn was asked if he enjoyed the Blair/Dan storyline in Season 5.  His response: “I did, actually.  Well, I didn’t like how it ended, because it was just kind of [draws in breath sharply].  But I do like the scenes with Leighton because I get to kind of interact in a fun way with her. When Dan and Blair are together, I think that’s him at his brightest, maybe.”

CHECK AND MATE.

This post is dedicated to my best friend, Sarah, for suggesting I write this entry and for being my biggest supporter!

Wednesday TV: #Arrow + tangent

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I’m surprised by how much I like Arrow, a story of a masked vigilante trying to fight injustice in his hometown.  But I’m going to be honest, a huge part of my enjoyment comes from the shirtless Stephen Amell working out in every single episode.  Although, the reason why they show his character’s fitness regimen is to try and make the idea that one can turn themselves into a superhero/vigilante more plausible.  Funny thing: this is not the part I find most unbelievable.  My issue is that I simply cannot get over that the story takes place in a made-up city.  It may sound ridiculous, but this has been a cause of concern for me since I first saw Batman, Forever in 1995.  As a child, I considered myself somewhat of a geography connoisseur (I studied my US Capitals place-mat daily) and I remember asking my mom where Gotham City was located.  When she told me it wasn’t a really place, I was aghast.  Not only was this movie asking me to believe in a masked superhero with a fear of bats, it was asking me to believe that this was taking place in an American City in an unnamed state.  Obviously asking way too much of me, my imagination couldn’t grasp this concept.  And it’s been that way ever since.
But back to Arrow: the characters live in the fictional Starling City, a place overrun by crime (remind you of Gotham? It should).  But for the show’s establishing shots, they take turns using an aerial view of Liberty Place (as Queen’s Headquarters) and the NYC Skyline for the bulk of Starling City.  Each time I see those shots, I’m taken out of the lovely TV-induced haze I sit in and am reminded that this is fiction.  I think the greatest part of watching TV is the escape (and ‘shipping couples, please see my post below) – when a show doesn’t allow for that (or when my mind doesn’t allow for that),  I will never enjoy my experience quite as much as I could.  But, despite the show’s locale and my weird aversion to it, I’m enjoying the episodes as each dives further into the mythology of how “Arrow” came to be.  I’m also impressed thus far with the show’s use of flashbacks (which Lost perfected so I judge other shows harshly) and the B storyline of Oliver’s best friend, Tommy, who I can only assume will eventually become Arrow’s greatest enemy (in the spirit of Spiderman, of course).