Comment savez dire 'OMFG' en Francais? Or, to translate: Vulture has confirmed that the fourth season of Gossip Girl will kick off next fall with two episodes set — and filmed — in Paris.
GG co-creator and executive producer Stephanie Savage flew to France over the weekend to begin scouting locations for a week of production in the City of Lights. At least three key characters — Blair, Serena, and Mssr. Chuck Bass — will be making the transcontinental trek in what's destined to be pop culture's most bon voyage since The Facts of Life girls went to Paris in 1982. (And yes, we're counting European Vacation.)
The Paris plotline represents "the ultimate extension of our Gossip Girl world," Savage e-mailed us Sunday, shortly after arriving in Paris. She notes that the French metropolis is synonymous with such series staples as high fashion, ritzy restaurants, and tres chic nightclubs. (Blair's fave sweet? Macarons from Pierre Herme.)
"We mention our characters' fabulous travels all time, but it's very hard, and expensive, to actually show them," Savage writes. "The books were lucky this way: 'Aspen ski trip' costs nothing extra to type. So it's a big deal to be able to take production on the road, especially overseas."
Savage says the Paris shoot is "a dream" she's had since the CW show began or at least since GG's sophomore year, which launched with key characters enjoying a summer in the nice-but-it-ain't-Paris locale of the Hamptons. (That trip also had the cost-effective bonus of being driving distance from the show's usual Manhattan locations.) "Shooting in the Hamptons really elevated the feel and reach of (the show)," co-creator Josh Schwartz told Vulture. "But it felt like, to take it to that next level, we had to go international, and what city is more glamorous? And it's been a part of Blair's character, so it organically lends itself to the storytelling as well."
Team GG began dropping hints about a Parisian excursion a few weeks ago, when the Internets got wind of the episode title for next week's season finale: "Last Tango, Then Paris." But just how will the menage a trois of Blair, Chuck, and Serena end up overseas? (Alerte de spoiler!)
"Serena and Blair are finishing up their fabulous summer vacation when someone from home mysteriously shows up in town," Savage explains. "They need to solve this mystery, or else return to a New York that's a very different world."
No word on whether this third person is Chuck, or another character yet to be revealed. Producers are also loathe to reveal any other French connections, except that the GG narrator will eschew her usual "XOXO" sign-off for "bisou bisou," and that the episodes will be pivotal to the show's direction next fall.
"Paris is all about jump-starting the season and moving things forward," Savage says. That said, the Paris ploy is being made from a position of relative strength, rather than desperation. As it ends its third season, Gossip remains the CW's top-rated show among the network's core target audience of women under 35. And it was renewed for another season all the way back in February.
Perhaps that's why Savage took no offense when Vulture asked whether the decision to send Blair and Co. to Paris was inspired by the aforementioned Facts of Life Paris journey.
"FOL is the inspiration for all things GG," she quipped.
Well, both shows do feature sometimes bitchy characters named Blair.