In the Forever Finale of what was once known as The Greatest Show of Our Time, sparks were ignited, love rekindled, rivalries ceased, punches became hugs. It was an emotional, heartwarming finish to a show that has managed to tug at our heartstrings over the past six years even as it has stretched the boundaries of acceptable plotting and accessorizing. The final scene, in which Serena marries the show’s eponymous narrator, was both satisfying and poignant. What happens next, we will never know. Because no one should go through such an emotional experience alone, we joined up with our former co-recapper Chris Rovzar, now of VanityFair.com, to discuss the big questions posed by the Final Episode of the Greatest Show of Our Time, such as: “What does ‘one of us’ even mean, anyway?”
Jessica: Cristal! What did you think of the finale of the Greatest Show of Our Time?
Chris: It was really a finale for people who loved the show. They did all the things they should have — bring on Kristen Bell, bring back Eric and Jenny and Vanessa. I really liked the scene when they were walking up the Met steps to the tune of that Imagine Dragons song. It was great they filmed in there, and in the park — it was sort of adult of them to finally get inside the Met. Also, how did they film that flashback party scene? It looked like Chuck and Nate were wearing wigs.
Jessica: The hair in that scene was very distracting, it was hard to pay attention to anything else. Chuck looked very Flock of Seagulls, and I realized Nate was rocking Man Bangs when Justin Bieber was still busking on the streets in Canada. Gossip Girl seems to have coincided with a very strange period in men's hair.
Chris: Dan's hair was bad at every point.
Jessica: His wedding hair was the worst. It was like Gordon Gekko.
Jessica: All my hair references are from the eighties, I realize.
Chris: All of his are, too.
Me: I guess that was the last time men had really flamboyant hair? Although, more recently you had that period when you were bleached blond.
Chris: That was an isolated incident.
Chris: Moving on, I actually screamed when Mayor Bloomberg said it was Dorota. That was maybe the highlight for me.
Jessica: Between that and his gun control position I am ready to elect him Mayor for Life. (Sorry, Nate Archibald.)
Chris: There were lots of other familiar faces, too, like Kate Cassidy and that one brunette who I recognized but didn't really remember.
Jessica: AGNES. She set Jenny's clothes on fire, I think? In the first or second season. We were so young then.
Chris: We were. It’s been almost six years since we began recapping this show! The world is a different place.
Jessica: In the preshow thing, Leighton Meester mentioned she went from 20 to 26 on the show. I went from 29, which is already a questionable age to be recapping a show about teenagers, to ... older than that. I went from being the toast of all gay men to people being like, "Are you still doing that?"
Chris: Oh please, you are still the toast of all gay men. You have such good hair!
Chris: I haven't been at New York for over a year and people still ask me about it. While I was there, I think I wrote 3,800 blog posts, and dozens of articles, and the main thing people ever say they like or remember is Gossip Girl.
Jessica: ME TOO. It comes up at the weirdest times. Once I RSVPed to some long intense economic talk at the Council on Foreign Relations and I got an e-mail back from the anonymous events address that was like, “I love your Gossip Girl recaps!!!” I think it was probably Robert Rubin.
Chris: How do you feel about being so connected to this show?
Jessica: Well. I’d be lying if I said it was always fun. At times it was really an albatross. Like it being a thing I HAD TO DO every Monday. Especially after you left. Last year I was talking to Penn Badgley and we had this weird moment of commiseration over how we had no idea what we were getting into when we signed onto this thing.
Jessica: At the same time: It was always rewarding to see the HUNDREDS of comments every Tuesday. Whenever I phoned in the recap I would always feel bad, because the commenters were always so on point.
Chris: Yes, their energy and wit was really astounding.
Jessica: The response really made it worth it. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.
Chris: The response really gets to what recaps are all about, which is people wanting to discuss what they just watched with people who agree with them in the way they think about it.
Jessica: Yes, and Gossip Girl fans, especially the hard-core ones who stuck it out through Dair and Blair’s Pact with Christ, are all bonded in a way. We became like a community.
Chris: And then we actually got to be on the show, which was amazing.
Jessica: Yes, I feel like there is definitely some kind of parallel between us and Dan Humphrey in that way; he didn’t have a place on the Upper East Side, so he wrote himself into it. We sort of wrote ourselves into Gossip Girl.
Chris: We did! We really did.
Me: What did you think of Dan being Gossip Girl, by the way?
Chris: I thought it was brave that they did him and not a side character like Eric or Jenny. It didn't make a ton of sense, but it probably made the most sense of anybody. They'd definitely come up with it a while ago and done their best in recent episodes to have it make sense. But I was pleased with it — it did give Dan some cojones in the end, in a sort of big balls, no-dick kind of way.
Jessica: Yes, while I am sure we could poke holes in it if we went deep into the archives, I also liked the end, so much that I don’t even want to ruin it. But just for Old Time's Sake, let’s poke holes in everything else ... It’s the Last Reality Index of Our Time!
More Real Than the Empty Place in Our Hearts
- The face that Georgina makes when the police officer tries to deny her more information on the dead body in front of her is priceless. It says, “Danger, blackmail, treachery, and sexual favors” all at once. Plus 3
- Plus 2 for Dorota and Cyrus’s faces when Eleanor says, “This is outrageous, it’s not like Blair and Chuck killed the man.”
- “I’m sorry,” Lily says to the other women at the spa when her phone rings. Then she goes ahead and answers it. Plus 5
- Jack Bass’s hair is higher than ever, and his pinstripes wider. Plus 2.
- Plus 2 for the cop’s smirk when Nate says, of Sage, “She’s not talking to you, she’s a minor,” and because when it comes to underage nookie, NATE KNOWS THE LAW, OKAY?
- Serena has been so immersed in thinking about her love life that she has managed to miss every single one of the news reports, tweets, texts, phone calls from the outside world, and taxi TV reports reporting that her stepfather fell off a roof and her best friend is wanted for questioning in relation to his death. Plus 6
- Blair’s middle name is Cornelia! Plus 2
- The cleavage rhombus makes its final appearance in the form of the coat and dress combo Serena wears to confront Dan, and then the dress she wears to the Met! Plus 10. We really feel like that was for us.
- And speaking of familiar tropes, Blair spends most of her last episode in a headband. Plus 5.
- “I suppose we can do the same thing we did last time Bart died,” says Lily, who sounds pretty unperturbed by her husband's sudden violent horrible death. Plus 3. She did just spend last week getting the tear ducts beaten out of her in a bamboo hamam.
- Which also explains why she thinks it’s a fine idea to be escorted to her newly deceased husband’s funeral by another ex-husband. Plus 3
- In the flashback scene, Blair wants to wish Kati “Hapy Barf Day” after she drank too much. Plus 3, because not only is this very high school, and very Blair because it’s bitchy, it is also a reference to Blair’s own concurrent bulimia.
- Jack Bass: “Hey, you Georgina Sparks?” Georgina: “Depends on who’s asking, you KGB?” Plus 1.
- Sage: “Little J was my idol in seventh grade.” Plus 1, because this let us know that she wasn’t going to make it to the final scene.
- Plus 20 for the shot of the gang walking up the stairs of the Met, studded Louboutins included.
- Blair wears Elie Saab to her wedding, instead of Eleanor Waldorf. Plus 2, because the first time around she wore Vera Wang.
- In an aside, we learn that Dan’s apartment is in Serena’s building. Plus 10 for casual creepery!
- The rings at the Met Gift Shop were only Byzantine crosses and Egyptian snakes. Plus 1.
- “I’m shocked, I thought it was Dorota!” Mayor Bloomberg. Plus 50. (Blair thought it was Dorota, too. Plus 2. So did we.)
- Georgina observes that Dan is, indeed, the only one of them who owns a hoodie. Plus 8.
- When the camera cuts to Vanessa, she’s in some weird yellow kitchen straight out of the early seventies. Plus 3.
- Dorota orders vodka on the rocks from Jack. “I need lots of vodka,” she says. "Brain exploded from Gossip Girl news." Plus 2, and another Plus 2 for her relieved face when Dan says that Gossip Girl is dead.
- “You’re a lifetime movie called Nobody Gives a Damn, the Ivy Dickens Story," says William van Der Woodsen to Ivy, sounding exactly like Jack Donaghy. "Now run along and be queen of the swamp people.” Plus 20
- In order to deduce the identity of Gossip Girl, Nate pins up color-coded note cards in a timeline à la Carrie Mathieson’s CIA agent in Homeland. Plus 5 for the obvious parallel. As in the War on Terror, in the Gossip Wars of the Upper East Side, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.
- Plus 20 for IVY LEAGUE, “The twisted tale of the female con artist who took Manhattan for millions,” “based on the best-selling autobiography by IVY DICKENS” starring Lola Rhodes and Olivia Burke.
- After all the talk of Serena’s famous white dress, of course she doesn’t wear one on her actual wedding day. Plus 1.
- RUFUS AND LISA LOEB ARE TOGETHER AND THEY ARE WEARING MATCHING GLASSES. Plus 25
- Plus 50 for the Kristen Bell appearance, especially alongside fellow CW star Rachel Bilson, auditioning for Dan’s movie. The wink to the cameras was over-the-top, but we think we can all agree we earned it.
Faker Than Anyone Just Walking Into an Upper East Side Apartment Building, Ever
- How did Jack get a tray of room service goods? Minus 2
- “I have to take this,” Georgina says, walking away from the cop asking her about a potential homicide. What is this, Law & Order? Minus 7
- Wait, wait, wait a second: On the news, we hear that the report that Bass Industries' jet went down was false. Last week, that whole situation was glossed over way too quickly: What happened there, exactly? We saw Chuck get on the plane, but how did he get off it? How did he find out about Bart's plan to kill him? Was there even a plan? What? Minus 10.
- Blair thinks she can go to a deserted island and “live off the land.” Minus 1.
- Blair and Chuck, who are running from the law, head to a courthouse to get married. Minus 3
- Also, if “Bart made it clear he owns Captain Dowling,” how did Chuck and Blair get out of jail so fast, especially after evading police for days? Minus 5 (Also, no points because they probably couldn’t use Ray Kelly's name for legal reasons, but Captain Dowling? Isn't that the father from Mary Poppins?)
- Also, yes, Chuck is guilty of murdering his father. But also, Bart was a real dick, so, wash.
- It’s sweet that the writers wanted to give Nylon a shout-out because they’ve put the girls on their cover a few times, but Serena would really have brought Vogue on the plane (with Life&Style Weekly wedged in the pages so no one can see). Minus 1
- The cops would have looked in the trunk of the stretch limo where Blair and Chuck were hiding. But then again, Chuck and Blair would never drive around in a stretch limo in the first place. Minus 2.
- A serious complaint for the writers: As Nate and Sage went over the Gossip Girl timeline, they missed the opportunity to address why none of them went to college. At least not for more than a year or so. Why didn’t anyone’s parents care about this?? Minus 10.
- No Nelly Yuki. No Penelope Shafai. No horrible Aaron Rose. Minus 3
- NO SCOTT. Minus 5. They can't pay SCALE for Rufus and Lily's ONLY SON?
- And not for nothing, Dan's mom couldn't make it to his wedding? Minus 2
- Dan handed a print version of the Gossip Girl story to Nate rather than an e-mailed copy. Nate does not fact- or copy-check it, and instead has Sage go and type it paragraph by paragraph onto the web. This is very, shall we say, Internet 1.0. Minus 5.
- Serena says Gossip Girl was a love letter, “to all of us.” Not to nitpick, but actually Gossip Girl was incredibly cruel to them, always throwing stones at the glass houses they built for themselves. Eh, obviously she can’t remember past the last time she had sex. Wash.
- Because the end sequence was so satisfying, we hate to subtract points. But the Spectator would never have its own private jet, and Nate could never run for mayor. Minus 5. But! It looks like five years have taught him how to wax the underside of his eyebrows, finally. Progress!
Jessica: And we're done. So, Chris, overall, was Gossip Girl realistic?
Chris: Well, no, it wasn't. But its sense of fun inevitably won us over, as evidenced by the fact that as our (your) recaps evolved, we started giving points for things that were smart, funny, or just awesome. The writers knew it wasn't going to be realistic, it couldn't be. So they just made it fabulous.
Jessica: Yes, but even though the characters were always in preposterous situations, time traveling and wearing ten pounds of ruffles and sequins, I do feel like Gossip Girl had moments of real emotional resonance, or even just lines that rang true. Like last night, when Chuck said, "I was a stupid child when I said that," when Blair referenced his "Chuck and Blair Go to the Movies" rant of years ago, which is the kind of thing that would have stuck with her character (like being sold for a hotel). And we all cringe remembering things we said years ago.
Chris: Well, there was this thing that happened, which was that everyone was mean to everyone else from time to time, and they all stayed friends. It was a very heightened version of what young people just naturally do. They sort of never questioned that they were a group. Well they QUESTIONED it aloud, but never really in practice.
Jessica: Yes, even when people like Georgina and Dan and Ivy were excommunicated from the group, no one ever actually told their doorman to stop letting them into the building.
Chris: It was a great show. It strayed all over the place, but it was campy, it was fun, the writers were great, the actors were bizarrely talented and attractive, and it used New York in the best way possible, which is frequently and beautifully.
Jessica: What will become of us now that it's gone? Maybe we should start recapping Carrie Diaries.
Jessica: Chris are you still there? Chris?