Gossip Girl

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Gossip Girl TV Poster Image
Over-the-top teen soap mixes backstabbing with drugs, sex.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 47 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 160 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Backstabbing and betrayal are the norm in this world, where image and social status are everything. Consumerism plays a huge role -- characters wear designer clothing, ride limos, go on fancy vacations, and own the latest gadgets. Characters are frequently cruel and manipulative, and issues aren't addressed in any way that could be considered constructive or realistic.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters are good (or at least start out that way) and others are trying to become better people, but many are superficial, mean, and very flawed.

Violence

Attempted sexual assaults; some fights with a little blood.

Sex

Plenty of sexual scenes between teens, including drunken makeout sessions, cheating, losing virginity, threesomes, and some underwear shots.

Language

Regular use of words like "bitch" and "ass."

Consumerism

Plenty of product placement by sponsors like Vitaminwater, from subtle to obvious. Also, characters wear designer clothing, which viewers can browse and shop for online.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink frequently and often to drunkenness, at parties and at bars (where nobody asks for ID). People sometimes smoke cigarettes, and take drugs including marijuana and cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this over-the-top teen soap, based on a best-selling book series, focuses on a group of extremely wealthy, privileged, label-obsessed young people who like to drink, take drugs, have sex, and treat each other badly. While some characters mean well, many are superficial and emotionally cruel or distant, and they often take advantage of their social and financial position to get what they want, often at the expense of others. Characters play dirty tricks on each other and otherwise try to undermine, backstab, and hurt those who are supposed to be their friends. Suicide, eating disorders, rape, infidelity, casual sex, and more are all part of the story, but they're rarely addressed in constructive or realistic ways.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byangelfire87 January 10, 2011

No Redeeming Qualities

There really aren't any redeeming qualities to this show. It's a show glamorizing teenage sex with multiple partners, drug use, under age drinking, ba... Continue reading
Parent Written byCommonSenseParent November 30, 2010

Great show for 6th grade and up

Gossip Girl is an addictive guilty pleasure show that is perfect for 11 (6th grade) and up. Kids will enjoy the fun details of the wealthy and privileged. Your... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybodly November 30, 2009
I'm sorry, but this website is beginning to bother me a little. I feel REALLY bad for the kids whose parents make these reviews.Seriously, you don't t... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTaylor U.E.S. July 2, 2009

It's Up To You Parents

I loovvveee Gossip Girl and its even cooler for my friends & I because they shoot in our neighborhood (which is actually kind of annoying if ure trying... Continue reading

What's the story?

GOSSIP GIRL, based on Cecily-von-Ziegesar's best-selling book series of the same name, follows the exploits of privileged young people from Manhattan's wealthy Upper East Side as they hook up, party, and play out adult-sized dramas. At the heart of the action are best friends Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester). These two beautiful, rich girls rule the social scene, though they sometimes end of scheming against each other. Serena and Blair's friends, largely drawn from the elite private high school they attended in the early seasons of the show, include Dan (Penn Badgley) and Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), siblings with a more middle-class background, the extremely wealthy Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Nate (Chace Crawford), whose well-to-do family has fallen on hard times. The series is narrated by the titular Gossip Girl, an anonymous blogger who keeps track of all the popular kids' actions (secrets travel fast when delivered by mass text messages).

Is it any good?

This addictive adolescent drama is filled with kids, and grown-ups, gone bad. The sophisticated, label-savvy characters have no problem getting served martinis at fancy hotels or smoking marijuana during walks in the park. Their parents are rarely good influences, either, since many are self-centered and focused on their own problems. The mothers seem particularly jealous of their young daughters: One even tells her teen that she'll never be as beautiful or as thin as she is now, so she should make the most of this time.

It's all very titillating and addictive, but teens will surely get confusing messages from the show. Back-stabbing is portrayed as a social sport; characters spend money like crazy, drinking, smoking, and doing drugs in limos and clubs, and generally having a great time with few repercussions. It’s not the real world, but it sure looks alluring. It’s campy, soapy fun that may not be prudent viewing for tweens, and escapist schlock for teens. Were it presented with a wink and a laugh, it would be far more interesting; as it is, it takes itself a little too seriously.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the behavior portrayed in teen soaps like this. Parents, watch with your teens, and ask them if their friends are doing what these kids are.

  • Talk about safe sex and the consequences of drinking and hurting other people. Your conversations could lead to real revelations about your kids' lives or expectations.

  • Try to put your two cents in about what's realistic and what isn't. Ask your kids how the issues and conflicts on the show are similar to and different from those in real teens' lives. Who are the "good" characters, and what makes them different from the "bad" ones?

TV details

For kids who love good role models

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