Gossip Girl



Over-the-top teen soap mixes backstabbing with drugs, sex.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

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

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.


Attempted sexual assaults; some fights with a little blood.


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


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


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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Gossip Girl was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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 think your kids already know about drugs and sex? Really? Okay, I wouldn't have anybody under 14 watching this, but beyond that, they SHOULD have enough morals to know that certain thi ngs aren't right, but it is good to expose them a little to the rest of the world beyond Mommy's doorstep. Lots of people with sheltered lives resent their parents for it and later go completely wild...so maybe "everything in moderation" IS good.
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, backstabbing, and gossip.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 to find a cab at 8am) and in our schools sometimes. But, some aspects of the show are pretty unrealistic like the amount of freedom the characters have, like i have a credit card but if I go over my set budget it gets taken away, oh yea and in the show they wear boots and high heels to school...i wish it was like that in real life but their not allowed at most private schools :( but kids are that abrasive in real life prep school. Anyway if u let your kid watch this show you should remind them its sort of unrealistic and that only a selected few get to live like that yadayadayada.. but over all the show is super entertaining and has a really big influence on kids, remember that. Its not like u can really control if your kids watch it due to internet and monday nights when your not there so you should make sure your kids understand the difference between Gossip Girl and real life, you could even show them other reviews of kids saying how the show isn't very realistic if they are not processing what you tell them.


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