Things On Gossip Girl You Only Notice As An Adult

Gossip Girl aired from 2007 to 2012, causing the world to become entranced with the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. The show was considered a bit risqué at the time, at least for a teen show, but fans ate it up. If you were a kid or a teen during Gossip Girl's heyday, you probably remember how everyone on MySpace was obsessed with this show and texted each other about it from their brand-new iPhones — you know, from Apple's first original line.

It's time for a look back at the iconic show that featured young Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley and that had people mesmerized for half a decade. Is Gossip Girl as juicy and entertaining as it was when it first debuted? How has it aged in the modern era? And, most importantly, how believable is the big reveal of who Gossip Girl is when you watch the show as an adult?

Why does Dan attend a school so far away on Gossip Girl?

One of the things that makes Dan Humphrey so different from the elite upper crust of Manhattan's Upper East Side is that he's from — gasp! — Brooklyn. In the world of Gossip Girl, this is a greater sin than wearing last season's Chanel. By Upper East Side standards, hailing from the not-exactly-cheap neighborhood of Williamsburg makes you part of the unpopular crowd. 

We're meant to feel sorry for Dan, the perpetual outsider, but the fact that he's from Brooklyn and goes to a school on the Upper East Side seems like a pretty contrived plot point that's just meant to differentiate Dan from him snobbier classmates. First of all, Dan lives in a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood and is the son of a rock star. He's not exactly impoverished. Second of all, commuting daily from Williamsburg to the Upper East Side is pretty unreasonable. According to Google Maps, that trek would take Dan nearly an hour by public transportation, assuming the trains are running on time. Surely there are great schools in Brooklyn where Dan could also get a partial scholarship and not be teased for his "humble" origins.

Gossip Girl handled a lot of sensitive topics

On the surface, Gossip Girl is all about the glitz and glamour. It's a glimpse into the lives of the ultra privileged. But the more you watch the show, the more you realize that the point of Gossip Girl is to show that even though the super rich live incomprehensibly lavish lives, they are still people — no matter how much money they have. 

A lot of serious topics are dealt with on Gossip Girl. Its characters struggle with substance abuse, eating disorders, and even suicidal ideation. We see that even rich people can be lonely and that even the extraordinarily wealthy struggle with very real problems. Sure, they might be able to go on shopping sprees at Bendel's, but all the money in the world can't help them escape their very human and surprisingly relatable lives. The real magic of Gossip Girl is that, as charmed as the main characters' lives seem, they really do feel the same emotions as everyone else.

What happened to Dan and Serena's half-brother on Gossip Girl?

Remember that really complicated storyline on Gossip Girl in which Vanessa's mysterious new boyfriend turns out to be the secret love child of Rufus and Lily who was put up for adoption and thought to be dead? Yeah, we forgot about it, too. It wasn't really that hard to forget actually because, after a dramatic buildup and an even more dramatic reveal, Dan and Serena's half-brother, Scott, just... disappears. 

What exactly happened here? Not only does Scott vanish after he finds the family he wanted to know so badly, but people just stop mentioning him. He doesn't even show up in the series finale. Even if the actor who played Scott couldn't come back to the show, you'd think that someone would mention him. Or maybe Dan and Serena wanted to forget about him in light of their renewed romance. It's understandable that remembering you actually share a brother with your significant other might kind of be a mood killer. You'd think that at least Rufus and Lily would want to stay in touch, though.

How do none of the parents on Gossip Girl care about their kids partying so hard?

Yes, yes, we know that Gossip Girl revolves around the idea that rich people live in their own little bubble. But is there really a bubble so impenetrable that the parents on the show simply don't care that their kids party so hard? It's like they have no interest in what their kids get up to. The teens on Gossip Girl hang out in bars and are frequently out all night with little to no parental pushback. 

Bart Bass is even fine with son Chuck living on his own while he's still in high school. Granted, it's later revealed that Bart is a homicidal sociopath, but not even Lily protests kicking her stepson out of the house and setting him up in a hotel. If Gossip Girl is to be believed, most rich people don't care that much about their children. Even Dan's father, though, is pretty lax with his son. It looks like all the parents on Gossip Girl need to straighten out their priorities, regardless of their net worth.

Why is the school dress code on Gossip Girl never enforced?

Most of the teens (with the notable exception of Vanessa) attend an elite private school on Gossip Girl. They each have to wear a school uniform, but these aren't the shapeless kilts and button-up shirts that generations of private school kids have been forced to wear. Somehow the kids on Gossip Girl all seem to wear uniforms that look like they're tailor-made for them. The girls, in particular, have a knack for making the uniforms look like they're straight from a fashion magazine.

The skirts tend to be on the shorter side, and the students frequently embellish the base uniform with scarves, jackets, and other accessories. While the uniforms look great, we've got to wonder how they're getting away with this level of originality. Schools with uniforms tend to have some pretty limiting rules, and you'd expect the dress code to be more strictly enforced. 

Why doesn't anyone get carded on Gossip Girl?

The legal drinking age doesn't seem to exist on Gossip Girl. High school-aged kids walk in and order at bars without anyone batting an eye. Cases of champagne are delivered to Serena outside of her school without anyone asking for identification. Teenagers who aren't even old enough to drive get drunk at weddings with no repercussions. 

What's even more perplexing is that it's established that some of these teens are pretty well known around the city, which means that some of these bartenders are most definitely aware that their clients are underage. Being filthy rich might be enough to keep Blair, Serena, and the gang from getting in trouble for underage drinking, but it certainly won't keep a bar from losing its liquor license. You'd think that at least some of the bars they go to would card them or, more realistically, refuse to serve them.

Gossip Girl's portrayal of the publishing industry is incredibly unrealistic

The way the publishing industry works on Gossip Girl is just ridiculous. You can't just walk into a publisher's office, hand them a manuscript, and expect it to be published within a few months. That's something J.K. Rowling might possibly be able to get away with, but most publishers aren't going to be clamoring to publish an anonymous, unedited novel written by a teenager.

And yet, this is something that's possible in the world of Gossip Girl. Vanessa steals the book Dan wrote, hands it off to a publisher, and then informs Dan that he'll be receiving royalties. Aside from the murky legal situation this would create (shouldn't Dan at least have to sign something?), there's also the fact that Dan hasn't worked with a professional editor to polish up his manuscript. Surely it needs some revisions before it's ready to publish. But nope. Dan's novel (which, by the way, isn't so much a novel as it is a thinly veiled expose of his friends' lives) somehow lands a publisher without going through even one round of edits.

How on earth is everyone suddenly cool with Chuck on Gossip Girl?

Chuck may have reformed his evil ways by the end of Gossip Girl, but it doesn't explain how everyone is okay with all the heinous stuff he did for so long. The guy sexually assaults Jenny, forcefully comes on to Serena multiple times, and is generally a jerk to everyone he meets. Yet his friends just laugh off most of his despicable behavior.

Chuck is a pretty unlikable guy for much of the series. We know that a lot of that stems from his abandonment issues, but it doesn't justify his behavior. Even more concerning is that we don't see Chuck actually seeking serious help for his behavior. His reformed ways might be more convincing after years of therapy to deal with his underlying issues. How else can we trust that he's had a genuine change of heart and isn't simply manipulating everyone around him? He's proved that he's more than capable of kicking up the charm in order to get his way.

The relationship between Dan and Blair on Gossip Girl just feels weird

As much as we love Gossip Girl, we've got to admit that some of the storylines seem pretty forced. Take the relationship between Dan and Blair, for example. Blair already knows that she and Chuck are end game. Her relationship with Prince Louis was ruined because of her love for Chuck, and Chuck put up a lot of money to get her out of her marriage to the royal. Even after all barriers to Chuck and Blair being together have been removed, though, she still gets together with Dan, giving Chuck some nonsense excuse about timing. 

The Blair and Dan relationship provides for some of Gossip Girl's most cringe-inducing moments. They have zero chemistry, their personalities are incompatible, and it just feels weird, especially because Dan spends most of the series pining for Blair's BFF. None of it makes sense, and the relationship was clearly just the result of writers desperately trying to keep Chuck and Blair apart until the season finale.

Did anyone on Gossip Girl finish college?

For a couple seasons of Gossip Girl, getting into a good college is the top priority of many characters. Dan and Blair want to go to Yale, Serena wants to go to Brown, and Nate wants to go anywhere except where his dad wants him to go. Their college plans fuel many storylines, like Blair and Serena's brawl at Yale, Dan's attempt to write the perfect story, and Blair's manipulation to get into private events. 

While not everyone gets into the college of their choice, most of the gang is accepted into a good school. Except for Chuck Bass because, well, he's Chuck Bass and doesn't care about college. After a season or two of them being responsible college students, though, it seems like no one is going to class anymore. Plot-wise, this seems to have been done to make way for more adult storylines, but it seems pretty out of character for some of them to just stop attending. Did a single person on Gossip Girl actually graduate from college?

How did no one know what Charlie looked like on Gossip Girl?

Charlotte "Charlie" Rhodes is Serena's cousin on Gossip Girl. After several years of not seeing each other, Charlie comes back into the lives of the van der Woodsens and displays increasingly erratic behavior. It eventually comes out that Charlie is not really Serena's cousin but is actually an actress hired to play her in order for Charlie's mother to get access to her daughter's trust fund. 

There are so many flaws in this plan. For starters, didn't Serena and her family know what Charlie looked like? Charlie and the actual Charlotte Rhodes (who goes by Lola) don't look very much alike aside from both having blonde hair. And how, in the days of social media, are there really no pictures of her on the internet? You'd think that Charlotte and Serena would at least be Facebook friends. The entire situation is just strange and not very realistic, but hey, maybe this is one of those #RichPeopleProblems that could only happen in the world of Gossip Girl.

For a show set in NYC, there's a distinct lack of diversity on Gossip Girl

If it weren't for the skyscrapers, traffic, and snide remarks about Brooklyn, it would be hard to tell that Gossip Girl takes place in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the country. Most of the main cast is white. Most of the people they date are white. Most of their classmates are white, and most of their friends are white. There are only a handful of recurring people of color on the show, and Vanessa is the only non-white person of the main cast.

One of the few recurring non-white characters is Nelly Yuki, an Asian student who is basically a walking stereotype. Academically driven, Nelly is Blair's biggest academic rival and is portrayed as a nerd. She's hyper-focused on school and wears glasses. We never get much of her backstory, and Nelly remains a one-dimensional trope throughout the show. 

Not only is this lack of diversity problematic, but it's also simply not realistic. New York City is incredibly diverse, and it seems strange that there aren't more non-white characters on Gossip Girl.

How does Dan as Gossip Girl make any sense?

Sorry, but we just can't buy Dan as Gossip Girl. While the show's creators claimed that they envisioned Dan to be Gossip Girl from the very beginning of the show (via E! News), there are plenty of scenes that make it seem pretty clear he isn't Gossip Girl. He reveals sensitive information about himself and the people he cares about, and he also seems shocked by some of the things that Gossip Girl reveals.

If Dan actually is Gossip Girl, then he might be an even worse person than Chuck. What kind of person stalks their friends for years, publishes details about their underage sister's sex life, harasses pretty much everyone he's ever met, and then claims he did it in the name of love? Uh, no, Dan. That's not love. That's toxic and abusive behavior.

Even more shocking than the reveal that Dan is Gossip Girl is that people are upset for about five minutes before moving on. Come on, everyone. Dan made your lives complicated and messy for years. How are you just going to let him off the hook like that?

There is no way that a marriage between Gossip Girl's Dan and Serena would work out

Let's be real: Dan and Serena are doomed. First of all, their relationship is completely based on lies. Think of all the times Serena's actions were scrutinized because of Gossip Girl, who turned out to be Dan. There's just too much water under that bridge for Dan and Serena to possibly live happily ever after together. Their relationship is problematic and toxic, and there's also the fact that they used to be step-siblings who share a biological brother. Yikes.

Oh, and let's not forget the totally random relationship Dan had with Serena's best friend. Friendsgiving is going to be super awkward after Dan and Serena tie the knot. It's only a matter of time before the couple get divorced. Dan is basically a desperate stalker who is hung up on his high school girlfriend, and Serena can do so much better than him. The fact that they even made it as far as five years together following the reveal that Dan is Gossip Girl is shocking.