Gossip Girl here.
In 2007, just as social media was fracturing pop culture into smithereens, two young show-runners had just wrapped the wildly successful The O.C. and decided to capture – for one last time – a television teenage drama for the ages. After getting the green-light to air on a start-up network, the CW, the show blew up and while Sex And The City had blazed the trail for a New York-based show with a focus on fashion (thanks Patricia Field!), the wardrobes of heroines Serena and Blair were editorialised television as if plucked from a high-end fashion magazine. But it was the boys who brought the drama.
And today, Variety has brought two of the those boys together.
The publication has released another YouTube episode of Actors On Actors and oh, how the nostalgia floods with this one. Gossip Girl alumni Chace Crawford and Penn Badgley, who played Nate Archibald and Dan Humphrey, respectively, on the hit series have jumped on a Zoom call together to talk about their hey-days.
“Back in 07 or 09, Gossip Girl was edgy,” says Crawford, 34.
“I know, man,” replies Badgley who definitely can only now be viewed as a serial killer named Joe thanks to his recent role in Netflix’s You. “That’s funny because [Gossip Girl] really was [edgy]. I mean, I haven’t seen it so long. It would be very interesting to watch it now. Have you seen it, recently?”
“Buddy, that was on the question list I was going to ask you!” Crawford says, laughing. “I think it would be interesting to see the first couple, maybe.”
Badgley, now 33 years old, says he found it difficult to go back and watch himself as a young 20-something trying to act on television, something he tried to do with his now wife a little while ago who hadn’t actually seen the show. “These snapshots of yourself when you’re 20 years old, 21 years old, 22 years old – who can enjoy that? Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. It’s like, ‘Man, I can see how uncomfortable I was’.”
Crawford – who is currently starring as a superhero on Amazon’s The Boys – was all for catching up with his former co-star in person to watch the show together. “So we’ll do that, when you come to LA. We’ll have a drink. We’ll watch it,” he quips.
“Dude, if we live tweeted a viewing of any episode of Gossip Girl, people would love that. Are you kidding?” Badgley replies.
The boys then go into talking about the absence of social media and how Gossip Girl was almost ahead of its time, it’s anonymous blogger blasting out notifications to all on the sign-up list. “We didn’t have to deal with [social media]”, says Crawford, before remembering a time on set where Badgley had the very first iPhone.
“Blake [Lively] got me that!,” responds Badgley. “I was like, ‘I don’t want this, it’s so cumbersome. And it has apps?’ I even remember meeting a publicist that first season and she was explaining Twitter to me. And I was like, ‘What is this nonsense?’ I don’t want to have a Twitter account and you tweet? What is this? Birds? Explaining it to me – because I’m not a technological genius – was such a foreign concept and I was just so uninterested.”
“Gossip Girl, in a way was a futuristic concept,” he continued. “It was social media before social media.”
Indeed it was.
Watch their entire conversation below.