Warner Bros. // 2008 // 1063 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // August 26th, 2009
Gossip Girl: "Speak of the devil and he doth appear -- wearing his trademark scarf. Careful, B, hell hath no fury like a Chuck Bass scorned."
Gossip Girl is the perfect definition of what a CW show should be -- a sudsy young melodrama with high production values. It features beautiful teens, plenty of angst, and glossy scenery that showcases all of it extremely well. If Sex and the City and 90210 had a baby they would name it Gossip Girl. The show is never highbrow, but has enough substance to woo the teen audience with visions of a fantasy world of the super rich living on New York's Upper East Side. Luckily the creators had a blueprint for the show since they were working off a popular book series from Cecily von Ziegesar. Oh yeah, and the guy who produced it is Josh Schwartz, who was responsible for The OC. Gossip Girl has a nice pedigree, a pretty cast, and enough drama to keep viewers tuned in.
Season Two follows senior year for Serena (Blake Lively, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Blair (Leighton Meester, Killer Movie), Dan (Penn Badgley, John Tucker Must Die), Nate (Chace Crawford, Footloose (2010)), Jenny (Taylor Momsen, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Chuck (Ed Westwick, S. Darko), and Vanessa (Jessica Szohr, House at the End of the Drive). Of course we have the disembodied voice of the "Gossip Girl" (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars) to fill us in as all the backbiting and scheming commence. It all kicks off at a Hamptons "White Party" sponsored by Vitamin Water, careens around through Princeton admissions, and finally gets wild with tons of texting revelations at the graduation. Oh yeah, and a powerful couple finally make out next to a limo. We never find out who the mysterious titular Gossip Girl is, but we're promised she will go on spilling the beans as everyone heads to college.
There are seven discs housed in a plastic case which is put in a stylish cardboard sleeve. Transfers are widescreen, and look good. Gossip Girl has a slightly soft look and some grain, but overall this is a strong picture for the DVD. Colors look great, and there are no pixelation issues except when someone put on an intense plaid. You get a full surround mix which is concentrated on the center speakers with some atmospherics around the room for effect. Technically there is a lot to love with this one. My only complaint is that the menus are a bit busy, but once you get used to the interface they get you where you need to be.
Extras are pretty substansial, and there are enough to satisfy fans. First up is a map of all the notable hangouts in Manhattan, around NYC, and even on Long Island. We get an explanation of what each one is and a look at the real place if you click on it. Then there is the featurette on "Faces Behind the Design" which looks at the creative people who do fashion and set decoration. Most of the cast gets to speak as do the producers, and it is a nice seventeen minute piece on something the series excels at. There's a collection of webisodes called Chasing Dorota which shows what the maid does all day. There is also a nice gag reel which is short but fun. If you insert the disc in to your computer you can access an audio book which features Christina Ricci reading Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me. Also inside the package is a short printed excerpt from the latest novel in the series. Over all the discs are deleted scenes which you can access in the menu for the episode they are from. Most are super short, but it's nice to have them here.
Gossip Girl is great fun if you like texting, Upper East Side attitudes, and good-looking teens who wear better clothes than you. The plots are intricate and short-lived, without ever being too complicated. The Second Season carried enough drama to roll everybody in to college and beyond. It will be interesting to see how the show sustains itself, now that the bulk of the cast will be in different locales. Considering the last kiss by the limousine that concludes Season Two, I'll bet Kristen Bell will have plenty to gossip about next year.
A guilty pleasure that is slick and all surface, Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season looks great and offers up some pretty nice extras for fans.
Review content copyright © 2009 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 1063 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Location Map
* Downloadable Audio Book
* Official Site
* Teen.net Site for Books & Series
* Gossip Girl Insider