Warner Bros. // 2011 // 1008 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // December 24th, 2012
"There's still time. Go say the "yes" you never said." -- Chuck Bass
"Ick, Ugh! Ick, Ugh!" -- Gossip Girl.
"I'm living a fairy tale."
It was just about the time I heard this line -- delivered in a breathy whisper from Upper Eastside Manhattan socialite Blair Cornelia Waldorf (Leighton Meester, The Roommate) to her fiancé, Louis Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco (Hugo Becker, Damsels In Distress) -- early into the first of twenty-four episodes, that I began to suspect I'd made a huge mistake in agreeing to review Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season, a series (and social phenomenon) I'd managed to miss completely thus far.
Not long after, I'd become thoroughly convinced that this splashy, sassy Sex And The City kid sister was not my cup of soap. Ironically, this primetime chronicle of five young, beautiful and privileged live wires moves with all the speed of a daytime sudser, which is to say, at a glacial pace. Any initial worries I had about jumping into a long-running serial relatively late in the game were quickly vanquished by the exceptionally comprehensive "Previously on Gossip Girl" episode intros, and dialogue so self-explanatory it's almost as if this show runs on training wheels.
One principal character, adorned with a police-monitored ankle bracelet and confined to house arrest, kills some time by reading Crime and Punishment. Get it?! It's a bit of literary allusion so subtle and witty I almost feel ashamed for wondering why nobody told the actress to stop moving her lips as she read.
I'll admit that watching Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season wasn't entirely unpleasant, given that it features a bumper crop of extremely photogenic, froggy-voiced girls, pouting and eye-rolling their little hearts out while dressed to the nines and shaking their groove thangs through poppy musical montages. It was also fun to see whatever happened to nineties brat-packers Sheila Kelley (Singles), William Baldwin (Backdraft), and Kelly Rutherford (Melrose Place), who seemingly hasn't aged a day since. There's an interesting, eclectic bunch of cameos as well, from author Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), film director David O. Russell (The Fighter), and New Zealand stuntwoman supreme Zoe Bell (Inglorious Basterds).
There are passionate declarations of love and friendship that, as a rule, endure for roughly the length of a Taylor Swift song, character arcs seemingly motivated by costume changes, nearly pornographic displays of priceless jewelry, designer suits, dresses, and shoes -- My God, the shoes!!! You'll forgive me if my eyes start to glaze over. I'm not against the idea of such programming for those who lust over such things, but try as I might, I just can't squeeze myself into its target audience.
The good news is this set has aimed directly to score a bull's-eye with its target audience by supplying oodles of extras, including "unaired" scenes, a gag reel, and two sure-to-please featurettes: one celebrating the show's landmark one-hundredth episode, and another "5 Years of Iconic Style."
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers sparkle like diamonds, and the 5.1 surround sound puts you directly into the mix. There are several subtitle options in addition to English SDH, and an additional 2.0 stereo Portuguese soundtrack available.
"Who am I?" teases the disembodied voice of Gossip Girl. "That's one secret I'll never tell."
Let the Big Apple elitists wonder. I'm heading back to Gilligan's Island.
Not guilty, but no longer my problem.
Review content copyright © 2012 P.S. Colbert; 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)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1008 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel