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Reflecting on Gossip Girl's Influence

As Gossip Girl comes to a shocking end, we are reminded that this show, like all others, defines us as a generation. But what exactly does it say about who we are?

Shoptiques Gossip Girl Finale: Defining a Generation

Photo: Getty Images

For a girl who hates finishing books because she doesn't want the story to be over, seeing Gossip Girl come to an end is a sad, sad moment. I still vividly remember my young girl devastation when Friends ended, and then being shocked at the terrible and somewhat surprising ending that the Desperate Housewives team called a "finale." 

Here's the thing, I'm cool with seasonal breaks. I know these characters and their lives aren't real. I realize that nothing lasts forever in this world. But a final season sends a metaphysical tear to my eye, and not for the reasons you might think. 

Popular TV shows say something about our society as a whole. Their numbers, typically, don't lie. Who tunes in and who tunes out and who says what and who really cares - all of that matters not just for the show and its directors, but for how each and every one of us will be remembered. 

Think about it, we all still base who our grandparents were on Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy. Those shows meant something to them, they resonated with them and, most importantly, they summed up an entire generation of thinking. 

And certainly those shows weren't perfect. After all, where was the diversity, the suffering, the sadness, the truth in actual familial living in America's suburbs? Well, it was non-existent, but we all know full and well that it wasn't in real life. That's the best part about scripted TV series. Their numbers reflect who we all admire, who we all want to be, or at least be friends with. They spark our interests, keep us entertained and, in the history books, we will be known by the most popular of them. 

In an era often markedly defined by "reality" TV shows, we are seeing the decline of great scripted writing - of shows that define us by our ideals, our desires, our dreams and, yes, even our flaws. 

What will Gossip Girl tell our children and grandchildren about who we were at our golden ages? What flaws do we have (ahem, an obsession with money and prestige in any and all forms)? What will it say about New York City? The Upper East Side? Brooklyn? Prep school education? New York University? Columbia?

Alas, those are questions that the generations that come after will undoubtedly answer. In the mean time, we'll continue to relish the New York City lifestyles of the Blair Waldorfs and Serena Vanderwoodsons of the world from afar.

Goodbye Gossip Girl. Thanks to you, the xoxo sign off will never be the same. 

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