Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No I.D. Required

I admit it: I am a Gossip Girl fan. The show appeals to all the worst in me--the insecure teenager, the label whore, the voyeur, the city snob--and allows me to indulge each week in a little scandal without having to actually deal with anything. What could be better? Television is, after all, an escapist medium and, when done right, we are allowed to do just that.

Gossip Girl is a particular kind of escape, however. Focusing on the elite, supremely rich minority in a time of economic crisis is akin to an Elizabethan serf reveling in the historical dramas of Shakespeare. We don't get to be those people, so we love it when their life goes terribly, terribly wrong. Just think how satisfying it must have been to watch King Richard go mad up on stage. Now we can watch the disgustingly wealthy get drunk and drop out of school.

But all snarky satisfaction aside, there's one thing I can't quite swallow about this show. Even though they are supposed to be teenagers, they are somehow able to get into and drink at the most exclusive bars in New York. Really? Last time I was in the big city, at the tender age of 19, it was pretty much impossible for anyone underage, soclialite or not, to get into a bar. Has the drinking age since been lowered for those living off of trust funds? This may be a case of selective memory, but even the rich lovelies of the original 90210 had trouble getting their hands on alcohol.

Private jets, outlandish vacations, and million-dollar wardrobes I can wrap my head around. Even the sex, scandal, and betrayal I get. But teenagers in a bar? Sorry, I don't believe it. Perhaps I am naive, or wistful for a time when teenagers had to break into their parents' liquor cabinet if they wanted to get drunk...and sure, the actors on Gossip Girl look like they could get into a bar, because in real life they could. Some people have amazing worlds opened to them because of their wealth. But the wealthy aren't above the law...at least I hope they aren't.

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