Creator Josh Schwartz is a mastermind behind some of television’s best shows: Gossip Girl and The O.C. Both shows have practically the same message: beautiful rich teens with over-the-top problems. The only exception is location, location, location (I.e. Gossip Girl focusing on the rich teens of New York while The O.C. focuses on the rich teens of the Los Angeles beaches. No real big diff). And Schwartz has also defied any viewer’s expectations that his shows are for mindless teens like Dawson’s Creek or Beverly 90210 was. Each of the shows have the same archetypes (the social outsider, the “it” girl, the bitchy brunette), cool influential indie-flavored music, social issues, and over the top family drama border lining on incest (trust me, watch both shows and you’ll see a pattern). But what show is better? As much as I loved The O.C. with its pop-culture geeky quirks, Gossip Girl wins. I may say sound biased, but here’s 5 reasons why:
1. The fashion is better:
I will say it because many people forget but The O.C. had great fashion for its time (circa the new millennium) and produced an endless amount of crappy imitators like Laguna Beach and other MTV shows which Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, and American Eagle catered to. And while Gossip Girl has its imitators and predecessors (Cruel Intentions, My Super Sweet 16, Mean Girls), on the other hand, has fashion that a 40-year-old would wear proudly. Think of Nate’s nautical attire, Chuck’s preppy urban dandy sensibility, Serena’s bohemian chic, or Blair’s Audrey-esque style and compare that to Seth‘s geek chic or Ryan‘s bad boy look. The O.C. fashion belonged to the beach (and high school) with it’s cropped tops, beaded flip flops, and micro minis while Gossip Girl belongs to the runways of glamour and sophistication.
2. The cast is better looking:
The O.C. may have had Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, and Rachel Bilson, but Gossip Girl has Ed Westwick, Leighton Meister, Chace Crawford, and Blake Lively. In addition, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle, and Taylor Momsen round the beautiful cast with clothes that only perpetuate their beauty.
3. The supporting characters are better:
The O.C. does have a fascinating set of main characters, but they were marred by unlikable evil characters. Just to name a few, Oliver Trask, Johnny Harper, and Kevin Volchek. What’s brilliant about Gossip Girl is that the evil characters are likable. Georgina, Serena’s psycho friend, was unpredictable and fascinating. Some of the main characters like Blair and Chuck are malicious, but we root for them in their everyday schemes as they shame the lesser knowns. Blair and Chuck are a far fascinating couple than Summer and Seth because they have uncharted depth. I will dare say it: Blair can beat the living shit of Summer.
4. The Narration of Gossip Girl:
One of the major selling points of Gossip Girl is Gossip Girl herself. She is the unidentified narrator of the show that constantly blogs about the scandalous lives of the Manhattan’s Upper Eastsiders. With a voice-over by Kristen Bell, she provides a sexy and voyeuristic perspective that can instantly lure, entice, and addict the viewers. Her catty wordplay makes the drama more epic and otherworldly compared to the average social drama of a regular teenager. Wildly addictive in which not many shows can produce.
5. Again, Location:
New York is a more interesting place to tell stories than the beaches of Los Angeles. Sorry. ‘nuff said.
And for fun, here’s a comparative analysis of the pilot episodes. Schwartz knows what he wants:
Josh Schwartz knows how to make a grand entrance with both his shows. Gossip Girl and The O.C. have so many similarities in the pilot episode, it’s uncanny. The archetypes prevail like the outsider, the bitchy brunette, the disposable boyfriend, or the radiant “it” girl. Besides the basic premise of rich beautiful teens with epic problems, they introduce the first grand storyline that lasts approximately 3 episodes. The O.C. has the juvie teen moving in with the rich people of Newport while Gossip Girl has the reformed “it” girl returning to the riches of New York. After the 3 episodes, you’ve invested enough interest to care for the characters that you care on. Both arcs have social conflicts with the rich and the poor and the bad and the good. And with that conflict we have the unlikely couple pairing that seems unimaginable (in high school, of course). The juvie outsider with the popular girl next door or the poor social outcast with the reformed “it” girl are the main showcase, but we later noticed that the second couple pairing is always more interesting (a la Chuck and Blair or Summer and Seth). The music is also always hip with its indie flavored style. It’s more noticeable with the obligatory party scene with The O.C.’s The Black Eyed Peas’ “Hands Up” and Gossip Girl’s Timbaland’s “The Way I Are.” And the party scene is always decadent and scandalous with sex, drugs, and drinking. What’s not to love?
I’m in a good mood in desperate need of his Monday GG fix. 😉