As a hormonal mature woman nearing the end of her biological usefulness, I’m going through a second adolescence – crying, slamming doors, fancying boys and generally being a spotty arsehole. Unfortunately this version of teenagerhood has none of the redeeming features of your actual teens – you don’t have your whole life ahead of you and the next stage of your development doesn’t involve sex, freedom and new beginnings; just medication, the death of your loved ones and an increasingly unreliable pelvic floor.
Still, all of this late-onset angst has to go somewhere, so I’ve posthumously taken to watching all six seasons of Gossip Girl as a way to mourn my youth. I was too old for Gossip Girl when it first came out in 2007, and I am far too old for it now. The cast featured gorgeous, dewy-skinned people with improbable names that sounded like small villages in the Cotswolds – Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Chace Crawford – and ironically, they’re all too old for it now as well. Still, I’m finding comfort in it, for some reason. It’s not even that crap. Actually, yes, it is crap, but there’s something very enjoyable about watching TV that was made when Motorola flip phones, The Strokes and brightly coloured knee socks were all the rage. In one scene, Lively actually PUTS HER PHONE IN THE BIN, which today feels like the height of subversion.
What makes it perfect TV for the tired and jaded heterosexual perimenopausal woman is that it won’t bother your grey matter at all and all the guys are good looking with great abs. Really, after a busy day of wrestling with mortality, this is all I want – nostalgia, a predictable plot, something nice to look at and no spoilers, because everyone stopped watching it about 10 years ago and I’m probably the only person over 40 who is watching it on Netflix.
There’s something enjoyable about watching TV made when Motorola flip phones, The Strokes and brightly coloured knee socks were all the rage
Anyway, I doubt that you care, but it’s about a bunch of rich Manhattan schoolkids who do rich kid stuff, like going to debutante balls and bitching about each other. And inevitably, there’s a family who are from the wrong side of the tracks. This family is so poor they live in a huge airy loft in Brooklyn with their incredibly attractive dad, who is an art gallery owner and Nineties rock star. Can you imagine the indignity? Anyway, their every snog, sleepover and social faux pas is detailed by the anonymous Gossip Girl who has a totally mid-2000s blog. It is the very definition of chewing gum for the eyes, and I love every superficial moment of it. I know I can’t go back, because I was never there in the first place, but it’s helping me get through this awkward phase. Who knows? Maybe by the time I get to the last season, I’ll actually be a grown-up.
All six seasons of Gossip Girl are available on Netflix