It has been almost 11 years since the surprising lives of Manhattan’s elite were chronicled on the CW’s Gossip Girl, but our cultural obsession with the show remains as strong as ever thanks to Netflix introducing it to a new generation of fans.
Since its debut, Gossip Girl has become synonymous with ostentatious wealth, privilege, and teenage rebellion, taking the last moments of a world on the cusp of social media domination and placing them in a Balenciaga-trimmed time capsule.
Despite its dated reliance on flip phones and camcorders, Gossip Girl is only more relevant with time, even as the wealth it displays becomes increasingly unattainable for new generations of viewers.
As a technological Nostradamus, the show predicted the lack of privacy caused by the omnipresence of social media, where your every move can be tracked on Snapchat and one Instagram post can follow you for a lifetime.
Even if you aren’t a Gossip Girl fanatic, odds are high that you have a vague understanding of its plot.
Many of its stars became household names during the show — notably Blake Lively, whose public life is nearly indistinguishable from the life of her on-screen counterpart Serena Van der Woodsen — and its virtual villainess inspired countless copy-cat blogs in schools across the country.
The show is positioned so firmly within the pop-cultural zeitgeist that there are plot points that even the casual viewer knows: Blair is the brunette, Taylor Momsen went crazy and bleached her hair, and he’s Chuck Bass. However, there are still some things that even the most passionate viewer seems to forget.
With that said, here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Gossip Girl.
20 There’s No Way Dan Was Gossip Girl
We don’t care that it’s canon. Dan Humphrey is not Gossip Girl. Fan outcry against the decision to make Dan the anonymous blogger who, among other things, nearly got himself suspended, constantly spread rumors about his little sister’s intimate life and outed himself as a cheater, was nearly universal.
How did Dan write and post a Gossip Girl blast while standing at the altar during Blair’s wedding to Prince Louis?
Why would he have a full text conversation with himself blackmailing himself into bringing Blair to a party?
Don’t forget the number of times Dan is shown reacting to a blast alone in his room where no one is watching him with complete shock and awe.
Luckily for the enduring legacy of the show, Gossip Girl was about much more than the identity of the eponymous blogger (who is absolutely, positively not Daniel Randolph Humphrey).
19 Chuck And Blair Weren't Always The Endgame
Chuck’s changing character arc may have tipped you off to the fact that his romance with Blair was also entirely unplanned.
Showrunner Josh Schwartz explained that Ed Westwick’s easy chemistry with Leighton Meester took over their original plotlines and entirely changed the show.
The show eventually centered largely on Chuck and Blair’s epic romance.
Whether they ultimately ended up together was said to be a discussion in the writers’ room for multiple seasons, but Schwartz held that their relationship was a "long-term play" from the time they noticed the characters’ chemistry, and that they always had to find a way to be brought back together.
Love really does come when you least expect it, even on TV.
18 Eric Was Almost Gossip Girl
It’s no secret that Gossip Girl’s ultimate identity wasn’t planned from the beginning. In fact, many other characters were considered, such as Nate Archibald.
The fan theory that gained the most traction was one that claimed Serena’s younger brother Eric was the mastermind behind the Gossip Girl blog.
Executive producers agreed, with Joshua Safran even guiding the narrative of the first two seasons towards that eventual reveal.
Unfortunately, Eric made a little too much sense as the titular character, and the New York Post correctly revealed that Eric was Gossip Girl off of what was most likely just a lucky guess.
After his identity had been leaked, the writers were forced to pursue alternate characters as the true owner of the Gossip Girl mantle.
17 Chuck Bass Was Originally A Minor Villain (Like In The Books)
In the Gossip Girl series of novels, the Chuck Bass we know and grew to love is very different. His epic love affair with Blair Waldorf is nowhere to be seen, he dates more men than women, and he’s rarely spotted without his pet monkey, Sweetie.
There is no road to redemption, no quest to become a successful businessman, and no end to his penchant for scarves.
This is more or less how Chuck’s story begins in the television series as well, as he serves as a villain who assaults women while wearing flamboyant outfits.
Showrunner Josh Schwartz admitted to Vulture that he changed the character’s trajectory after the seventh episode of the series.
This meant that Chuck Bass’s central evolution from the bookish villain to a romantic lead wasn’t the original plot.
16 Jenny And Blair Did Make Amends
The feud between Jenny and Blair ran deep. While Jenny started as Blair’s minion at the beginning of the series, most of Little J’s character arc followed her attempts to take Blair’s Queen Bee status or to take Blair’s boyfriend Nate.
Understandably, Blair is eventually pushed so far as to banish Jenny from Manhattan, effectively triggering the plotline that wrote Taylor Momsen off of the show.
It wasn’t always fire and brimstone between the two warring queens, however.
At the end of season two, Blair chooses Jenny to be the new queen of Constance after Blair’s graduation, and Blair lifts Jenny’s banishment after season four.
In the Gossip Girl finale, Jenny appears carrying a “J for Waldorf” bag, showing that Blair and Jenny ultimately make amends with a collaboration between Jenny and Waldorf Designs.
15 Blake Lively and Leighton Meester Weren't Feuding
With surprising plotlines and such gorgeous actors, its only natural that fans and critics would hope that some of Gossip Girl’s drama and intrigue carried over into the cast’s real-life antics.
The casts’ lives were so intertwined with romances and co-habitations that rumors were constantly swirling about the series young leads.
One of the most popular rumors at the time was that Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were constantly fighting about wardrobe budgets, screen time, and diva-like behavior.
Most rumors are at least slightly rooted in truth — the two leads were never friends.
However, there’s a big difference between having a polite working relationship and accusing each other of being egomaniacs.
Let this be a reminder that work acquaintances exist, even in Hollywood.
14 We Do Know Who Chuck’s Real Mother Is
A strange amount of viewers seem to believe that the identity of Chuck’s mother was left a mystery by Gossip Girl’s writers.
During season three, Chuck’s mother appears out of nowhere, claiming that she didn’t pass away during childbirth and was paid by Bart Bass to stay away from her son.
Then, the audience was led to believe she was an imposter preying on Chuck’s greatest weakness.
Then, it seems like she really is his mother and was lying about lying to him.
It was all very confusing, and when Diana Payne pretends to be Chuck’s mother in season five, apparently a lot of people were too turned around to follow the story to its inevitable conclusion that she was Chuck’s mother after all.
Either that, or by that point no one was really watching Gossip Girl anymore and didn’t realize that the plotline had been revisited.
13 The Books Are Nothing Like The TV Show
Small, brunette Jenny Humphrey took enlargement supplements to get DDs and lived with her family on the Upper West Side.
Dan’s one true love is Vanessa Abrams, but he only realizes it after Chuck Bass steals his boyfriend, Greg.
Lily and Rufus never meet, Nate Archibald has a substance problem, and Blair Waldorf graduates from Yale.
This isn’t bad Gossip Girl fan fiction. It’s the plot from Cecily von Ziegesar’s thirteen Gossip Girl novels (not including the manga spin-offs or the horror parody).
The television series goes to darker places than the books, with demises, overdoses, and trading women for real estate, but the books are able to get away with more scandals, petty drama, and escapades.
12 It Wasn't Josh Schwartz Idea To Bring Gossip Girl To The Screen
Ah, the early 2000s - those were the good old days. The original plan to adapt Gossip Girl began in 2004.
The plan involved Lindsay Lohan appearing as Blair Waldorf in a movie that would be written by Gilmore Girls mastermind Amy Sherman-Palladino.
While the reasons for the original project’s demise are unclear, we're glad that the movie was never made.
When the rights reverted to Alloy Entertainment, the book packaging and television production unit of Warner Bros., The O.C. showrunner Josh Schwartz, and executive producer Stephanie Savage were approached to create a television series from the novels instead.
The rest, as they say, is history.
11 Taylor Momsen Wasn’t Fired From The Show
Wide-eyed Jenny Humphrey probably wouldn’t have supported Taylor Momsen’s hobby of taking her clothes off at concerts or randomly smudging black eye shadow on and calling it a day.
Soon art began to imitate life, as Jenny dropped out of school, dated her substance dealer, and slept with Chuck Bass.
When the character was written off of the show, rumors flew that Momsen’s was fired due to bad behavior.
Some choice words from Tim Gunn supported the rumor, but Momsen’s screen time had been cut long before then.
Momsen left to focus on her music, and soon after quit acting. The show’s claims of writing her off for creative reasons make sense, as Jessica Szohr left at the same time and both of their character arcs were stale.
10 Gossip Girl Originally Had Bad Ratings
There’s no denying Gossip Girl’s popularity. Even though it never won any critical awards, designers flocked to dress the show’s young leads and the CW’s current programming is still a direct result of Gossip Girl’s original influence.
Despite its eventual cultural domination, the first season of the hit show had less than stellar ratings.
Averaging around 2.2 million viewers per episode, Gossip Girl had less than half of the weekly viewers than its counterpart The O.C.
Always ahead of its time, Gossip Girl’s viewers were mostly watching online (this is long before anyone had even dreamed of the concept of streaming).
This actually led to the CW removing the episodes from their website in the hopes that viewers would be forced to tune-in live and save the network from financial losses.
9 The Palace Hotel Isn’t In The UES
The Palace hotel is an iconic Gossip Girl location. Who can forget Serena eating truffle grilled cheese in the kitchen?
While the hotel’s actual name is the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, it is a real Manhattan hotel. It even offers a “Gossip Girl Getaway” package complete with macarons and a discount on a tour of New York Gossip Girl filming locations.
With characters like Chuck Bass and the entire Van der Woodsen family calling the Palace home during the course of the show, viewers are led to believe that the hotel is in the Upper East Side where the characters are so vocal about residing.
However, the Palace is a beautiful Madison Avenue landmark located in Midtown Manhattan, which is about eight blocks downtown from the official end of the Upper East Side on 59th Street.
8 The Characters Would Never Be Able To Get From Brooklyn To The UES So Quickly
With a little bit of TV magic, Gossip Girl characters seem to flit between Brooklyn and the Upper East Side in no time at all, an easy detour to confront your ex-girlfriend at their penthouse apartment or save your sister from her would-be assaulter at the Kiss On The Lips party.
Using the actual filming locations at the New York Palace and in DUMBO, it would take at least thirty minutes on the subway to get from Point A to Point B.
Knowing the characters from the show, who would insist on taking their private car and driver, it would probably take closer to an hour, regardless of what time of day you’re commuting.
Maybe they would have been better off meeting in the middle - the East Village, perhaps?
7 Leighton Meester Never Pushed Nan Zhang Out Of The Show
As we’ve established, rumors surrounding the casts’ personal lives swarmed during Gossip Girl’s peak, with one particular story stating that Leighton Meester had forced Nan Zhang’s Kati Farkas off the show due to a rift over shared screen time.
Reportedly, Zhang then went to Brown University, far away from Queen B’s watchful gaze.
While it’s ridiculous to think that a young star in the first season of her show would have enough clout to force the writers to cut a background character, enough people believe the rumors that Zhang eventually released a statement explaining that it was false.
Zhang stated that she was never feuding with Leighton Meester, who she said was actually a sweetheart, and that she left to pursue neuroscience at Johns Hopkins.
6 Kristen Bell Wasn't Officially Gossip Girl
Many viewers don’t originally recognize that the omnipresent narrator of Gossip Girl was voiced by Kristen Bell. Before she was Anna in Frozen, Bell was saying things like “You know you love me” and “Sound the trumpet, strumpets!” on national television.
Exempting a cameo in the series final episode, Bell was never credited for her voice-overs during the show’s 121 episode run.
Fittingly, she also never actually auditioned for the role. Playing off of her Veronica Mars fame, she just called the producers and insisted that she voice the character.
Judging by fan reactions to Gossip Girl’s official identity, producers were probably better off just revealing that Anna from Frozen was the cyber villainess all along.
5 The Costumers Never Used A Headband More Than Once
Blair Waldorf was known for many things - having an obsession with Aubrey Hepburn, a penchant for quoting Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a brief fling with Prince Louis, and an eating disorder.
However, first and foremost, Blair Waldorf was known for her never-ending collection of headbands.
For Blair, a headband was more than an accessory used to keep her hair out of her face. It was a way of asserting her dominance over her enemies, a display of ultimate power.
It would make sense for someone who was usually seen wearing some type of headband to have 10 or 20 in rotation, with maybe a couple extra added in around the holidays.
That would have been too easy for Gossip Girl’s costumers, who never repeatedly used a headband throughout the show’s six seasons.
We guess Jenny Humphrey’s Queen B headband was more symbolic than anything else.
4 Taylor Momsen Was The Same Age As Her Character
It’s no secret that the stars of our favorite high school dramas are rarely teens themselves.
Kristen Bell was 24 when she played Veronica Mars. Sarah Michelle Gellar was 20 in the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. James Van der Beek was 24 when Dawson graduated high school.
When Jenny Humphrey was 14, Taylor Momsen was… 14. While Gossip Girl’s other young stars ranged from 20 to 22 years old, Taylor was actually the same age as our least favorite Constance Billiard freshman.
Her young age was part of why her character took such a strange path.
The writers wanted each character to reflect the actors portraying them, so when Taylor decided to go down a more alternative path as she got older, the show incorporated it into its narrative.
3 The Humphreys Aren’t Actually Poor
Lonely Boy Dan Humphrey was introduced as the everyman foil to the wealthy Upper East Side teens that populate Gossip Girl’s main cast.
Most of his characterization was centered around him being a poor outsider from Brooklyn who couldn’t possibly relate to the dilemmas of the ridiculously rich and perennially struggled to keep up.
In reality, the Humphreys lived in a massive loft that likely cost at minimum $7,500 per month.
Dan never had an after-school job (exempting a one-time gig as a cater waiter) and outside of Jenny not being able to outfit herself exclusively in designer clothes, the Humphreys never seemed to have any actual financial issues.
While the Humphreys may have been poor relative to the Kardashians (or the Van der Woodsens), we think a more accurate term for the family would have been “upper-middle class.”
2 The Humphreys Don’t Live In Williamsburg
The Gossip Girl pilot famously mentions the Humphrey family living in Williamsburg, the trendiest of all mainstream Brooklyn neighborhoods, but all exterior shots of the Humphrey loft and many of the characters’ Brooklyn adventures take place in DUMBO, another Brooklyn neighborhood closer to the Brooklyn bridge.
After the second episode of the series, “The Wild Brunch”, Williamsburg is never mentioned again and the Humphreys are said to simply live in Brooklyn.
An email from executive producer Stephanie Savage said that after the pilot, the creative team realized that Williamsburg wasn’t the right place for the series’ resident Brooklynites.
They decided to put them in a more general locale due to shooting constraints, explaining the confusion.
1 Not Only The Obscenely Wealthy Live In The Upper East Side
Apartments on the Upper East Side are often more affordable than living on the Upper West Side or downtown near Greenwich Village, the East Village, or Chelsea.
The average UES rent is around $1,834 and attracts young millennials who can’t afford to live in trendier areas of the city with more active nightlife scenes.
Curbed has actually said that the Upper East Side is New York City’s most affordable neighborhood, even when compared to boroughs outside of Manhattan like Gossip Girl’s oft-disparaged Brooklyn, which is only increasing in popularity.
If you want to find the Blair Waldorfs of the neighborhood, they’re still there, but Park and Fifth aren’t the only avenues on the UES.
Can you think of any other things that everyone gets wrong about Gossip Girl? Let us know in the comments!