I’m catching up on Gossip Girl with Amber Jones as my guide. Here are my random thoughts from throughout the series. Current position: Season 2, Episode 19
How does the old saying go?
Incest is Mother Nature’s great regulator?
Actually, that’s not an old saying. I’m pretty sure I just made that up. But the point remains to be true. Incest keeps the immoral and demented people of the world honest. Or as honest as you can be when you want to intercourse your family members.
Over the last couple months, I’ve been catching up on the five seasons of Gossip Girl that I’ve never really viewed before. It started out by deciding to try watching something that my lady friend Amber was interested in. With my affinity for bad movies and my willingness to watch bad television in the great quest for constant entertainment, it seemed only natural to dive into a show I knew nothing about with someone who knew everything about it.
At first, we were watching the last few episodes of the fifth season. Amber was continuing her viewership of this show as she has over the last few years and I was just tagging along for the ride. But even as mindless as you may assume Gossip Girl is, I had no idea what was going on in the show. Characters were feuding and flirting with a basis of past references just oozing out of each scene. And I was left clueless and without a proper mental library of what mattered and what didn’t matter as the scenes progressed.
So we decided to fire up the old Netflix membership (you know… before Netflix became the next Hitler-Stalin-Streisand hydra that decided to raise your monthly membership by the cost of a vegetarian burrito bowl at Chipotle) and get me started at the first stage of the race.
What I’ve found is that this show is extremely watchable. After you get past the idea of “turning in your man card,” or whatever incredibly unclever way of trying to pretend your life is still about being the manliest guy you can be by crushing beer cans on your head while lighting farts in a Camaro and opening Coors Light bottles with your nether regions, it’s actually a pretty decent show with good story arcs, intriguing characters and the wildly unbridled sense of not a single teenager being carded in the Upper East Side.
One of the main plotlines happens to be the love interest between Dan Humphrey (played by Penn Badgley) and Serena van der Woodsen (played by Blake Lively’s breasts and frozen lower half of her face). Dan is the upper middle class kid who is the son of a once almost famous musician that just can’t catch a break, except for the fact that he goes to the most prestigious college prep academy in NYC. He’s in love with Serena who is basically the Paris Hilton of Manhattan, only if she was a little bit more promiscuous as a teenager (think about that).
(SPOILER ALERT) They’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend, consummated that relationship and then eventually broken up because of her past, his distrust due to that past, and the fact that her mom and his dad used to date a long time ago and still love each other.
It’s your typical love story.
During the second season (SPOILER ALERT PART DEUX), we find out that Dan’s father (Rufus) and Serena’s mother (Lily) had a kid together 19 years ago. Serena’s mom didn’t tell Rufus or anybody else (other than her own mother) and gave it up for adoption. After a private investigator discovers it and word gets out, they go off to Boston in an attempt to track down their son.
Here’s the question that never gets answered for me though: where does the incest line get drawn in the hills/skyscrapers of Appalachia/Manhattan?
I get that Dan and Serena aren’t exactly blood relatives, but wouldn’t it be odd to be hooking up, in love and dating someone you share a brother with? The existence of incest and the deformations nature impresses upon those that just can’t help themselves from helping themselves to their families are quite the telling sign that humans shouldn’t be participating in this disgusting act. But at what point is societal incest just as bad as good old-fashioned incest?
If Rufus and Lily ended up getting married, does it necessarily mean Serena and Dan can’t get married as well?
If Serena and Dan got married, would their abandoned half-brother be the omni-brother-in-law to both of them? There couldn’t be a more brother-in-lawier brother-in-law than a brother who is the hermano to both bride and groom without crossing DNA boundaries.
The crazy thing is (SPOILER ALERT: THE TRILOGY) this societal incest doesn’t even end up being the end of their relationship. Sharing flesh and blood (indirectly) never really offers more than an awkward glance between the two. And it makes me wonder if I’m just a familial prude or if this is an acceptable part of higher society.
It’s one thing to continue dating your stepbrother after your parents unexpectedly end up together; it’s another thing to not really consider the possibility of what it means to share a sibling with your significant other.
This is where I was left completely alone, much like Rufus and Lily’s exiled child. There were no answers of whether this was ultimately wrong or not. The most judgmental and cliquey group of students this side of the 90210 zip code didn’t even get a chance to weigh in on if this was taboo or not.
It’s not like if Dan and Serena eventually married and had children that it would come out of the womb looking like a gremlin or a resident of those hills with the eyes the kids are always running out of gas next to. They share no DNA. But socially, it could have been taboo-ish fodder for the martini-intravenous teenyboppers of high society.
Much like the relationship of Dan and Serena, we’re left wondering what would have happened if their relationship would have stuck through the times (for now) and eventually led to an awkward family dynamic. Maybe Mother Nature wouldn’t have been able to pass judgment on this one, but I would have liked to find out if the trust fund peanut gallery wanted a piece of that gossip.