Pilot (Gossip Girl)

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"Pilot"
Gossip Girl episode
Gossip Girl-101.jpg
Serena bumps into Dan after her encounter with Chuck.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Mark Piznarski
Teleplay by Josh Schwartz
Stephanie Savage
Production code 100
Original air date September 18, 2007 (CTV)
September 19, 2007 (The CW)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Wild Brunch"

"Pilot" is the first episode of the CW television series, Gossip Girl.[1] The episode was written by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and directed by Mark Piznarski. The episode debuted as a free download available on iTunes on September 14, 2007, five days before the series' initial broadcast. The episode made its actual television debut on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 on CTV and Wednesday, September 19, 2007 on the CW.

Plot[edit]

Serena van der Woodsen's (Blake Lively) mysterious return to Manhattan after a year-long stint at a boarding school becomes the talk of the town when the news of her homecoming is posted on a popular Upper East Side blog site published by an unknown character by the screen name of "Gossip Girl" (voiced by Kristen Bell). Serena's best friend, Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), however, is less than thrilled to see her again, especially when her plans of losing her virginity to her boyfriend, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), are interrupted when Serena arrives unexpectedly at a party.

In spite of their heart-to-heart talk together, Serena and Blair's re-ignited friendship is short-lived when Nate confesses to her that he and Serena slept together the night before she left, and although Blair forgives Nate, she refuses to forgive Serena.

Outsider Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) who has a secret crush on Serena, which dates back even before her mysterious departure, is once again drawn to her as soon as he learns that she has arrived back in town and, after trying to return Serena's phone to her, she asks him out on a date simply as an excuse not to go to Blair's "Kiss on the Lips" party. Dan takes Serena to his dad's band's concert, but they are forced to leave when his younger sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen) sends him a text message from Blair's party asking for help. Dan and Serena turn heads as they burst in on the party and search frantically for Jenny. They find her on the roof, where an egotistical sex-addicted Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) is attempting to take advantage of her. Dan punches Chuck and he and Serena leave in disgust, hand-in-hand with Jenny tagging along.

The apparent reason for Serena's abrupt return is revealed to be her younger brother Eric (Connor Paolo), who unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide but is now living in a psychiatric institution. Fortunately, not even "Gossip Girl" is aware of this.

In addition, the past affair between Dan and Jenny's father Rufus (Matthew Settle) and Serena and Eric's mother is brought to light when Lily (Kelly Rutherford) asks Rufus whether he is using his son to get close to her again.

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

Featuring nine regular speaking roles, the majority of the ensemble cast were assembled from February to April 2007. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were the first two actresses to be chosen in February for the lead roles of Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf respectively.[2] Penn Badgley, Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford, Kelly Rutherford, Connor Paolo and Florencia Lozano also auditioned successfully and landed roles in the series in March.[3][4][5] Actors for the roles of Chuck Bass and Rufus Humphrey were found in April when Ed Westwick and Matthew Settle were cast.[6] As rumors swirled about the impending cancellation of Veronica Mars, it was revealed at The CW's 2007 Upfronts on May 17, 2007 that Kristen Bell had narrated the pilot, thus making her the title character of another show on the network.[7]

Costume and Design[edit]

With the premiere of the fourth season, New York Magazine interviewed Gossip Girl costume designer Eric Daman, who cited Serena's French striped t-shirt, leather jacket, and attire in the Pilot opening as one of Serena's most iconic outfits[8] and one his of eleven favorite looks from the series.[9] Entertainment Weekly's Meeta Agrawal places Blake Lively's Serena van der Woodsen amongst the wearers of the 20 Knockout Dresses of the '00s. Her Tory Burch designed dress that she wore while she waited for Dan at The New York Palace Hotel marble staircase earned her the 2nd spot on the list.[10]

Cultural Allusions[edit]

  • Chuck suggests that Nate uses his father's viagra.[11]
  • Serena reminds Blair that they used to dance on tables at Bungalow 8.[11]
  • When talking to Nate, Chuck uses the phrase "Talk to Chuck," a marketing campaign for the Charles Schwab Corporation.
  • During Serena's attempt to rebuild her friendship with Blair, the two are seen drinking at Gilt, the hotel bar of the New York Palace.[11]
  • A flashback shows Serena and Nate having sex on the bar of the empty Campbell Apartment.[11]

Reception[edit]

"Pilot" was the first television pilot of the fall 2007 season to be picked up by its network.[12] "Pilot" had mediocre ratings overall, but performed well in key demographics and is one of the most buzzed about new shows on the internet. Its digital video recorder ratings were high, increasing the show's profitability. The show has also been in the top five of iTunes sales.[13] Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret Morning News noted that Gossip Girl is milder than a lot of what's shown on MTV, but still warned parents of several scenes in the pilot. He said it includes "among other things, a teenage girl climbing on top of a boy and removing his clothes; drunken teens having sex; teens smoking pot; teens drinking in bars, in a limo and at a party; a teen boy getting amorous with a girl who fights him off; and that same teen boy essentially attempting to rape a freshman girl who is supposed to be, what, 14?".[14] In the United Kingdom Gossip Girl scored an average of 520,000 viewers on ITV2. The pilot is the second highest-rated episode in the series (proceeding "The Dark Night" with 3.73), pulling a 3.50.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gossip Girl Episode Listings". thefutoncritic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, The Futon Critic
  3. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 9, The Futon Critic
  4. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, The Futon Critic
  5. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: MONDAY, MARCH 19, The Futon Critic
  6. ^ DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: FRIDAY, APRIL 6, The Futon Critic
  7. ^ Sex and the City for the Younger Set: Gossip Girl Coming to CW, The Cleveland Leader
  8. ^ "Gossip Girl Stylist Eric Daman’s Eleven Favorite Looks From the Series". New York Magazine. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gossip Girl Stylist Eric Daman’s Eleven Favorite Looks From the Series". New York Magazine. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ Agrawal, Meeta (May 17, 2010). "20 Knockout Dresses of the '00s". EW.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d "‘Gossip Girl’ The Most Important Show of Our Time". New York Magazine. September 20, 2007. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Television Travel: Lie, Cheat and Steal With "Gossip Girl"". Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  13. ^ "The CW Gives 'Gossip Girl' a Full-Season Order". Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  14. ^ "Parents, pay attention to the content of 'Gossip Girl'". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 

External links[edit]