'Gossip Girl': The '80s gagged us with a spoon
Ever since news broke that "Gossip Girl" was planning an '80s flashback episode as well as an '80s-inspired spinoff centered on a young Lily van der Woodsen, I have been anticipating what was sure to be an hour-long spectacle of tulle, neon and Flock of Seagulls hair. On Monday night, we got our share of tulle and neon — not so much Flock of Seagulls hair, thankfully — but most importantly, we got a juicy glimpse into Lily's past. As fun as it was to escape the Upper East Side for one episode, I'm still on the fence about this possible spinoff (apparently, so is the CW). Here's what I love and what I don't love about it:
What I love:
— Um, duh, the fashion. Young Lily's outfit montage was as amazing as the one she decided to wear. Since '80s looks are currently back in style, there is no doubt that cropped jacket, those lace leggings and the tiered skirt will be hitting Melrose Avenue, like, now.
— The younger Cece Rhodes. From her judgmental squint to the snooty inflection in her voice, Cynthia Watros ("Lost") nailed Cece. Plus, I believe Cece could and would channel her own oceanside version of "Dynasty" by combining Krystle Carrington's look with Alexis' attitude.
— Andrew McCarthy. "Lipstick Jungle" was all wrong for him. With this spinoff, he'd be back where he belongs — in the '80s!
— A look into Lily's past. We saw how she met Serena and Eric's tool of a father, Keith van der Woodsen, but how did she end up marrying him? How did Lily meet Rufus? Where is present-day Carol Rhodes and what is she up to now? These are questions that the episode left me asking and that the spinoff could help answer.
— No Doubt as a band called Snowed Out. If future band cameos will be as awesomely named as that, I'm all for it.
What I don't love:
— Inconsistencies. Do our eyes somehow grow darker as we age? Because young Lily is clearly sporting baby blues while modern-day Lily's eyes are brown.
— Tepid cast chemistry. Aside from Cece and Rick Rhodes, I wasn't too thrilled with the casting of young Lily and Carol's band of outsiders. Owen looked like a cross between Ed Westwick and Zack Efron, not some Valley rebel who is supposed to rock Lily's world. Keith van der Woodsen seemed mediocre at best, and Shep was just plain odd. If the spinoff wants to earn as much hype as "Gossip Girl," it's going to have to give us a more dynamic group.
—The '80s concept. As much as I love the wacky fashion and the New Wave soundtrack, would anybody in "Gossip Girl's" target demographic care about a decade they barely remember or better yet weren't even alive to witness? I know there are lots of fans (me included) who do appreciate '80s kitsch, but is it enough to keep a series going? Then again, "That '70s Show" did pretty well...
With my attention fully focused on the flashbacks, it was difficult to concentrate on the regular "Gossip Girl" story. Serena's defiant act of staying in jail evoked nothing short of apathy and the gang's prom turned out to be as flat as the girls' plan to make Nelly Yuki prom queen. The best scene belonged to Chuck, whose covert efforts to give Blair her dream prom were too sweet for words. Now that Blair and Nate have decided to part ways, is it time for Chuck to make his own dreams come true?
Time for your thoughts. Did you love or hate the '80s flashbacks? Would you watch the spinoff based on this episode?
— Enid Portuguez
Photo: The CW