In the frothy pilot of Josh Schwartz's new show Gossip Girl, Kristen Bell narrates as Gossip Girl, an anonymous internet blogger who texts everyone in a Manhattan prep school to keep them updated on the doings of the It girls. Blonde ice-cold party girl Serena has returned to this world from a year off for mysterious (brother's-suicide-related) reasons to find that her erstwhile best friend Blair, the virginal brunette, is occupying her spot at the top. Blair's boyfriend Nate is just a touch too happy that Serena's back -- turns out they slept together right before she left -- and when Blair finds out, the catfight's back on after a brief reunion. Meanwhile, friendless child of divorce Dan, who's been "romantically" interested in Serena for years (read: "stalking"), manages to charm Serena on the night of a big party.
Big party as backdrop to climax? Check.
Perky use of abbreviations in inappropriate places? Check.
The spirit of The OC has totally returned to us. A little less funny, a little bit more unabashedly girly, Gossip Girl is like cotton candy. I have to admit, I couldn't have enjoyed it more.
A rundown: Kristen Bell makes as good a V.O. here as on V.M. If you found Blake Lively's seductive-blonde mannerisms annoying in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, you'll want to rip your hair out when you watch her in this (join the club). Leighton Meester is mediocre as Blair, Chace Crawford (Nate) and Penn Badgley (Dan) do a great job of supplying pretty faces (and not much else) as Serena's moony suitors, and Ed Westwick alone has a little life in him as the villain, Chuck.
Terrible actors? Check, check, check, check.
In Summary: All snarking aside, and all considerations of quality aside, if you're the target audience for this show (and you know who you are), then you should set aside an hour on Wednesday nights to squee. And if you're not in the target audience, but you're willing to be entertained... you might still want to check out Gossip Girl.