“Gossip Girl” returns Monday night (CW, 8/7c) with an episode that finds half the cast partying in Los Angeles. Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) has a new mantra, “Just say yes,” and that lighthearted spirit permeates the entire episode. It’s an hour of blue skies, enormous necklaces, and surprising plot twists. The show seems to be moving away from the darkness of the previous season of wrongly imprisoned people and blown up buildings, returning to the delicious satire that characterized the show’s high school years. Even better, everyone’s least favorite characters, Jenny (Taylor Momsen) and Vanessa (Jessica Szohr), are officially off the show. GG’s showrunner Joshua Safran shared five reasons to check out the fifth season of GG.
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A Major Character Is Pregnant: GG has done pregnancy storylines before. The first time it turned out that Blair’s (Leighton Meester) loyal maid Dorota was the mother-to be. The second time, Dan (Penn Badgely) turned out not to be the father of Georgina’s baby. This season, it’s not a mislead. An important character is pregnant, and it will be the start of a longterm story arc.
Elizabeth Hurley is the New Heather Locklear: Supermodel Elizabeth Hurley, first seen in the season premiere, plays Diana Payne, an older woman who hooks up with Nate (Chace Crawford). She will turn out to be a major player for much of the season. Says Safran, “Everyone has an agenda on our show. What’s interesting about her agenda is she’s very honest about it. So throughout the season when she says something, even though she may move the chess pieces around to get what she wants, is she says up top, ‘This is what I want.’ So if people don’t comply, she’ll just move them and get what she wants… She’s the Heather Locklear to ‘Melrose Place‘ thing. She’s coming in and then her goals and priorities shift.”
Gossip Girl Herself Plays A Major Role: The identity of Gossip Girl used to be one of the show’s biggest mysteries. In more recent seasons, she functioned only as a narrator. This season, she assumes a more important role. “Gossip Girl is very much a regular this year, almost as much as she was in season one… People may want to learn her identity more this season,” Safran teases. “Maybe there’s someone else that’s going to use technology in a way that will threaten her… There are some unlikely people from previous seasons who return that a sharp-eyed fan might notice. There are little Easter eggs in almost every episode also because Gossip Girl is taking so much of a front seat this year. Even old Gossip Girl blasts are pulled forward.”
Dan’s Novel Exposes Everyone’s Dirty Laundry: Vanessa enacts some sweet revenge from off-camera. Not only did she steal Dan’s novel, she managed to sell it to a publisher. Since Dan is not particularly creative, his book is a thinly veiled autobiography that reveals secrets about every character. According to Safran, “He has been writing since what you hear in the pilot, when he saw [Serena] at a party in 9th grade. He started writing about her from that point forward. So six years is what we keep saying… Everyone does have a reaction and it’s not necessarily the reaction that Dan expects them to have, but it’s also not the reaction they expect to have.”
Charlie/Ivy Is Back: Charlie AKA Ivy, (Kaylee DeFour) the imposter who pretended to be Serena’s (Blake Lively) cousin, is back as a series regular. Since nobody has discovered her true identity, she’s poised to cause a lot of trouble for Serena and her family. “She got a taste of that life that was denied the real Charlie who was actually born to it. So the idea that she not only got a taste of it but is maybe going to be forced back into it is maybe going to change her whole way of how she looks at it and how she deals with it,” says Safran.