Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things I love: Television without Pity recaps of Gossip Girl

Greg surprised me this weekend by shelling out for Season 1 of Gossip Girl on itunes, so we’ve spent the last couple evenings in the grips of new-show infatuation. Only taking short breaks to getadrinkandsomethingtoeatputlaundryintaketrashoutgotothegymdothedishesusethebathroom and then hurry back for more scandals.

For me, before there were Gossip Girl episodes on itunes, there were Gossip Girl recaps on televisionwithoutpity. I started reading these a few weeks ago at work when I undertook a massive email archiving project that froze up most of my computer for long stretches of time but left the internet window working. Before then I hadn’t used tv w/o p very much, because apart from spoilers, I don’t like to read about tv shows, but I was aware of it after one of my favorite tv guide podcasters, Angel, moved there when she quit tv guide.

I won’t explain what televisionwithoutpity is, because this is a blog so you’re one click away from seeing for yourself and you probably already know about it, anyway. The show recaps are long, sometimes taking as long or longer to read than watching an episode would, but they pack a big punch. They are simultaneously a recap of what happened in the episode (S and B have a catfight, or brunch at the waldorfs or something), a celebration of fandom for the show (who is hot, who is a great actor, who has smaller boobs than her character in the books), a critique of the production and writing on the show (whether the timeline makes sense, the song is the right one for a scene etc), and a celebration of modern culture in general. Reading the recaps is like watching the show with your best friend, who’s not afraid to drop allusions to Hamlet, BSG, or the OC because he trusts you’ll catch them all. You get a sense that he takes the show seriously, and cares what happens to it. And, the analysis goes deep into the relationships between the characters, the structure of the season’s story arc, the overarching themes and speculations about how the characters got to be the way they are now and what might happen to them in the future, but all in a snarky off the cuff way that always hits the mark.

I don’t know that I’ll be going back to televisionwithoutpity to read recaps of other shows now that I’ve finished gossip girl. They do take quite a while to get through and there isn’t another show I’m as interested in reading up on, but I wholeheartedly recommend the Gossip Girl recaps to anyone who’s interested in the show but hasn’t seen it yet.

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