In September of 2007, the first episode of Gossip Girl was premiered on the CW as brand new to all of its initial viewers. Surprisingly to some, the sitcom would continue to last with its addicting drama for six more seasons. Now, many years later when one thinks of the front steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Park Avenue, or even the Upper East side as a whole, ones mind often wanders to the world of Gossip Girl. To those unfamiliar with the plot, the drama follows the complicated lives of “Manhattan’s Elite.” Their prosperous yet somewhat shallow world consists of romance, financial conflicts, and personal social status. But what keeps the show interesting is the originally simple life of the Humphrey Family in contrast to the glamorous lives of the other main characters including Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Chuck Bass, and Nate Archibald. The juxtaposition stars Dan Humphrey, played by Penn Badgley, a scholarly junior who has never had as many trust funds, designer shoes, or cocktails as the other students he attends St.Judes, a rigorous prep school, with. Gossip Girl, the anonymous blogger, refers to Dans character as “Lonely Boy.” He is never invited to seasonal balls or socialite’s parties and he is hardly even noticed by his peers. In fact, Dan Humphrey’s character can easily be seen as the ultimate outsider looking in.
I didn’t begin to watch the series until the summer before eighth grade, but even then I was immediately drawn in by Dan’s awkward charm towards his dream girl, Serena. After watching the first few episodes my love for lonely boy was already beginning to form. His father, Rufus, and younger sister, Jenny, live with Dan in a cozy, endearing loft in Brooklyn, New York. The environment in which Dan has been cultivated shines through so much in his character that it is rather hard to resist the urge to be on his side as the underdog. In addition, he communicates his charm through his studies and passion for writing and reading poetry as well as short stories. His character is believable which is a refreshing change from the others who have not worked a day in their lives and simply view a college degree as just another accessory. And despite the other teenagers incredibly good looks and consistently elegant lifestyles, Dan is by far the most flawed and coincidentally the most loveable.
Apart from loving the Dan’s character, for the past three years I have been obsessed with the entire series. Through my eyes, the Upper East Side is this magical society in which I can only dream about. The effortless sophistication and style as well as the always evident luxury and culture has constantly been intriguing. I find Dan so appealing because as a character he finds himself in the same place- looking in on a world that is not his own. In many ways, Dan may represent the the audience and how unfamiliar they can be with the Upper East Side and its drama. After bountiful sessions of binge watching the seasons, I finally came to admit to the fact that I was happily and vicariously living through each character and their experiences. As I’ve grown older, I’ve began to respect the show more so as an art and its enchanting display of current fashion, design, and even music, than as an actual story line . Mainly because of the fact that the majority of the show revolves around the lives of teenagers and because those years are a time of experimentation and growth, any representation can be rather cliche or corny. But no matter how unrealistic the problems posed may be or how shallow Blair Waldorf may sound, I will always be more than happy to watch an episode or two, preferably in the first two seasons where the plot is simpler and more appealing. One of the best episodes is entitled “Blair Waldorf Must Pie” and is a traditional Thanksgiving episode with the addition of recurring flashbacks from the year before. Of course, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Dan is polite, welcoming, thankful, and dreamy throughout the whole episode.
In conclusion, I believe it’s safe to say that Dan Humphrey is one of the many great fictional yet realistic aliens of television. His placement among others not only weans him from the typical norms of high school but helps to develop an extremely lovable, relatable character. I will always adore Dan’s witty sense of humor, his belief that sex is an art, and his Folgers Coffee addiction. So here’s to all the aliens, especially those in Brooklyn.
you know you love me,