Monday, January 26, 2009

Whenever my mom sees me reading a book that she deems as beneath someone’s reading level , she calls it reading “fluff.” With that being said, I have a confession to make: not only do I sometimes enjoying easy reads (a.k.a. “fluff”) but I also enjoy some fluff TV shows. One of which, is Gossip Girl. My roommates (mainly Anna) got me addicted to it freshman year, and since then (however unfortunate), I have followed it religiously. So, as I racked my brain to find something to write my second blog about, I thought of Gossip Girl. Although it may be inconsequential and at times simply stupid and perhaps brain rotting, I realized that it demonstrates several different types of cool in its characters. First, you have the stunning Serena Van Der Woodsen. She is the envy of all girls who watch. Long blond hair that is never out of place, a closet full of clothes that are the height of fashion, and a cute boyfriend to top it all off. She demonstrates the "cool" that most junior high girls see as the epitome of popularity and coolness. If I were to name this cool myself, it would be "stereotypical cool." It is the definition of cool that the average person would think of when asked. She is the "cool" girl at school--the it girl.
Second, there is Dan Humphry. He is Serena's boyfriend, so not only is he cool by association, but he also possesses his own brand of cool. Dan is artsy--he drinks black coffee at a small, local coffee shop, writes poetry, wears scarves, and totes a man bag. He goes to the same prestigious private school that Serena and her cronies attend, but there is one big difference: he is on scholarship. Dan is from Brooklyn (otherwise know as, the other side of the tracks) and is from a more humble background than most of his wealthy classmates. He is fully aware that he doesn't fit in at Constance, but he doesn't care. Dan continues to be true to himself throughout the series. Even when things get rocky between he and Serena, he doesn't change who he is. In trying to be himself and stay out of the mainstream, Dan creates his own version of cool.
Another character who has acquired her very own definition of cool is Jenny Humphry. When I first began watching the show, Jenny was like a lot of other girls during their freshman year in high school. Her main desire was to fit in and become a member of the in group at school. However, as the show progresses, Jenny realizes that in the process of initiation into the popular group at Constance she is not staying true to who she is. In realizing this, Jenny begins to rebel against the popular crowd. She goes to wild and unimaginable lengths to create her own name—her own brand of cool. She begins to design her own line of clothing and to put her name out there, interrupts a couture cocktail party with an impromptu fashion show. Jenny sows her wild oats throughout season two, but by season three she is in the process of getting her life back together, and showing Constance she can be who she wants to be. Personally, Jenny is one of my favorite characters. I admire the reasons she had behind rebelling against the social classes. I admire her spunk and determination. She accomplishes her goals without hesitation. Jenny’s new ideas and vivacity bring about another type of cool. I believe FJohn termed this type of cool as “transcendent.” He defined as someone who is sincere and passionate, someone that does what they want to do, and someone who is productive and creative and stands without the mainstream.
I have given you three different characters that demonstrate three different kinds of cool. Yet, can all be the same type at the same time? None of the three strive for coolness or acceptance but they all still attain it to some degree. What about someone who fails to obtain acceptance? Are they still cool in their own way? Maybe acceptance—in any form or fashion—defines cool.


  1. If acceptance is part of cool, then why do so many of us feel like there is something is uncool when it gains too many fans?

  2. Ah, Gossip Girl! It's interesting that you chose to highlight Gossip Girl and Blake Lively's character, Serena. Blake Lively is popular right now - but why is she popular? Because she was in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, yes, but her continued popularity is solely because of a show based on popularity. It makes me wonder if cool is something you can ride from crest to crest (in this case, meaning that Lively's next project is just as successful as this one), or something that has definite valleys in between mountain tops. My point? Now that you have somewhat of an idea of what to look for, you can begin to watch Lively's career (and others') for one or the other observantly.