Category Archives: Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl – “Poison Ivy”

“Poison Ivy”

October 2nd, 2007

Ivy Week, as presented by Gossip Girl, is the time when plans about the future take center stage. This is not an uncommon theme in teen dramas: heck, High School Musical was a post-secondary anxiety film at its core. However, for Gossip Girl, it’s a wakeup call from the joys of living the high life when interviews and socials essentially define their future…and they all have extremely preset futures ahead of them despite the turmoil in their lives.

Dan is dreaming of Dartmouth, hoping for his scholarship in lieu of actual funds. Nate, meanwhile, has a father pushing him to Dartmouth while he dreams of heading out West. As they compete for an ushership (I don’t know what this means), we start to gain a better understanding of Dan’s place in this world, and what little clout the Humphrey name has in this world.

However, it also allowed the two to actually share some common ground for a change, and allow for Dan to be somewhat less of an outcast. This is a positive development, and finally brings new pairings of characters outside of the rather rigid pairings we were earlier provided. The more the show extends its characters and has them interact with other people, the more three-dimensional they become.

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Filed under Gossip Girl, Television

Gossip Girl – “The Wild Brunch”

“The Wild Brunch”

September 25th, 2007

Truth be told, I missed the first fifteen minutes of Gossip Girl’s second episode. And yet, I feel entirely able to provide my opinion of tonight’s sophomore episode of the drama series, which is not a good sign. Suffering from a case of the post-pilot doldrums, “The Wild Brunch” was not quite as wild as we could be expecting, although the brunch was supposedly excellent.

[Edit: I have since watched the opening minutes (Which was not 15, the episode was extremely short), but I was impressed by what we saw of Dan/Jenny’s simpler life and the entire post-date wave sequence. It was charming, although the lack of charm in the rest of the episode is still an issue stepping forward. Amber over at The Gall of It All has her own snarky observations, including ones on fashion which I clearly can’t speak to.]

The problem with the episode is that there wasn’t any real advancement of the characters within the story. Jenny remained a young girl trying to break into the it crowd, Dan remained a smitten male unable to fit in with Serena’s friends, and the Blair/Serena war remained as one-dimensional as it was last week. It was everything you could assume would happen after last week’s premiere without any element of surprise.

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Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Tuesdays

[The above/below is really quite tentative, if only because of CTV’s lack of a consistent Fall Schedule. Right now, Gossip Girl is airing a day before its U.S. airings on CTV in Canada, so I’m covering it a day early. However, Pushing Daisies is debuting in the same timeslot two weeks from now. I expect Pushing Daisies to get moved, but this could all change]

Tuesdays are a perfect day for television at Cultural Learnings thanks to a relatively light schedule on Wednesdays. Of course, spiting me once again, the TV deities weren’t kind enough to offer a plethora of shows on this particular evening. As a result, let’s look at the three shows that (for now) have made the cut into the rotation.


FOX’s biggest drama series has never quite had itself in a state of upheaval like this one: with Chase, Foreman and Cameron unemployed and a new set of residents incoming (Including Kal Penn (Kumar) and Olivia Wilde (The O.C.’s resident lesbian)), it seems like a good time to start paying closer attention to Hugh Laurie and company. I’m hoping this new element might cut down on the procedural predictability, but we’ll see.

Cultural Learnings’ House Coverage


Faced with the enormous task of battling off with House, a show that controls all sectors of the viewing audience, Reaper might struggle to gain traction. However, its pilot is quite sharp, and I think that there is a lot of potential in its concept that is worth investigating further. A few weeks in, I might be begging people to stop watching House to switch over to The CW for a change, but we’ll see if it even lasts that long. Fingers crossed.

Cultural Learnings’ Reaper Coverage

Gossip Girl

Earlier this evening, I already started covering this new drama from O.C. creator Josh Schwartz; it’s one of those shows where slick production values and adequate writing elevate what may otherwise be tossed aside as teen fare. My cynicism may grow too large to be contained within shorter articles, but for now we’re going to follow the Serena/Blair battle until the bitter end.

Cultural Learnings’ Review: Gossip Girl


Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, FOX, Gossip Girl, House, Reaper, Television, The CW

Review: ‘Gossip Girl’

From the moment that Gossip Girl opened with Peter, Bjorn & John, I felt a wash of Orange County air sweep through my window. Where else but Josh Schwartz’s former flame, ‘The O.C.’, would you find such attempts at musical relevance (a bit late due to the pilot delay)? After a month of endless promotion from CTV in Canada (Including a series of hideous testimonial-based commercials touting ‘Team Serena’ and ‘Team Blair’), it was almost a relief to know that young viewers would worry no longer: the next big teen drama has arrived.

I was most shocked by those elements of the series that the show’s endless commercials didn’t quite show us: Serena’s post-suicide attempt brother that brought her home, specifically, was definitely not in the teen debauchery commercials. Instead, we got the love triangles, the drinking and the debauchery. It’s just like how the commercials for The O.C. didn’t so much foreshadow the parental drama inherent to the show’s plot; said drama exists here as well, with two fathers and two mothers getting recurring story points within the episode.

If I were to put myself in the shoes of one of the show’s target viewers, those who would “pick a side” in the show’s central Serena vs. Blair showdown, I’d say that it was a successful first outing for the series. It delivers just the right amount of sexual content, underage drinking and upper class debauchery, and establishes the novel’s back story well; by the time the show intercut Chuck forcing himself on Serena and Serena’s past-fling with Nate, I could hear the sides being taken and the arguments forming.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW

2007-2008 Fall Premiere News – Oh Canada, Early Airings of New Shows

According to CTV’s Fall Schedule, revealed recently, Canada will get day early airings of two drama premieres that are highly anticipated.

The CW’s Gossip Girl will be airing at 8pm on Tuesday, September 18th. This is a day earlier than its September 19th premiere on The CW.

Also, Pushing Daisies (The critic’s darling making its way on the hype train to hopefully success, pictured) will also debut at 8pm on Tuesday, October 2nd. This is also a day earlier than its ABC premiere on October 3rd.

Now, which show will actually be staying in the time slot? Well, that question doesn’t appear to be entirely clear. Either way, this news means that Canadian fans might be able to watch these shows a night early…or, if the schedule shifts around, they might only ever air once.

For all of the U.S. Premiere dates to compare, you can check out Cultural Learnings’ Fall Premiere Database.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW

2007-2008 Fall Premiere Dates – FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and The CW

This fall, all of your favourite shows will be returning, and some new blood will join the pack. Which nights should you be scheduling off? Here’s the full calendar list of premiere dates for the Big 5 Networks.

NOTE: New shows are shown in blue.

September 6th


Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader [FOX]

September 11th


The Biggest Loser [NBC]

September 12th


Kitchen Nightmares [FOX]

September 14th


Nashville [FOX]

September 17th


Prison Break [FOX]


K-Ville [FOX]

September 18th


Beauty & The Geek [Two Hours] [The CW]

Bones [FOX]

September 19th


Kid Nation [CBS]

America’s Next Top Model [The CW]

Back To You [FOX]


‘Til Death [FOX]


Gossip Girl [The CW]

September 20th


Survivor: China [CBS]

September 23rd


The Simpsons [FOX]


King of the Hill [FOX]


Cold Case [CBS]

Family Guy [FOX]


Shark [CBS]

September 24th


How I Met Your Mother [CBS]

Chuck [NBC]

Dancing with the Stars [ABC]


Big Bang Theory [CBS]


Heroes [NBC]

Two and a Half Men [CBS]


Rules of Engagement [CBS]

The Bachelor [ABC]


CSI: Miami [CBS]

Journeyman [NBC]

September 25th


New Amsterdam [FOX]


Dancing with the Stars (Results) [ABC]


House [FOX]

The Unit [CBS]

Reaper [The CW]


The Singing Bee [NBC]

Boston Legal [ABC] [Special 90 Minute Premiere]


Cane [CBS]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [NBC]

September 26th


Deal or No Deal [NBC]


The Bionic Woman [NBC]

Criminal Minds [CBS]

Private Practice [ABC]


Life [NBC]

CSI: New York [CBS]

Dirty Sexy Money [ABC]

September 27th


My Name is Earl [NBC]

Smallville [The CW]

Ugly Betty [ABC]


The Office [NBC]

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [CBS]

Grey’s Anatomy [ABC]



Without a Trace [CBS]

Big Shots [ABC]

September 28th


Ghost Whisperer [CBS]

Deal of No Deal [NBC]


Moonlight [CBS]


Las Vegas [NBC]

Numb3rs [CBS]

September 30th


Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2 hours) [ABC]


Desperate Housewives [ABC]


American Dad [FOX]


Brothers & Sisters [ABC]

October 1st


Everybody Hates Chris [The CW]


Aliens in America [The CW]


Girlfriends [The CW]


The Game [The CW]

October 2nd


Cavemen [ABC]


Carpoolers [ABC]

October 3rd


Pushing Daisies [ABC]

October 4th


30 Rock [NBC]


Supernatural [The CW]

October 5th


Friday Night Lights [NBC]

October 12th


20/20 [ABC]


Women’s Murder Club [ABC]


Men in Trees [ABC]

October 15th


Samantha Who? [ABC]

October 18th


Viva Laughlin (Preview) [CBS]

October 21st


Viva Laughlin [CBS]

October 25th


Scrubs [NBC]

November 27th


Cashmere Mafia [ABC]


Filed under 'Til Death, 2007 Fall Preview, 30 Rock, Brothers & Sisters, Cavemen, Chuck, CSI: Miami, Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, FOX, Friday Night Lights, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, NBC, New Amsterdam, Prison Break, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Scrubs, Shark, Supernatural, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Ugly Betty

Network Upfronts Canadian Edition: CTV Finalizes Fall Lineup

With little aplomb, CTV has announced its finalized Fall schedule today [American Perspective, Canadian Perspective], and it’s one that continues its recent trend: continue raking in the ratings with established American hits while introducing Canadian content as an attempt to seem devoted to Canadian content. And, well, there’s a reason CTV is Canada’s #1 Network. And a reason why Canadian content isn’t really part of that success.

Their fall schedule basically confirms this status, building on their existing American distribution success by adding a series of new Dramas and a single new comedy.

New Shows for the 2007-2008 Season

Private Practice

Why CTV Picked it up: They have Grey’s, this was a logical extension.

Dirty Sexy Money

Why CTV Picked it up: It has Canadian cultural icon Donald Sutherland, and CTV will jump at any chance (See: Commander in Chief) to stake a claim on the family since Global has Kiefer and 24.

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Filed under CTV, Gossip Girl, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Television, The CW, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza 2007: Canadian Edition

So, I spent last week covering the American Network Upfronts, but in reality that was all a warmup for the epic event that is: the Canadian Upfronts. Man, what a week this is going to…oh, you mean they already selected all their shows? And they just announced them in a press conference? Really? That’s, uh…wow, I wasn’t really prepared, I expected to have all sorts of time to write previews and…wow. Okay, so I guess I should run down some of the new that came over the past few days? I’m all out of sorts here.

Who are the Players?

Global (CanWest) and CTV are really the only major players involved now that CTV bought out CityTV and the rest of CHUM. There’s Sun TV out of central Canada, but they’re not a huge player. It’s really down to the big two for the big shows.

What should we know about Canada’s simulcasting system?

Well, first off, do the math: the shows airing on five different American networks don’t easily fit onto two Canadian networks, not all of them anyways. This has left some fairly substantial hits south of the border (America’s Next Top Model, Ugly Betty) off of these main networks and onto networks like CityTV or Sun TV.

Canadian networks struggle most with the fact that many of their shows overlap. For instance, they own the rights to both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy: as a result, the network is forced to air Grey’s an hour earlier than it is in the U.S. It’s all a give and take like this, which makes for some interesting Canadian scheduling. Another example was just last night, when CTV had the rights to both the Lost and American Idol finales, and actually split Lost into two parts in Central Canada to make it work.

Which network is better at simulcasting?

Definitely CTV. Global is a complete and total mess: its HD is extremely limited, its commercials are far worse, and all in all the production values just aren’t the same. I really wish they’d revamp everything to be less ugly, too. They really need to work on that. CityTV and the others aren’t terrible, but they don’t have the same level of nationwide coverage, which is a problem for families without digital cable or the joys of timeshifting that some of us enjoy.

So what’s happened so far?

Well, CTV has not officially announced any of its pickups thus far, but there have been some leaks ahead of their early June Upfront Presentation in Toronto. Meanwhile, Global has spilled the beans on which shows they’ve picked up. For all the information, you can follow to The Hollywood Reporter. For a complete summary and analysis, keep reading.

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Filed under Back to You, Chuck, CTV, Global, Gossip Girl, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Television, Upfronts, Without a Trace

The Three Timeslots to Watch on the 2007/2008 Fall Schedule

In a final word on the 2007/2008 Upfronts, I figure it’s time we returned to the schedule as a whole. Because, let’s face it, some of us watch a lot of TV. And, sometimes, that TV all falls within the exact same timeslot. As more and more shows emerge as fan favourites, more and more conflicts take place. This year’s Fall Schedule has created many of these conflicts, and some of them are sure to be key ratings battlegrounds in the year to come. Which five, however, will prove the most interesting? And, as a result, which ones will be a nightmare for non-TiVo owners across North America? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

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Filed under 30 Rock, ABC, Bones, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars, FOX, Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, House, NBC, Private Practice, Ratings, Reality TV, Reaper, Scrubs, Television, The Bionic Woman, The CW, The Office, Upfronts

The Five Most Promising Pilots of the 2007/2008 Upfront Presentations

Yes, this is it: the top five pilots which I believe have the most potential in the coming year. This is not a potential for success in ratings, or ad dollars, or anything like this: no, this is very much more about how well I think these shows can advance themselves creatively. It’s a list full of wishful thinking, if you will. While these shows might not light up the Nielsen ratings come next season, I think that part of me will feel better that they exist…and will cross my fingers that they succeed. They’re the next Veronica Mars, if you will, and I can only hope that networks have as much patience for these shows as they did for that one. Which pilots make the cut? There’s only one way to find out.

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Filed under ABC, Back to You, Chuck, FOX, Gossip Girl, House, NBC, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Television, The Bionic Woman, Upfronts