About two years ago I began to write a “Gossip Girl” fanfiction called “Out of the Frying Pan”. It involved Blair and Chuck finding out they were pregnant but losing the baby early in the final trimester. It was one of the most difficult stories I have written in terms of how to handle the elements of the plot. Losing a child is probably the most difficult thing a person can go through, or at least up there on the top five. I spent a lot of time and effort trying my best to ensure that the miscarriage and Blair’s and Chuck’s reactions to it would be handled with respect. Unfortunately a lot of people out there have to go through this in real life and even if none of them ever read my story I still wanted to treat the subject matter with respect.
Flash forward to season five of “Gossip Girl” in which Blair finds herself pregnant, decides to raise the baby with Chuck and then loses it. I was interested in seeing where the show would go with this and shocked when they did nothing with it at all. I was concerned with not treating the subject matter respectfully and offending any of my readers when I wrote my fic and I get maybe 1000 readers per story. The writers on “Gossip Girl” did not care the least bit about treating the subject matter with respect and for them it’s a flop if they get one million people watching. With my story the likelihood of someone reading it having gone through the same thing themselves might not be all that big but for the show there are bound to be a lot of viewers who have suffered through this in real life. The subject matter needs to be respected. It was not.
To me that sums up everything that’s wrong with the show nowadays. The complete and utter lack of respect shown by the writers and by Josh Safran. They show no respect whatsoever for their storylines, their characters or their fans.
First of all - if you don’t want to deal with the difficult matters of a storyline then don’t go there in the first place. If you have no desire to let your characters become parents and no desire to explore what a miscarriage might do to them then don’t write a pregnancy for them. It’s especially glaring in this case since Blair’s pregnancy served no purpose at all on the show. It had no impact on the plot whatsoever, did nothing to further character development and aside from dressing Leighton Meester in baggy clothes they barely acknowledged it at all. The pregnancy might as well have never happened. The world of “Gossip Girl” is exactly the same as it would have been without it. Having a storyline of that magnitude and failing to have it impact your show in any way is a real achievement and I do not mean that as a compliment.
The way they wrote the aftermath of Blair’s miscarriage was utterly disrespectful to anyone who has gone through this in real life. As a result the character suffered tremendously in the eyes of the people watching. Blair wept for her baby in one very brief scene and then she moved on and forgot all about it. A child she wanted, had thought of names for and was planning how to raise. When it dies she acts as if it was a pair of shoes she had to throw out or vacation plans that fell through. How many people watching can relate to that? Blair comes off as a horrible person and an even worse mother. I take offense to how she’s reacted to losing her baby and I haven’t gone through the same thing in real life. I can only imagine how the people who have lost their children feel about Blair these days. To me she seems completely heartless, unlikeable and impossible to root for. The writers cannot excuse this by saying that they didn’t want to show Blair mouring her baby because it doesn’t make for entertaining television. If they didn’t want that then they should not have had her miscarry in the first place. Nor can they claim that she mourns but we don’t get to see it on-screen. Mourning a child is not something you can turn on and turn off whenever you feel like it. Even worse is that they show Blair mourning the loss of her status as princess and make a big deal out of it. Losing a title she had for a few weeks upsets her more than losing her own child. How is anybody supposed to be able to identify with that, sympathise with that or root for that? You cannot take on such a sensitive subject matter and then show no respect for it and expect your story and your characters to come out of it looking good and/or relatable.
The writers show a complete lack of respect for the character of Blair this season. They disrespect many of the characters these days but I’m focusing on a few core problems with Blair since we’d be here all month if I were to bring up all the examples with all the characters. Everything that made Blair Blair has been thrown out the window, sacrificed in order to prop her relationship with Dan. The way it comes across is that the writers simply don’t care who Blair is, how she works or how she’s been written in previous seasons. They want to watch Leighton Meester play a character who is dating Dan Humphrey so they replaced Blair’s entire personality in order to achieve that. Again this has had a very negative effect on the character. People are saying they don’t recognize her anymore; people who have been passionate fans of her now say they can’t stand her. It was not the name Blair Waldorf that made her a popular character; it was the traits of her character. Those traits are all gone now. Blair used to be strong and confident and driven and very devoted to her friends and loved ones. Now she is none of those things. Instead she is cruel to those who care about her, completely selfish and too weak to be able to do anything without a man to support her. Writing her that way is only possible if you write her with absolutely no respect for who the character is and what qualities make the fans identify with her.
At this point I’m far from convinced Blair Waldorf can be redeemed. The way they handled the miscarriage and her reaction to it in combination with how selfish she’s being and what a complete shrew she is to the people who care about her makes her an awful character to watch and very hard to care for. Even if the idea is that the way she’s acting now is her acting out over the loss of her child it doesn’t redeem her. There has been nothing on the show to indicate that Blair is at all upset over having lost her child - in fact she had no problem at all being around Dorota’s baby who was born around the time Blair herself would have given birth. At this point I wonder if the writers even remember that Blair was pregnant because the writing strongly suggests that they don’t and that they don’t expect the viewers to remember either. Which is a horrible way to write a storyline about a baby, especially when they’re also putting focus on Chuck and his issues with feeling unwanted by his parents.
Speaking of Chuck, there’s also the lack of respect for the show’s most popular pairing. Chuck and Blair is an iconic couple and a great number of the fans are avid Chair supporters. Safran and the writers still wanted to pair Blair with Dan instead. They could have done so in a way that was respectful to the characters and to the other relationships on the show but instead they seem to have gone out of their way to be as disrespectful as possible. Blair’s friendship with Serena has been treated apallingly over this storyline. Blair’s behavior towards Chuck has been even worse. On top of that the writers have used several popular Chair scenes and reworked them for Dair. That is disrespectful to the Chair shippers and it’s also disrespectful to the Dair shippers. Instead of giving them something of their own they do poor reduxes of scenes a far superior ship have had.
There is even a huge lack of respect for the show’s own canon. Every time Josh Safran gives an interview he disrespects “Gossip Girl” canon. Some of the things that come out of the characters’ mouths nowadays disrespects “Gossip Girl” canon. One of the things that the show was centered around was the friendship between Nate, Serena, Blair and Chuck - the Non-Judging Breakfast Club. Now we’re supposed to believe they were never friends at all. Safran has said it. Blair herself has said it. This is only one example of many and it just hurts the characters. People care about these characters and their relationships and for the people who write and produce the show to treat it with such an utter lack of respect is very damaging to their product.
Perhaps the most disturbing part is the disrespect some of the show’s staff show against the fans. Norman Buckley deserves a whole post of his own dedicated to his lack of respect and the way he bullies the people who watch the show. The writers are not much better. When fans tell them that they feel a certain way about what’s shown on-screen the writers respond by telling them they are wrong. Which is strange because how can they be wrong about how they feel? The writers should at least respect the viewers’ right to not enjoy everything they’re being served. The fact that so many people are giving the same type of criticism suggests that the problem is with the writing and not with the fans. The characters have been seriously damaged in the eyes of the viewers this season and that is a huge problem. This is what happens when you don’t respect characters or subject matters.
The writers need to start treating their own show with respect. They need to respect the things they put the characters through, they need to respect the characters themselves and they need to respect the people watching. Charging forward with what they feel like doing at the moment with absolutely no thought or concern to how it affects their show has proven to be a disaster. “Gossip Girl” can be happy nowadays if they get 1,0 million viewers. Those ratings should be a huge failure, not a good turnout.
If the writers are going to have any chance at turning this around they’re going to have to start with respecting their characters, their audience and the stories they choose to tell. Viewers aren’t idiots and viewers remember, even if the writers don’t seem to. We remember a time when Blair was likeable. We remember a time when the writers seemed to care about the characters. We also remember a time when the writers and producers showed respect. Maybe if they could remember that too then the show could be turned in the right direction again. If they keep going the way they’ve been going lately the show doesn’t stand a chance. As Chuck Bass would have said: It would be such a shame - so much wasted potential.
i don’t have much to add to this. you said it all. except i cannot stop echoing for the fandom how much we are all disrespected but this treatment of the baby storyline. male and female alike, we all have to take offense here. it’s not just a young mother’s issue. it’s a human issue. i think that just shows certain people’s level of professionalism.