I’m sure some of our students are wondering if I saw tonight’s Gossip Girl/Age of Innocence crossover, and the answer’s yes. (Of course it is! Didn’t I already make my obsessions clear enough early in the semester?) I hope none of our students missed the crucial moment when an audience-watching scene (see still at right) allowed Dan to realize that Rachel was the bad guy. Too bad we didn’t have a few of those clips earlier for lecture.
My quick response: Though it’s long been known that the original GG novels took some inspiration from Wharton, I think the writer of tonight’s episode must have been one of our students! Just kidding, but how many talking points re: Wharton, Scorsese, and Wyler seemed to be cribbed from Cyrus’s lecture notes? That said, I understand why they had to cast Serena as May, even though that was all wrong. Blair’s much more like May (and said as much in her opening lines in the episode) and Serena’s much more the Countess. Dan should have been Beaufort, of course, but needed to be Archer in order for the star-crossed lovers subplot to work itself out. (Student sex in the costume closet? They should have stuck with the kiss on the wrist.)
All that having been said, the most awesome parts of the episode, as usual, were Derrota’s moments — trying on Blair’s hairpiece, and then sizing up the catty “maids” dolled up for the play. I’m not sure Wharton would have known what to do with Derrota.