'Gossip Girl' EPs on fan reaction to Dan and Blair: 'They have been very angry'
On Monday, Apr. 18, viewers will finally learn the outcome of Dan ( Penn Badgley) and Blair's ( Leighton Meester) first kiss... and how it impacts all the show's characters, especially Chuck ( Ed Westwick) and Serena ( Blake Lively).
Zap2it had spoken with "GG" executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran before about the decision to explore the odd couple's chemistry. In the same interview, we asked if they have pre-determined end games in mind for certain characters.
"There's definitely some stories that we have an end game in mind for. Some stories definitely have end points, end games," Savage revealed at the time. "Others, it seems like those characters' journeys are much more about finding their way so it gives us a little more space to explore different possibilities."
In a recent interview with TVLine, Safran echoed the sentiment, saying, "One thing we are very conscious of -- and I know some fans get upset about this -- is we really try to treat the characters as living, breathing, well-rounded individuals. And we're often surprised by where their journeys take them; they open new doors for us all the time. It's not like we're saying, 'No, there's only this one couple and that's it.'"
Instead of focusing on end games that have yet to be determined or asking about spoilers that are all over the web, we decided to focus on the feedback they've been receiving from fans when we chatted with Savage and Safran about the show's final five episodes of the season. (Death threats via e-mail included. Seriously.) They've seen all your complaints, praises and hashtags. Yes, fans, they even know about the #bringbackchuckandblair and #redeemchuckbass Twitter campaigns.
What can fans expect from the last five episodes of Season 4?
Safran: They can expect all the stories that have been moving seemingly side by side coming together in a major way like we like to do at the end of a season, where they sort of link up and everybody's all together. You can expect a lot more romance. Well, there's already been romance, but even more romance. Some adventure, I would say. I just think that the core dynamics that we always try to place with are still there: Serena and Blair having their issues over what just happened as you've witnessed, Chuck and Blair having their issue about what just happened. Across the board, all the balls we have in the air are going to land.
Obviously fans have been very vocal about the Dan and Blair storyline, something we've really been loving this season. What reaction have you been seeing the most from fans?
Safran: The funny thing is that, and I think it's true of sort of any factions of fans, the people who love Dan and Blair we don't hear from right now because they are loving the story and the people who don't love the story are the ones you hear from and then vice versa. If that were to change or whenever there's a change, you sort of hear from the angriest group the most. They have been very angry and I have been hearing from them a lot. I just keep wanting to say Season 4 is wrapped, just wait and see because I think there's something for everybody. That's my thing about the end of the season is I feel like you'd be hard-pressed as a fan to not be happy in some way about some part of what's going on.
Where do you guys get most of your feedback from fans? Do you check the boards or Twitter?
Savage: Josh, do you want to answer that?
Safran: I am on Twitter... which I will now get off of Twitter. I'm kidding. I was private on Twitter, but somebody published my name and I've been bombarded with #bringbackchuckandblair tweets. Fan feedback? I don't know. We do what we do so far ahead of the game so to me, the feedback unfortunately doesn't tend to be able to shift too much as you know. It's like this season wrapped on Mar. 11 so it's like when people are saying, 'We wish you could do x and y right now,' for this season we actually can't. It's almost like we're a half a year out at all times. I read the boards, I read websites, I read tweets during the episodes because for me, I want to see how things are playing and how they're landing. At the same time, I know for every happy person, there's going to be an unhappy person no matter what you do. For me, it's more like, I get it, I hear that or oh, I'm so happy about that. It's a fun new tool for the 21st century, I think.
Savage: I like to check the boards and poke around. I am not on Twitter.
Safran: But I definitely bombard her with my tweets.
Savage: I do think it's important. You want to have all the information and you want to keep that in mind, but you also have to write the show for the characters and for the stories. You can't just be completely swayed by angry Twitters because as Josh was saying, the people who are happy and excited aren't necessarily the ones who are moved to threaten your life by e-mail.
There's a couple of moments in the next episode, "The Kids Stay in the Picture," where it sounds like characters are saying the fans' arguments for each couple, including a scene between Dan and Chuck. Do you try and incorporate the fan feedback in any way?
Safran: The one thing I'll say is, while it may look like we're listening to the fans, again because we're so far out, I think it comes from that we are all fans of the show. The writers are extremely, extremely passionate about this show. I don't even know how to put into words how excited everyone is when good ideas come out or we find something that we didn't even know we were going to find. If anything, the fans that we are most listening to is ourselves. This isn't just a job for anybody on the show, not even close. You can see that by how long a lot of these people have been here. I think those are the No. 1 fans. So you might say that we are listening to the fans for 4.18, but 4.18 was broken in November.
A lot of fans are looking for Chuck to be redeemed for the things he's done in the past, namely Season 3. As writers, do you think he's already been redeemed or do you see it as a series-long storyline?
Safran: Series long. Also, redeeming Chuck... that's a term that I've seen on Twitter. There's a big redeem Chuck and Blair and redeem Chuck Bass tweet thing. My thing is, and I know Stephanie believes this and Josh [Schwartz] believes this as well, the drama from shows comes out of characters doing things necessarily that aren't always right. It was always the thing about "Sex and the City" and Carrie always made mistakes constantly and you understand it because that's what life is. We all make mistakes. No one goes through perfectly. I don't think that Chuck necessarily needs to be redeemed so much as he actually needs to find his way, which is different.
Savage: Yeah, to grow and to become self-aware, especially because the characters are young. You're talking about characters that did things when they were 18, 19, that hopefully doesn't just write that person off for the rest of their life. That they're never able to have a moment of self-awareness, to have regrets, to be able to change and move forward and continue to have a good life where they treat people properly and have positive relationships. Not judging the characters on a show like this is a really important aspect of writing the show and enjoying the show.
You've created a lot of roadblocks for Chuck and Blair -- the biggest being Chuck selling Blair for the Empire and then Chuck sleeping with Jenny (Taylor Momsen). Are you guys nervous about having to come back from that?
Safran: In our minds, it's sort of like Chuck and Blair have that kind of relationship that has to have a lot of, you say road blocks, but I say they're like markers sort of about how independently they are growing at different rates and in different ways. I think that's true of any sort of great couple is that you're not in lock-step, you don't experience things the exact same way. To us, I think it was just sort of more as Blair has some learning to do, then Chuck has some learning to do, then Chuck's mother showed up. These things that happen have ripple effects in major ways for relationships. I don't see them as roadblocks, I just see them as in the grand scheme of things as I'm going to run ten steps ahead and now I'm coming to catch up, now I'm going to have to go to the left a little bit. I'll try to follow you. That kind of stuff.
For us, Serena and Blair have always been the most important relationship in the show. Serena is obviously going to learn about Dan and Blair's kiss. What can we expect from Serena and Blair's relationship in the last five episodes?
Savage: Serena and Blair are arguable the core relationship of the series and something that we all love to write. Fans love those two, whether they're in a moment of being best friends and at each other's side or at each other's throat. I think it's always interesting and anyone who knows the characters at all will know that there's no version of Blair and Dan having this kiss and it landing on Serena without some repercussions. That's going to be driving a lot of story for the two of them for the last five episodes.