TV Review: 'Gossip Girl' : Book vs. Show
And yet, that's the show's draw. What else would one expect from Josh Schwartz, creator of that other affluent "youth gone wild" drama
Considering the popularity of the books and that The CW already has an audience for the likes of "One Tree Hill,"
Interestingly, the show's pilot episode follows the same plot as the series' first book, which provides a unique opportunity to compare the two.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT -- *Warning, the following contains spoilers.
Book - Narrator Gossip Girl is an anonymous blogger who gives the inside scoop on her classmates, but protects herself by only referring to them by their initials. She breaks in regularly to give background and interacts with her faithful readers through a Q&A on her site.
Book - Serena's time away in private school is full of decadent adventures, which kept her from keeping in touch with Blair most of the time. When she returns, she still believes she can pick up where she left off with her friend Blair and Blair's boyfriend Nate -- despite her tryst with him -- and still loves to drink.
Show - It's implied that Serena (Lively) couldn't deal with her indiscretion with Nate (
Book - Upon Serena's return, all the teens are abuzz with rumors about why she's suddenly back from boarding school, ranging from her joining a voodoo cult to getting pregnant and abandoning her baby in France, when in fact she had skipped too many classes early on and was kicked out.
Show - Serena's abruptly returns so she can rush to her brother Erik, who tried to commit suicide.
Book - Serena's older brother Erik is confident, popular and away at college.
Show - Erik is younger and looks to Serena for guidance and support.
Book - Jenny Humphrey, a curly-haired brunette freshman wants to be popular but is embarrassed by her rather generous bosom.
Show - Jenny is played by the blonde, straight-haired Taylor Momsen, who isn't as well-endowed as her literary counterpart.
Book - Jenny's brother Dan is an emo-type outsider who smokes and has overblown fantasies about Serena.
Show - Dan (
Book - Their dad Rufus Humphrey is a retired editor of lesser-known beat poets and despises the pretensions of the Upper East Siders. He's bitter about his wife leaving him for some rich prince or duke or whatever.
Show - Rufus (Matthew Settle) is a forgotten rock star who still plays small gigs with his band, Lincoln Hawk. Wife Allison is absent because she's a "free spirit." He may have a thing with Serena's mom Lily (Kelly Rutherford), with whom he had a romantic tryst in the back of a Nine Inch Nail tour bus.
Book - There's no indication about what Kati Farkas and Isabel Coates really look like, although one of them is blonde.
Show - Kati (Nan Zhang) is Asian-American, and Isabel (Nicole Fiscella) is African-American.
Book - Blair and Nate have known each other their whole lives, but only started dating in the past year.
Show - They've been dating since kindergarten.
Book - Weak-willed Nate accidentally blurted to his pal Chuck (
Show - Unbeknownst to Nate and Serena, Chuck witnessed their indiscretion.
Book - Chuck sports a signature navy blue monogrammed cashmere scarf. Show - The scarf is silk and patterned with multi-colored squares.
Book - The gossip travels mainly via the GG website, note passing and good ol' talking behind people's backs.
Show - The teens also communicate via texting and camera phones.
Book - Saving the
Show - There's no mention of birds or any charitable cause for the party.
WHAT'S MISSING - These may be making appearances later in the show's season.
In short, the premiere episode of "Gossip Girl" is a fairly faithful adaptation of the first book in the series and may have improved on it. Instead of an inconsistent, slapdash affair, it's slick, well produced and fast-paced.
The show also adds morality that's missing from the books by making the characters more sympathetic. This version of Serena feels remorse and is working on changing, Nate and Blair are messed up because of their demanding parents, and Dan gets to play hero three times in the pilot.
Nevertheless, the show still won't be popular with parents wanting to shield their children from growing up too fast. In a world where racy photos of Disney Channel star