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What would Wen do About love, part 1: blinding jewelry can’t hide the truth

Mar. 2, 2018
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So you think you know what love is?

“Three words, eight letters. Say it.”  Maybe this relationship will be justified. Not really.

Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf have been a staple piece of modern television since their first on-screen kiss in 2007. In the backseat of his limo with Sum 41’s “With Me” blasting, the kiss seemed to become every naive teenage girl’s dream. I, too, was under the spell of Chuck Bass. Who wasn’t? He was a billionaire bad boy who seemed to not care about what others thought of him but was actually super sensitive at heart. He seems like your stereotypical trouble-making playboy best friend that you swore you’d never date. That’s how Blair Waldorf first thought of him, but little did she know that she’d soon fall for his tricks (just four episodes in!). 

Not to spoil anything, since it’s been six years since the final episode aired, but Blair Waldorf ended up marrying Chuck Bass, and having a child with him. To say the least, middle-school me was shocked when that episode first aired on television.

When I was in middle school, there weren’t many things you could’ve said to a girl to change her mind about how great Chuck Bass supposedly was, but now, as I look back, Chuck Bass was a psychopath and Blair Waldorf was a bully (and a pushover when it came to him).

As we were introduced to the character of Chuck Bass, he attempted to sexually assault Jenny, a young and naive freshman at the time. Even after that, he felt entitled and showed no remorse regarding the situation, continuously taunting Dan and Jenny about it. Furthermore, Chuck and Blair’s whole relationship was built upon jealousy and power moves. Blair even tricked Chuck into kissing a professor just so she could become the freshman speaker, and Chuck manipulated Blair so she would sleep with his uncle in order for him to get his hotel back. 

Despite all of those tribulations, neither of them were able to even admit they were in love with each other; whenever one of them felt a strong attraction towards the other, they both became destructive and intentionally inflicted pain upon each other.

That doesn’t really sound romantic.

In the world of Gossip Girl, in the glamour and glitz of the Upper East Side, it seemed like nothing couldn’t be resolved with a pair of diamond earrings or a limo waiting downstairs. Many could argue that, on a show just like Gossip Girl, in which the emphasis is on how the richest of New York are able to do anything due to their seemingly unlimited funds, we shouldn’t be relating these ideologies to romance.

But it seems as though the people behind the screen may have been trying to cast a realistic light on toxic fairytale romances, in which bad deeds are justified by blinding glamour. Both Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf were pretty horrible people; Chuck Bass was an entitled, manipulative playboy ,and Blair Waldorf was a high-school mean girl who never wanted to share the spotlight. It wasn’t until season six that they seemed to be a little less selfish and became more considerate of each other’s feelings.

Granted, I’ve been a die-hard Gossip Girl fan since middle school—but the way Chuck and Blair’s romance was portrayed really did turn me off from the show. The couple’s forbidden romance and its consequent hardships could have been depicted in extremely different manners. Oftentimes, I felt like I was watching two people fighting to stay together just so they could fight again.

It feels like modern-day television is trying to one-up itself with grand gestures to draw in viewers. With the platform it’s able to provide, though, isn’t it better to spread healthy relationship ideals for its young, impressionable viewers? Or is it more effective to just show how a broken and toxic relationship can always be mended with a dozen roses and a Harry Winston ring in hand?

Instead of three words, eight letters, “I love you,” why not try out three words, twenty-one letters, “a healthy relationship?”