Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney
rozk

More meta than is quite seemly

Not content with having done an episode which explicitly referenced Dangerous Liaisons, the novel/play/movie which, via Cruel Intentions, is Gossip Girl's grandparent, episode 2.18 decided to reference Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence or at least the Scorsese film of it, for an episode which takes Blair to her lowest ebb yet, enabling her to find a momentary sense of what it is to be the Countess Olenska.

One of the reasons why I love this show so much is that it just is so much smarter than a show about over-privileged New York high school kids needs to be - 90210 is not that smart and so does not hold my attention. Another reason is obviously the interface between my wish to remain
an expert on the high school drama as a genre; I don't actually think that the issue is any seedy lechery on my part because the young characters are far too young to interest me as lust objects, whereas I do have a mild thing for some of the parent and teacher characters, notably Lily. Which is doubtless why I am prepared to forgive her many sins that younger fans of the show among my friends find close to unforgivable.

What fascinates me most, though, is the show's vague sense that 'all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again' (to quote another show), the fact that referencing James, and Wharton, and Fitzgerald - and Jay McInerney, who has actually been in the damn show - is legitimate because it is a show about the ways in which the very rich are different from you and me, Ernest, which is not just that they have more money, it is that they have continuity. The proposed show about Lily growing up in 80s California is a logical development - Lily was never going to marry Rufus because, as Daisy told Gatsby, 'rich girls don't marry poor boys' and this applies whether or not the girl in question is actually rich or just someone whose family expects her to hunt fortunes...In a sense, it is a show about whether Blair and Serena will break the cycle (and whether Rufus and Lily get a proper second act or not); one of the reasons why we invest so much in the vague hints of slashiness is just this, that maybe for Blair and Serena to end up together would be one way to break the cycle...

And then there is Georgina, whose rumoured return fills me with glee, and not just because she is played by Michelle Trachtenberg.

Such a smart show, as I say, and then, of course, there is Chuck Bass, but let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.

****

My habit of mild lust does lead me into interesting byways from time to time. I am a huge fan ot Pushing Daisies because so full of the pretty - Anna Friel and the Chenoweth obviously, but also Lee Pace. The delicious Lee Pace. (Hey, I'm lesbian, not blind.)

Pace turned up again in Tarsem's The Fall which I watched the other night and which I shall almost certainly write about at length in the Fantasy Movies book because it is so damn metafictional and creepy and interestingly wrong. A taster:



And I was reflecting on Pace's skinny androgynous beauty and it occured to me to wonder if he had ever, like David Tennant who is also cute in that way, played someone trans. So I checked, and of course Pace played Calpernia Adams in Soldier's Girl, the television movie about how Calpernia's soldier boyfriend was murdered by his fellow soldiers.



All of which is spooky, because I've even met Calpernia briefly, last year at the Film Festival and it is always weird to see an actor play someone you've met. (Jim Broadbent as John Bayley in Iris is my touchstone example of that because Bayley taught a graduate seminar on short stories that I went to.)

Pace's performance is not only respectful and impressive - there are times when, without looking particularly like Calpernia, he more or less channels her mannerisms. Setting aside the cute factor and the cool factor, there is the fact that it is pretty damned good acting. Obviously one might have preferred a trans woman in the part, because we have friends that could have done with the work, but this will seriously do until something else comes along.

See this movie - transphobia does not just kill trans people...
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