Gossip Girl was created by Josh Schwartz (the creator behind The O.C.) and Stephanie Savage. Gossip Girl is based on the books of the same name by author Cecily von Ziegesar. The show premiered in 2007 and ended in 2012 with 6 seasons and a total of 121 episodes.
The show follows a group of privileged upper-class adolescents in Manhattan and the drama happening in their lives. I think every teenager watched during the time the show was airing watched it. It was kinda hard to avoid the show and its melodrama. I have a love-hate relationship with the show, that would take a whole another post to really delve into about it. But, this isn’t that post instead this is a post focusing on the show’s most problematic element that will always leave a bad taste in my mouth. That element is none other than the relationship of Blair and Chuck or also known as Chair.
You may say well it’s a teen drama aren’t all the relationships problematic? Yes, I would reply. Every relationship on Gossip Girl is problematic, heck even the friendships are toxic. The show had problematic elements to stay interesting. No one would watch the show if it was about teenagers doing their homework. That would be boring and it would be immediately be canceled for low ratings because no one watched it. However, the relationship between Chair is not interesting after a while and instead becomes infuriating that makes you (if you’re like me) want to stop watching the show.
I wanted to write about this topic because of a tweet I saw. The original tweet comes from Twitter user @eliesaaab. She asked her followers to reply with a tweet with their favorite TV couples. You got the usual suspects like Monica and Chandler from Friends, Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother, and Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries. But, by far the most replies belong to Blair and Chuck (Chair). I counted 14 replies saying Chair was their favorite television couple, by far the most than any other couple named.
I was surprised, but also not surprised. I had known that many people loved Blair and Chuck together when the show was still airing, but that that 2006-2012. A different time then now, what we consider romantic then isn’t the same as romantic today. I was shocked that people still love Chair after all these years and don’t see the very obvious faults in the relationship. I honestly believe that Chair does not hold up today, but I also didn’t believe it held up well during 2006-2012 either. This post will delve into exactly why I think this and what I think it says about my generation’s vision of love.
The Coupling (1×07)
Chuck and Blair get together pretty early in the show. When they got together it was quite a surprise. They were never together in the books. Chuck isn’t even a major factor in the books at all actually. I didn’t have an issue with the coupling at first, it was a very traditional teen drama territory at this point. I remember teen viewers going crazy from the idea of Chuck and Blair being a couple. Blair and Chuck are both very manipulative people. They both will don’t care about whom they have stomp on in order to get where they want to be. They two people should be soulmates, right? Right?
They Manipulate One Another
Skipping season 2 because that entire season is about them not being together because they’re both so stubborn to admit they love each other. In season 3, Chair is (finally) officially together, and they’re happy until Blair manipulates Chuck into getting what she wants. This isn’t anything new with their characters. Like I stated before, both will cross whomever they need to in order to get what they each want. This includes each other. The above example is just one of many examples of them manipulating each other, although they both claim to love one another. The last I checked emotional manipulating is not a characteristic of a healthy relationship. You don’t manipulate the person you love for any reason. If you do, or the person who claims to love you does (whether it be your significant other, your parents, or a friend) you should know that’s not love.
The Episode Where…
HE TRADES HER FOR A HOTEL! Hello, my friends, this is where we have crossed the path from regular old teen drama shenanigans to something much deeper and darker. So, Chuck’s dad passes away and leaves him his hotel empire or so he thinks. His uncle Jack has a claim to stake the hotel and there this whole feud between them over this. Blair wanting to help Chuck leads to what happens in the clip above. He traded her for a hotel. His girlfriend, the woman he claims to love, HE TRADES HER FOR A HOTEL! I will never get over this. I can’t believe this was an actual plot-line. Blair is not his property nor does he have the right to trade her. I can’t believe I have to say that. I don’t remember any defenses that people had for Chuck, but I’m sure he has them. I mean people defend him attempting to rape two girls in the pilot episode, (that’s a whole another topic for whole another day) so I’m sure he had defenders over this. But there is no defending this, you do not use the person you love to get what you want. And you definitely don’t trade them for a hotel. It’s beyond me that I still have more points to go over, I should be able to end this post here and tell you that Blair kicked Chuck to the curb and we never see any more of this toxic relationship. But, that’s not what happens and we still have more to uncover.
They Ruin Relationships For The Other
Even when they aren’t together they find a way to make each other’s lives hell. So I skipped over Chuck cheating on Blair because compared to the other things on this it’s pretty tame. They break up, Chuck gets shot, meets someone new and falls in love with her, and Blair ruins it all for him. I don’t get why you want to ruin anyone’s happiness, let alone someone you care about. Blair does this because she still does love Chuck (God knows why), but you don’t do this to someone you love, ruin a relationship that makes them happy. Chuck was actually happy with Eva and was being a better person, but Blair ruins that because she’s selfish and doesn’t want Chuck to be happy without her. So now what does Chuck finally lets go of Blair and moves on with his life…..ha ha ha NOPE! Actually, they get back together in just a few episodes after this, but we’re jumping to season 4 for our next and last point. Possibly the most damming.
*trigger warning – physical & emotional abuse*
Nothing About Them Is Healthy
Blair and Chuck have broken up again for whatever reason. Blair meets and falls in love with a Prince because of course. They begin to get serious and he asks her to marry him. Chuck despite everything I have mentioned above still wants to be with Blair. So he shows up wasted at basically their engagement party and tells Blair’s fiancé’s mother about Blair’s sex history. Are there no boundaries these people won’t cross? If that’s not bad enough when Blair later tells Chuck she is engaged he becomes abusive and yes I do consider what he does to be abusive. He says that she belongs to him. When she makes it clear she doesn’t want to be with him anymore he grabs her roughly, throws her on the couch, and punches a window that some of the glass ends up cutting a small cut on Blair’s face. She runs away from him terrified. How do you think their relationship ends after this? Blair never speaks to Chuck again? She marries The Prince and lives happily ever after? No is the answer to both of those questions. Those two more seasons of this show, so of course, this isn’t where their story ends, but this is where my points end. Because there is no going back after this. I don’t think I need to say that emotionally and physically abuse is wrong. I think everyone in their right mind knows that. So I don’t have to explain what happens here is wrong. The defense for Chuck here is that what he did to Blair is not abuse, though it clearly is. Here is a direct quote from one of the executive producers of the show about this scene.
I think it’s very clear that Blair is not afraid in those moments, for herself. They have a volatile relationship, they always have, but I do not believe—or I should say we do not believe—that it is abuse when it’s the two of them. Chuck does not try to hurt Blair. He punches the glass because he has rage, but he has never, and will never, hurt Blair. He knows it and she knows it, and I feel it’s very important to know that she is not scared—if anything, she is scared for Chuck—and what he might do to himself, but she is never afraid of what he might do to her.
This is clearly wrong, what Chuck does to Blair is abusive. Even if you don’t believe what he did was physically abusive, it is at the very least emotional abuse. Ask any victim of domestic abuse and they will probably tell some of the dialogue in that scene is similar if not exactly what their abusers have told them. You don’t tell someone you love that they belong to you, they are not your property. I said this earlier, but I think it needed to be said again. Nothing about Chair’s relationship is healthy. I haven’t seen a more toxic relationship shown on television that the show-runners want the fans to root for the toxic relationship, except maybe Ross and Rachel, but at least Ross was never physically abusive to Rachel or vice versa. Maybe I would forgive the show for Chair if they didn’t live happily ever after. Yeah, you didn’t know? The big finale of the show is the wedding of the show’s dearly beloved Chair.
I stopped watching the show after season 5, so I never watched the last season, I’m sure there are more problematic things that happen to the fan-favorite couple, but I just didn’t seem to care anymore at that point. So why do I care now? There are way too many people that still cherish this couple and think that this is a healthy relationship. They want to find their Chuck to their Blair. That’s why I care because it scares me. If this post can highlight why you should not want a relationship like this no matter how many “goals” you think they are then I did my job.
What Does This Say About My Generation’s Idea Of Love?
This show was promoted to teenagers and now those teenagers are adults now and they’ve probably been in a relationship like this or are in one like this now. I see so many relationships where the people involved think it’s perfect and okay when in reality it’s unhealthy and toxic. Why is that? I believe it’s because of shows like Gossip Girl that teach us that if you want real love you have to endure all the pain that comes with it. We were taught that you have to fight and fight to get the love of your life. That we have to first escape through all the drama and pain of a relationship before they can get their happy ending. I’m here to tell you that’s just not true.
You don’t have to go through this much pain to a happy ending. You don’t have to endure so much until you have endured enough. Chuck and Blair are not “goals”. They are not the relationship you want to base yours off of. Chair is a television couple that does not exist in the real world, but they have influenced enough people into thinking that their relationship is what real love looks like. When it’s not. Real love doesn’t hurt this much. Real love isn’t this painful. Real love doesn’t make you miserable. Real love is not an epic romance that with every low feels lower than any high ever made you feel high. If you take anything from this post please let it be that if any relationship you have makes you feel like this (it doesn’t have to be just romantic) please leave. Cut them out, because they don’t deserve you and you deserve better.
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline Number is: 1-800-799-7233
My book Living Rent Free In My Head: Essays On Pop Culture comes out on August 2, 2022. Pre-order it now for only $3.15 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other vendors.
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