pt. 2007, the brisk autumn chill brought whispers of a show that was “every parent’s nightmare.” When the sun descended into obscurity, millions stepped into the lives of Manhattan’s elite. The first season of “Gossip Girl” had well-developed characters and a well-written story that you could immerse yourself in. Despite the later seasons being riddled with unintelligible plotlines and character devolvement, it was still indulgent, which made it enjoyable to watch. Even in their worst moments, the characters felt real and viewers wanted to root for them (not you, Serena Van der Woodson). It became a campy catastrophe, but it was still closely tethered to its thesis: money and privilege are what makes the world go around. 

Those who enjoy romantic comedies revel in the comfort and familiarity of the phrase “and they all lived happily ever after.” Gazing wistfully among the happy couple on the screen incites feelings of elation and somberness, as they wish for unadulterated bliss. However, behind the image of perfection lies malice and bone-chilling horror. In the dark underbelly of romance lies an amalgamation of toxic narratives: Joe Goldberg from “YOU.”