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magazine featured the (scantily clad) cast of the show on its cover toward the end of the first season, proclaiming in its cover headline (only semi-tongue in cheek), “BEST. EVER.”At its core, though, while the fashion and music and Lively-ness of it all no doubt drew a large swath of viewers, the central, relatable dilemmas faced by the main characters—Blair and Serena, as well as Brooklyn “lonely boy” and eventual Serena boyfriend Dan Humphrey, ostentatious bad boy and Blair soul-mate Chuck Bass, and pinup prepster Nate Archibald—were what kept people tuning in.
“Phones get updated, but the inner life of teenagers, and the things that they struggle with, are pretty timeless, regardless of what device they’re on,” Schwartz said.
There were two core figures at the center of the books—Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen—and casting them was at the top of Schwartz and Savage’s agenda.Fourteen- to 20-year-olds still come up to me freaking out and it’s because they binge [the show] on Netflix.”) And in other countries, the show has come to represent the allure and glamour of New York.Nearly every cast member I spoke with—from Crawford to Wallace Shawn—reported that they, to this day, are regularly stopped by foreigners who recognize them from the show.There was no shortage of high-profile guest stars throughout the run, either, as luminaries from the world of fashion, publishing, music, and art appeared on the series.Lady Gaga performed “Bad Romance” on the show, right as she was approaching the height of her fame; David O.