Script – Hot Gossip

Even after we had shot a lot of footage for the Hot Gossip episode, the script changed quite a bit. This was an unusual shoot in that we took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself (Gossip Girl filming at Columbia), going in with a few ideas that changed a lot as we went along. Here’s an early draft, and the final draft, with comments from other staff in different colors.

DRAFT 1
Erna: What are you watching, Weena?
Weena: Oh, you know, something I saw over someone’s shoulder when we snuck in today.
Erna: So this is an ad agency thing?
Weena: Yeah, it’s from Advertising Age’s website. Check this guy out.
(Martin Lindstrom) “… I certainly got your attention.”
Weena: OK, 1,2,3, who does he remind you of. One! Two!
Erna: (bangs paw on keyboard, loading Sprockets sketch from Saturday Night Live)
Weena: You were supposed to wait for three.
Erna: Oh.
Weena: Well, you’re right about Dieter. He reminded me more of Bruno: (bangs hand on keyboard, loads bruno)
Erna: Oh, totally.
Weena: So the dude is talking about “keeping it real.”
Erna: (doubtfully) “Keeping it real?” Are you kidding me? This guy?
Weena: Well, he’s talking about keeping it fake-real.
Erna: Fake-real?
Weena: Yeah, like writing cusswords into a commercial script to make it sound more “authentic.”
Martin Lindstrom: “…several million downloaded ads with bleep sounds”
Erna: Several million people? Seriously?
Weena: Where’d he get that number?
Erna: Seriously, they’re never going to be able to bleep as much as the Potter Puppet Pals. (clip) Those are *real live* Wizard Swears.
Weena: Yeah, if I want bleeping, I’ll f***ing make some myself.
Erna: So why are advertisers putting bleeps in their scripts if nobody’s gonna hear them anyway?
Weena: He explains that.
Martin Lindstrom: “It is a way of creating attention.”
(girls look up from newspapers, doing nails, sleeping) Oh – what? Mm, yeah. Attention, right.
“What you’re not supposed to do, you certainly want to do.”
Martin Lindstrom: “Forbidding someone to do something” is a trend which has always been around but is moving into tv ads”
Weena: Oh, that’s like what Gossip Girl is doing with their ad campaign.
Erna: Right, exactly. I’m pretty sure the Parents Television Council didn’t plan on Gossip Girl’s advertisers to re-use the phrase “Mind-Numbingly Inappropriate” to PROMOTE the show.
Weena: Great job, Parents Television Council.
Erna: Weena, it’s not their fault.
Weena: You really think that when Bill Cosby and Jack Thompson and all those other grownups hate on the media, it helps STOP people from watching? I’m with the ad guy on this one. People do what they’re not supposed to.
Erna: Yeah, I guess if they stopped making noise about shows like Gossip Girl they’d be giving them less attention. And anyway, it’s not like it’s actually TEEN SEX on TV. I looked up the ages of the stars on IMDB. Most of them are over 20.
Weena: So people are all upset about the show because high-schoolers are having sex in it, but the actors aren’t high schoolers.
Erna: That’s right, they are totally of age.
Weena: So the whole “high school sex” thing is totally fake.
Erna: Right.
Weena: It’s a marketing device — a lie they tell to make more people watch the show.
Erna: And our friend Dieter seems to think that’s juuust fine.
Martin Lindstrom: “Secondly, this is the authenticity trend… where I, as the consumer, own the brand.”
Weena: Really? So, like, when I buy a pair of Nikes, I get my money back, because I own the brand?
Erna: Or when I make a sexy fan video from Pirates of the Caribbean clips, Disney won’t sue me, because *I* own the brand! Ha!
Weena: Or you won’t get busted for downloading that Sprockets clip off Hulu, because hey, you own Hulu, which is owned by NBC, which screens Saturday Night Live. It’s your brand!
Erna: And owning the brand makes it authentic? I don’t get it.
Weena: I think when he says “the consumer owns the brand,” he really means, “the consumer WANTS TO OWN STUFF from the brand because they feel good bout the brand.”
Erna: That’s not the same thing — isn’t your money still going to the company?
Weena: Yep. And to marketing dorks like Dieter here who tell those companies how to sell more stuff.
Erna: Fabulous.
Weena: And somehow he thinks this “ownership” makes brands more real. Or else I’ve lost track of what he’s saying. Here’s what he says next:
Martin Lindstrom: “It basically means things look more real — you could call it Reality TV Commercials.”
Erna: Yeah whatever. A real reality TV ad would say something like, “Beer! It tastes like pee! Nothing about it is associated with almost-naked women!”
Weena: Let me show you what REAL reality TV looks like. Here’s the best realistic adaptation of a TV show I’ve ever seen. (Law and Order “tough day at the office” Shanan Kurtz, Gareth Long, from Brandon Bird’s site; downloaded)
Weena: Check me out, I’m a hard-bitten, worn out NYC cop! Glasses off! Rub nose! Glasses on! Glasses off! See? I am totally fighting crime!
Martin Lindstrom:”Every TV is having bloopers, mistakes, re-takes” to make it more realistic
Martin Lindstrom:”real without faking it”
(CUT?)
Weena: Hey, that’s like when Gossip Girl filmed in Manhattan the other day, up at Columbia.
Erna: Yeah, it wasn’t as sexy behind the scenes as we thought.
Weena: They’re getting everyone all excited about the lives of kids at New York private schools, but if you’re native New Yorkers like we are, you can see how fake it is.
Erna: First off, check out all these fake trees. That was really pretty freakin weird. Columbia has PLENTY of trees.
Weena: And the show isn’t even gonna say it’s Columbia — they’re gonna call it Yale. Ooh, and look at this shot. All the extras were in like sweater vests and pearls and stuff.
Erna: They looked like they were going for a job interview. At, like, J Crew.
Weena: Most real Columbia students don’t dress anything like this, and I’m pretty sure Yale students don’t either. Here’s a Columbia student we talked to:
(clip which was used in the final version)
Martin Lindstrom: “We’ll see TV commercials doing this soon because the more real it seems, the more the consumer is drawn towards it.”
Erna: So that’s the point?
Weena: Yup. Fake real stuff means more money in the bank for products and brands.
Erna: Oh man, they are seriously gonna need some help. These suits have no sense of what real life is like.
Weena: Totally. Cmon, internets, let’s help them out!
Erna: Take your favorite ad
Weena: Or your least favorite ad
Erna: And edit it and fix it up
Weena: Or even re-shoot it
Erna: so that it’s a lot more real. We’d love it if you’d tackle Gossip Girl, too.
Weena: And tell us what you think about ads and TV making a big deal about how REAL they are in order to keep you watching. Is that bogus?
Erna: Or no big deal?
Weena: We wanna know. Bai, Internets!
Erna: Bai!

DRAFT 2

Erna: (over LJ pages and subsequent footage) Hey Erna’s LJ fans! Today I’ve got EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes footage from hot show GOSSIP GIRL! That’s right! Sources told us that they filmed recently at YALE UNIVERSITY, so we went down for a peek! We got a look at (name of actor), who is just as sexy in person as on the show. We got to check out real live Hollywood-style movie equipment! And we got a glimpse of the exclusive YALE UNIVERSITY campus, home to stylish and elite students — like the cast of GOSSIP GIRL!
Weena: (dramatic image cut) Erna, stop lying to the Internet!
Erna: What! What do you mean, I’m just telling them what we saw.
Weena: That’s not what it was really like, and you know it! For starters, they filmed at Columbia!
Erna: Yeah, but nobody needs to know that, it’s part of the fantasy!
Weena: People who actually want to know what Columbia and Yale are LIKE might want to know. And you know all those students we saw were extras!
Erna: I’m convinced some of them were real.
Weena: Explain to me all the argyle sweater vests, then. (clips) See? Sweater, sweater vest, sweater vest… voila.
Erna: But Weena —
Weena: Erna, we TALKED to a REAL Columbia student. You wanna roll that clip?
Erna: Fine, fine.
(clip of undergrad)

Weena: Here’s someone who likes Columbia so much she stayed the whole summer. And I’m sorry, I don’t see a sweater vest on HER. OR on anyone else we saw walking around.
Erna: I suppose next you’re gonna tell me ads are trying to make things sound more REAL with cussing. A bit of a jump here….
Weena: Well, I — really? Where did you hear about that?
Erna: This guy.
Weena: Where’d you find this?
Erna: I was looking over the shoulder of someone when we came in today.
Weena: So it’s an ad agency thing?
Erna: I guess so. It’s from the Advertising Age website.
Dieter: “… I certainly got your attention.”
Weena: OK, 1,2,3, who does he remind you of. One! Two!
Erna: (bangs paw on keyboard, loading Sprockets)
Weena: You were supposed to wait for three.
Erna: Oh.
Weena: Well, you’re right about Dieter. He reminded me more of Bruno: (bangs hand on keyboard, loads bruno)
Erna: Oh, totally.
Weena: Why are advertisers putting bleeps in their scripts if nobody’s gonna hear them anyway?confusing jumps
Erna: He explains that.
Dieter: “It is a way of creating attention.”
(girls look up from newspapers, doing nails, sleeping) Oh – what? Mm, yeah. Attention, right.
Dieter: “What you’re not supposed to do, you certainly want to do.” … “Forbidding someone to do something” is a trend which has always been around but is moving into tv ads”
Erna: So let’s go over this again: actors say FUCK on ads and TV shows,
Weena: and the PTC gets upset,
Erna: and then advertisers like Dieter here use what they said to convince you this show is off-limits.
Weena: It’s the motherfucking circle of life, yo.
Dieter: “It basically means things look more real — you could call it Reality TV Commercials.” totally confused at this point
Weena: Yeah whatever. A real reality TV ad would say something like, “Beer! It tastes like pee! Nothing about it is associated with women in bikinis!”
Erna: I’m not sure cussing makes things more realistic, anyway.
Weena: What do you mean?
(she cues Potter Puppet Pals)
Weena: Oh.
Erna: But it sure makes them funny.
Weena: Yeah, I guess it’s kinda funny when things aren’t real, too.
Erna: See what I mean?
Weena: Yeah. Sweater vests equals teenagers getting laid: Funny!
Erna: Well, I can’t say I agree, but at least you’re not being a schoolmarm anymore.
Weena: So whaddya think, Internets?
Erna: Does sex make media more realistic?
Weena: Does cursing?
Erna: Take your favorite ad
Weena: Or your least favorite ad
Erna: And edit it and fix it up
Weena: Or even re-shoot it
Erna: so that you think it’s a lot more real. You could even edit Gossip Girl.
Weena: Here’s an example of one of the best realistic adaptations of a TV show we’ve ever seen. (Law and Order “tough day at the office” Shanan Kurtz, Gareth Long, from Brandon Bird’s site; downloaded)
Weena: Check me out, I’m a hard-bitten, worn out NYC cop! Glasses off! Rub nose! Glasses on! Glasses off! See? I am totally fighting crime!
Erna: Tell us what you think about ads and TV making a big deal about how REAL they are in order to keep you watching.
Weena: Is it bogus?
Erna: or right on?
Weena: We wanna know. Bai, Internets!
Erna: Bai!

DRAFT 3

Erna: (over LJ pages and subsequent footage) Hey Erna’s LJ fans! Today I’ve got EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes footage from hot show GOSSIP GIRL! That’s right! Sources told us that they filmed recently at YALE UNIVERSITY, so we went down for a peek! We got a look at (name of actor), who is just as sexy in person as on the show. We got to check out real live Hollywood-style movie equipment! And we got a glimpse of the exclusive YALE UNIVERSITY campus, home to stylish and elite students — like the cast of GOSSIP GIRL!
Weena: (dramatic image cut) Erna, stop lying to the Internet!
Erna: What! What do you mean, I’m just telling them what we saw.
Weena: That’s not what it was really like, and you know it! For starters, they filmed at Columbia!
Erna: Yeah, but nobody needs to know that, it’s part of the fantasy!
Weena: People who actually want to know what Columbia and Yale are LIKE might want to know. And you know all those students we saw were extras!
Erna: I’m convinced some of them were real.
Weena: Explain to me all the argyle sweater vests, then. (clips) See? Sweater, sweater vest, sweater vest… voila.
Erna: But Weena —
Weena: Erna, we TALKED to a REAL Columbia student. You wanna roll that clip?
Erna: Fine, fine.
(clip of undergrad)
Weena: Here’s someone who likes Columbia so much she stayed the whole summer. And I’m sorry, I don’t see a sweater vest on HER. OR on anyone else we saw walking around.
Erna: Weena, you’re destroying the fantasy! People who actually LIKE the show just want to imagine how sexy life would be if we were just high school students in New York!
Weena:  YOU’RE a high school student in New York! Aside from those nekkid Myspace photos, is your life really that sexy? The show is totally fake. Check it out — they even had lots of fake trees on the set.
Erna: Jeez, Weena, stop being such a killjoy! You’re just like that “media literacy” lesson we had at school!
Weena: Am not!
Erna: Every time someone with POLITICS gets their hands on a TV show, all they want to do is tell you you shouldn’t like TV because it’s fake, or it’s sexist, or it makes you a slave to advertising or something!
Weena: Well, it is!
Erna: You’ve never been on a Gossip Girl forum! People there talk about whether the show seems fake!
Weena: Oh, whatever.
Erna: Look, I’ll read you what people are saying (take excerpts):
about the new sides i’m a little disappointed because i agree it really doesn’t sound like chuck very much hopefully they’ll change that up a little up a bit, and i think its kinda funny because tptb are throwing chuck with random people first he spills about his mom to DAN and then this whole thing about a club with VANESSA chunks are missing it’s confusing…but on the whole i think it should be a good episode and i have confidence that the writers will make it awesome
I know like Chuck bass would have anything 2 do with people from Brooklyn but maybe its b/c he can’t talk 2 his real friends b/c of the whole blair thing but that will change espically when chuck and balir get 2 have emotional bonding (http://lounge.cwtv.com/showthread.php?t=198482&page=2)
Weena: Yeah, if you give a thousand monkeys keyboards, eventually you’ll get a forum comment which isn’t “FURST POAST” or thrown feces.
Erna: NO, they’re always talking about whether the storylines and writing are good. And sometimes they ARE. Check out this clip, I think you’ll like it.
(Gossip Girl fans confront a character in the park)
Weena: (giggles)
Erna: See? It’s satire! You’ve never even watched the show! You’re getting upset without seeing it, just like the Parent’s Television Council.
Weena: Who?
Erna: The ones in the Gossip Girl ad — who say the show is “Mind-numbingly inappropriate?”
Weena: Wait, what? You fell for that?
Erna: What do you mean fell for that?!
Weena: “Ooh, the PARENTS don’t want me to watch the show because there’s sex in it. I’m totally watching it.” Advertisers KNOW that’s a tactic.
Erna: (slowly) That’s… not… why I’m watching it.
Weena: Ha!
Erna: Sure, like the ad campaign isn’t helping the Parents’ Television Council, too.
Weena: What? What do you mean?
Erna: They *admitted* that the publicity Gossip Girl is getting is helping them out, too. Watch. (clip from Good Morning America)
Weena: Huh. Well, I guess so.
Erna: Look, I’m taking this to the Internets. Tell us gang — who do you agree with, me or Weena? Or maybe we should ask, Why is Gossip Girl a big deal at all?
Weena: It’s just another show about pretty white people’s problems. RICH white people’s problems.
Erna: Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with ads
Weena: OR how sexy the show is.
Erna: Did you start watching because you were interested in the story and the characters?
Weena: Or because someone else told you you shouldn’t?
Erna: Let us know! Bai, Internets!
Weena: As-Salamu Alaykum!
Erna: (over fadeout) Why’d you say that?
Weena: I figured it’d stir up some controversy.
Erna: (shrugs)