If you haven’t heard the heartbreaking news already, CW classic Gossip Girl, along with other mainstream hits like The Office and Dexter, is slated to be removed from Netflix at the end of this year.
Gossip Girl is just the streaming giant’s most recent loss. Fan favorites Friends and Pretty Little Liars already moved from Netflix to up-and-coming rival HBO Max earlier this year, and Warner Bros Entertainment plans to draw further attention to the new platform by adding all of the films in their 2021 catalogue to the app.
Whether this transition marks the end of Gossip Girl watching for you or if you plan on picking up an HBO Max subscription just to keep up with the adventures of Chuck, Blair, Nate, and Serena, winter break is the perfect time to relax and revel in the riches, romance, and revenge of the Upper East Side. To aid in this process, I’ve rounded up my ten favorite episodes from the series that I believe will bring the most excitement to your holiday streaming.
- Season 2, Episode 1, “Summer, Kind of Wonderful”
“Summer, Kind of Wonderful” opens what is arguably Gossip Girl‘s best season with endless romantic drama—Nate’s making out with this new older woman in the opening scene, Chuck and Blair are in the thick of their on-and-off again relationship, and Serena and Dan are maybe? reuniting—and an end-of-summer “White Party,” where everyone looks tanned and happy and is wearing elegant, white outfits. Here, the drama is almost too much to keep up with; each character is kissing someone new every three minutes, and never-ending summer secrets and surprise new lovers are being unveiled. But, nevertheless, “Summer, Kind of Wonderful” is as entertaining as it is aesthetically pleasing, with the hues of fresh garden greenery paired against classy white dress clothes and flutes of sparkling pink champagne. Oh, and the best part of all? No Lily in this episode. I consider that an ultimate win.
- Season 3, Episode 11, “The Treasure of Serena Madre”
Gossip Girl prides itself on its iconic collection of Thanksgiving episodes, and “The Treasure of Serena Madre” is widely considered the best of the best. The infamous dinner table scene featuring Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” brings a season’s worth of drama and confrontation; in fact, this scene has made such a cultural impact that it inspired a Tik Tok trend over this past Thanksgiving. And perhaps most importantly, Eric turning to Jenny and chiding, “your sweet potatoes are bland,” might be Eric’s greatest contribution to the entire series. Cheers to a good old-fashioned GG Thanksgiving!
- Season 1, Episode 6, “The Handmaiden’s Tale”
The sixth episode’s title, “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” is fitting considering its similar parallels to the 1990 movie The Handmaid’s Tale, but if I could rename this episode, I’d call it, “The Episode That Encouraged Me to Join my High School’s Prom Planning Committee Just So I Could Tell Them at Every Single Meeting That We Should Have a Masquerade Themed Prom.” Because seriously, guys. The concept of living on the Upper East Side and getting dressed up to go to a ritzy masquerade ball might be my biggest dream. To top it all off, Nate looks absolutely beautiful throughout the entire episode—yes, even with a huge mask on—which makes his ill-fated mix-up between Jenny and Serena relatively acceptable. Is a cool event theme and my massive crush on Nate Archibald enough to warrant putting this episode on a list of my top ten all-time favorite episodes? I would say that I’m not sure, but one look into Chace Crawford’s dreamy eyes is all I need to know my opinion is fully justified.
- Season 4, Episode 2, “Double Identity”
Ah, the Paris episodes. While it was a bit disorienting to start a season in such a foreign setting, and while I was very obviously concerned for Chuck—who is this woman that saved him, and why is he spending time with anyone who isn’t named Blair?—watching S & B thrive in Europe was a much-needed transition from season three’s doom-and-gloom finale. “Double Identity” also particularly stands out in what is an otherwise inconsistent season for the way that it portrays Chuck’s ongoing internal battle with his identity and feelings for Blair. As we see in their conversation at the train station within the final minutes of the episode—a beautiful scene with shimmering lights behind them, their words so delicately and eloquently exchanged over the melody of a gentle ballad—Chuck and Blair have an undying love for each other that will never fade away, no matter whether Chuck is depressed and lost and confused and doesn’t know who he wants to be, regardless of if Blair feels hurt and betrayed and insecure. “Double Identity” is a series high in that it returns to perhaps one of the most important themes of Gossip Girl: the deep relationships we form with those who we love dearly never truly disappear.
- Season 1, Episode 7, “Victor, Victrola”
When I watched Gossip Girl for the first time, this episode was the one to truly solidify that I was in for the binge-watching long haul. Sure, the concept of underage Blair dancing sensually in front of Chuck and a crowd of adults at an exclusive club is both unrealistic and wildly inappropriate, but Gossip Girl is at its best when it isn’t taking itself too seriously, oscillating between recklessness and glamour without any regard for consequences. Greatest of all, this episode is the beginning of the beautifully toxic Chuck and Blair pairing—the iconic limo scene!—and for that alone, “Victor, Victrola” deserves to reside in the Gossip Girl hall-of-fame forever.
- Season 2, Episode 17, “Carrnal Knowledge”
If there’s one thing Gossip Girl does best, it’s scandal, and this episode is definite proof of that. Thanks to Dan and his pathetic relationship with the even-more-pathetic Miss Carr, Blair’s potential admittance to her dream school, Yale, is suddenly in jeopardy. In return, Blair seeks revenge for their actions, and the end result is a tense parent meeting at Constance and scandalous Gossip Girl message blasts before Dan and Miss Carr sleep together in the final scene of the episode. “Carrnal Knowledge” is full of twists and turns that truly demonstrate the ability the Gossip Girl writers have to craft a script that is not only interesting, but highly intelligent and intricate in plot.
- Season 1, Episode 17, “Woman On The Verge”
“Woman On The Verge” follows the jaw-dropping ending of Episode 16, where a visibly distraught Serena admits that she “killed someone.” Thus, we enter the world of Serena’s dark past, filled with drugs, secrecy, and best of all, Georgina Sparks. Georgina’s cunning one-liners, effortless manipulative abilities, and undying resentment towards Serena make this episode sparkle, no matter how annoying Georgina’s antics eventually become in the later seasons. For the first time in the series, a character other than Blair or Serena holds all of the power, and as much as I love S & B, this shift is so refreshing. Long live season one Georgina!
- Season 2, Episode 13, “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?”
“O Brother, Where Bart Thou?” exposes a new side of the normally confident and carefree Chuck Bass to the viewers; here, he’s stunned by his dad’s sudden death, pale-faced and unkempt and fueled with so much anger that it seems as though he could burst into flames at any moment. The episode as a whole is a change in pace from the series’ typical emphasis on high-end fashion, hook-ups, and wild parties, and while a season full of episodes as melancholic as this one would be less than ideal, it’s welcomed at such a climactic point of the second season. Above all, this episode serves to showcase Ed Westwick’s incredible versatility as an actor, as Bart’s death is the event that finally offers Chuck’s character far more depth than just being a stereotypically shallow rich boy.
- Season 3, Episode 17, “Inglorious Bassterds”
I hate Jenny. Have I mentioned this before? Just so we’re clear, I hate Jenny. So, naturally, watching her attempt at stealing Nate from Serena completely backfire is quite an enjoyable experience. Not only does “Inglorious Bassterds” offer Jenny with a delightful taste of her own medicine, but it also centers around an intense game of “Assassin” in celebration of Nate’s birthday. Of course, what was intended to be a fun, harmless activity turns into something of an intense feud, a microcosm for the complicated relationships that exist between our main characters. It’s an episode with a simple concept turned to a massive blowout, but that’s Gossip Girl for you: constantly finding ways to pack drama where we may least expect it.
- Season 1, Episode 10, “Hi, Society”
“Hi, Society” is absolute perfection, an essential watching experience, a true testament to why Gossip Girl is such an important part of modern pop culture and remains a topic of conversation, even seven years after its finale. This episode marks the return of Serena’s crazy grandmother Cece, and with her reappearance comes the new emergence of unwanted drama and secrecy. Throughout the season as a whole, I’m not sure if there is an episode that can match the excitement, beauty, and suspense of “Hi, Society”; if you ultimately could only watch one last episode before Gossip Girl moves to HBO Max, this would be my recommendation.
I hope you all stay safe and healthy over the holiday season, and happy watching! XOXO, Gossip Girl…