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Gossip Girl's all-knowing narration comes via an anonymous, all-seeing blogger, while Girls narrative thrust is defined by Dunham's character Hannah's in-progress memoir. Gossip Girl's third-person narration created distance — everything is framed, canned, and Girls' plays on how social media and personal blogging have largely made that narrative distance seem antiquated. In many ways, it mirrors the internet's telescoping sense of possibility: why read a blog when you can write a blog? Why read about something after it's happened when you can watch it as it happens?
When it launched in 2007, Gossip Girl made sense. Perez Hilton reigned, and Facebook had been opened to the public only a year earlier — we were still more interested in what the internet could tell us than what we could tell it of ourselves. Now, Girls' stock and trade is the inversion of that formula. Gossip Girl characters used to wreak havoc by sending a topless shot of an enemy to all the right people, while Girls' characters pontificate about which angle of self-shot will be most flattering shot to their breasts. At this point, TMZ might be able to unseat a politician, but it's more likely the politician will do it himself with a misfired tweet. There's no need to log onto Gossip Girl's blog when you can just wait for Serena's AMA.
And that's necessarily not a bad thing. Gossip Girl responded to a call for escapism, and for that, we salute it as it heads into the sunset. After all, what do we talk about when we talk about Girls? Truth, self, and pain — all of which generally make for better art than escapism. People take Girls to task for being overly narcissistic and navel-gazing, but it still signifies a progression from Gossip Girls' cheerily voyeuristic artifice. We might not all live in Girls' world, but it sure lives in ours.