Gossip Girl returns tonight with the first of two Paris-set episodes, wherein Blair and Serena swan about the City of Light, princes are courted, shopping is done, and a certain New York City hotel mogul finally encounters his one true love in the shadow of a major metropolitan landmark. Whoo-hoo!.
So is Dan Humphrey keepin' his baby? Is Nate Archibald ever going to get a personality? And could someone else (besides Georgina) be preggo? Here's the dish from executive producer Stephanie Savage:
How did you turn Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) into Tina Fey? Blair's a rich Upper East Side princess with couture clothes and her own maid, yet she's so fascinatingly insecure. How did you evolve her into where she is today?
It's a combination of things: Honestly, Blair is probably one of the characters that's closer to the character in the book. She has a lot of that insecurity inherent in her character, and I think that Leighton does an amazing job of bringing that vulnerability and insecurity to the surface in really subtle ways, so that's really fun to write to. And for myself and Josh Schwartz not being Upper East Side kids who had tons of designer clothes, we can infuse part of ourselves into her character to help her seem a little more human and relatable.
Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Blair are fantastic in the first two episodes, but the trip to Paris is really about Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair's friendship. As writers, how do you balance the romantic side of the show with the platonic friendship side of the show?
I think the friendships on the show—especially the female friendships, and the primary friendship between Serena and Blair—are the core of the show. That's something Josh and I decided after the The O.C. that we wanted to do. Especially when you are that age, your best girlfriend is as important to you, if not more important, than any boyfriend. It started as a huge part of the show—the premise of the pilot was that Serena-Blair betrayal in the past that came to light, and that was kind of the jumping-off point of the whole show. I think it's definitely the case that romantic relationships probably drive more story, but these two girls together is the heart and soul of the show, and we always want to touch that base as we move forward.
Moving on to other plotlines, Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Dan (Penn Badgley) supposedly have a baby, which is a surprisingly touching and positive plotline. But I've been to the TV rodeo a couple of times—there's no chance that little Milo Humphrey is actually staying long-term, right?
Georgina will definitely be back, and the truth about all will be revealed, and I think the baby will really have a long-lasting impact on Dan, his sense of himself, who he is and who he wants to be.
By the way, how marvelous is Michelle Trachtenberg yelling in Russian?
Her mom is Russian so she was her own Russian coach. And Leighton also spoke her own French. She was very good.
What's in store for Nate (Chace Crawford), who has always really struggled on the show in terms of having an identity among the stronger personalities surrounding him?
I think the appearance of Juliet (Katie Cassidy) in his life is going to force Nate to make some choices and to take a stand on some things. We're also going to revisit some season-one issues for Nate, going back to those very early episodes related to his family.
Speaking of Juliet, as writers, do you prefer to focus on the core relationships or is it more fun to bring in new people to change the relationships up?
Both are both fun and challenging. On the one hand, the core dynamics of the show are relationships that [everyone is] most invested in, but the challenge there is to make sure that those dynamics feel fresh and interesting. The reality is in a real-life couple, you're together for four or five or six years, your dynamic probably doesn't change that much. [Laughs.] New characters are really fun because you get to start from scratch, and it's a new energy and a new actor, but the audience is generally less open to those people coming into your world. So that can make them harder to write and a little bit riskier.
Are you guys open to one of these recurring characters ever becoming a regular character? What would that character have to achieve in order to win that prize of being promoted?
I think we're open to that [idea of adding regulars]. I think to win that prize you really have to feel like you were truly adding something to the fabric of the show, that you had more than one story to tell, more than one potential for romance, more than one possibility for a best friend or frenemy, and the feeling that the character and the actor combination was fascinating enough that we would want to go home with them and know more about them, meet their family, really get into their head.
What's coming up for Lily (Kelly Rutherford) and Rufus (Matthew Settle)?
They're really gonna have their hands full for the first part of the season dealing with their offspring, and we're leading up to a big Serena-Lily story that's gonna come to a head for our midseason finale around Christmas.
Oh god. Is Serena pregnant?
I'm not telling you that!
Mmm...juicy juiciness to ponder, indeed. In the meantime, the must-see season premiere of Gossip Girl airs tonight on the CW at 9 p.m. Be there.