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Gossip Girl keeps getting better

Matt Robinson is a professional writer, marketing consultant, and hopeful romantic. He can be reached at matthewsrobinson@mac.com

GG takes off!

Just when you think it's ready to fall flat, Gossip Girl continues to amuse, excite and entertain. With a superb second season, Gossip Girl is getting better with age.

Gossip Girl is really taking off this yearOMG, indeed. The second season of Gossip Girl is living up to its immense hype - and is actually getting better as time goes on.

This is a rare feat in television, where promotional campaigns showcase the two to three watchable scenes in an entire season of a disappointing show (see Private, Practice), or when a once-terrific series begins a precipitous decline immediately after realizing its potential (see Anatomy, Grey's).

Fortunately for fans of Gossip Girl, executive producer Josh Schwartz saw this happen to one of his previous brainchildren, The OC.

That promising teen drama delivered a terrific first season (2003-2004) on Fox, but quickly flamed out when the creative idea well ran dry - and perhaps more significantly, the light-hearted tone that made the poor-kid-in-rich-kid-land Orange County soap so engaging was somehow lost.

This time around, that's where Gossip Girl shines most.

The acting may not be top notch (Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick are terrific, but Chace Crawford gets by mostly on his man-bangs), and some of the scenes are laughably unrealistic (most high school kids we knew wouldn't be sipping martinis in swanky clubs even if they wanted to), but as long as the show remains witty and doesn't fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously, these things make it more enjoyable, not less.

Therein lines the brilliance of Gossip Girl. It's the ultimate guilty pleasure show, a tantalizing and voyeuristic look into the lives of Manhattan's elite. But its comedic timing is top notch, and the father-son tandem of Rufus and Dan Humphrey (played wonderfully by Matthew Settle and Penn Badgley) deliver the perfect dose of heart and soul.

Whereas The OC devolved into a bad caricature of itself and was laden by violence and unsatisfying plot lines from its sophomore season on, Schwartz's new project is actually building on its first-year success by refining what it does best, not trying to become what it's not.

With its romantic cat-and-mouse games and tales of forbidden love, not to mention epic high school backstabbing sessions, overall cattiness and eye-opening fashion, Gossip Girl is giving the fans what they want, week in and week out.

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