Gossip Girl is The O.C. with ADD, The Hills as an asphalt jungle. In adapting the best- selling book series, the O.C. brain trust — producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage — has given Gossip speediness and grit. The books worm inside the social circles of a Manhattan private school, giving off a dank musk, but the TV version is bright and energetically jittery. The show is structured around the ”Gossip Girl” blog, whose author is a voice-over (Kristen Bell, crossing her Veronica Mars character with Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City — she’s breezy and WASPish). The initial hookups and breakups mostly involve Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen, who in the premiere is returning to the catfight fray after a boarding-school stay. Among the many eruptions of jealousy and status-seeking, Serena and Blair (Leighton Meester) both covet Nate (Chace Crawford).
I’ll play geezer worrywart and wonder whether young viewers really need a show in which teens swill martinis, talk breezily of recreational Viagra, and use ”tap that ass” as a term of fond feeling. And Schwartz and Savage might have fared better had they just built their own show from the ground up: The Gossip books have been around since 2002 — a generation in the young-adult publishing trade. The GG brand may have peaked. Whatever. The cast is as good as the pilot script, and I may not be its target demo, but I admire its fleet pace and sly craft.