Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!
Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
Gossip Girl Book Series | Gossip Girl TV Series
Also please note that I did not finish the book or TV series in their entirety! The following is simply based on my opinion after reading 5 books and watching 5 seasons of the show.
Round 1: The Characters
Over the top Upper East Side New Yorkers vs Spoiled Upper East Side New Yorkers
Is there actually a difference–YES!
When I started the Gossip Girl book series, the characters were exactly what I expected. They are your cliché spoiled rich kids who have the world revolve around them and do everything they aren’t supposed to. I never found any of them to be likeable, especially in the later books where they just dive of the cliff into weirdo land (in my humble opinion). That’s why I stopped reading the books: they were just getting too ridiculous and over dramatic for my liking.
The TV show on the other hand has characters you love to hate; characters that have that slightly softer side to them that makes you like them or at least appreciate the character. They’re dramatic but you see multiple dimensions to them. Perhaps it’s just the media of TV that allows this presentation when compared to print; but by actually seeing characters interact and visually watching their body language really helps your impression of a character form…they become more than just ink on a page.
Now that isn’t to say the show didn’t have it’s extreme characters. Case and point Jenny Humphrey:
She became a bit of a mess later on in the show but she had to work up to that point and when it became too much, she was written off. But for the most part, I feel like the TV Show characters were much more rounded.
Winner: The SHOW! The characters just had so much more substance to them!
Gossip Girl Books: 0 | Gossip Girl TV Series: 1
Round 2: Chuck Bass
Flamboyant Monkey Owner vs Powerful Bad Boy
I originally had this Chuck Bass bit in the previous round but decided to give him his own Round because I think the contrast in his character presentation is important to highlight.
See in the books, Chuck Bass is one of the most bizarre characters I have ever had to read. He has a pet monkey, dresses in an overly flamboyant way and contributes nothing to the plot of the series.
But in the show, while his choice in suits can be labelled as somewhere on the flamboyant spectrum (albeit much, much lower than in the books), he is one of the driving forces of the plot. He keeps things interesting and who doesn’t love a sad bad boy who just wants to be loved? I had a major crush on Chuck Bass for YEARS while watching this show!
Winner: the SHOW! Chuck Bass played with my heart like he did with Blaire’s for years…and I wouldn’t change a single minute of it!
Gossip Girl Books: 0 | Gossip Girl TV Series: 2
Round 3: The Romances
Love Triangles Galore vs Love Triangles Galore
I feel like this small cast of characters slept with everyone else at some point or another…
The show followed the initial romances of the books for at least the first season. As I said before, making Chuck Bass a more relevant character in the show changed that up a bit as did the Humphrey family situation. In the books I never would have put Blair and Chuck together but on the show it just worked!
The relationships in the book started and ended in the blink of an eye it seemed. They also had the ultimate love triangle situations, complete with full-fledged drama and angst.
Because I found it difficult to like the characters in the books, I had a hard time rooting for their relationships as well. Nobody seemed to match up well and after a point I just stopped caring.
Winner: the TV show. The relationships, while dramatic, weren’t as quick as the books.
Gossip Girl Books: 0 | Gossip Girl TV Series: 3
Ultimate Winner: The TV series
Final Comments: Can you tell that I enjoyed the TV series a lot more? There is only so much you can do in a book compared to a TV show. TV just allows for better character development I find and most shows attempt to make the characters have a relateable/flawed side that keeps the audience coming back. For GG, that’s what the book series lacked for me.
What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read/watch? Leave a comment below!
Next Time: TV Adaptations vs Movie Adaptations
**Just a quick note that this next Throwdown Thursday will be posted in November! With the way my review posts are scheduled for October, I just couldn’t fit this one in!
I haven’t read the books, but I did watch the tv show. I liked the first season and then I thought it went really down hill, but I still watched the whole thing. I became a big Dan and Blaire fan and was disappointed that they didn’t end up together. I never got into Chuck.
It did go downhill after the first season and it’s such a shame 🙁
I will admit my love of Chuck started to stray when I stopped watching. Dan and Blaire were a couple I never really thought would work but I will admit to liking the idea myself 😛
TV show wins by a landslide for me.
For my entire bookish life, I’ve only read 1- and only 1- GG book and that was the prequel. Though it may have not been the most horrible book I’ve ever read, it certainly did not convince me to continue on with the rest of the series. I don’t clearly remember if I’ve already started on the show when I decided to pick up the prequel, but that honestly ouldn’t have made any difference on my opinion of the book.
Like I said, tv show wins by a landslide and I totally agree with you about love/ hating the tv show characters lol! Annnd they did sleep with one another at some point too- well, except for Serena and Chuck for obvious reasons… Oh! And the clothes!!! OMG, Serena’s wardrobe was bomb for the entire series (but then again, what wouldn’t look awesome on Blake Lively?!)
Great post! Definitely looking forward to the next one ^_^
I agree that the writing for the books was sub-par. Nothing too exciting but nothing fantastic either.
Oh the fashion on that show! It was so good! I coveted many of their outfits throughout the series.
I was really disappointed with the writing but there was something in me that still wanted to collect the books to the series because of… the book covers lol! But of course, I gave up on that idea for the finances sake.
I was the same way! The covers were so sleek!
I love this post! Your comparisons were on point. Even if I am a big fan of the books, because of all the drama they hold (I plead guilty, it’s very, very distracting to read it, I thought) ; I really got attached to the characters of the TV show more. And I loved the fact that they gave a bigger place to Chuck’s character, and its evolution. In books, he just seemed useless to me, so I’m glad they decided to bring out more of him on the TV show.
I really did enjoy the first two books of the book series! I loved the all the drama and found them very easy to get into. But as the books progressed, it just felt like they were repeating the same basic story-line and the characters just became too over dramatic for my liking.
I LOVE that you chose Gossip Girl because I have SO MANY FEELINGS about both the show and the books! While I love both, the show is ultimately better (at least the first few seasons, the writing really went downhill toward the end) BUT I didn’t like Chuck’s characterization as a major romantic love interest the show…it just felt weird after the books (and I’m a loyal Blair and Nate fan!)
It took me a long time to get on board with Chuck as a major love interest when I started watching the show. All I kept thinking was: where is his monkey?
But I really warmed up to Blair and Chuck being together.
It’s interesting, in the books I was also a Blair and Nate fan but in the show I liked Nate better with Serena.