GG leaves us to our own devices over autumnal shots of, one presumes, Central Park: "As per Gossip Girl's Thanksgiving tradition, I'm trading my laptop for Stovetop, and for the next 16 hours, the only thing I'm dishing is seconds. When the cat's away, the mice will play. Have fun, little rodents." And as long as we've got the room to ourselves, let's talk about the strike for a second, because this show -- in addition to being, in all likelihood, the best television series ever created -- is also an object lesson in why the strike is necessary. This show gets abominable ratings, by the old system. As lately as last summer, this show wouldn't have lasted six episodes. It can't even hold onto its lead-in, ANTM (itself another object lesson in why strikes matter), by the old measure. And yet it was the first freshman show of the season that got a full pickup. Why? Because it's overwhelmingly downloaded, DVR'd and watched en masse or online. It's from the future and it comes to us in future ways. I myself watch it live, then again twenty-four hours later at TV Night, a tradition stretching back at least five years that usually includes somewhere between ten and twenty of my closest friends, week in and week out. The fact that this wonderful show gets to continue is proof of the suits' developing sensitivity to the online model. So you've got me, getting paid to talk to you, about a show we both love -- a show that shouldn't even exist, by all measure. All of us on the internet.
When we talk about the strike, we're talking about shows like this, or Battlestar Galactica, or The Office, shows that grow and flourish precisely because the networks and their systems of measure are slowly adjusting to the realities of technology. The amount of money generated from timeshifted and online viewing is ridonkulous, but because the internet is so "new" and "magical" -- and let's be fair, also because the RIAA fucked themselves so bad back when the internet changed everything about the music industry -- the AMPTP gets to have it both ways. They get all the money from all those diverse ways we have of watching this show, so they keep it on the air -- but at the same time, throw up their hands and say they're taking a bath on it, while giving no money to the writers that created these stories we love so much. This show lives on the internet and outside the Nielsen standard, but because the AMPTP chooses to dismiss the new models as witchcraft in their rhetoric, they get all our business without handing anything over to the people who made these wonderful characters live and breathe. Make no mistake: if they weren't making cash hand over fist on this show, we wouldn't be watching it right now, and you and I would have nothing to talk about. Come the fuck on.