But Chuck and Blair do. And along with their personal issues, their beautiful burlesque and their even more beautiful warfare, they know about how low you can go. If this show ever did anything right, it's by portraying that viewpoint realistically. Where the fuck do you think the burlesque comes from? From being hurt on a level that Serena, for e.g., should never even have to imagine. And I have always respected that, about the show, and about them as people and as people with a relationship of any kind at all, and I always will. I can see why you would construct a narrative that leads directly from Chuck raping Jenny to Chuck punching a wall: How would I not understand that? But the difference is that this story isn't about me. It's about whatever the hell they decide it's about. And that's how it gets evaluated. God, if Chuck were real none of these people should have to be in the same room with him. If Blair were real, same deal. (If Dan were real, same thing. Any of these dicks.)
But it's not real, it's a story. A story that I love, even in this second act of life, that happens to be the kind of story that moves its people around to tell itself. And I just don't get the impulse to generate parallel narratives around that story to talk about myself. My own ideology, my own martyrdom, my own anger, my own rage. I don't get that, and I try not to do it when I write about the show. And I don't personally know anybody who has been through that shit, who has actually worn those bruises and felt that fear and gone to school feeling that shame and that hate, who would even think for a moment to apply their personal junk to a science fiction story like this. Because it trivializes actual abuse and actual pain when you express your rage, or outrage, through the medium of a TV show. It's a kid move. There is a difference between discovering a new grad-school-sounding way to be offended by the story, and actually being bothered, and I know that sometimes that difference can be hard to locate.
(I spent one confused week of my personal 23rd year convinced that Buffy was a sneaky way for the patriarchy to trick us into getting off on watching a girl get beat up. It was an interesting toy to play with. That's all. And eventually I remembered that I'd been thrown around just like that, and I remembered that I didn't feel remotely like Sarah Michelle Gellar. I felt like a little kid, getting hurt for no good reason. And that's the fucking difference: I am not Buffy Summers. You are not Blair Waldorf. They are stories, not attacks; they are obstacles, not goals. No living person has ever elected abuse based purely on the fact that a TV character was subjected to it. Not once. But a shit ton of us have felt better watching people choose a better choice, and walk back into the light. And I hope you never have to know the difference.)