tw: discussion of harmful parenting, brief mention of disordered eating
So hey speaking of this episode, something I’ve been really frustrated with on Gossip Girl for the last couple seasons has been the weird painting over of Eleanor Waldorf being a really bad mother. Like because in season one and two she was a REALLY bad mom in a way that I felt like made a lot of sense especially when thinking about Blair’s control issues. Like okay in the episode from the gifs above Eleanor, among other really upsetting things she did, lied to her daughter that her father wasn’t interested in seeing her for Thanksgiving when in fact he was interested but Eleanor knew that Blair would choose going to see her father over spending Thanksgiving with her. And it was great because yeah sure obviously it’s really sad to know that your daughter doesn’t want to see you on a holiday BUT it was also clear that her behavior was really fucked up and unacceptable. So yeah, not a cartoon villain but obviously a shitty mother.
BUT in the last few seasons they’ve transformed her into a much more comedic character, which I understand wanting to do because the actress is very funny, and that change has moved her into this weird place where we just don’t talk about what a bad mom she is anymore? Like for the last couple seasons it’s as though Eleanor’s problem is just that she is kind of pushy and abrasive. Which she is, but um that’s not the issue? And as far as timing goes it’s really uncomfortable because there’s no in-show explanation given for what is actually a pretty big change in her behavior except that it starts happening around the time she marries Cyrus. Which like, I could see Cyrus being a good influence in her life I guess but since it’s not addressed the whole thing is just weird and uncomfortable and it kind of makes me feel like I should be waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don’t know. There was that whole thing in season four about how at first Blair was trying to stay away from the world of fashion because she didn’t want to turn into her mother but the lesson was not about how like fashion isn’t what makes her mother her mother but that like her mother is a good person to want to be like? And recently there was that whole thing where she gives Blair that speech about how Blair is going to be such a good mom and just, all of their interactions now there’s something really off about them in context of Eleanor of the past. Like this is a woman who spent a fair amount of time belittling and dismissing her daughter in really nasty ways and used knowledge of her daughter’s disordered eating humiliate and control her. And now she’s like the wacky voice of reason. AND IT’S REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE