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Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl’s Identity vs. Pretty Little Liars’ A: Which Reveal Was More Shocking?

It’s all well and good to have a super secret character controlling everything from behind the scenes, but it does lend showrunners a special sort of hell. Namely, when you take one (or more) characters out of the equation of being on the receiving end of the wrath, people are likely going to notice...

On the Gossip Girl series finale, fans found out that Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) has been pulling the strings as the titular character all along. While we could poke enough holes in that theory to have little baby GGs coming out for years, we’re pleased that we were offered a conclusion at all. Well, mostly.

On another teen-centric show, there has been a demonic character at times seeking revenge, and at others just trying to start sh*t. That show is Pretty Little Liars, and the character is known as “A.” A torments the four main characters (Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily) by sending texts, emails, and inconveniently timed packages and notes to them and their loved ones, threatening to reveal their lies. At the end of Season 1, Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) was exposed as A and sent to a mental institution. But no true villain is ever restrained by simple walls or actual physical restraints.

In Season 2, we find out that she’s not the only one on the “A Team” and that Spencer’s boyfriend Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) is also on board. As the show evolves, it’s clear that one person is not enough to credit with the tormenting of the four girls, and so the inclusion of possible others is always left open. Although theories abound for the identities of other A Team members, as was true for Gossip Girl, each reveal is done in a dramatic fashion: Mona kidnapped Spencer. Toby turns around in a dark hoodie, revealing his piercing blue eyes and bringing viewers back to old feelings of fear they associated with him.

In the revealing of Gossip Girl, it honestly felt like something to check off a list, a way to please fans who have been watching the show just to get it over with. One more burning question to answer, albeit a little shoddily. But in the end, it was satisfying in its own way. Knowing that Dan is Gossip Girl makes it so that revisiting old episodes is done through fresh eyes, or at least with a directional perspective. We want to check the facts, point out errors, rectify old questions that left marks on our lenses as we viewed the show.

But in retrospect, did you want to know who GG was? It seems like it was necessary in the case of Pretty Little Liars, where motivation and access are important to the continued twisting of the knife. Does the difference in reasoning for reveals affect your viewing pleasure? And, most importantly, which reveal (or reveals) feels more authentic and satisfying to you as a viewer? Weigh in below.

01.30.2013 / 02:25 AM EDT by Julia Wayne
Related: Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Dan Humphrey

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