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Is it still considered narcissism if you’re obsessed with yourself, only not your real self exactly but the one you play on TV? This is the question I find myself asking when I think about 15 year-old Taylor Momsen, who plays Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl. In the mere year-and-a-half in which we’ve known her, she’s gone through as many changes as her character, a normal development for a teenager, I suppose, except for the fact that she’s gone through the EXACT SAME changes as her character. Is that weird? I think it’s weird.
Jenny Humphrey begins her freshman year at Constance Billiard as a pretty (if a bit generic), young, fresh-faced nobody. Taylor Momsen begins the freshman season of Gossip Girl as a pretty (if a bit generic), young, fresh-faced nobody.
Jenny Humphrey reinvents herself sophomore year with a Joan Jett haircut, an haute street-urchin style, and makeup that makes her look as though she’s been punched in both eyes, and the fashion world suddenly stands up and takes notice. Taylor Momsen reinvents herself sophomore season with the same haircut, the same style, and the same black-eye makeup, and the fashion world suddenly stands up and takes notice.
Jenny Humphrey drops out of school and becomes a designer. Taylor Momsen drops out of the show (okay, for hiatus) and becomes a designer (with a little or maybe a lot of help from real designer Jen Kao).
What’s next for Jenny-slash-Taylor-slash-same diff? I worry that if the show has Jenny go dark again–as she did for a New York minute when she ran away from home–Taylor is going to go all Jodi Sweetin on us. Be careful with this fragile, impressionable psyche, Gossip Girl! Life imitating art can be as deadly as a throat infection.