chuck bass not dying 320 'Gossip Girl': Does Chuck Bass need to be redeemed?

When Zap2it spoke with “Gossip Girl” executive producers Josh Safran and Stephanie Savage earlier this week, we asked them a question that seems to be on a lot of fans’ minds: When will Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) be redeemed?
“Redeeming Chuck… that’s a term that I’ve seen on Twitter. There’s a big redeem Chuck and Blair and redeem Chuck Bass tweet thing. My thing is, and I know Stephanie believes this and Josh [Schwartz] believes this as well, the drama from shows comes out of characters doing things necessarily that aren’t always right,” Safran explained. “It was always the thing about “Sex and the City” and Carrie always made mistakes constantly and you understand it because that’s what life is. We all make mistakes. No one goes through perfectly. I don’t think that Chuck necessarily needs to be redeemed so much as he actually needs to find his way, which is different.”
Now, we have nothing against Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran, but we here at Zap2it respectfully disagree. Chuck Bass needs to be redeemed.
We’re all for characters making mistakes. Seriously — give us Seth smoking pot on “The O.C.” or Buffy sleeping with Parker on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” But selling your girlfriend to your uncle so you could keep your hotel? That’s not a mistake… that’s knowingly hurting the person you love and being OK with it because in the end, it helps you out. 
Unlike us, Blair (Leighton Meester) was pretty quick to forgive Chuck for the hotel debacle. Pretty quick being five episodes. Yes, her boyfriend sold her out for his hotel and she forgave him in five episodes. And really, he didn’t do much to earn her forgiveness besides throw Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski) a quickie wedding (but only because Blair can’t resist a good wedding) and pull an “Affair to Remember” on her in the Season 3 finale. The same finale in which he slept with Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) because he thought Blair didn’t love him anymore. Isn’t he just dreamy?
To us, these are major roadblocks on the rocky road to Chuck and Blair’s relationship happiness. At first, we found the writers having their leading man commit these acts as pretty risky and brave. That’s a lot for one character to come back from and we were curious to see where they would take Chuck’s character in Season 4, to see the lengths he would go to redeem himself for his actions.
So color us surprised when Season 4 rolls around and Blair is the one moping around Paris with a Chuck-sized cloud looming over her while Chuck is living with another woman, Eva (Clemence Poesy). Curiously enough, fans hated Eva right away… simply because she wasn’t Blair. Were they angry with Chuck for moving on so fast? No.

We understood what the writers were trying to do with poor Eva. She was a vehicle to show the changes Chuck had made. One problem? It didn’t really work. Next up was Raina (Tika Sumpter), which again, didn’t work. It actually showed Chuck really hadn’t changed — he sold out Lily (Kelly Rutherford) to the Empire’s board of executives because he thought it would help him keep his hotel. Sound familiar?

Blair is not a saint, we know this. But has she made visible changes this season? Yes. She’s scheming less and is OK with it. Remember when she didn’t back-stab Dan (Penn Badgley) at W magazine when everyone thought she would? Change! While Eva and Raina failed to show Chuck’s changes (or lack thereof) the writers have done a much better job using Dan to show how Blair has changed. In some ways, it feels like Blair is finally an adult while Chuck is still a high-schooler playing dress-up in his father’s business suits.

chuck blair masq 'Gossip Girl': Does Chuck Bass need to be redeemed?Why is redemption necessary for Chuck? Simple: Because he doesn’t deserve Blair without it. OK, maybe deserve is the wrong word, but Chuck does need to make a change if he’s someone viewers can buy Blair wanting to make a life with.

When we first met Chuck, he was a selfish and arrogant rich kid who attempted to date-rape two girls in the first episode. That all changed when he fell for Blair and showed viewers there was a different and not-as-deplorable side to the UES bad boy, that he was actually capable of caring about someone. Sure, they had their ups and (many) downs, but by the beginning of Season 3, Blair made Chuck want to be a better man and he became one. He had formed loving and healthy relationships, was part of the Van Der Humphrey family and suddenly was giving Dan a run for his money as the show’s moral compass.

Then the hotel fiasco sent all of that character development crashing down. Any development left over was immediately set ablaze when Chuck slept with Jenny. So Chuck went from villain to leading man to villain all over again, but where’s the payoff? We have already seen Chuck take this journey, so why have him go on it again? 

Chuck has always been a favorite amongst fans, but for those fans to remain invested in his character a decision needs to be made: Romantic leading man or villain. He simply can’t be both. If it’s leading man, he has to be redeemed or his constant emotional torture of Blair is just cruel and will not ease fans’ frustrations. If he’s meant to be a love-to-hate villain, ease up on the romantic storylines and have Chuck and Blair go back to scheming partners.
However, redeeming Chuck is a double-edged sword: If he is redeemed, fans will complain that the character has gone too soft (like in early Season 3). If he isn’t redeemed, fans will complain that he doesn’t deserve Blair. To redeem or not to redeem, that is the question we’re praying the “Gossip Girl” executive producers know the answer to. 
We know a lot of readers accuse Zap2it of being Anti-CB or pro-“Dair.” Let us set the record straight: We’re Team Blair and whoever is going to treat her right. Right now, that isn’t Chuck Bass.
Posted by:tbricker