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Chuck Bass Was a Monster

On the 10th anniversary of ‘Gossip Girl,’ it’s time to end this charade and recognize the show’s so-called complex villain for what he was: a total asshole

The CW/Ringer illustration

Here’s a number for you: 1,661,772. Here’s another: 2,970,061. And here’s one more: 10,773,840. Those are the amount of views (as of writing) of three of the most popular Chuck Bass montages on YouTube, which feature moments like Chuck Bass grumpily leaving, Chuck Bass grumpily arriving, and Chuck Bass grumpily threatening to leave, only to grumpily linger. Most of these threats are directed at Blair Waldorf, his off-on-off-on-off-on-off-WEDDING-TIME-JUMP-TODDLER-TOWNHOUSE partner throughout Gossip Girl’s run, who in these playback loops seems more like the hostage of an amnesiac than anything. The pair also star in “All Chuck and Blair Kiss Scenes (S1-S6)” (45,935 views), “Chuck and Blair//OMFG scenes” (1,711,877 views), and “All Chuck and Blair Kisses (Ultimate Version)” (110,827 views), which opens with the title card “Dedicated to one of the most beautiful relationship of TV shows. -Alex P.”

Alex P., let me stop you there. I have a simple plea: Light all of your Chuck Bass memories on fire, because he is a monster who never deserved love.

Let me be very clear: I was not coerced to write these words in any way. I am doing it for two reasons alone: because they are true, and because the world would be a better place if we could all just accept that Chuck Bass is an irredeemable asshole unworthy of (a) love and (b) 10 years of devotion by fans duped into thinking that his negging was evidence of unseen depths.

In the years since Gossip Girl departed, the romance of Chuck and Blair has acquired an almost mystical quality. “7 Reasons 'Gossip Girl's Blair & Chuck Are Still the Best, Even After All the Drama,” Bustle gushed in 2015. “25 Life-Changing Relationship Lessons We Learned From Chuck And Blair,” BuzzFeed offered the year before. Series cocreator Josh Schwartz even gave an interview to Vulture last year on “the enduring romantic legacy of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf,” in which he acknowledged that the two weren’t originally intended to be an item, much less a show-defining one, but were scripted that way after Schwartz and others noticed Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester’s onscreen chemistry. “Just because someone comes into a show as a villain doesn’t mean you’re not going to end up falling in love with them,” Schwartz explained. “There were regressions a few times, as everyone well knows, but they never gave up on each other.” Reminder: Josh Schwartz is the same person who forced Ryan Atwood and Marissa Cooper together, through the worst love triangle ever and attempted murder, all the way up until she died in a fiery car accident.

It is time to give up on Chuck Bass, a man who has only two defining qualities:

1. He is rich.
2. He is mean.

Every once in awhile on Gossip Girl, after being mean, he would use his wealth to try to make things better by buying jewelry/flowers/stockings from Germany (???). Even less frequently, he attempted to apologize. The summary of each and every one of these apologies is “I did X Terrible Thing because that is the way I am (Bad),” which is an even more annoying way of saying “I’m Chuck Bass,” which is a thing he said. A lot.

And let’s talk about Chuck and Blair. Together they were known as “Chair,” which is a nickname they deserve. Their function, for much of the run of Gossip Girl, was to stir various gossipy pots, so of course they ruffled feathers. But Blair, for all her scheming, usually had reasonable-enough motivations: a desire for an Upper East Side fairy tale, or else simple jealousy. Chuck had no such explanatory graces. “I love you,” a devastated Blair pined during one episode. “Well, that’s too bad,” replied Chuck Bass, incorrigible jerk, who in the place of a heart has little more than an obsession with arbitrary deadlines (7 p.m. at the Empire State Building, right now on this tarmac, during this conversation or else, etc.).

His aloofness and propensity for blowing things up are generally taken as signs of halting growth, that he’s a romantic work in progress, a damaged boy-man who would eventually grow up if we only gave him time. But some things just aren’t worth waiting for.