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Gossip Girl's creators reflect on the legacy of season three's Thanksgiving episode

"The Treasure Of Serena Madre" remains a yearly viral moment from the original series' run

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Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, and Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl
Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, and Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

While The CW’s Gossip Girl aired many Thanksgiving episodes over its six-season run, none are more iconic than season three’s “The Treasure Of Serena Madre” dinner scene, which circulates every holiday season and has become a TikTok trend over the years. In a new interview with Bustle, the writers of the episode reflect on the episode’s 13-year long legacy.

“I love that it comes up every year,” says Joshua Safran, who co-wrote the episode with Robert Hull. “It’s a warm hug every time the memes come back around.”

In the climax of the episode, nearly all of the characters come together for a peaceful Thanksgiving meal. However, all have come with their own dirty laundry to air out over turkey and fine cheeses. Over the course of several long minutes, everyone gets to deliver their own punchy and pointed one-liner before throwing in their napkin and leaving the dinner table in a huff.

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“It was [a relief] that it seemed like other people also enjoyed it and got the tone of it,” Gossip Girl co-creator Stephanie Savage says. “When all of these TikToks showed up, that was really incredible and really kind of moving.”

It’s a melodramatic scene, which is only heightened by the use of Jason Derulo’s bop “Whatcha Say,” adding the cherry on top to the over-the-top moment.

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“To be able to put that song—just a very bold musical statement—over this scene in a way that would bring with it all of these kinds of resonances and cultural allusions felt like that could be either really great or really terrible,” Savage says. “And again, we liked it. So we went for it.”

The use of the song not only ups the drama, but sparks a conversation between Gossip Girl and Savage’s previous show, The O.C. In the season two finale of The O.C., the series famously uses Imogen Heap’s “Hide And Seek,” which Derulo samples in “Whatcha Say.”

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“It fed into a nice dialogue between the two shows,” Schwartz says. “‘Whatcha Say’ has been very good to us—in all its forms.”

Safran, who currently serves as the showrunner on the HBO reboot of the series, says Thanksgiving episodes are a built-in part of the series structure, and will no be going away anytime soon.

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“As long as Gossip Girl runs, there will be Gossip Girl Thanksgivings,” Safran says. “Where other shows have Christmas, we have Thanksgiving. We will hold onto that.”