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Pulling a Landingham on 'Gossip Girl'?

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  December 2, 2008 06:12 AM

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(SPOILER ALERT) There had been spoiler rumors afoot in recent weeks that something would happen to Bart Bass on "Gossip Girl," and so last night's off-screen car accident -- which I'm betting will be fatal -- was not a big surprise. Bart has been having big final moments with members of his family for a few episodes now, as if the writers have been toying with our expectations.

But the writers had me laughing out loud, and rewinding my DVR to make sure I heard correctly, when, mid-episode, they had Lily Bass call Bart's secretary Mrs. Landingham on the phone. Mrs. Landingham was the president's beloved secretary on "The West Wing," and she was very unexpectedly killed off in a car accident toward the end of that show's second season. Surely the Landingham allusion was buried joke to those few "Gossip Girl" viewers who also happened to have watched "The West Wing," a humorous foreshadowing of the not-very-unexpected accident later in the episode? Please let it be so.

Along with the many, many, MANY shots of Serena's cleavage, and Blair's offer to trade her loyal maid Dorota for a month, and Jenny's ever-changing look, goofs like the Landingham line are helping to make "Gossip Girl" as funny as "The O.C."

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17 comments so far...
  1. the books are so much better.

    that's it.

    Posted by gosachems92 December 2, 08 07:32 AM
  1. Mrs. Landingham was killed off because the actress who played her died suddenly.

    Posted by websterreader December 2, 08 08:23 AM
  1. Noooooo!!! I just started watching The West Wing and now I'm going to have to go into premature mourning of poor Mrs. Landingham. She's my favorite character after Donna.

    I am glad however, that my ears did not deceive me last night. I was just hoping Lily was actually speaking to the real Mrs. Landingham. Now I know that could never be :(

    Posted by Mrs. Landingham Fan December 2, 08 09:04 AM
  1. websterreader, You are wrong she did not die. She is on "Housewives" now.

    Posted by nem December 2, 08 09:18 AM
  1. The actress who played her did not prematurely die. She is now on Desperate Housewives...which, interestingly enough, recently had Lily Tomlin on as her sister. For you west wing fans out there, she followed Mrs. Landingham as the presidents next head secretary... (sorry, another spoiler for readers 7 years behind the times....)

    Posted by WestWingFanatic December 2, 08 09:22 AM
  1. Websterreader, the actress who played Mrs. Landingham -- Kathryn Joosten -- is still very much alive. She's Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives.

    Posted by Matthew Gilbert December 2, 08 09:22 AM
  1. The actress is not dead:

    Posted by Rigby December 2, 08 09:26 AM
  1. the actor who played the chief of staff Leo died unexpectedly.

    Posted by tim December 2, 08 10:13 AM
  1. I too just started watching The West Wing and am also a huge Gossip Girl fan, I caught the Mrs. Laningham thing. I however did not know that Mrs. Laningham is going to be killed off on The West Wing. I am only halfway through season 2 right now, (if anyone is interested Bravo is playing The West Wing every weekday morning 7am and 8am-I tivo them).

    I also find it amusing on housewives that Lilly Tomlin and Mrs. Laningham play sisters since they both played the presidents secretary. ( I have caught a few episodes of season 8 of WW)

    Posted by Martin Sheen Rules December 2, 08 10:26 AM
  1. Wow. It's very weird to have to think about giving a spoiler alert on something that happened 6 years ago on television. Would never occur to me.

    Though it's hard to imagine that our dear Mrs. Landingham, who could get any gig in the world as an assistant, would work for a guy like Bart Bass.

    Even my husband (who "doesn't watch" GG but manages to be in the same room when it's on) couldn't help but make comments about the unusual Serena cleavage shots.

    Posted by Kathy December 2, 08 10:47 AM
  1. Miss Landingham died in mid-May 2001, just a few months after Bush became president. That's how long it's been.

    Posted by Jon December 2, 08 01:09 PM
  1. I too caught the "Mrs. Landingham" shout out. I've been watching every season of The West Wing for the past few weeks. Yes, I'm a girl that can enjoy TWW and GG.

    Posted by Kath (GMMR) December 2, 08 02:04 PM
  1. I stopped watching Gossip Girl and moved over to 90210. While still on the cheesy side, at least the show's portrayal of teens is somewhat closer to reality (ie., like the characters don't wear smoking jackets and openly drink Gin and Vermouth at cocktail bars in Manhattan).

    Posted by vintage97 December 2, 08 02:39 PM
  1. The Mrs. Landingham dialogue gave me pause, since it's not a very common name -- but I'd forgotten how she died, so I didn't make the connection. Clever, GG.

    Kathryn Joosten is a delight on Desperate Housewives -- and, coincidentally, her guest spot on Charmed was on TNT today, and the Everwood episode she appeared in is currently showing on the WB website. Mrs. Landingham everywhere!

    Posted by TVGirl December 2, 08 11:31 PM
  1. totally (almost)off topic. What happened to the actress who played Donna on west wing? (mentioned in comment #3) I don't even remember her name but liked her too.

    Posted by jomarch December 3, 08 04:00 AM
  1. Looking at it looks like Janel Moloney (lady who played Donna) has been guest starting here and there on some TV Shows. She did a Law and Order Criminal Intent, a How I meet your mother, and upcoming she will be doing a Captain Cooks Extraordinary Life movie for TV. She also played the mistress of Scott Peterson in one of the many made for TV movies about the whole Peterson case. I know I watch way to much TV.

    Posted by Martin Sheen Rules December 3, 08 10:03 AM
  1. I caught the Mrs. Landingham thing the other night but aside from a quick mental tribute to my second favorite West Wing character (Charlie is my fave!), I didn't think anything more than it was a nice coincidence. If it was a shout-out to WW, I don't think there was any foreshadowing intended....It's Gossip Girl - I love the show and all but let's not put too much thought into it...

    Posted by leahalison888 December 3, 08 12:04 PM

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