This It girl shares more than just an uncanny resemblance to resident O.C. downer Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton, left). Serena (Blake Lively, right) seems to have it all, but in addition to a party girl reputation, dark family secrets and a disregard for high society, Serena one-ups the sulky Coop with a history of BFF betrayal.
Like Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson, left), Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) is the queen bee with the designer clothes and riches to her name. But what she doesn't have is Summer's loyal following: Blair's hot boyfriend Nate has already cheated on her, and the return of ex-best friend Serena is putting her crown in jeopardy.
When good guy Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley, right) gets his childhood wish – a date with Serena – he also gets a glimpse into her "perfect" world and feels the meaning of cool: a good backstabbing. Now he's content on staying a quirky outsider – if only he had Seth Cohen's (Adam Brody) comic books to keep him company!
The crown prince of the Upper East Side, Nate (Chance Crawford) is the guy who could have it all but doesn't know what he wants. He may be the polar opposite of The O.C.'s poor Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), except for one thing: women. Like Ryan, Nate is no stranger to an impossible love triangle as he stands between frenemies Blair and Serena.
The O.C.'s Luke Ward (Chris Carmack) could never do trouble with as much panache as Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). While Chuck isn't having an affair with his friend's mother – he leaves that to his father – this prep-schooler has had enough questionable conquests, fisticuffs and hard partying to be the most articulate bad boy of primetime.
While mischevious Kaitlin Cooper's (Willa Holland) older sister Marissa was already a part of the in crowd, innocent Jenny Humphrey's (Taylor Momsen) brother Dan is decidely an outsider. As a result, Jenny will have to work harder to become one of the "popular girls." Or will her sweet girl act ever get Blair and Serena to like her – and the attention of Gossip Girl?
Just like Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke), Darla van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) will stop at nothing to keep herself on the society pages – even if it means disrupting her daughter's happiness. With a secret affair percolating and an even more secret past, the elder van der Woodsen might be a bigger scandal than her rebellious children.
Don't let his rocker past fool you. Rufus Humphrey (Matthew Settle) is just as available as O.C. patriarch Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) was for an old-fashioned one-on-one with dad on love and life – or the occasional practical joke. Will this has-been rock star be the rock that keeps his kids out of Gossip Girl's headlines?