First episode (of new season) impressions: ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Life Unexpected,’ ‘Parenthood’

"Gossip Girl" (8 p.m. Central Mondays, The CW)

1. The actors who play Dan and Vanessa continue to look like they punch a clock, sleepwalk through their scenes, punch out and go home. What's particularly strange about this is that I thought both Penn Badgley and Jessica Szohr were good actors when "Gossip Girl" started.

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Hilary Duff has the right stuff for ‘Gossip Girl’

Hilary Duff submitted a pilot episode that got turned down this season; that allowed "Gossip Girl" (8 p.m. Central Mondays on The CW) to cast her for -- as every report on the subject says -- "several episodes" as starlet-turned-student Olivia Burke. Basically, she's a recurring character whose amount of recurrence is to be determined.

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‘Gossip Girl’ a welcome break from reality

I admire shows that address the recession -- it's part of the fabric of "Medium" and "Friday Night Lights," and "The Simpsons" had a nice episode about it last year. But I also like shows that are completely oblivious to America's economic meltdown, to the point where they flaunt how out of touch they are.

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Happy (day after) Mother’s Day from ‘Gossip Girl’: Brittany Snow returns to TV

It's appropriate that Brittany Snow spells her name the normal way, rather than "Britney," "Brittani" or "Britni." The actress strikes me as an old-fashioned girl, because I first saw her as Meg Pryor in the 1960s-set "American Dreams," that 2002-05 NBC series where Donovan's "Season of the Witch" played in the background during every episode.

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