5 Things Gossip Girl Should Do To Regain Its XOXO Mojo

Spotted: A once zeitgeist-owning series relegated to the fringe of pop culture after a couple of seasons worth of mostly diminishing returns. The fourth year of Gossip Girl kicks off tonight, though if you didn't realize that, you're probably not alone. What was once a proud badge of cool ("I watch Gossip Girl!") has turned into a Scarlett Letter of uncool ("Don't tell anyone, but I still watch Gossip Girl"). Is there anything that can be done to stem this tide toward irrelevancy? Of course! Ahead, Movieline offers 5 quick and easy fixes to give Gossip Girl back her swagger.

1.) Make Michelle Trachtenberg a full-time cast member

Here's the good news: Michelle Trachtenberg's Georgina Sparks will be appearing during the early portion of this season as the Gossip Girl writers attempt to untie the sorted knot of her cliffhanger pregnancy. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Georgina's baby isn't actually Dan's, though, so expect her to shuffle off to Belarus or Jesus Camp or wherever else Georgina goes when her usefulness runs its course before long. Except, her usefulness never runs its course. Trachtenberg is deliriously good on Gossip Girl, injecting a much needed dose of crazy to the proceedings that simply doesn't exist anywhere else. Bring her on, leave her there and let her wreak havoc. Speaking of cast members...

2.) Get rid of Taylor Momsen

Sure, Momsen's Jenny Humphrey has been relegated to Upstate New York for the time being to live with her mom (hey, Gossip Girl fans, remember her?), but she's hanging over the season like a thundercloud; executive producer Stephanie Savage has already revealed that Jenny will return sooner rather than later. Why, though? Jenny is as character without a real connection to what's going on -- this despite her dalliance with Chuck Bass -- and offers nothing but the same old Mean Girls shtick we've seen from Blair and Serena previously. Stick her in a boarding school in Europe and let the cast mention her once in a while. "Just got a text from Jenny; she loves Istanbul!"

3.) Stop pairing everyone off into couples

The fastest way to kill a show like Gossip Girl? Make it too incestuous -- though we're too late to stop that one. Just so we're clear, here's a breakdown of the past bed-hopping: Serena slept with Nate and Dan, Blair slept with Nate and Chuck, Chuck slept with Blair, Jenny and Vanessa, Dan slept with Vanessa and Serena, and Nate slept with Serena, Vanessa and Blair. Annnnnnd exhale. Did I mention that Dan and Serena are step-siblings? Yeah, this show needs some new blood -- it's running out of combos!

4.) Make Blair and Chuck villains again

It's hard to remember now, but in the beginning of Gossip Girl, Blair and Chuck were the bad guys. You loved to hate them as they didn't think twice about trying to ruin someone's life. As is usually the case on television shows -- see Ben on Lost -- their twin villainy turned them into audience favorites, forcing the writers to soften the pointed edges. Mistake! Not only did it rob Gossip Girl of dramatic tension and stakes, it relegated two mustache-twirling menaces to the easy roles of on-again/off-again lovers.

5.) Find some compelling adults

On The O.C., executive producer Josh Schwartz kept the show interesting amid the downward spiral of teen melodrama by offering fans a chance at some adult melodrama, via Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. Well, Rufus and Lily: I know Sandy and Kirsten, and you two are not Sandy and Kirsten. Either correct these two by making them more mature, or drop their nonsensical plots out of the rotation completely.