Many fans of the show remember exactly what we were doing when Gossip Girls' secret identity was revealed in the finale of the show. For some, it may have involved sitting slack-jawed in utter shock while taking massive sips of wine. But having rewatched the show from the start, there's actually a surprising amount of clues about who Gossip Girl is in the pilot episode of the show. In fact, it's probably one of the few episodes of the entire show that successfully hints at the idea that Dan Humphrey is actually Gossip Girl. Because beyond the pilot — if you recall — the concept becomes very hazy and confusing.
And that's because there's a lot of plot holes concerning Dan as Gossip Girl which conveniently go unanswered by the time the character confidently and casually reveals his secret identity in the finale. Like, why would he blog about his 15 year-old sister's sex life? And why in the world would he react with shock while reading a story on the Gossip Girl blog when he presumably wrote and published it himself? But back in the halcyon days of the premiere episode, Dan would just a lonely boy, looking to make himself known and find love with one of the most notorious young women of the Upper East Side.
Dan was also shady as hell, however. And while the pilot episode isn't so blatant about dropping hints about Dan's secret identity that we could have ever guessed it was him from the offset, the clues certainly do all add up with hindsight. And these are 18 of the most obvious ones...
We Also Discover That Dan Immediately Has A Terrific Motive To Be Gossip Girl
As we find out in the episode, everyone reads Gossip Girl. And therefore, everyone will soon also happen to find out who Lonely Boy and Dan Humphrey is, too. He just wants Serena to know who he is so that she can fall madly in love with him and eventually marry him someday. Totally normal behavior.
The Gossip Girl Blog Is Full Of The Sort Of Misdirection That Dan Would Totally Do
Firstly, it uses about five differing shades of pink too many, as if to assure us that this blog is definitely run by a woman and not a teenage boy desperate for attention. Secondly, look at how the welcome post says, "the site ABOUT the Upper East Side FOR the Upper East Side and BY the Upper East Side." Because that definitely reads like something that someone who doesn't live in the Upper East Side would write. Someone like, say, Dan.
The Show Gives Us A Direct Visual Hint That Dan Is Gossip Girl
Right after we're given a glimpse of what the Gossip Girl blog looks like, we hear "Gossip Girl" (narrated by Kristen Bell) talking about how her identity is a massive secret, all while the camera lingers on Dan sat at a laptop. We're supposed to assume that he's simply reading the blog, but in retrospect? He was definitely writing a post and checking his stats.
In Fact, Dan Has A Real Chip On His Shoulder About People Not Knowing Who He Is
What better reason is there to start a blog about an "in" crowd which you can then write yourself as being part of?
This Interaction Between Dan And Jenny
Anonymous loser, huh? Like a guy who assumes anonymity behind an extremely feminine stalker blog about Upper East Siders? Dan even proudly claims the identity of "anonymous loser," by saying "works for me," in response to Jenny. Like, no d'uh, dude. You're eating lunch alone because you're too busy blogging bitter takedowns about your peers to bother interacting with them.
This Other Interaction Between Dan And Jenny
Anonymous loser? Invisible man? How did Jenny not know her brother was Gossip Girl when she kept making such astute observations regarding his secret identity?
That Time That He Was Blatantly Lurking Behind Chuck And Nate
Forget about why Chuck and Nate would even need to ride the goddamn bus, and instead focus on the fact that Dan is just casually loitering there in the background like a preppy Michael Myers. He's listening to their entire sordid conversation, with intensely focused eyes that say "I'm going to blog this entire conversation in approximately five minutes time..."
Chuck Knew Something Was Up With The Guy
Dan lays down his signature Humphrey-humor by explaining that he isn't stalking Chuck and Nate, he just goes to the same school (good one, Dan). Except, because Dan is Gossip Girl, he definitely would have been following them, for months if not years, and actively blogging about their exploits too. So yeah, Chuck was probably right. Dan actually might have been following them.
He's Shown As Being A Little Too Good At Hiding In Plain Sight
When Serena and Eric bump into Jenny at the mall, she introduces them to Dan only for him to have somehow immaculately hidden himself away behind a rack of clothes. You know, like he's maybe done the whole hiding thing before.
Dan Just So Happens To Be There For Most Of The Drama At The Palace Hotel
He appears to turn up just after Serena and Blair share an awkward heart to heart, and right in time for Serena's uncomfortable moment with Chuck. And lo and behold, Gossip Girl just so happens to be reporting about all of it already.
He Also Just So Happens To Grab Serena's Phone
Which means he's basically immediately privy to all of her secrets that could be on there, including having access to her entire contact list. All of which would be super lucrative to Gossip Girl's success in future episodes.
Dan Is Once Again The Most Prominent Witness For An Event That Gossip Girl Reports About
The only people who could have possibly determined that Serena had heroically helped save Jenny from Chuck was Jenny and Dan. So, this Gossip Girl posting is less "spotted" as "personally experienced."
The Camera Lingers On Dan As The Narrator Makes Reference To "Gossip Girl"
You know who loves parties? Dan. And do you know who doesn't get invited to parties but will mysteriously show up to one by the end of the episode? Dan. Funny that...
In Fact, Whenever Gossip Girl Is Referenced In The Episode, Dan Is Usually On Screen
It's almost like they were tying to tell us something in the pilot episode, you guys...
They basically told us who Gossip Girl was in the very first episode of the whole show. But did we pay attention? No. Would we have believed it for a second if it we did pay attention? Absolutely not. Dan is still the most surprising candidate to be Gossip Girl, even though we know that it was definitely him the whole time. It's still the strangest twist TV has ever thrown at us. And as the Gossip Girl pilot proved, we really should have seen it coming.