Eric Van Der Woodsen fans, brace yourself. The one character that every “Gossip Girl” viewer seems to like probably will not return this season according to the actor who plays him, Connor Paolo. Paolo is one of the stars of ABC’s new drama “Revenge.” At the TCA panel for the show, he revealed that his new role as Declan Porter is keeping him so busy that he probably will not have time to make any appearances on “Gossip Girl.” Said Paolo, “I don’t know that I’ll be able to recur on ‘Gossip Girl’ as well. I think that’s more a question for the writers and creators of both shows. And right now, I think my head’s pretty deep in Declan for ‘Revenge.’”
Last season on “Gossip Girl,” Eric graduated from high school. He planned to attend Sarah Lawrence college, which is right outside New York City, close enough for him to stay in the the thick of the action. As a gay student at a college known for its embrace of alternative lifestyles, it seemed like Eric was finally poised to have more to do than be the Upper East Side’s voice of reason. Unfortunately, it seems that Paolo’s new role will relegate Eric to an off-camera life of studying, avant garde theater and philosophical discussions about why gender is a social construct.
“Revenge,” like “Gossip Girl” is a soap opera centered around New York’s richest families. Leaving an established hit for a new show with a seemingly similar premise that only has a 13-episode order might seem like a shortsighted decision, but Paolo explained that he relished the chance to play a character who is the polar opposite of Eric. Declan is straight and working class, an outsider instead of an insider. “I challenge you to find a similarity between the two kids because they couldn’t be more different. Eric was very much a child of privilege. And while I think both of their hearts are in the right place, otherwise there’s nothing. I don’t think they’d get along in a bar. You can’t ask for anything more fun as an actor than to have opposing characters.”
Paolo says that, despite their shared setting, “Revenge” and “Gossip Girl” have as little in common as Declan and Eric. “They couldn’t be more different. [Revenge] is not relying on being a primetime soap to get viewers. It’s not about timeslot or past experiences or teaching people how to dress. It’s about story and actors. It’s what television should be.”