In its beginning stages, love, on Gossip Girl, is fairly simple. It might start out bumpy, but for a time afterward, couples coast along blissfully, their only concern being whose hair is shinier. Dan and Serena were like this at first, as were Nate and Vanessa, and even Chuck and Blair, once they got over the "three words, eight letters" business. And now we have the beaming, radiant Dorota and Vanya. Of course, inevitably, beneath those perfectly tousled strands, below the follicles, trouble begins to brew. Emotions swirl, ideas take shape, and soon enough, someone makes a decision that ends up complicating — polluting — the relationship. Such as deciding to pimp out your girlfriend in order to save your hotel from your wicked uncle.
Or deciding to leave a wedding with your ex-boyfriend on a secret errand to Palm Beach without mentioning it to your current boyfriend who is already pissed at you for seeing your ex-boyfriend for coffee, and leaving him in the hands of a teenage temptress. Or deciding to leave your current husband in order to shack up with your first husband, again, for unexplained reasons, even though you just finished a multi-episode fight with your current husband over the same thing last week. These are but a few of the choices made by the cast of Gossip Girl this week that will alter the chemistry of their love. And yet it must be said that none of these truly terrible decisions were made out of a lack of love; they were made because real love is not, as Blair thinks, pure, it is not, as Dorota put it, "good" or "bad." It's complicated, and messy, and sometimes fraught. Especially if you drink lots of vodka. So Dorota and Vanya might want to watch out.
Realer Than Chuck Bass Being "Infamous" on Brighton Beach:
• Aw, Chuck and Blair both have weird old-movie dreams! Sometimes they really do seem like they're meant to be together, even though in general our feeling is that you are never meant to be with the person you're dating when you're 18 years old. Still, Plus 1.
• At first we thought Serena was being metaphorical when she said, "You're not going to find anything in there," as Chuck was looking at empty booze bottles. That would have been a point lost. But then she really just meant they had hidden all the booze. Plus 1.
• Because he is depressed, Chuck is wearing a black set of silk pajamas, not purple. Plus 3.
• Because she likes to dress at all times a little like a hooker, Serena is wearing a black sheer ensemble even though it's early in the morning and she's supposedly just going to the Humphreys for breakfast. Plus 1.
• Nate gives Chuck a cup of coffee and says: "Here, drink this," as though he's an old lady dispensing folk remedies in a village of nine people. Other people know about coffee, dude. Plus 3. Also, plus 3 for when Chuck simply pours booze from his flask into it.
• Is it us or does Blake Lively seem increasingly, visibly bored with her own lines? "You still love her, don't you?" she drawls to Chuck, practically in a monotone, like she has been called in on a Saturday for a line reading with a kid from the Make a Wish foundation and is pissed about it. "Take her to Blue Hill upstate, or buy her those Louboutins at Saks." Still, plus 3 for Serena thinking Louboutins will fix anything.
• Blair to Nate: "Great, he sent Good Cop." Haha. Something about this ticked us. Plus 1.
• Eleanor: "Eavesdropping on the help is undignified. Plus it confuses them." Plus 3.
• Chuck brought peonies, Blair's favorite. Plus 1 for him knowing that, minus 1 for us knowing that. Wash.
• Dorota: "Where did you and Mr. Harold get married?"
Eleanor: "I don't think that's the reason it didn't work out." Plus 2 for Eleanor being able to laugh about having married a gay. Marrying Wally Shawn makes everything in life funny.
• Immediately after lying to Nate about having breakfast with the Humphreys, Serena unthinkingly eats a croissant. Plus 1, since that's exactly the kind of way you screw up when you're being deceptive, and plus 2 for the look Nate gives Serena that says, "I hope you're not planning on turning into a total heifer just because we're in a long-term relationship now."
• Dan wants to watch Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Véronique? On the exact day they happen to all get invited to a Polish wedding? At first we were going to subtract points, but then we realized he's probably spewing out this B.S. at all times. Plus 1.
• Eleanor on Blair: "She hasn't been out of her room in days. It's like living with Howard Hughes." Plus 3 for finally having an adult make a reference that no one under 30 would get.
• Chuck's way of saying Nate and Serena are morons is this: "You and Serena have it easy. Until now your biggest concern is whose hair is more shiny.” Blair’s is: “You and Nate are lucky. You’re so good to each other: no games, no lies, no secrets. Just pure honesty.” Plus 6.
• Wait, is the Polish band playing “I Gotta Feeling” on accordions? Plus 10.
• Serena’s medallion during their dance was clearly designed to hypnotize Nate with its shininess. Plus 3, because it seemed to work a little bit.
• Eleanor: "These Russians drink more than Larry Hagman on his first liver." Plus 3, for the same reasons as above. She's on fire!
• Blair's dress is gorgeous at the party. Of course she'd know looking hot would be the best torture for Chuck. Plus 2.
• Plus 4 for Dorota looking so beautiful. And plus 1 for Cyrus being an adorable emcee — even though it didn't quite make sense that he'd have the honors.
• Intel Chris was very lucky that his boyfriend was outside the home watching 24 during Dorota's touching speech to Blair and subsequent happy nuptials, because he definitely choked up. Plus 4, because weddings are supposed to choke up the gays.
• The guy next to Eleanor at the wedding looks like a slack-jawed mouth breather. Plus 2, because you always get stuck next to one of those.
• Jenny: "I didn't want have to be the one to tell you this. But Serena left with Carter." Her lust for Nate is so palpable it's like another person in the room. An angry, munchkinlike person with a vagina for a face. Plus 3.
• When the car stopped with Serena and Carter, we were at first like, “Serena would never get out there." But then she made him get out! Plus 2, because even she has her moments.
• OOOOHHHH NOOOOOO. Eric found the dreaded teenage bisexual! Feared by pretty girls with low self-esteems and confident gays everywhere. Plus 10.
• Serena: "You know how Carter is. He convinced his fourth-grade class that Barneys was named after the dinosaur." Plus 2, because this makes us remember that last time he was on the show, we kind of liked Carter. Remember, he went all nice and vulnerable and sensitive? And now he's a cold-blooded calculating jerk again, which is, let's face it, realistic.
Faker Than Blair, Who Wants to Transfer to Columbia, Missing School at NYU for "Days":
• "I thought our love could withstand anything. Apparently I was wrong." Okay, this whole plotline had some serious problems, starting with the fact that after Chuck made this cryptic statement, neither Nate nor Serena, who were supposedly "interrogating" him about the situation, went so far as to ask him what he actually did that got Blair so upset. Minus only 2 for that, since obviously we're not dealing with the brightest bulbs here. But Chuck isn't an idiot; he should have known that there was at least a 50/50 chance that his setting up an Indecent Proposal–style tryst between his 18-year-old girlfriend and his father's brother would destroy their relationship. Minus 5. Furthermore, while it is slightly realistic for Chuck to blame her for sleeping with his uncle even though he was the one who arranged it — dudes are unreasonable like that — it's completely unrealistic that Blair would blame herself for any of it. What Chuck did was awful, what she did was merely misguided. And lest we forget, she didn't ultimately sleep with Jack! It's weird that she didn't reveal that to Chuck earlier, or to Nate when she told him her terrible secret. Minus 5, because you'd think that would be the first thing you'd say.
• When Chuck presents Blair with that necklace, Intel Jessica's husband goes: "I don't really think that's an appropriate way to say 'I don't think you're a whore.'" Minus 2.
• Okay, we love Dorota and Vanya, but the way the writers are treating them like they've come from Borat's Kazakhstan is starting to bug us. Dorota's "old country" is Poland. It's not like you have to wear a burka there. It's a European country! They almost have the euro! Going home there wouldn't be a fate worse than death, like she's acting. Minus 4. We frowned on this last time, but it actually does make sense that Vanya and Dorota speak English to each other, since Vanya is Russian, and even though Dorota probably can speak Russian, she wouldn't want to, as most people who grew up in the Soviet Union have a whole thing about how they hate it. But there's no reason that they need to talk like the cartoon mice from An American Tale, all missing articles and "In my country we do like this," etc. So minus 1 for that. And while, sure, they have wedding traditions in Eastern Europe, there's no specific "traditional Russian Polish wedding" tradition. Minus 2. Or a "happy couple" tradition. Minus 2.
• Incidentally, Dorota could not have "raised Blair." She is like 30. Minus 1.
• Also, Dorota would not have a meltdown in front of Cyrus and Eleanor, even about her parents. She's a professional! Minus 2.
• Gossip Girl is the voice of the Vitaminwater ads? No points, but, weird.
• God, again with the “Bing it”?? It’s so awkward! Eleanor wouldn’t know what “Bing” is, let alone use “Bing” to look for a wedding location. Minus 10, product-placement requirements be damned.
• Chuck, upon overhearing Dorota yelling at her parents: "I haven't heard that much Polish since I canceled my BAM subscription." Minus 2. Because unlike Dan, Chuck would never go to BAM to watch Polish movies. That would require him going to Brooklyn.
*226; Weddings are Blair’s weakness? For a tough girl, she has an awful lot of weaknesses. Headbands, peonies, Ivy League schools, bulldogs, bad boys, good boys, shiny things minus 2.
• Nate is in charge of flowers? No way. Not while Chuck Bass, who basically is a flower, is around. Minus 5.
• This show is very inconsistent over whether or not Serena eats carbs. Minus 4.
• A traditional Eastern European game night? With Rufus hosting? That sounds like a fake/bad idea. Minus 2.
• Chuck is wondering about having calla lilies at weddings. You don’t have calla lilies, traditionally funeral flowers, at weddings where people are worried about jinxes. Minus 3.
• There is no way that Eric wouldn't assume that kid was gay after last episode's flirtatious display. Minus 5, even if in the end he was right to be suspicious.
• Serena already explained to Nate about her search for her dad. Her flimsy excuse for why she didn't want to tell Nate about the latest update just doesn’t hold water. Minus 2.
• Who on earth are all those other guests? There are so many of them, and Vanya and Dorota's families are abroad. Minus 2.
• Eric wouldn't play Brickbreaker on his BlackBerry for three hours. Cruising Grindr on his iPhone for a plan B, maybe. Minus 1, because actually we hope teenagers don't do that.
• Eleanor wouldn't be so rude about the apartment thing. Sure, it's inappropriate, but she would never want a BABY in her apartment. Minus 3.
• Also, is it a little bit condescending that Cyrus bought them an apartment in Queens? Or is that just us? No points, just asking.
• Wait, why WOULD Serena need a key to the St. Regis? Couldn't she just go, like, ask for Carter at the front desk like any other human person? Minus 1.
• Cell phones are allowed in rooms at Canyon Ranch. And anyway, Lily would have thought ahead to this. Minus 3.
• There is ALWAYS time to tell your boyfriend you are going to leave the state. Especially if you are in Queens already, and therefore closer to the airports. Minus 2.
• Blair: “I don’t like who I've become with you.”
Chuck: “Wait, Blair, don’t bail on me, we have to see this through to the end.” What, like it’s a bad movie that’s not even funny bad, it’s just bad bad, and you want to leave but you’ve already sat through like half of it? Not that enticing, Chuck. Minus 1.
• Serena would have known better than to trust Jenny with that message. Basically, everybody, even Eric, should be shunning Jenny at this point. The way she’s been lashing out, she’s basically the Ramona Singer of teens. But she doesn’t even need the fuel of Pinot Grigio! Minus 3.
• The nonstop flight from New York to Palm Beach is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The chance that Serena would have made it to her father's front door before the first people started passing out at the wedding seems unlikely. Minus 2.
Despite the entirely realistic depiction of Russians drinking too much vodka and the beautiful sight of Dorota out of her maid's uniform, awkward product placement and tortured plotlines put this episode on the side of unrealistic. Maybe Eleanor's right: You should never pay too much attention to the help.