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Gossip Girl Recap: Once Upon a Time, Thanksgiving Was My Favorite Holiday

Traditions can be wonderful. But as the eponymous narrator of the Greatest Show of Our Time sagely observed, traditions can also become habits, and habits — like, say, annual fests of extreme gluttony, can be unhealthy. In last night's Thanksgiving episode, Blair managed to avoid indulging in two of her most potent vices: Chuck, and her father's pie. The rest of our crew was not as lucky. Dan continued his annual tradition of falling back into doomed love with his now-stepsister Serena. Nate once again fell into the trap of believing his father had really changed this time, for real. Lily continued to believe her daughter is the same drugged-out crazy person she was four-odd years ago, despite copious amounts of evidence to the contrary. And the Gossip Girl writers continued their tradition, started just this year, of letting Juliet run amok beyond the fringes of all logic or reason.

And, they also kept up their ongoing tradition of driving us crazy with things that are hopelessly unrealistic, and at the same time including details that are uniquely true to life. We pick at its carcass in our weekly reality index, below.

Realer Than Blair’s Fall Dress Matching Her Fall Floral Arrangements:
• Thanksgiving is Gossip Girl’s favorite holiday! Seriously, some of our her best work has been done on this day. Plus 1.
• Blair, when Dorota brings her the wrong Burberry: “I need the shearling. Do you want me to freeze?”
Dorota: “Yes, I want you to freeze.” That baby on her chest is like her amulet of power! Plus 3.
• We’re not so sure that Blair would have been so excited about the Beaujolais Nouveau, as she does have some taste in wine, but based on her fabulous fall dress (which she doesn’t even change out of for an entire episode!) we’re going to assume she just likes it for the autumnal festivity. And, at the very least, the timing is exactly right for a Thanksgiving episode. Plus 1.
Dorota: “With everything that’s happened with Mr. Chuck and Miss Serena, I also know you want to get out of the Dodge!”
Blair: “Out of Dodge — it’s a place, not a pickup truck.” Plus 2.
• Baby Anna! Plus 10.
• Dorota knows full well that Blair won’t let her throw out a pie. Plus 1.
• Eric, upon seeing a lengthy Thanksgiving Day table: “Do we have relatives I don’t know about?"
Rufus: “It’s always a possibility.” Nice. Plus 1.
• Eric has been sending texts with angry emoticons to Serena. You just know he’s the type to use IMHO, LMFAO, and LMTTDOOMMSICCYOB, too. Plus 4. (The latter stands for “Let Me Take This Dick Out of My Mouth So I Can Curse You Out, Bitch.” Obvs.)
• Lily orders Rufus to move the flowers “closer together” in the tablescape, and he does. Plus 1.
• There is no pumpkin pie at Forager’s Market, but there are organic pumpkin tarts with gluten-free crusts. Plus 1,
• Vanessa has an amazing tofu-sage stuffing recipe. Also, she has an amazing coat left over from a grade-school production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. Plus 10.
• The Captain has the same wooden, slightly gay way of talking with his forearms and wrists as Nate does. Plus 1.
• Nate can’t wait until the lawyer is two feet away to open the (strangely unsealed) divorce papers. Plus 2.
• Dorota, in a moment of Chair (that's Chuck and Blair, y'all) awkwardness, blurts: “We bring pie!” Plus 1.
• As sad as it is, the evening news totally would have had that 911 call within hours of it taking place. Plus 1.
• Lily’s face when she decides “Ostroff Center” is hard like a diamond. A fist-size diamond hanging on an ear. Of a white lady. Plus 1.
• The doctor did a really good job of saying, "I hear you've had a good experience at the Ostroff Center," to Lily in a tone that conveyed, "I understand not just one but both of your children are fucked up, and while it is unquestionably your fault for bringing them up in the heart of such a shallow, immoral environment, you clearly did not know any better and thus I mostly pity you." Plus 5.
• "Blair," Chuck gasps in fear and trepidation when he spots Jenny's wraithlike figure on the landing above them at the hospital, and then they watch in tense silence as Jenny walks by in a slow and weird manner, as if she is a zombie from The Walking Dead. Plus 3.
• "Your daughter wakes up alone, drugged in an empty motel room, and you don't call the cops?" Serena asks Lily. "You don't ask if she's okay or what happened? You just have her committed? What kind of mother does that?" Plus 5, because, good question, for once. The drugs have made Serena lucid!
• Somehow, even though everyone else on the show is a more experienced schemer than Dan, it sort of makes sense that he’s the only one to suspect foul play. If there’s one thing he trusts more than all reality or facts, it’s the two orbs of trust just below Serena's face and above her bedazzled cummerbund. Plus 4. And the fact that he sprung her, with the eventual goal of hitching a ride on the train bus like a couple of hobos with unnaturally sunscreened skin? Perfect. Plus 4.
• When Dan expresses his doubts to Nate, Nate says, "Maybe you just want to think that, because it's easier than the truth." Plus 1. Nate is such a little stoner psychologist. Soon he's going to start saying things like, "It's your journey, man."
• Rufus got off a really good parental line in his argument with Jenny: "I am not Vanessa or Juliet’s father, I am yours!" Still, he's too soft to have rejected Jenny like that, so Plus only 1. That conversation should have ended in waffles, not wayfaring.
• Did Kelly Rutherford actually act for a minute there? Like with the tears? Plus 1.
• Dan’s pout during the “I still believe in you” speech is practically Rocky-like. Plus 1.
• Blair: “Just because we can’t be friends doesn’t mean we aren’t.” That’s a pretty good line, actually. If like, this were Tuck Everlasting. Plus 1.
• Blair, to Dan: “What do you say we find that bitch and get us a little frontier justice.” "Frontier justice"? Where did that come from? This is the Thanksgiving episode. Are they going to scalp Juliet? No points, just wondering.

Total: 67

Faker Than Juliet Continuing to Wear Absurdly Expensive Skank Outfits Even Though All Her Plotting Is Over:
• Seriously, who wears a backless dress to pack up their apartment and go visit a dude in prison? Also, what's with the old-fashioned suitcase? Were they out of Longchamp at the Skank Store? Minus 1.
• Blair’s dad traditionally baked an APPLE pie for Thanksgiving, not pumpkin. How could anyone forget that when it was memorialized in this scene from season one? Minus only 1, because at least Blair finally remembered her bulimia this time around. (Though we wish they had included a line about how she got better when she finally realized the white tights were just really unflattering.)
• Anne wouldn’t divorce the Captain at this point. She’s the one with the money to lose, and also, please, it’s not like she’s having sex with anyone else. Look at how flat her hair is! Minus 2.
• Blair, to Chuck: “We should get used to little run-ins like these. I mean, if Bruce and Demi can do it … ” Um, no. Maybe Justin and Cameron. Maybe Brad and Jennifer. But Bruce and Demi are just too old and too sad to compare to Chair. Minus 3.
• Why was Blair flying to France for the holidays on Thanksgiving day? There are still two more weeks before classes end. Minus 2.
• Okay, Zaleplon is a medication for insomniacs. But it doesn’t help you stay asleep, and certainly not for days, as apparently happened to Serena. Minus 5.
• Also, how did Juliet get access to Zaleplon, Nortriptyline, and Hydrocodone? You know, they’ve kind of made it hard for people to get those drugs for no reason lately. Minus 3. (But hat tip to Rush Limbaugh and Cindy McCain!)
• No way would a Wasp, even a brain dead one like Serena, call 911 when they could call a relative — or even better, discreet drug-dealer friend. Minus 2.
• After Serena’s supposedly crazy bender, her manicure is still perfect? (Heinous, but perfect?) Minus 2.
• We almost shouldn’t detract point for this because there was definitely a reason the writers did this, but: There’s obviously no St. Margaret’s Hospital on the Upper East Side, or even on the island of Manhattan. Minus 10. (But what a chic waiting room!)
• We feel a little cheated that we never really got to see this "old Serena" for whom it was normal to do drugs in cheap motels in Queens, and thus cannot really empathize with everyone's alarm every time something like this happens. Minus 1.
• Dan's initial reaction to Rufus's call telling him that Serena is in the hospital is entirely too blasé. "Is everything okay?" Really? No, dude, she's in the hospital. How about asking what's wrong? Minus 2.
• Meanwhile, Jenny gets the call from her dad to come to New York, grabs her purse, and leaves. Yeah, right. She’d have packed at least ten Elvira dresses for the one-day trip. Minus 2.
• Come to think of it, it’s weird that Serena wasn’t taking an anti-depressant. She must be the only entitled, troubled kid on the Upper East Side not to be on a regimen of Prozac and Adderall (just for kicks). Minus 2.
• No doctor would walk up to parents talking to a bunch of teenagers and ask, basically, “HAVE YOU MADE A DECISION ABOUT WHERE TO SEND YOUR DAUGHTER TO DRUG REHAB?” Minus 5.
• Serena fails to recognize someone else posing as her OWN SELF in a photograph. COME ON. Minus only 50, for the slim possibility that this is some kind of inside meta joke about how all blond teenagers on the CW are interchangeable.
• Wait, Eric and Lily didn’t visit Serena until she was moved across town into the Ostroff Center? Not even to say, “Hello”? Or, “Here, we brought you this overized cardigan and cocktail ring to wear instead of that ball gown”? Minus 4.
• Jenny the master schemer would have detected Juliet’s ridiculous ploy right away, especially if Dan did. Her weave has ears. Minus 2
• When she finally does discover the plot after going through Juliet's garbage, why does she take the mask to Blair instead of, say, her dad or Lily, to try and absolve herself with the family and, you know, get Serena out of rehab? Minus 3
• Who took pictures of Juliet in Serena’s costume and mask? On Juliet’s phone? And why didn’t they figure out what happened? Minus 3
• Serena on wanting to kiss Dan: “It’s the last thing I’m certain of. It’s the only thing I am.” That would be romantic and believable if Rachel McAdams said it in a movie co-starring Ryan Gosling. Less so coming from a woman boasting a blowout despite having just come from a hospital, and lying on a clinic bed flipping through InStyle. Minus 2
• Is the Ostroff Center also a hotel in Atlantic City? Seriously, what’s with the lobby? Minus 2.
• Jenny had time to dye her roots between Hudson and New York? No. Minus 4.
• Wait, Ben turns on Juliet for drugging Serena after plotting his revenge against her for years, forcing Juliet to give up everything, and himself beating the shit out of a random fellow prisoner? Minus 4, because also, since when was his hair so cute?
• "I just have one stop to make," before we go to visit my just-committed-to-a-drug-center firstborn, Lily chirps to Rufus after checking a text on her cell phone, "and I’ll meet you there." Rufus: "Okay." Guess they've cleared up the lingering trust issues from the secret baby Lily had/the fact that just a few months ago she was flying to Florida to be treated for cancer by her ex-husband/etc. Minus 10.
• There was a hot brunette in a stupidly short dress with no back in the same prison cafeteria as Nate, and he didn’t notice? No. Minus 2.
• Maybe we misread the check, but $5,000 to keep Juliet quiet? Even $5,000 a month is a piss-poor blackmail negotiation from a billionaire.

Total: 128. Despite some good lines from Rufus and interactions between Blair and Chuck that were blessedly brief and relatively untortured, this episode fell into the unrealistic side, heavily weighted by the fact that it is ridiculous, we will just say again, for Serena to NOT RECOGNIZE HER OWN DAMN SELF in a picture. Girl got into Columbia, for God's sake.

Photo: Giovanni Ruffino/The CW