“You won’t get where you want to be unless you bend the rules a little,” Ivy informed Nate on last night’s episode of Gossip Girl, after the pair cracked open the Van Der Woodsen family Box of Secrets, so she can keep her
job false identity and Nate can keep entertaining the notion that he’s not the sex slave of a second-rate tabloid editor but kind of like John F. Kennedy Jr. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Upper East Side, Serena sold out Dan, the “love of her life,” in order to fulfill her career-woman fantasies, which is sort of fair enough, because Dan sold out everybody else already; and Beatrice connived to steal the throne out from under her brother, which is also sort of fair, because Louis has the charisma of a piece of lox and couldn’t lead a child’s softball team with the necessary aggression.
Manipulation and deception are constants when it comes to Gossip Girl, as is our weekly Reality Index. (Sorry for the delay, we had some technical difficulties.)
More Real Than Someone Using Deadline Hollywood to Float a Rumor
• “Is a northern spotted owl still a predator?” This line is ridiculous, but still, plus 10 for the return of Wallace Shawn.
• Serena’s boss’s transformation from Mentor into Raging Bitch is awesome. She blames Serena for losing Daniel Day-Lewis, conveniently forgetting that Serena set up the meeting with DDL in the first place; instructs her to manipulate her friend for business purposes; throws threats and withering insults at her at every turn (“This isn’t high school. This is my business”); and, in our personal favorite, calls Dan “Dan F. Scott Fitzjackass” behind his back and then turns right around and gushes to him what a “HUGE fan” she is. Plus 15
• “The last thing this family needs is another bastard,” Sophie says. Ha, this is true. Plus 3
• “You’re still in college!” Finally, Eleanor says what everyone has been thinking. Plus 9
• Rufus is hanging up on Dan, moping around at home, going on comfort-food binges. Plus 2
• When Dan complains to Chuck about being shunned by his friends, Chuck, standing in the dog park in a suit complete with a pocket square, replies with an Oscar Wilde–esque riposte. “At least this time it’s because they hate you and not because they don’t know you exist.” Plus 2 Why didn’t Dan make him gay in the book, again?
• Dan wants “to look respectful, but like this isn’t a big deal,” for his NY1 interview, which is apparently why he wore a button-down but is still rocking the hairdo of Screech from Saved by the Bell. Plus 4
• “I’ve already sent a copy of the sonogram along with an application to Constance St. Jude’s.” Plus 9, because Manhattan private school admissions jokes never get old.
• In trying to seduce the lady therapist, Chuck goes, of course, to Nate. “You speak old lady, what’s my play?” he asks.
“Doesn’t work like that,” replies the Master of the Milf. “Same rules apply regardless of age. You just have to show that you’re what matters to the woman more than you’re interested in the woman’s ... ”
“Exactly.” Anyway, Nate can’t talk anymore, he’s exhausted from paying attention to Elizabeth Hurley’s matters. Playing John John, it turns out, involves a lot more than slicking back your Man Bangs. Plus 8
• Deadline Hollywood thanks Gossip Girl for telling the world that they love being used by assistants as a tool to spread unsubstantiated rumors. Plus 10, that is a real thing that happened in life.
• “Asth the futhure reigning princth, ith upth to my child to acknowledgth you!” Even though he delivered the line in his poncey lisp, it’s still nice to see the Princth finally getting some backbone. Plus 7
• Lily’s true motive in getting Rufus to forgive Dan appears to be to get to go to fancy parties again. Plus 4, because what else is she going to do with all of those brightly colored ball gowns she bought on Net-a-Porter? Plus 1
• Eleanor’s speech to Blair was the warmest, most heartfelt moment this show's had since the marriage of Dorota. But what earns it a Plus 15 was Lily’s immediate snarking: “Bet you never thought you’d hear such good parenting advice from Eleanor Waldorf.”
• Apparently everyone in New York has the same therapist. Plus 2, because we always suspected that was the case. Maybe that’s why everyone has the same problems.
• “I do have one condition: I want to write the screenplay,” Dan tells Serena. Hahahaha yeah that’s not going to happen. But Plus 4 for Dan thinking it’s a possibility.
• And additional plus 2 for Serena thinking she’s going to get to go to long development meetings.
• Serena's admitting that she’s jealous of Blair combined with her announcement to Dan that he’s “the love of her life” had us thinking. Is it possible that some kind of Gossip Girl pregnancy pact is on the horizon? Because really, if this show is going to go out in this godforsaken direction, it may as well go big. No points, just thinking aloud.
• Dan calls Serena later to reality-check her confession of love: “How can either of us know who the loves of our lives are until we’re, like, old?” he asks. Plus 10, for doing our work for us.
Faker Than Hardly Anyone Eating at a Yom Kippur Break Fast
• “You had breakfast with someone’s assistant,” Dan’s agent snaps at him. “I have Harvey Weinstein on the other line.” Really? Did she put him on hold so that she could remind Dan about his New York 1 interview? Minus 2
• Liz Hurley’s cartoon cougar’s insatiability has turned from Nate to news. “Give me something, anything,” she growls. Minus only 2, because from the look of things, that may be how some British lady website editors assign things.
• All the employees in the New York Spectator office know Diana and Nate stole the phones, but they don’t, apparently, know their job is to generate “a constant stream of content, 24 hours a day,” until Liz Hurley informs them after the site launches. Minus 3
• Louis cruises up to his sister at a party while she is talking to a stranger and starts railing at her about a legal contract his mother made regarding a child no one knows Blair is having yet. Minus 9
• If Liz Hurley’s tabloid editor is surprised to hear Blair is preggers, she doesn’t show it. Minus only 2 because, Botox.
• Dan’s agent continues to exhibit whatever awesome strain of Tourette’s she has that causes her to psychologically torment whomever she’s talking to. “This is key, because it’s your first appearance,” she tells him, as he’s expressing his nervousness on his way in to the interview. “If this goes well, Charlie Rose could be next.” Then she tells him Serena will be fine with the fact that he said he’d give her the movie rights and then says the opposite on television: “If she’s really your friend, she’ll be happy for you.” Riiiight. Minus 4
• How is Blair surprised that Sophie has strong opinions about the life of her grandchild, the heir to the throne? In the past, she’s forbid Louis from seeing Blair and tried to force her into her moldering old wedding dress. It’s a wonder she didn’t bring her own lox to breakfast. Minus 2
• Rufus gets all irritable about Eleanor introducing Lily as “Lily Bass,” after her dead husband who funds his lifestyle, yet it doesn’t seem to bother him that everyone refers to his family as “the Van der Woodsens,” after the man who stole his Lily from him back in the nineties, then not long ago attempted to usurp him again by, among other things, conducting an elaborate con to convince Lily she had cancer. Minus 6
• Beatrice was in charge of pulling together the legal documents for Blair and Louis? Minus 2
• Also, I’m sorry, but there is no way even Sophie would agree to those absurd conditions. A woman needs more than two days to get through Barneys, for God’s sake. Minus 2
• Being three months pregnant is no excuse to show up at a party with bedhead.
• Instead of just scanning the files, Ivy gives Diana the originals, in their leather folders. Minus 5
• Wait, maybe we’re suffering from a memory lapse here, but wasn’t Bart the one who had the family investigated? If so, why does he have a file? Did he also have himself investigated? And if there was a picture of Elizabeth Hurley in it, why didn’t Lily wonder who it was, or recognize her at any of the multiple parties they’ve been to together? And most important: Why wasn’t the picture this one? Minus 10
Despite the ridiculous baby contract plotline, this episode managed to come out on the real side. We'll see about next week, when Serena's boss forgets she ever optioned that movie and Louis figures out the "bun in the oven" probably isn't even his.
Interested in compiling our recap of the recap? E-mail alice.urmey[at]nymag.com, subject line: Sound the Trumpet, Strumpets.