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Gossip Girl Recap: This Will Rock the Upper East Side

GOSSIP GIRL-- "High Infidelity"-- image GO602A_0582 Pictured (L-R): Barry Watson as Steven, Blake Lively as Serena Van Der Woodsen and Sofia Black-D’Elia as Sage

Hey, you guys. It’s me, Jessica, breaking the fourth wall. As you probably know if you watched the Show of Our Time, former Daily Intel blogger Chris Rovzar and I appeared on it as “ourselves” last night. (Also, Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation, but whatever.) Rovzar plays a totally traitorous person who edits VanityFair.com, while I play myself, a writer at New York Magazine who occasionally escapes from my cubicle and puts on the sort of expensive, kookily colored, fashion-y clothes that I think “editors” must wear (You never actually see real editors; they only exist in e-mail), sneaks into conference rooms, meets with people, and pretends to have actual power over what goes in the magazine. It was sort of surprising to me that Gossip Girl knew that I did this; I thought it was just between me and the woman who empties the trash cans late at night. But I guess this proves it: Gossip Girl really does know everything that goes on. Or maybe our cleaning lady has connections to Dorota ...

Naturally, Chris and I gathered a lot of intelligence during this field visit to “the Upper East Side,” and below, his observations and mine are bulleted. But before we get to that, there’s one important thing I should tell you. It’s something I can’t include in the Reality Index, as its weight would strain the sensitive instrument we use to calibrate it and possibly even cause it irreparable damage. You know how characters on Gossip Girl can get from the Upper East Side to a Brooklyn apartment really, really quickly? That’s because they are all actually there right next to each other.

I know! It blew my mind, too; I kept going, “Excuse me,” and then walked from the Empire to the Humphreys loft and back, just to make sure. I think they must have those magic doors they had in The Adjustment Bureau.

Oh, also. Probably you want to know about Penn Bagdley and Michelle Trachtenberg, or as we prefer to call them, Dan and Georgina. They were both really, really nice and very patient with Chris and I shouting in their faces and giving our lines our Joaquin Phoenix–all while they were just being, like, normal. Dan liked the Occupy Wall Street poster. Georgina liked my shoes, which were not my shoes but really fancy shoes picked out for me by costumer designer Eric Daman. They also backed me up when I said, “Um, I’m sorry, I don’t really understand what this tennis camp joke means? What is the insinuation I am making about Chuck Bass and the owner of our magazine? What is my motivation? And Penn was like, ‘Yeah, that makes no sense.’ And a writer was called over and called someone in LA who explained the joke and still no one got it and the director had me say it anyway a few different ways because “it will probably just get cut,” And it wasn’t. Anyway, afterward, both Chris and I made the same two observations: Babies would be jealous of Michelle Trachtenberg’s skin. It is that amazing. And wow, Penn Badgley can make some serious eye contact.

More Real Than the Taylor Lautner Mug on Chris Rovzar’s Desk

  • Chuck Bass: “I don’t know if I mentioned this, but Amira speaks seven languages, including body.” Bart Bass: “Numerous times. Microexpressions, vocal shifts, we get it, she’s the Mentalist, eat a crepe.” Plus 5 Not since the early days of Chair have we seen someone get so under Chuck Bass’s skin. Now we see how the relationship between him and Bart Bass is keeping Chuck away from Queen B.
  • Nelly Yuki, like many a high-school nerd before her, has become a journalist in order to speak truth to power, by which she means the girls who were mean to her in high school. Plus 1
  • Nelly Yuki, the high-school nerd who covers the popular girl world of fashion, insists she is not biased. Plus 2
  • Nelly Yuki, college-age fashion reporter, blithely condescends to Dan Humphrey, college-age novelist about to turn down an offer from Vanity Fair, about his career and life choices. Plus 3. We only wish there were a flash-forward to three years from now, when Nelly Yuki, brokenly trying to think of a new way to say “Society goes Sartorial,” suddenly breaks into a cold sweat remembering what a jerk she was at 20.
  • The Minions are still wearing headbands! Plus 1 “I still have nightmares about Nairtinis and yogurt bombs!” Nelly Yuki tells Blair. “Sometimes I wake up screaming, 'Tights are not pants!'” Aw, lately it feels like this show is written just for us hard-core fans. Oh, wait, it really is.
  • Nate blasts Serena for never “confronting the guys she dates with the truth,” while sitting on a bench across the street from a girl he just dumped via voice mail. Plus 4
  • Nate watches the Millionaire Matchmaker and follows her advice as best he can. Plus 1
  • “Why is the handsome, vacant one calling me?” Georgina asks when Nate shows up on her phone. Plus 1
  • Plus 3 for Nate quickly getting off the phone with the girl he never wants to see again but not before giving her the exact coordinates of where he is going to be for the next six to eight hours.
  • Plus 10 for how Nate keeps saying various iterations of “I’m not doing this again!” while doing the exact thing he always does and, in fact, did do last week, which is being absolutely convinced things are one way and acting as such without bothering to find out if he is right, then being surprised when he finds out he is absolutely wrong. We hope that Nate learns from the Sage situation and that the next time he sees a girl he banged out with an old guy, he goes up to them and says, “This must be your father!”
  • Plus 10 for Serena doing the exact same thing in this episode, even though just last week she was the person everyone was convinced was doing something she wasn’t.
  • Yes, I do wear Alberta Ferretti dresses to work. Plus 2. Because its my reality index, which means it’s true if I say it is.
  • Lily tells Serena that pretending you don’t know your boyfriend is cheating on you until after the gala is the difference between being a grown-up and being in high school. Plus 5
  • At the Central Park Conservatory gala, Serena greets Shakespeare in the Park director Daniel Sullivan, who we recognized mostly because of the shell-shocked “I’m a Real Person! Acting!” face he was making. We know that face! Plus 1
  • Georgina gives Dan some writerly advice. “Did not having a formal invite ever stop Norman Mailer from showing up?” Plus 1
  • Dan thinks he is like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Plus 2
  • “That slut happens to be my 17-year-old daughter!” Plus 5
  • “I broke up with you because I thought you were sleeping with your father, before I knew he was your father,” Nate says. Plus 3. Oh, Nate!
  • “You didn’t tell me you had a daughter old enough to borrow my clothes!” says Serena.
  • “It took you all summer to tell me your name!” says Steven. Oh, Serena! Plus 3
  • “No one in high school reads Gossip Girl anymore,” Sage tells Serena. “It's for old people.” Plus 10

Chris: First of all, hello to all you kooky Gossip Girl fans. I’ve missed you, but I can’t say Mondays haven’t been a little easier without all that pausing, typing, rewinding, and imbibing of Chardonnay. (Just the Chardonnay alone is fine, thanks.)

  • So, how real did I think was my own appearance on the show? Pretty real. They had me wear my own clothes, which was a little disappointing because I thought for sure I’d get lent a giant chunky Alexis Bittar necklace. Or at least a Louboutin pump to wear under my desk. Plus 3.
  • The woman who built my “office” for them, Christina Tonkin, was super-meticulous. She had me take pictures of my real office and send them to her. As a result, my fake office included the following actual items I really have: a bank teller’s lamp, a stack of New York Observers, Skinnydipping: A Novel by Bethenny Frankel, a “Team Jacob” water bottle, vintage prints on the wall, and a row of old Post-It notes that our editorial assistant drops off for me when people leave phone messages. (I keep the bad ones on my wall so I know what numbers to avoid picking up in the future.) I was really impressed by all that, and having Skinnydipping there gave me, Penn, and Michelle something to read and talk about during the awkward twenty minutes we spent sitting very, very close to one another. Plus 10.
  • I don’t have a giant plant in my office because the bizarre temperature levels in the Condé Nast Building at night kill all living entities, but I think they needed to put that there for the camera angles. As for my lines, I probably wouldn’t have compared a 21-year-old writer to Dominic Dunne, but we do fact-check all online exclusive content (a lot of magazine websites don’t). So, I’d give that a plus 1. All in all, it was pretty accurate — and, for what it’s worth, really fun to do. Thank you Gossip Girl!

Total: 87

Faker Than The Nation Considering Dan Humphrey’s Story About the Social Lives of Teenagers

  • Serena is literally standing on the other side of a car from Steve when she calls him — can he not hear the echo of her voice? Minus only 1, because it’s possible he has AT&T and therefore was mistaking her real voice, which was coming from behind the car, for her phone voice, which he couldn’t actually hear at all.
  • Chuck’s campaign to destroy his father would probably go a lot better if he didn’t corner him and say, “I will destroy you,” every time they were in the half-moonlight or inform him of every step he’s taking to do it. Come on, is this Scheming 101? Has Blair Waldorf taught him nothing? Is he that emasculated by the old man? Either way, watching the struggle is like watching a YouTube video of a chihuahua trying to mount a Saint Bernard over and over. It’s funny and kind of cute the first time, but watch it again and you just feel gross. Minus 10
  • Where are Milo and Georgina’s milquetoasty husband? Minus 1
  • It’s kind of unlike Rufus to (a) let Dan be mad at him and not come home and (b) not have realized the error of his ways, freaked out, and put Ivy on a bus straight back to the strip club in Tampa she belongs in. But Minus only 2, because maybe having a young female admirer around can make an older man make some loony decisions. Amirite, Steve?
  • Also, yeah, what about that? Sage is right — her dad is like, 40, and it is gross and creepy for him to be dating someone who was probably a senior when she was a freshman. What is this, Los Angeles? How about pulling it together for one more season, writers, then you can go for that job on Californication. Minus 5
  • Remember when Nate was a Columbia journalism student? Hahaha, neither do we. Minus 1
  • “I got an A on my paper about The Spectator,” Sage says to Nate, indicating to him that she knew about him and Diana Payne while simultaneously reminding us of the abysmal state of higher education in America. Minus 2
  • After all that, we never get to see Blair and Poppy’s FASHIONS? Minus 3
  • Restaurant magnate Graydon Carter would never go to Cipriani’s! Minus 2
  • The Nation isn’t “literate but a little licentious!” That’s us! And Graydon Carter might be good for a meal, but come on — Chris was serious when he said its a process. New York has a multiplatform strategy better than the Spectator, and god knows we’re better than self-publishing. Let us run the serial! I have ideas for how to expand my role! No points, just saying.

Total: 27

Next week: Will Dan go full evil? Will Nate enable him or put his surprisingly impressive intellect to use and steer him away from destroying his life? What will Sage and her father do when they discover Nate and Serena used to share a bed in addition to half a brain? Double dates should be fun!

Photo: PAT HARBRON/CW