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Gossip Girl Recap: Seriously, Dad, Gross

GOSSIP GIRL--"Portrait of a Lady Alexander" Pictured (L-R): Sofia Black-D'Elia as Sage, Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald and Barry Watson as Steven

"It's probably my fault you have a father complex," Lily says to Serena, after taking in the sight of Steven and his adult daughter. Yes and no. The mothers of Gossip Girl are flighty and self-absorbed, but it's the fathers who have left the deepest scars on our Upper East Siders. All the pie in the world can't make up for the fact that Blair's dad left her to be gay in France, Nate lives in the shadow of the tarnished legacy of the Captain, and Serena once spent an entire summer trying to get the attention of the father she never knew — only to regret it when he turned out to be William van der Woodsen, who lied about her mom having cancer, fathered a love child with her aunt, and screamed that she was "a rude, thoughtless little pig" on her voice mail. Oh wait, that last one was his brother. Anyway.

Over the years, things have degenerated to the point that a Ryan O'Neal or Woody Allen story line would fit right in: Even the once-unimpeachable Rufus Humphrey is now shacked up with a barely legal con artist. The granddaddy of all of these scoundrels, of course, is Bart Bass, who as of last night's episode can add buying oil from human-rights-violating, terrorist-harboring, U.S.-sanctioned Sudan to an already baroque list of crimes that includes faking his death, cockblocking his only son, and lying every second he breathes. Compared to all that, Serena's Scotch-swilling, Cat Daddy–ogling man friend Steven doesn’t seem so bad, though now that we know he's slept with her mother and raised a spoiled brat, he seems more like her father than ever.

God, we hope that's not a coming plot twist.

But now, onto the reality index!

More Real Than the Fact That Hurricane Sandy Has Had Seemingly No Effect on the Upper East Side

  • One of the first things Charlie unpacks from the boxes of Rufus's things is a waffle iron. Plus 1
  • "Your friend is poor, right?" says Sage. "He’s probably just jealous." Plus 1, especially because in this case, there's no denying it's totally true.
  • "You look hot in the picture," Sages follows up with. "Who cares what it says." Plus 3 because millennials.
  • "Dwight Garner tweeted that he's halfway through it and he doesn't hate it yet," Georgina tells Dan of his book. Plus 5 for the fact that the Times reviewer would actually totally do that.
  • "Are they talking about how the use of real names makes this my In Cold Blood?" Evil Dan demands. "Do they like the writing? Are they making any comparisons to literary figures?" "Perez Hilton," Georgina says. That's about right. Plus 10
  • "Who let you in?" Nate asks Bart Bass, in what may be the first time anyone on this show has ever asked this question. Plus 1
  • "His last girlfriend was a madam, before that he dated con artists — with an S, because yes, there was more than one." Plus 2
  • "Is that a lot of money?" Chuck asks. "For regular people, yes," says Blair. Plus 10
  • Now points, but was it us or did Chuck Edwick seem to be having trouble reconciling his accents during that horse conversation. Hungover? Or was it just saying "horse" over and over again? Try it: a horse is a horse of course of course.
  • Bart Bass's idea of father-son bonding was teaching Chuck how to diversify bonds. Plus 1
  • "The head writer bought two of my paintings at a show I had in L.A.," explains Brian Batt, who is not the swishy actor best known for Mad Men but the artist who says, "I'm not your guy," to Blair and Chuck as if they're total perverts when they come to ask about the portrait of Lady Alexander. "They wanted a New York artist and were trying to write me into the script," he told BlackBook. "They wanted me to play myself for authenticity. They explained what the scene was going to be; Chuck and Blair come to my studio to talk about a painting. They wanted me to read in front of the camera. That was the final test. I was super nervous, because I’d never done that sort of thing. They just wanted me to be myself. It was amazing. The experience was great. They made me feel really comfortable and were really enthusiastic about the work. It was so surreal." Plus 5
  • Eric is at Sarah Lawrence! Of course. Plus 2
  • "Maybe she was just swatting away mosquitoes, or airing out her pits." Plus 1
  • Serena glosses over her sexual history, finishing at "And then there was Ben, who contrary to some forged documents, I did not sleep with when I was 15, not until he got out of prison." Plus 2
  • "Happy wife, happy life." Old dudes really do say that, especially dudes with fake tans and shady finances. Plus 5
  • Hahahaha, Steven didn't actually remember having had sex with Lily. Plus 2
  • Bart Bass considers liking animals a "weakness" and killed a tiger on safari. Plus 2 for the image of Bart on the savannah in his trademark crisp suit and a safari helmet.
  • "It's probably my fault you have a father complex," Lilly tells Serena. PROBABLY. Plus 5
  • Blair calls the Sheik's daughter "Princess Jasmine." Plus 1

Total 59

Faker Than the Headline "Rich Indicted for Illegal Oil."

  • "Being a writer in 2012 isn't about the words you write, it’s about the image you project," Georgina tells Dan. If she's so concerned, why is she letting him wear that horrible pink T-shirt? Minus 2
  • "Like they say, if you can’t take the heat, move to Hell’s Kitchen." No one says that, it doesn't make any sense. Minus 5
  • If Nate has been following Steven's career "forever," how come he didn't recognize him at the beginning of the season, just a couple of episodes ago, when they crashed the party at his house to get Serena? Minus only 1, because it is Nate we're talking about.
  • Blair: "I didn't realize your father was such a horse enthusiast."
    Chuck: "He's not."
    But what about the Arabians he used to own? Minus 6
  • THAT was Serena's reaction to finding out her boyfriend banged her mom? How did she not automatically barf all over everyone's inappropriate daywear? Minus 10
  • It's nice that Lily is so attached to Chuck and all, but why him and not, say, Dan? Or Jenny? Or any of the other stepchildren from her previous marriages? No points, just saying.
  • Wait: Are we really to believe that Serena carries a laptop or some other digital file containing the sex tape of her and Dan at the Campbell Apartment around with her? And that she brought it to the very meeting she was having with Dan begging him not to release it? And that at said meeting, she handed over a bag containing said files to Georgina, while fully aware of Georgina's history, including her recent hacking of Gossip Girl, and never even thought twice about it? Minus only 5, because, it is Serena we're talking about.
  • Still not understanding the Charlie Rufus plan at all, but it's possible I was bored and/or blinded by all of the very large jewelry she chose to wear around the house while unpacking boxes and missed an entire important plot point, so Minus only 1.
  • NO, NATE, DON'T DO IT. YOU ARE TOO PRETTY FOR PRISON! Minus 2

Total: 32

Owing to an excellent dialogue technicality, this show came out on the realistic side despite, well, everything. As usual, please add your points in the comments, especially if you know who that girl was at the horse show who said hi to Lilly — not Princess Anne, but the one the cameras lingered on long enough for us to suspect it was a Real Person, because I have no idea. Until next week! 

Photo: Giovanni Rufino/CW