“It's Thanksgiving again," said the omniscient Gossip Girl at the beginning of last night's episode, prompting us into a fuzzy, non-HD flashblack of all the Thanksgivings we've spent gathered around the table by the window in the van der Bass apartment. Like this one, the holidays of the past began with the same hope: that it would be "the best Thanksgiving ever," and like this one, things took an inevitable turn. There was the Thanksgiving when Blair barfed up her father's pie, the one where Lily commited Serena to rehab, and the one where Serena simpered over her terrible, scruffy-chinned boyfriend Aaron Rose. Thanksgiving on Gossip Girl is always a disaster, but on Gossip Girl, as in life, they keep trying, because what else can they do? So Serena shrugs and, as Blair expects, invites her horrible ex-boyfriend and his bratty teenage daughter to dinner. How bad can it be? Bad. Their presence causes immediate tension between her and Dan, but the real unwelcome guest isn't Sage and Steven, but the latest chapter of Dan's book, which posts on VanityFair.com in between courses.
Below, we parse the reality of that plot point and others in our famed reality index.
More Real Than Sniping at Thanksgiving
- We open with Serena, who when she was single subsisted on berries, eating what looks like a giant Cinnabon in bed with Dan, a prelude to the dreaded Relationship Weight-Gain. Plus 3
- Rufus, meanwhile, can fit back into one of the embroidered rockabilly shirt he stole from Reverend Horton Heat back in the nineties. Plus 2
- Plus 2 for Blair referring to Dan as alternately a "wool-haired whiner" and "a self-promoting hipster weasel."
- "Flying alone on the holidays is like Chatroulette," says Blair. Plus 2
- "After everything we have been through with Charles's vendetta, Bart decided we need a little R&R," says Lily. Plus 1. Destroying one's son can be so exhausting.
- When Lily can't find her vacation Missoni, Serena tells her to "try Eric's closet." Plus 1, and Plus another one for the acknowledgement of Jenny, who told Rufus Dan and Serena were back together over Skype. But — say it with me — WHERE IS SCOTT?
- Plus 10 for Blair having finally figured out that the best thing to do when Chuck goes "dark" is to ignore him. "Don't be a grumpy Gus," she says when Chuck is all, "We are never ever getting back together."
- Plus another one for "Did someone order a Thanksgiving spread?"
- The Humphreys have a world-famous stuffing recipe. Plus 1
- "It’s a raw turkey," Serena says, "it looks disgusting." Plus 1
- Plus 1 for the beat when everyone present acknowledges that Daphne's son is indeed a bed-wetter. Plus 1
- Rufus refers to "cold, calculating" Bart Bass as "a reptile." This is why he never actually makes it to the beach — under his suit he's covered in scales! Plus 2
- "You don't know anything about Serena, or do you still think her name is Sabrina," Dan reminds Steven. Burn. Plus 1
- "Aren’t you two supposed to be on a white sand beach where nobody pays capital gains tax?" Plus an extra 2 for the smirk with which Occupy supporter Penn Badgely delivers this line; he definitely Googled this term beforehand.
- "Lily could care less about an oil embargo or a fake death, but a real one?" says Blair, who understands the limits of Upper East Side women. Plus 1
- Georgina calls Dan "Dominic Dummy." Plus 2
- Steven is gluten free. Plus 5
- Bart's password is Park Avenue740. Plus 6
- "It's okay, I don't care if you watch," Sage says to Chuck when he eyes them making out. Plus 3. KIDS TODAY. Blame the Internet.
- "She's a keeper, Nate," responds Chuck. Plus 1
- Lily used Cece's jewelry loop to read Bart's microfilm. "She always said that was the best way to catch a husband in a lie. She was referring to low-grade diamonds, but still." Plus 5
- Rufus secretly eats pie after his healthy hormone-free Thanksgiving. Plus 3
Faker Than a New York Thanksgiving Where No One Wears a Coat Outside
- As Serena observes, the turkey is raw when she picks it, along with Sage and Steven, up from the market. How did they manage to sit down to dinner so soon after getting back? Turkeys need like six hours to cook, even when you are rich. Minus only 5, because maybe six hours did pass: Steven seemed really drunk when he confronted Dan, and that would explain the blank looks on everyone else's faces when they sat down, and the fact that no one actually ate anything.
- Georgina waltzes into the van der Woodsens apartment and sits down for Thanksgiving dinner. Minus only 2, because at least this is acknowledged by Serena ("Even Georgina who I didn't actually invite, welcome.") and Vanya is in Minsk.
- But wait why did Vanya take the kids to Minsk for the holidays? They don't celebrate Thanksgiving over there. Minus 3
- Vanya, though frequently referenced, has not actually been on the show since the beginning of the season. No points, just saying. Also, I kind of miss Vanessa and her tofu-sage stuffing. Is that bad?
- Really? Dan wants his Serena chapter to post in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner? Before pie? Minus 6
- Dan talks about his vendetta against the gang on the Upper East Side with the deluded air of a psychopath talking about a mass murderer: "Tonight, for the first time, they weren't looking down on me … " Uh, except for the part where Nate punched him and he hit the floor … Minus 8 for this total transformation — at least we should be able to see glimpses of Old Dan. What's he so bitter about, anyway? He dumped Serena. Multiple times.
- After Dan cruelly blows up Thanksgiving, sending Serena on the path to her next train overdose, Serena's stepfather Bart Bass is all, "I love your work," Minus 5. But, thought: Is Bart Bass actually Satan? The last shot of him, he was calling in a cruel favor while standing in front of leaping flames. And that would at least partly explain the Elizabeth Hurley relationship.
- "I was thinking of taking a few days at Mireval," says Lily, apparently she means NOW, because she doesn't change outfits or anything before air-kissing and jumping in the car. Minus 6 Sure, that's not going to make him suspicious at all.
- Rufus has a giant picture of Lily hanging on the wall in the loft, which he looks at forlornly while eating pie. Minus 2
Total Total: This episode fell on the slightly realistic side, thanks to Blair calling Chuck on his bullshit and the scales falling from Lily's eyes as she sees Bart Bass's … scales. Only two episodes left! Don't get on the plane, Chuck!!!!