‘Gossip Girl’ Makes Us Color-blind

So luckily last night’s episode of Gossip Girl was delicious enough for us to get over the drama of yesterday’s attack. It was the much-anticipated Masquerade Party, which somehow Blair seemed to be in charge of again — apparently that black girl and that Asian girl really can’t do anything. Blair’s mom, Eleanor, also had a party, which seemed way less fun (“Look, appetizers! Is that couscous?”), and this episode, the parents really got into the fun. Not only did Dan and Serena’s mysteriously boyish-looking (yeah, both of them, we said it) dad and mom plunge further into the delicate depths of mid-adulthood flirtation, but Nate’s dad does blow! A lot of it. Parents, they’re just like “Us”!

Join us as we explore the line between the real (Dan is creeped out by the Ice Capades — as are all right-thinking people), the unreal (eye masks don’t conceal who anybody is. Since when are chins so unrecognizable?), and everything in between (is Vanessa supposed to be black or white? We just don’t know!). After the jump, our highly calibrated point system of… um… points.

As True As Dan and Serena’s Like for Each Other
• Okay, so let’s get into this new Vanessa girl, the one who threatened the burning fire of Dan and Serena’s vague mutual interest. Is she, in fact, black? Let’s look at the clues: She wears big gold hoop earrings and is kooky and “independent.” That sounds like the show’s creators are trying to tell us she’s dealt with her minority status by becoming an individual in a sea of preppy clones. She reads the Observer! She wants her copy of The Crying of Lot 49 back! Plus 6, because as clichéd as that sounds, it also is just like a lot of girls we knew in high school. And minus only 1, because apparently the writers forgot that on this show, BLACK GIRLS DON’T SPEAK.
• Thinking she’s been spurned by Dan, the day of the masquerade, Serena finds another date. His IM handle is “Rich Boy IV,” and he goes to Dalton. We love that the existence of other real city prep schools is introduced in this episode, such as when Chuck thinks that Jenny is “some hot bitch from Chapin.” We assumed that Rich Boy was going to be some dreamy rival for Dan, but we were pleasantly surprised. Plus 5 because when we see Rich Boy at the dance, the facts that he is (a) not as hot as his IM photo and (b) the gayest gay in gaytown are immediately, gloriously apparent.
• Darla’s boyfriend shows up at the grown-up party with a young blonde. HOLY CRAP IT’S CARIDEE FROM AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. Plus 2, because you just can imagine one of those whores stealing your boyfriend.
• Nate’s mother arranges his marriage to Blair by dangling her grandmother’s ring “the one that Cornelius Vanderbilt gave her,” in front of Eleanor. Plus 1, because sometimes our moms are shallow bitches, too.
• Nate finds a ginormous-size bag of cocaine in a book in dad’s study. “Maybe it’s old!” Serena says, “left over from the nineties, the Limelight, Tunnel … our parents did way worse stuff than we do.” Okay one: We are extremely, hideously ancient. Two: Serena’s right – prescription drugs are the new cocaine. Only someone over 20 would think to actually pay a dealer for some disco dust. Plus 2, because Chuck calls it “yeyo” and that’s exactly what he would think was cool. And plus an additional 1 for a giant fucking bag like that being found twice in one episode, because really, where on earth could you hide something that big?
• When Nate’s mom (that’s his mom, right? Not a trophy wife? Everyone on this show looks like they are aged five years apart – including some classmates) finds the coke, as usual, Nate’s eyes dart stupidly from side to side. He has no idea what show (or drug, for that matter) he’s even supposed to be on. Meanwhile, Nate’s dad (his name is “The Captain.” Hooray!) says nothing. Cool! Maybe he never will, and they’ll send Nate to boarding school, or Promises, Riker’s Island, anything to stop him from boring us with his stupid boring plotlines and stupid pretty face. Plus 3 for the possibility of that scenario.
• One thing the show always gets right is awkward teen conversation. Like when Dan and Serena try to ask each other to the masked ball and neither is really paying attention to the other. Or when Serena asks Rich Boy IV over IM, “How u doin.” It’s painful, but it’s so, so true. So many a true love began with a simple, “How u doin”! Plus 2

Total: 21 reality points

As Fake As Eleanor Waldorf’s Veneers
• A word about Dan. We’ve said this before, and we’re going to elaborate now: No teenage boys are like Dan. Teenage boys are not quick-witted enough to make the right joke at the right time. They are not sensitive or unself-conscious enough to sit in the hallway with your bitch best friend and console her when she’s having a hard time. They do not have values, or make “bold gestures.” Nor are their jaws chiseled, their clothes artfully, sexily ruffled, their brown eyes deep and searching as they lock onto yours and tell you, “Just for the record, I like you.” The generation of tweens watching Gossip Girl, take note: Dan is your Jake Ryan, and believing that guys like this exist can ruin your life. Minus 7
• When Dan blows off Vanessa, she says he can make up for it by buying her “pierogies at Veselka.” True, pierogies will right most wrongs, but they live in Williamsburg, so why deal with a weekend L when they can just go to Kasia’s? Yet Vanessa somehow mysteriously manages to make it all the way into the East Village and then to Billyburg to get to Dan’s house (which we all know is in Dumbo) before he gets home. Don’t tell us bitch took a cab. She wears scarves in warm weather! She is not a girl who ponies up for the yellow chariot. Minus 2
• Jenny gets revenge on Chuck for trying to date-rape her by locking him on the roof in his underwear. Minus 10 because even though chicks always do this in movies, no one ever does this in real life. What is this, Ally McBeal?
• On a related note: Chuck wears undershirts and boxers? No, no, no. Chuck wears 2xist underwear (even though he’s not skinny enough to pull them off) and if anything, he wears a wife-beater. Come on, the joke practically writes itself! Minus 3
• Serena’s mom tells Serena, “You know at your age, you should be playing the field.” Okay, we know Mrs. van der Woodsen is wacked, but urging her daughter to be a ho? Doesn’t she know Serena went through that phase when she was 15? Being 16 is all about long-term relationships! Minus 3
• Did anyone else notice the photos from Truman Capote’s “Black and White Ball” that were shown at the beginning of the episode? Including Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow? We can’t tell if that was hilariously satiric on the part of the show’s writers, or oddly earnest. Minus 2, for confusing us.

Total: 25 unreality points.

Which leaves us four points on the fake side, which is a little wrong, because compared to the great rehab escape of 2007, this episode was basically a documentary. We may have to rejigger our point system. In the meantime, let us know what you think at intel@nymag.com. We can’t wait for next week — isn’t it about time for the inexplicable first celebrity guest star to arrive? We’re hoping for Ricki Lake!

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‘Gossip Girl’ Makes Us Color-blind