Even by Upper East Side standards, the characters that populate the world of Gossip Girl are privileged. Many of the things that preoccupy huge swaths of the minds and time of even New Yorkers of serious means come to them effortlessly. Their hair is always perfectly groomed — even Vanessa’s. They have the ability to stay fit and thin without ever going to the gym. They can flit seamlessly through time and space, from borough to borough, in the blink of an eye. They can be accepted into Ivy League colleges without having to write an essay or even fool around with someone’s dad (we think?) and they never, ever step into bad lighting. But as fortunate as they are, life still occasionally hands them a big bag of shit. In Dan’s case this happened quite literally, we saw in last night’s premiere, in the form of Milo, his supposed baby son with Georgina Sparks.
By the time we catch up with him, Dan seems to have come quite a way toward accepting this change of course in the life he’d planned for himself — other than telling his parents, of course. But, “I’ve sealed my fate,” he says to Lily when he does, and he doesn’t sound too sad about it — perhaps because he can put off the dispiriting reality of being a professional writer a bit longer. Elsewhere, other cast members were grappling with their sudden story-line changes: Serial monogamist Nate, having dated pretty much every other primary female cast member, loses himself in Chuck’s Little Black Book. Serial philanderer Chuck, after being shot and left for dead in Prague, adopts a new personality, complete with Eastern European time-warp wardrobe. And Blair and Serena come close to realizing that their true loves may be each other.
And now, on to our Reality Index!
Realer Than Dating Tiger Woods for a Year and Only Getting a Chicken Wrap:
• In the opening montage, narrated by Gossip Girl, we thought to ourselves: Isn’t the Café de Flore a hangout for intellectuals? As if Serena would hang out there. And then we remembered when we went to Café de Flore when we were 9, because it is now a tourist trap for trashy Americans. Plus 2.
• Serena: “I just have a thing for French waiters.”
Blair: “ … and bartenders and museum docents, anyone on a Vespa or bicycle, or wearing Zadig and Voltaire.” Plus 3 (Even Lily knows about the boys on Vespas!)
• Of course Blair reads Colette in the park. But plus only 1 because no way would she eat so many macarons.
• The minute Rufus and Lily get home from a trip they open a bottle of wine. (Correction, the bottle is already opened for them. Even better.) Plus 3.
• Dan: “Last time we spoke you’d made it through all the Ts” in Chuck’s little black book.
Nate: “Let’s just say V is for Vivid and leave it at that.” Gross! Porn stars? Eh. Plus 2.
• Blair: “As much as I’m going to miss you while you’re in Providence, having separate lives ensures no competition, which means no high-school pettiness!” We find this whole plotline, while inconsistent at times, and crazily acted out, to be generally real. Plus 3.
• Serena: “I wouldn’t worry about Chuck, any normal summer he’s drunk on some island where polygamy is legal. Given everything that happened it makes sense he’s gone rogue.” Serena! You must have heard that line from Blair (’s writers). Plus 2.
• Speaking of: “I want to hear all about how Brown offers a major in raw foods.” Ha, Brown jokes. They never get old. Plus 1.
• Dan: “I’m so sorry about [not calling], but there is a reason.”
Vanessa: “Is it because you’ve become a hoarder?” Plus 2, because you can tell from her face she thinks this is an actual possibility.
• “Then what other possible reason could there possibly be in the God I don’t believe in’s universe for Georgina Sparks to be leaving lingerie around your house?” Good one, V! Worth the trouble you had getting it out of your mouth. Plus 3.
• Nate is sleeping with someone that slept with Tiger Woods for a year? Is he nuts? Or, wait, never mind, he probably already has herpes. Plus 1. Meanwhile, Kate Cassidy is right. You don’t take girls like that to Norma’s. Plus 1.
• It’s so Blair to stand five inches away from Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, the second-most famous Manet in the entire Musée d’Orsay, which is obviously her favorite. She’s so vigorous about her clichédom. Plus 4.
• Dan: “You’d be shocked at what I know about breast milk, baby poop, and episiotomies.”
Vanessa: “Wow, do not mention her, Georgina.” Plus 1. It’s like how if you pronounce Orangina “Orangina” it makes everyone uncomfortable!
• No points, but we’re not sure how we feel about seeing Kristin Bell actually speaking in Gossip Girls voice during the commercials.
• Eleanor, after pinning a “Lily Bass” name tag on Lily: “I was afraid nobody would know who she was. Not a lot of Humphreys on the society pages.” Glad to see somebody’s carrying the torch on that story line. Plus 1.
Rufus: “You think I’d skip out on a room full of Champagne and models? Are you forgetting I used to be a rock star?” Oh. Glad to see somebody’s still carrying that torch. Even if it’s just Rufus. Plus 1.
• Wow, Blair’s dress really does match the restaurant, the Cristal Room Baccarat. Plus 2.
• It’s awesome that Eleanor passive-aggressively knew it would make her daughter explode to find out that Serena was going to Columbia. You could just see it in her eyes. Plus 3.
• Hi, Corinna Drengk! You belong here. Plus 2.
• Hi, Karlie Kloss! You, too. Plus 2.
• Hi, Lou Doillon! You belong at Baccarat in Paris with a prince and Serena van der Woodsen. Plus 2.
• Hi, Meredith Melling Burke! You belong here, too! Plus 2. (Though this last one was pushing it. As if any of the planning for Fashion’s Night Out took place anywhere but in the darkly pulsating center of the twelfth floor of the Condé Nast building. )
• Um, hi, Willy Wong from NYC and Company. What deal with the devil did you cut to be on this show? Plus 1.
• Eleanor’s face when she says, “What’s going on, why does Georgina Sparks have a baby?” is priceless. Plus 3.
• Georgina would have gotten points for this line: “I know you think I’m crazy — that I’m a schemer and a liar and pathologically selfish, and that’s true!” if she hadn’t followed it up with, “Or it was until Milo was born.” Please, Lily used to be a manipulative money whore, too. She knows all the moves. Wash.
• Okay, before anyone hyperventilates, obviously Kate Cassidy/Juliet is not Gossip Girl. But she is someone who is blatantly stalking Nate, and their whole crew, either for a newspaper story (what, other journalists don’t create mad stalker maps and reattach tags to their clothes?) or to murder someone, or to marry into money. Presumably she’d know that whoever she married would figure out eventually that she’s not rich, and all that subterfuge really isn’t that necessary for a newspaper article. So, murder it is! Plus 10. (And great product placement for Rent the Runway!)
• Blair’s eruption at dinner over the sociocultural implications of menswear was truly a sight to behold. It was like she had an attack of Class Tourette’s. Plus 1, for Leighton Meester’s acting skills. It’s hard to make a scenario that ridiculous so genuinely uncomfortable.
• Serena plans on spending the six-hour flight back to New York reading one magazine. Plus 5.
• We have to admit, we were touched by Blair’s description of her broken heart. That is exactly how it feels, the full-body ache compounded by the creeping feeling of fear that the sadness has been going on for an abnormally long amount of time, and will possibly last forever? Kind of like — but so much worse than — when you get the hiccups for a really long time and start panicking about how you’re going to have that condition where you have them for years? We actually teared up a little, but then got embarrassed for ourselves, so plus only 5.
Faker Than Serena Taking Up Drawing, Even When There Are Naked Swarthy Frenchmen Involved:
• Wait, are we to believe that if you call the women in Chuck’s little black book they just show up? So Nate has been sleeping with hookers all summer? That actually doesn’t sound that awesome. Or like Nate … minus 2.
• However, it is like Nate to try to pick up a woman he just met by casually telling her the woman he’s with is a hooker. When you’re that good-looking, nothing deters the ladies, not even the possibility of gonorrhea.Plus 2.
• Okay, so they explained why Chuck hadn’t paid the mortgage on the Empire Hotel. But surely some functionary at Bass Industries would cover something little like that? As a matter of course? At least, doesn’t it just come out of direct deposit?Minus 2.
• Serena got into Columbia?? Nooo! No. No. No. No. No. Minus 15.
• Gossip Girl’s joke, “The only beau B has was on her headband” doesn’t really work when you write it out, like on a blog. See? Minus 1.
• Kate Cassidy/Juliet is reading the House of Mirth? That’s just too much foreshadowing. Obviously we now know that she’s living on the knife’s edge of society and poverty, and things will end tragically for her. Minus 5. We can only hope she ends up as a seamstress.
• Nate: “Well, I tried respectable.”
Juliet: “You were hurt.” Who says that to strangers??? (Not too many points off, though, because Nate is looking pretty cute.) Minus only 1.
• Blair would know by now not to include Serena on one of her first dates. Minus 10, because isn’t that half the plotline for the show?
• Okay, let’s talk about this whole baby plotline. First of all, there are a lot of things to like about this episode of Gossip Girl. The pretty colors, the handsome Frenchmen, the cameos by fashion and society types that only New Yorkers would know … but this, well, this just itches that very specific spot on our brains that was inflamed with things like, oh, we don’t know, the entire blatantly obvious subterfuge with Serena’s dad, or anything to do with Poppy Lifton. It just doesn’t make sense, and if these people are so easily taken in, how are they still rich? Forget Bernie Madoff: Grandma the Clown could have hoodwinked these people out of all of their money. Rufus never once wondered what his son was up to for the summer, living on his own and not calling for months? Doesn’t a parent assume that their child is a drug addict when that happens? Minus 10. Why would Dan believe it was his child, and how could he have just so easily transitioned into this life? Minus 10. And even if Georgina had conducted a paternity test by herself — we can sort of imagine her scraping DNA off Dan’s tongue when he is asleep — why would Rufus and Lily believe the piece of paper she produced was real? As Vanessa said, “We’re talking about Georgina Sparks. Her hair lies!” Minus 30, because something that changes everything in your life deserves a little scrutiny, even from a man who is using his bangs as sideburns.
• Okay, and let’s examine this from Georgina’s end. So, she’s not after the signed birth certificate for the money, because she abandons the baby. So then why have the baby at all? Why not just have an abortion and run away? What does she get by leaving the baby with Dan? Minus 30.
• The way this confrontation goes down at the Fashion’s Night Out party is ridiculous. Either you call the police and have this crazy person thrown in jail, or you go upstairs in your massive apartment and talk about it quietly, without interrupting your entire party. Not this weird half-and-half nonsense. Minus 4.
• Serena applied to Columbia after her dad visited in the EARLY SPRING? No. Minus 5.
• Dan says he was afraid to tell Rufus about Milo because, “Do you remember how you reacted when Serena and I had that scare?” Okay, wait, first of all, we were here the whole time and Dan and Serena never had a pregnancy scare. Even supposing dramatic events occur in the lives of Gossip Girl characters when we aren’t watching — wait, we got lost in that thought for a second — anyway, even if that were possible, it would still never have happened, because why would any teenage boy living in New York City go to his father and posit this scenario when there are Duane Reades selling First Response on every corner? Minus 10.
• Related: Chuck has a “usual suite” at the Mandarin in Prague. Really? How come in three years we’ve never seen him go there? Minus 2.
• Blair, regarding the front seat: “Oh, I’ve never ridden up here.” Please, surely somebody’s driven her around in a vintage two-seat Jaguar convertible. Minus 2.
• Serena: “Blair, I want to make you happy, I really do. But college is too big of a deal.” Oh, see, now that would be a refreshingly rational thought from any other character except Serena, to whom we know full well college is not “a big deal.” Minus 5.
• Why did Kate Cassidy/Juliet (Sorry, we can’t stop calling her Kate Cassidy. We identify her too strongly with her breakout role in the most awesome short-lived terror series ever, Harper’s Island) go with Nate to the Empire Hotel? Even he should have known this would be very, very bad. Minus 3.
• “Cinderella didn’t Google Prince Charming.” We’re sorry, but no. First of all, the Cinderella story dates back to like the fifteenth century. They didn’t have the Internet. If they had, the prince could have just checked the Facebook photos of the event and never minded all of that cockamamie business with the glass slipper. Blair’s too canny to fall for this kind of fluff from Serena, she would have pointed all that out, looked up Louis on Wikipedia, and all of this could have been avoided. Minus 5.
• Sorry to do this, as we do love movies starring Anne Hathaway and Amanda Bynes, but nowhere in the real world do princes pretend not to be princes. You know what’s more fun than finding out what people will treat you like if you were just another regular guy? Finding out what people will treat you like if you are a motherfucking prince. Minus 5.
• Also, Louis tells Blair: “You loved my favorite painting. I thought that someone who loved what I loved would love me, too.” DUDE. It’s a famous painting. Everyone loves it. That’s why it’s hanging in the Musée D’Orsay. Jesus Christ. That’s like if some guy you met in a diner was like, “I saw you eating pie and I decided we were meant for each other because I love pie too.” What a psycho. Obviously, things went down pretty badly at dinner but we think Blair dodged a bullet with this one. Minus 20.
• Serena’s makeup is perfect after getting pushed into a fountain. Minus only 1, because if anybody can pull that off, it’s her.
The baby plot pushed this episode into a twilight zone of unreality unseen since the infamous “secret sex club” set of episodes. Will next week’s episode starring Chuck “Henry” Bass push it back to the realm of the real? Highly unlikely, but we’ll be watching!