They say love is a kind of insanity. But everyone knows when you lose love, or start to feel it slipping away from you, that’s when the real fun begins. We saw this in three stages on last night’s episode of Gossip Girl: Vanessa, tormented by Dan’s relationship with Serena, pursues the truth about them with single-minded intensity, bursting into hysterical rants and confronting Serena on the street like a character in some kind of Elizabethan tragedy, only to realize, as she turns her tearstained face to regard Dan’s back, that the real truth is that Dan is just kind of ambivalent about her. Meanwhile, Chuck, having decided the only thing that will heal his freshly broken heart is a dialysis pumping pure vengeance, declares his decidedly insane plan to ruin every single thing in Blair’s life until she is “left with nothing,” a sentiment eerily echoed by mysterious Jail Guy, who we learn has the same intentions for Serena — no doubt because of whatever really nasty venereal disease she gave him.
Realer Than a Make-Your-Own-Pizza Bar at a College Mixer
• Serena takes a cab every morning to class. Plus 4. And she has lived in New York long enough to know that missing that one cab, which will catch that one light, which will make it to the Central Park cross just in time to miss the slog, will be the difference between arriving late to class and arriving on time. Plus another 4, because we don’t believe in Serena’s analytical skills, but her base knowledge as a New Yorker cannot be denied.
• Joan’s rapey husband’s girlfriend has an audition that involves “a talking dog.” Is this a backhanded jab at Taylor Momsen, who we all know starred in just such a movie? No points, but high five.
• Joan’s rapey husband (whose name apparently is Colin) puts his date in a random cab but gets in a livery cab himself. Plus 3.
• Gossip Girl made a chart of who’s hooked up with whom, “Which,” Juliet says, “I have to say is very helpful.” Plus 2.
• When Serena complains that she’s always late to English Lit, Blair says, “If only there was a device of some kind to keep the time!” Plus 1 for her rapid-fire ability to forget that only one episode ago, she was smashing watches in Cartier.
• The halfheartedly phony way in which Serena says, “Oh, I love her,” regarding Martha Chamberlain is absolutely perfect. Plus 1, because she can’t even bother.
• Rufus drops by the loft to have a heart to heart with Vanessa about her relationship with his son, but while she’s talking he looks totally distracted, as though he’s actually there for another reason. In fact, when Vanessa tells Rufus that everything is okay with Dan, and there are no “secrets or surprises,” he says: “That’s great” in the same tone Serena said, “I love her!” about a professor she’s never heard of. Plus 3. How many episodes before, in trying to comfort her, he gives her a hug, and one thing leads to another …
• Nate refers to the act of not having sex the first time you stay over at someone’s house as a “page from the Humphrey playbook.” Plus 2, because he could have also said, “I shopped at Gay’s ‘R’ Us and I bought your brand of pussy pants!”
&38226; On the corkboard in Dan’s apartment, there is a black-and-white picture of a handful of shells. Plus 10.
• “A lesbian switcheroo doesn’t make you Blackwater.” (No points, because those private-security contracters have been known to pull sexual switcheroos)
• Blair has her minions research “women of power” so she can better become one, and approves when they come up with Time Inc.’s Ann Moore and Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi. But she stops short of Sarah Palin — and it kind of sounds like it’s only because she doesn’t like the middle name “Louise.” Plus 2.
• Blair continues to wear her Hamilton House key while Serena wears a normal (well, if normal had nothing to do with actual college) gold carapace necklace. Plus 2.
• Serena is disappointed that Gossip Girl, who “likes to keep things classy and somewhat true,” would ever believe that she, of all people would have an STD. Plus 4. Because really, why would anyone ever think that, when most nights she is home knitting.
• Serena goes to “plant myself on the quad, act like I don’t have a care in the world” … and sits directly in front of the Student Health Center. That’s making a statement! Plus 2.
• Dan: “I don’t know if I can have this same conversation one more time.” It’s true. Men hate having the same conversation over and over. Women, on the other hand, including and perhaps especially Intel Jessica, like to have the same conversation as much as possible. Because you never know, maybe they actually are saying what you want to hear, only in a very cryptic way. Plus 3.
• Professors text now? No points, just, we’re old.
• Chuck’s lines in this episode are a work of art. “A man with nothing to live for is capable of everything,” he hisses at one point. “Who knows my limits since you took away my future?” Who indeed! But we are hoping that in the next episode, they will extend to wearing all black, reading Camus, smoking clove cigarettes, and drinking vermouth. Plus 3.
• After a day in which she is subjected to STD rumors, accused of sending a professor a risqué e-mail, and basically called a tramp by the dean of students at Columbia, Serena takes her chooched-up self to a hotel bar, alone, for a night cap. Plus 10. (Yes, the King Cole Bar is never that empty. But it is the kind of place where a douchebag in a pin-striped suit might show up to harass you at any moment.)
• Wait, Serena finally has a smartphone?? Plus 5.
• Of course Dorota knows what plausible deniability is. She watches a ton of Law & Order. Plus 2.
• We were going to say that no professional college professor, not even a business school professor, would accept a date as a bribe; tell a student, “My class is full. Forever”; or instruct them to, “Tell the dean I quit.” But then we remembered this guy. Plus 4.
Faker Than a Sophomore English Lit Professor Noticing When One of His 400 Students Is Late
• Serena, to Colin: “Are you seriously still hitting on me while holding your date’s shoes?” Minus 2. We are supposed to believe this is something she would mind? (And why did the girl get in the cab and drive away without her shoes? The floors of cabs are the only thing more disease infested than Sere- oh, never mind.)
• The King Cole Bar is about the only place left in the city that makes a red snapper, according to Joan’s rapey husband. We’d give points for accuracy, but no way in hell a handsome man would look at a girl like Serena and think, “What that girl needs is a good early evening at the St. Regis.” Minus 1.
• Serena remembers that an Asian person wrote “The Art of War”? Aw, that’s a sweet idea. Minus 2.
• “Yeah, yeah, I missed you too,” Nate tells Dan after Dan thanks him for his forgiveness. And even though the eyes say, “Do me,” the mouth said, “No hugs.” Minus 2.
• If Juliet and Jail Guy Who Is Definitely Someone’s Bitch With Those Cheekbones really have been stalking Serena for so long, they would know that taking “Columbia” from her would really, really not be “leaving her with nothing.” In the universe in which she exists (in which all celestial bodies gravitate around two giant orbs), any Ivy League school will accept her with open arms. And laps. Minus 10.
• Vanessa simply puts a picture of herself and Dan over a picture of Dan and Serena. Come on, lady. You live with a dude. You know what he uses his socks for after he’s worn them. Get rid of the pictures entirely! Minus 2.
• When Gossip Girl sends out the blast about Serena having an STD, Juliet emerges from behind a tree looking like the Crypt Keeper. Minus 1, because isn’t she still trying to date Nate? We know they’re not having sex, so it’s pretty inexplicable that she hasn’t slept in four days.
• We’re sorry to get all parents association here, but how is it that no one mentions condoms. Like Juliet could have gone, “Did you use a condom?” Or Nate could have said, “We were going to use a condom, but it was too small for me.” Instead it’s like condoms don’t exist and everyone just assumes that everyone in college is barebacking it with everybody else. Which, well. Minus only 2.
• And meanwhile, you can’t introduce an obvious plotline that has never come up before on-camera as though no one has ever thought of it. Chuck sleeps with prostitutes all the time. Nate spent the summer doing so. Not to mention the fact that every single young person on this show has slept with every single other person. (Except Eric, and Lord knows what the gay kids these days are doing in the age of Grindr.) And only now are these people discovering STDS? Come on. Minus 10.
• That said, across the board the lack of curiosity about what kind of STD exactly Serena had is deeply puzzling. At Intel Jessica’s college, people would have been Google-Imaging “anal herpes” and snorting onto their laptops all day long. Then again, Intel Jessica did not go to AN IVY, so Minus only 2. (Intel Chris did, however, and remembers there was once a quadwide panic about “Chlamydia of the Throat.”)
• When Vanessa said, “She was sleeping in your bed and wearing your T-shirt,” we really hoped she’d finish it by saying, “which is how I know you got the crabs.”
• A professor wouldn’t use a non-student as a TA. There are university rules about such things. Minus 3. Also, look at his face: Chuck has transgressed to Full Pervert, and there are even stricter university rules about that.
• “A Bass Five Hurricane”? What? Minus 2.
• Lily and Eric took a road trip without Rufus? That’s like making a hemp necklace without Vanessa. You’d never get away with it. Minus 3.
•: Rufus exits his conversation with Dan right in the middle of it, as if he has anything better to do in the apartment. Or anything to do, at all. Minus 10.
• The whole point of office hours is that it is time when the professor is sitting in his office. For hours. Minus 5.
• Serena wouldn’t check her phone and tiny clutch in with the coat-check person. The whole point of tiny clutches is that you clutch them all night long! Minus only 2, because Intel Chris wrote this and is only guessing at what clutches are actually for.
• There’s no plausible explanation for how Chuck would have intercepted a setup that Blair arranged through Cyrus. Like, the writers didn’t even bother to try to invent one. So Chuck is magical now? Minus only 2, because Blair has definitely lost her powers. (We’d originally written that she’d become a Muggle, and then we realized that this must have been the lingering influence of Fleur! Blast!)
• Why on this show does everyone walk away from one another before anything is resolved or questioned? In real life, when there is a complicated twist (and if only real life was so entertaining!) usually people stick around to get to the bottom of it. Minus 20 for everyone walking away from Vanessa (while she still had Serena’s phone) without dealing with one actual element of the problem.
• As though the dean of students at Columbia would know not one, but two random sophomores by face and name. No matter how skanky. Minus 3.
• Blair gets her mojo back for a second when she points out that she rejected Chuck first, but then he threatens to tell people that he slept with Jenny. This makes her malfunction and do that thing where her lips show the entirety of the top row of her teeth. Except, duh, everyone knows, as Eric has been telling anyone who will listen. And Gossip Girl talked about it last season! Come on. Minus 10.
• Oh, Chuck. Tim Gunn left Parsons for Liz Claiborne years ago. Surely a boy with such impeccable eyeliner would know that, no? Minus 3.
• There is absolutely no way in the world anyone at that party would have believed Juliet over Vanessa, no matter how bad it looked. Juliet is a shady newcomer in business casual who reeks of TJ Maxx who just last week attempted to undermine Serena and Blair in front of everyone using Gossip Girl. With the exception of the Nate-Jenny letter interception of a few seasons ago, Vanessa is as honest and contains fewer bad-for-you secrets than a cup of unsweetened granola. There’s no contest, this is a farce. Minus 20.
Yeah, this episode was all over the place in terms of believability. But that doesn’t mean we’re not actually a little excited for the return of Jenny, whose presence will likely explode in everyone’s faces in a mash of eyeliner, black lace, and nylon hair extensions. As usual, put your reality points in the comments, and we’ll round them up by the end of the week.