They say promises are meant to be broken, and nowhere is this more true than on Gossip Girl, where sincere utterances are asphyxiated the moment they hit the Upper East Side air. Last night’s episode saw the breaking of pledges between Nate and Dan (to not see Serena alone), between Serena and Colin (who made a pact to remain physically uninvolved until Serena completes Colin’s class), and of course, between Blair and Chuck, who violated Article 19 of their treaty in a way that would have embarrassed even Connie Chung.
Realer Than the Act of Labor to Birth Blair Waldorf Lasting a Damien-Style 23 Hours:
• It is in fact fall! Plus 1.
• While we must say we highly doubt that Colin’s focus would have been on Serena’s hair and lips in the Skinemax-filmed scene where they flirt over coffees, the slow-motion blurring of the words as both of them utter nonsense and think only about sex felt pretty real. Plus 3. Actually, looking at Colin, we ourselves blurred our words and thought only about sex. MAN is that guy good-looking.
• Blair will accept pancakes on her plate, but not muffins. Plus 2.
• Helicopter mom Eleanor Waldorf bought tickets to the Palais Garnier on the night of her daughter’s 20th birthday. Plus 4.
• Cyrus got Blair a signed copy of Eleanor Roosevelt’s This I Remember. Will this finally herald Blair’s much-awaited lipstick-lesbian phase? Plus 1 for pure anticipation. (And, let’s be honest, a long-overdue explanation for the obsession with headbands.)
• Eric, as he progresses through high school, has bulked up his muscles and yet simultaneously adopted dowdy plaids and cardigans. It’s like he’s Dan Humphrey lite. Is there anything gayer than that? Plus 5.
• Oh, Headmistress Queller wrote this episode. No points, but congrats!
• Nate says Serena’s hair looks good, when in fact it looks like hell. Plus 2.
• Of course Chuck wants the Standard on weeknights and doesn’t care about the Carlyle. Plus 2. And of course he also insists that Blair can only claim Milan or Paris Fashion Week. Hit him where it counts, Blair — in the scarf!
• Serena takes off her blazer and underneath is wearing a bra attached to a pencil skirt. Plus 3.
• Pomander Books is a rare bookstore on the Upper West Side, and Juliet would likely be able to tell Serena had bought a first edition just by looking at the bag. Plus only 2, because we are finding it a stretch to believe that either of these girls would know that store. Or, frankly, would be constantly wearing blazers.
• Of course Serena thinks her favorite book is The Beautiful and Damned, and not The Pokey Little Puppy. Plus 3. And of course she talked with Colin about the advantages and disadvantages of “brioche and bagels.” Plus 3.
• Blair: “You put gladiolas in my cabbage roses? The Waldorf’s is not a Best Western!” We don’t know what any of those words mean, but plus 3.
• Blair: “What part of J. Mendel did you not understand?” Ehhhh. We’d give points for delivery, but we’re not sure the former furrier is quite “Blair” territory yet.
• Blair: “Dorota, what’s going on with me?”
Dorota: “You aren’t fighting with Mr. Chuck, so you are fighting with everyone else.” Plus 1, because Dorota always knows what’s up when it comes to Mr. Chuck. (Sometimes we suspect she watches him while he sleeps, inhaling each one of his breaths like an aspiring Dementor.)
• Eric says he imagines that Blair and Chuck would have fed a cat to an ATM like in American Psycho. But what he’s really imagining is Chuck chasing some hookers around with a chainsaw, naked. With Christian Bale’s body. Plus 1.
• The actual pictures of a young Leighton Meester were a nice touch. Plus only 2, though, because the real baby Blair would have been wearing makeup and couture in all of them.
• Chuck to Dan: “The intricacies are too complex for a prole like you to fathom.” Plus only 1, because didn’t Chuck barely finish high school? Has he really read 1984? (Oh, wait, he definitely read Bonfire of the Vanities.)
• Blair calls Jenny “Gothic Barbie.” Plus 3.
• Joe Zee and Rachel Zoe greet each other by saying “Zee!” and “Zoe!” Did they really have those particular fashionistas on the show just for that interaction? Plus 2 for the fact that Blair didn’t even bother to say more than hi to them, even though they were at her own silly 20th-birthday party.
• Rufus is looking so tanned, trim, and tailored, he’s in danger of becoming George Hamilton. His Upper East Side transformation is not lost on Lily. “I know you think you’re rock-and-roll, but you are wearing a $2,000 jacket.” Plus 4, because we just love it when people on this show say things like this. If only someone would turn to Vanessa and say, “I know you say you were raised in a commune, but we know full well you spent $350 to have your hair blown into that rat’s nest.” (Plus an additional 1 for when she asks Rufus when the last time was that he used a paper plate.)
• Just when both Nate and Juliet are swept away from Serena and she is left to face (wait, what is the verb for when you point your chest at someone? “To boob”?) Colin alone, Blair glides in between them. Plus only 4, because Blair is mysteriously unperturbed that Juliet is at her meticulously cultivated party in the first place.
• Blair inadvertently backs up Vanessa by calling Juliet’s “takedown” of her “fiction.” Plus 2 because of course she’d know the truth, but not bother to help a sister out. Also, plus 1 for the reference to Jonathan Franzen, although we’d be much more likely to believe that Jonathan Safran Foer was a guest at a 20-year-old’s birthday party.
• There are cookies in the shape of Blair’s shoes, and Rufus wants to eat them. Plus 1.
• Blair stole a fan from an adult female guest, and said adult female guest wasn’t even surprised. Plus 1.
• Cynthia Rowley. Even though she’s much more downtown than Eleanor Waldorf, we believe they’d be friends in that “We are celebrities who live in New York City and one time we sat next to one another at a Peggy Siegel screening so I guess we have to be polite” kind of way that is so meaningful. Plus 3.
• Dorota’s toast is, of course, adorable, though even the vague tolerance given to it by the Upper East Side guests is a bit of a stretch. Plus only 1.
&38226; Chocolate falling on Rachel Zoe? Food of any kind falling on Rachel Zoe?? Plus 50. (Also, plus 10 for best delivery of “I. Die.” ever.)
• Serena’s dress is missing half of its bottom. Plus 3.
• A Robyn performance! Plus only 5, because her appearance made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
• “It only takes one video to topple a career. If you don’t believe me just Google ‘Connie Chung’ piano.” Plus only 2 because, to be fair, Connie’s career had ended before she made that clip.
• Did anyone else notice that Blair, Chuck, Rufus, and Nate were all wearing the same color scheme when they confronted Dan? And that the girls behind Dan were wearing the same exact tones, as though they were bridesmaids? Plus 3, because obviously Blair would have been able to arrange this.
• Dan covers the entire Bass living room in colored-paper roses and thinks it’s charming instead of messy. Plus 1.
• A Chair sexual reunion? On a piano? With Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” playing in the background?? Call us old-fashioned, but plus 100.
Faker Than Eric Suggesting That His Bassassness Himself Could Get the Family Back Together:
• Like Blair would seal her own envelopes. With her own tongue. Minus only 3, because presumably Dorota has to tend to her baby at some point or other, and the song playing in the background, “Only Girl (in the World),” could really be the national anthem of Blairistan.
• Fun fact: When Intel Chris was an infant, his parents owned a lobster shack on the piers in Portland, Maine. While both he and Colin share the same birthplace, parental occupation, lily-white skin tone, and incredible cheekbones, where they differ is that, when Serena mentions that she loves The Deadliest Catch, Intel Chris would have said, “That show is about crab fisherman in Alaska, you gaping, chair-swallowing cunt.” But then again, Intel Chris is also immune to as much hair tousling as even a beautiful blonde like Serena could muster, so minus only 2.
• Wait, sorry, did Serena get coffee in his office for Colin even though they live in the same building (or neighborhood — see later)? No. She would have made like Farmville and provided a Special Delivery Box right in his own apartment. Minus 4.
• Hmmm, Serena and Nate planned this whole contract thing with Blair and Chuck and we didn’t even get to see their scheming? Not that we don’t think Chuck and Blair would humor them and go through with it — they love rule-making, because it encourages rule-breaking — but there are some holes in this plot device. First of all, the ones inside both Nate and Serena’s skulls that would have prevented such a stroke of genius. And second — it’s six weeks before the end of the semester. Last we were with the gang, it was the add/drop period. Are we to believe that Chuck and Blair made it over a month without talking to Serena and Nate about their truce? Minus 10.
• Okay, come on. There was NO ONE ELSE in that ballroom. How did Gossip Girl get that picture? Minus only 3, because that stenographer …
• Dan, who just lectured Jenny about stooping to Blair and Chuck’s level last episode, so quickly forgot his morals and leaped to do the same himself? Minus only 1, because this doesn’t surprise us, but Dan wants everyone to think he’s the good guy. He’d at least think twice about it.
• Wait, Gossip Girl now has geotagging functionality where you can see where people are walking? Even Gawker Stalker doesn’t have that. Jimmy Kimmel would have been all over this shit. Or at least George Clooney. Minus 3.
• Sorry, we know they had a little makeup session earlier, but would Serena and proven psychopath Juliet really be so friendly and sharey to one another? Even without the prior high jinks, they are two pretty, skinny girls who have only known one another a short time. That just defies the laws of gravity. (Moreover, Juliet has the fakest grin television has seen since Guy Smiley.) Minus 3.
• Why would Serena think that Colin wasn’t sleeping with other women? One of the things she liked about him was his honesty about being a man ho. Minus 3. And also, didn’t he used to live in her building? What is this townhouse she went to? Minus 3.
• The dean of students of Columbia would never go to a 20th-birthday party of a student. Minus 3. Nor would Blair invite Dan, ever. Minus 3.
• Patricia Ireland, the former president of NOW, is at Blair’s party? Sigh. Zoe and Zee we almost believable, but this? Minus 6. (That deduction counts the dean’s compliment that the guest list “was inspired,” by the way. That comment and the very realistic tacky ruffles on her blouse almost — almost! — washed out, but not quite.)
• Serena has the Gettysburg Address memorized? Minus 20. “One score and twenty years a ho … ”
• Minus 1 for Colin doing a “Suddenly Evil” face after Nate walks away from him at the party. No savvy schemer allows their face to do that, especially not one whose favorite book is Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Restructurings.
• Serena: “I would never sacrifice my academic career.” Minus 2.
• At a Blair party the “good stuff” wouldn’t be in the kitchen, it would be served! Minus 1.
• Blonde minion looks entirely too gorgeous. That would never be allowed at a Blair shindig. Minus 1.
• Indra Nooyi, the first female CEO of PepsiCo, did not go to Columbia. Minus 4.
• If Juliet planted a high-tech surveillance device in Colin’s house, why did she have to stand outside looking up at the window, as well? Minus 2.
• Madeleine Albright was at Blair’s party? Mmmmm. No. Minus 3. But if she were there, you can bet Blair would have made her wear a brooch that matched the autumn color scheme.
• Wow. That was a real mother-daughter moment between Eleanor and Blair. We believe it … almost?
Okay, so this episode, for all its celebrity cameos and overdramatic sexing, landed solidly in the real zone. We’d like to think of this as a reward to the show’s writers, who for once seem to have planned a story arc at least five episodes in advance, allowing it to unfold pleasantly and at a believable pace, rather than exploding and then resolving itself in a mere two nights. Juliet’s been around nearly the whole season, and we still don’t know what the hell is going on with her. Genius! As always, leave your tallies in the comments and we’ll wrap up the best of them on Friday.