In its fourth season, Gossip Girl has developed an almost Shakespearean rhythm. There are certain constants: There will be double entrendres from Chuck, reference-heavy barbs from Blair, in-jokes about the Brooklyn mileu, and in each scene, like clockwork, Serena van der Woodsen’s breasts will appear draped in different outfits, as regular as the Law & Order “chung chung.” As far as plot, we know by now that there will always be a misunderstanding or a misreading of motives, that someone will be betrayed, and that everyone will come together at a fancy-dress party at which much is revealed. And we’ve learned that as soon as someone demands someone “disapear,” as Ben told Damien in last night’s episode, we’re definitely going to see more of them.
But despite all of the melodrama, Gossip Girl often contains important nuggets of truth about New York and Life. Each week, our Reality Index separates the true from the false.
Realer Than an Editorial Assistant at a Fashion Magazine Who Could Also Be a Model:
• Raina: “As long as we keep it clean for business, I’m happy to keep it … ”
Chuck: “Dirty between the sheets.” Okay, that’s a bad line, but we’re guessing something filthy did indeed just happen — as it always does, just judging by the treated leather headboard Chuck clearly purchased for its, uh, wipeability. Plus 2.
•: Serena’s winter breakfast outfit looks like it’s a ski sweater, but is actually a semi-see-through lace top. A masterstroke! Plus 5.
• Serena to Blair: “You realize most offices aren’t open this early. Unless … you’re interning at a doughnut shop?” Of course S knows that the mention of carbs at this crucial juncture would only cause Blair to spiral even more out of control. Plus 1.
• Speaking of carbs, there is a pile of croissants on the breakfast table at the Bass place, but Lily only eats half-spoonfuls of white Greek yogurt. Plus 5.
• Lily: “Everything I do, or have ever done, is for my children.” Aw. Does she not remember all those fabled years when she treated the kids like accessories and flounced about the world with a string of anonymous Klauses? Of course she doesn’t. Plus 2.
•: Blair, to Dan: “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be. Just like your scarf shows the world you’d like to be a used car salesman.” Well, it’s hardly the cerulean speech from The Devil Wears Prada, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. Plus 2.
• “Epperly Lawrence.” Plus 1.
• Epperly to Blair: “This is real life, not some Hollywood chick flick where a girl with a scrunchie gets a makeover and triumphs in the end.”
Blair: “I have never owned a scrunchie.”
Epperle: “I think I read that in your résumé.” Plus 5 for getting the Prada reference over with at the beginning, and another Plus 5 for Blair’s childishly giddy face when she boasts of her scrunchie-free life.
• Dan hoped to be interning at The New Yorker, which is probably why he wore a cowled cardigan to his first day of work — so that he’d be prepared for all of the fireside chats and late-night sitting around smoking bubble pipes in David Remnick’s office. Plus 3.
• Serena got Ben gardening tools? Oh, so patronizing. So Serena! Plus only 1, because still, this demonstrates an unlikely amount of forethought from her.
• Dan: “Turns out it’s easier to get a guy out on parole than it is to get a magazine internship in this town.” Is that where we’ve been getting our interns all this time? From jail? This explains a lot. (But seriously, Plus 3, because ain’t it the truth!)
• Dan: “Give it up, Blair. I’m actually good at this, and unlike all the other interns, I actually know you. Your stupid tricks won’t work.”
Blair: “Oh look, there’s Georgina’s baby!” Plus 5, although that’s actually kind of a nasty jab, when you think about how broken up Dan was about the whole thing for that one episode.
• You know, we were about to deduct points for the fact that Stefano Tonchi’s assistant wouldn’t have her own stapler, but then we realized that in our offices, we are constantly looking for staplers. Plus 2. Seriously, only Grub Street Dan has one, and sometimes it’s difficult to find it even on his desk, as it is constantly covered in an avalanche of free booze and graft. It is good to be Grub Street Dan. Swag and a stapler.
• Chuck can identify the exact price of the Captain’s suit ($2,000). He can’t resist wrinkling his nose like he smelled something bad, though, because $2K? Anything less than five shouldn’t be touching exposed skin. Plus 5.
• HA, of course W would send Lynn Hirschberg to Dublin to interview … Colin Farrell. Presuming the magazine’s editors signed off on the script (which they must have — the offices in which they’re filming are the real W offices), it seems they have a bit of a sense of humor about themselves! Plus 10.
Dan: “You do realize that I know Jeremiah Harris personally, right?”
Blair: “You do realize that I know everybody personally, tight?” Plus 2.
•That’s what $30,000 dollars looks like? It’s so … small. No points, just noting.
• “You know, before he was a novelist, Jeremiah Harris wrote film reviews for Vanity Fair and had a wine column in Bon Appétit Plus, Stefano knows him from the Times.” Plus 3 for the in-jokes (The actor who plays Harris, Jay McInerney, has a wine column; Stefano Tonchi worked for the Times), as well as for the smarmy tone in which Dan delivers it.
• Raina uses the term “afternooner.” Plus 1. Is that a thing? Are we saying that now?
• Blair: “I’m not going to treat [Dan] better than any of my other enemies just because you sporadically love him.” Plus 1.
• The guest list Blair clutches has Jessica Stam, Jessica Biel, and Juergen Teller on it. Plus only 1, because surely there is another Jessica on that list between Stam and Biel (who are in the wrong alphabetical order, anyway). Later we see the same problem with the list Dan holds — it has Liam McMullan, Lily Donaldson, L’Wren Scott, and Maggie Betts. All people who would be invited to a W party, surely, but there are also plenty of non-famous people who show up, too. Like advertisers, the people they actually throw the parties for.
•Blair’s kindergarten yearbook quote is “The best defense is a good offense.” Plus 2 for the quote, and for having a kindergarten yearbook quote at all.
• Serena: “Rufus! You must have a plot at a community garden, right?” Plus 2, because obviously.
• Serena is thoroughly in love with a different person in every single episode. Plus 1.
• After half an episode wearing a nun’s outfit, Serena turns up at a party in a church dressed like a whore. Now that’s more like it! Plus 5. And another Plus 5 for the fact that she invited Ben to a party where she knew her mother was supposed to be. Face-to-face with the woman who put you behind bars for five years! Surprise!! Have some Champagne!
• From his dark outfits to his slight coating of nude lip color, Damien’s look is perfectly Euro-sleazy, he always looks like he’s just come out of a dark, ravy club. Also? “Thackery, Moon, enjoy your treats.” Plus 2.
— Wait, when Raina introduces Stuart Fuji and boasts that he’s “in the film business,” does she mean, like, the business of manufacturing film for cameras? Brilliant. Plus 1.
• Wow, no points, but those Jimmy McMillan ads are awesome.
• Yay for Rufus! Remembering that Juliet existed! Plus 3. (Usually this is Eric’s role, but with his friendship with former foe Damian, apparently he’s now huffing whatever glue the rest of the cast is.)
• Wow, the look on Serena’s face when someone actually tells her that he’s not attracted to her is exactly as we imagined it: boob heavy. Plus 3.
Faker Than Orange Fall Foliage on Trees in January:
• Blair, to Serena as she applies makeup for her breakfast meeting with Ben: “A lot of mascara for a friend.” Um, has Blair met Serena? She wears that amount of makeup for the homeless. (Which, when you think about it, Ben sort of is at the moment, given that he has no money or job and has been disowned by his hedge-fund cousin, though he is inexplicably able to pick up the check at Coffee Shop.) Minus 1.
•: Serena: “This is like living with Don Draper.” Aw, nice shout-out to her The Town co-star Jon Hamm, but in the world of the show the idea that S would watch Mad Men is about as believable as Eric tuning into all-girl night on the Spice Network. Minus 1.
• Serena to Damian: “When are you going to realize that your occupation hurts people?” What is it with Serena this episode? She forgets to blow out her hair one day and her cerebral neurons suddenly start firing again? Minus 3. Is that what the problem has been all this time? Overheating? We thought for sure it was that she had to spend most of her time not knocking things out of people’s hands with her chest.
• W is not looking for its interns to be “visionaries.” They just need people of average intelligence to fact-check and run carts of clothes all over town. That an editor, even an assistant editor, would want a first-day intern’s input on what to dress Lara Stone in for a Steven Meisel shoot is laughable. Minus 3.
• That said. Dan: “Most internships are about exploitation and espresso runs.” Can’t argue with his first point, but minus 1 for perpetuating the myth that magazine interns ever get anyone coffee. (Do they? Where’s ours?)
• Okay, even Blair would know better than to try and pounce on the editor-in-chief of a magazine on her first day as an intern. But if she did plan to do that, she would indeed have a Powerpoint, so, wash.
• It was sort of sweet how they tried to make Long Island City, where they film this show, seem menacing when Serena went to visit the halfway house. Later, from Ben’s employment application, we learn that it’s actually meant to be a no-mans neighborhood behind the Greenwood Cemetary, so, Minus only 1.
• “Is your friend an ex-con?” Ben’s roommate at the halfway house asks Serena, like he’s seen this before, women in platform heels and carrying designer handbags turning up there all mixed up. Minus 1.
• Wait, Jonathan made Lily leave her own living room to talk to Eric? Minus 4. This is a woman who puts people in jail when they get between her and her children.
• Dan, to Blair, when she tries to pull a shoe switcheroo: “I didn’t date Serena van der Woodsen for two years to not come away knowing that those are Marc Jacobs, and they’re mustard.” There are two problems with this. (1) Dan is exactly the type of person who would date SVD for two years and not notice a thing she put on her feet. (Who is looking at her FEET?). And (2) They did not date for that long. Maybe on and off for two years, but not 24 months straight. Still, Minus only 5, because we like that someone is finally using one of the brains that allegedly got all these kids into top-tier colleges.
• Chanel #5 in the coffee cup? How on earth would that be a good trick? Minus only 2, because obviously Blair would always have a bottle of it on her person, and also clearly the writers want us to know that people who work at W can taste specific perfumes even when they are immersed in the odor-killing properties of coffee.
• Okay, there is absolutely no way that the Captain would be allowed to work in financial services after committing massive fraud. Minus 10. And, as some commenters pointed out last week, there’s no way he’d be useful building “society contacts” for Thorpe Enterprises in New York, as he poisoned his relationships with all of society with his downfall. Minus 10. Don’t we remember that
Allison Anne left him because staying with him would mean she couldn’t go to parties? That happened like two episodes ago.
• Does Blair really think that she can get all the other interns fired just by being the best intern? Eh, no points deducted.
• Blair knows Lorrie Moore? Minus 10.
• Serena to Blair: “Earn the spotlight on your own merits, you’ll feel better.” WHAT IS HAPPENING? Minus 4.
• Damian wrote a paper comparing The Wire to The Iliad? He was in high school during The Wire?? No points, but, shudder.
• No person would not punch a guy who testified to put him in jail and then five years later would say, “You say potato, judge says pedophile.” Minus 10, because let’s also recall Ben was the person who set into motion a plot to destroy Serena remotely — a plot that occupied an entire half of this season — that involved a subplot to give the Captain such a beating he ended up in the hospital. (Later in the episode, this problem gets rectified, thankfully.)
• Blair’s idol is Hillary Clinton, we believe. But the idea that she wouldn’t violate a treaty? Come on. We’re familiar with the show. (And international relations, for that matter.) Minus 3.
• Have Blair and Dan ever displayed violent tendencies? (Other than in the bedroom, that is?) This scuffle to us just seems extremely implausible. Partly because Dan was putting up a decent fight. Minus 3.
• The Captain says to Nate, “I’m actually good at what I do!” Minus 2 because actually, demonstrably, no you’re not.
• Blair: “My mother is a designer, she can’t call in favors at a fashion magazine.” HAAAA. Ha! HAHAHAHAHA. Haha. Heh. HAHA. Hooooo! Phew. That had us going for a while. Minus 10.
• Why is everyone constantly hanging out at Coffee Shop all of a sudden? Minus 4.
• We know this is sort of quaint to point out, but when Lily mentioned that she called over to Elliot’s mother, we remembered that these boys are in high school and it’s a bit weird that they had been (before they broke up, presumably) having days-long sleepovers at one another’s houses. Minus only one because, well, good for Eric!
• Also, at the party, Jonathan brings over glasses of Champagne for him and Eric, in front of Rufus. No points deducted, just an eyebrow raise. (What’s happening to us!?)
• Epperly wouldn’t tell a couple of interns she just fired to “go back to the office and pack your things,” in the middle of the night. That’s a good way to get the fashion closet robbed. Also, what things? They’ve been there for one day. Minus 1.
Despite the magazine mishaps and Blair’s supposed friendship with Lorrie Moore (who we’re pretty sure lives in Wisconsin, by the way), this episode was an even tie. Next week: Will Damien and Eric’s new friendship strain credulity? Will Serena’s boobs strain her dresses? We may already know the answers, but we still can’t help but watch to find out.