From the narrator’s constant and inexplicable Rolling Stones references (has someone in the writers’ room been reading Life?) to the discombobulating spectacle of Blair and Dan’s burgeoning chemistry, last night’s episode of Gossip Girl made us feel, at times, like we were experiencing a temporary neurological disorder (or having an ether flashback). Consider the following dizzying piece of dialogue, which occurred upon Blair’s arrival at the Van der Bass Humphreys’ (?) 18th birthday party for Eric.
Serena: “Blair, what were you thinking?
Blair: “That I would arrive at this party and be greeted appropriately?”
Dan: “I know you only admitted you needed me so you could make me your drug mule.”
Blair: “That Stickie was for Penelope. Frankly, with her attitude, she could use some time behind bars.”
Dan: “So that’s it? There’s no, ‘I’m sorry I could have gotten you arrested’?”
Blair: “Well, you’re here. The party is lovely. Everything obviously turned out fine.”
Even if you already knew this conversation was being conducted because Serena was mad at Blair for (apparently accidentally) sending Dan to retrieve a batch of coke-filled tulips that Eric said he’d retrieve for a drug dealer after said dealer threatened to expose Eric and Serena’s mother for forging an affidavit that put Serena’s ex-teacher who is now her boyfriend in prison for three years, the tone at the very least is confusing. Were the writers attempting to make the audience feel disoriented, on par with sleep-deprived Blair? Or have they lost their minds entirely? By keeping the characters immutable and the story structure unrelenting, and piling story lines on top of each other, are they actually attempting to make this show into a parody of itself? Only in the fullness of time, when historians and scholars have studied the Gossip Girl texts, will we truly know the answers to these questions. Until then, all we can do is compliment and judge the accuracy of the minor details in our weekly reality index!
Realer Than a Mother of Spoiled Children Telling Them It’s Gauche to Open Presents at a Party, Then Letting Them Do It Anyway
• “There’s been a lot of buildup,” Serena says, lounging sexily in the corner of Blair’s bedroom. “After a three-year stint in the big house?” Blair replies. “I’d say so.” Plus 3. Someone had to say it.
• Dan, despite his best efforts to support/ignore Ben and Serena, can’t help himself from pouting out loud, “Since when do you like Scrabble?” at her — before going back to hiding between his sideburns. Plus 2.
• Ben’s advice to Eric upon his 18th birthday is to “be careful now that he’s old enough to be tried as an adult.” Plus only 2 for humor, because actually, you receive that honor when you turn 16 in New York state.
• Blair: “Great leaders only need three hours of sleep!” The average is actually four, but plus 2 anyway, because hey, she’s sleep-deprived.
• And her hair is actually … messy for once, as Dorota combs it. The stress really is getting to her! Plus 2.
• Chuck walks onto a scene talking out some plot exposition to catch us up from the last episode. Nate calls him out on it. “So you’ve said, several times … ” Plus 1.
• Nate smells his sweater when Chuck tells him to change it. Aw. Plus 1. That’s not the problem, dear. You always smell like a unicorn!
• Blair has enough black pumps with gold rectangular buckles that Dorota would put one from two different pairs on each feet. Plus 2.
• Dorota, to New Minion, when she tries to identify herself: “She has no time to care.” Plus 2.
• One of Blair’s interns claimed she had PTSD and threatened a lawsuit. Now, this is tricky. On the one hand, all interns are treated like crap, especially at Condé Nast, so the idea that Blair alone could push them over the edge is a little bogus. Then again, Condé interns are more entitled than most (“I’m calling Uncle Si!”), so maybe the lawsuit isn’t too far-fetched. Wash.
• Ordinarily, we’d quibble with the fact that an editorial assistant would be given her own blog two weeks into a job. But since this is W, Blair is the daughter of a famous designer, and the blog in question goes by the genius title the Blair Necessities, we’ll give it a Plus 1.
• Yes! It’s been a while since someone gave Chuck a good old-fashioned slap on the mouth. Hopefully Lily wiped off a little of that trout face he can’t seem to shake lately. Plus 3. Also: Twist! We actually were surprised by how that scene panned out.
• Blair: “Penelope, I see on Gossip Girl that you are between 36th and 48th Streets. That is a tasteful-gift-free zone. Get back in the cab.” Plus 5. So true!
• Raina is meeting Ivanka after having lunch with Nate’s mom. Plus 2. Also, as a Chicagoan, she is completely dumbfounded that it could take an hour to catch a cab in midtown and get over to the west side. Plus 2.
• Wow, Nate just used his eyes on Raina. This is bad news. No points, but early in the episode we already see where this is going.
• Nate says pot “makes me a better soldier.” Plus 2.
• At their rendezvous at the Oak Room, Thorpe alludes to a “memorable moment” he had with Lily: “I still have a soft spot for the bar at the Peninsula hotel.” Aw, Serena did get some lessons from mom. Plus 5.
• Thorpe compares Lily’s alleged marital troubles with Rufus to “what the Dodgers are going through with the McCourts.” Plus 2.
• Much as it confuses us, there is definitely some chemistry between Dan and Blair. A grudging Plus 5 for the scene where she mumbles an admission that she needs him, for the “Stroop effect” exchange, and for the sweet, curled-up image of them watching the Philadelphia Story.
• Wait, Vanessa has been sending Dan texts and “handwritten letters” since the fall and has just now decided to suddenly up and chase him down? Actually, that’s pretty realistic, as is the fact that her hair is carefully straightened for the occasion.Plus 2.
• When Dan marvels at the demand for $100,000, he says, “That’s insane, no one has that kind of money. ” Everyone then gets a little awkward. Plus 2.
• It’s hard to tell whether Rufus is psyched to have a line in the soap opera Lily and Chuck have conceived for Charles Thorpe, or if he’s just psyched to be given a line on Gossip Girl. Either way, he says it — “You think I’m a fool! I know what went on with you two, and I can see it’s still going!” — with great pride and enthusiasm. These pretzels are making me thirsty! Plus 5.
• Eric has a Rhodes trust fund? Plus 5.
• Eric’s party has Ke$ha blasting. Plus 2. Also, his claim that he has no friends appears to actually have borne out …
• Raina, a first-time Wii player, almost broke the screen by accidentally throwing the wand. Plus 2.
• “I hate professional gift wrapping,” Serena grumbles, tearing at a tightly wrapped present. Plus 4 for identification of a little-recognized but entirely extant Rich People Problem.
• “What else have you never done?” Nate asks Raina, and by the look on his face, you know he’s hoping her answer will be, “anal.” Plus 2.
• Blair: “I lost my job, I failed a test, I almost got my best friend’s mother arrested. And I’m in Brooklyn talking about it.” Plus 5.
Faker Than Anybody Ever Getting Intimidated by Pencil-Necked Ben:
• Gossip Girl spends much of the episode referencing the songs of the Rolling Stones, for no reason that we can fathom. “Painting it black has got nothing on the trouble one piece of purple paper could hold”? “I hear a storm is threatening someone’s very life today. Let’s hope they find some shelter, and it’s not behind bars.” Has she gotten ahold of some of Chuck’s really, really good weed? Or is Gossip Girl actually a sixtysomething-year-old man with a vinyl collection and a pervy obsession? Minus 2.
• Ben and Serena kept Dan up “playing Scrabble”? Um, nobody plays Scrabble that loudly. Minus only 3, though, because clearly Serena thinks “Scrabble” is what you get approximately one week after having to shave yourself in order to get rid of pubic lice.
• Serena calls Dan out for doing something so strange as going to midtown from Dumbo to get coffee. Minus 4, because when has she ever picked up a phone to have a quick conversation when crossing state lines will do?
• You could never dictate a test over Bluetooth — everyone around you would hear it. Minus 4. Also, penmanship doesn’t count. Minus 4.
• Eleanor Waldorf has a new house in Aix? Don’t you think France would be soured to her by now, what with her gay ex-husband and lover always flouncing all over the country? Minus 1.
• No way would interns draft editorial captions at W. Much of the time, those are the only words on a page! Minus 5.
• Damien gets his coke from Holland? Minus 20.
• Did Serena, on deciding to pick up the drugs herself, reference Mrs. Dalloway?? No points, but watch it, writers …
• Blair: “What do you mean you don’t know the price of the Prada clutch. You are Prada. Get me Miuccia!” Good line, but the idea that Miuccia would come to the phone for an editorial assistant, much less know the price of a clutch is laughable. Minus 5.
• Lily forgave Chuck that fast? That guilt for deciding to cheat on his dad just before he died is pretty strong stuff. No points.
• Would Chuck have really done that espionage himself? That seems a little, oh, dunno, stupid. There are definitely security cameras that will catch him. Minus 5. Aren’t there manservants for that? Where’s Chuck’s Dorota, anyway?
• Wait, speaking of, Blair’s entire plan for the coke scheme was to have Penelope pick up the drugs? Minus 4, because we know she’s tired, but still. At least send someone from Quintessentially.
• No one uses the word “gourmet” anymore, least of all anyone in their early twenties. Minus 3.
• Raina says she’s been having “business in bed” and “portfolio pillow talk” with the guys she’s dated her “whole life.” She’s like 20. Who’d she date before? David Karp?
• That was the much-anticipated meeting between Ben and Lily? She didn’t apologize and gave him a twinkly wave good-bye? Eh, Minus only 2.
Somehow, despite the delivery of Dutch cocaine in nonsensically tiny packets, a billionaire deciding to ditch a merger with another billionaire based on the mere words of a child in a suit at an 18-year-old’s birthday party, and the return of Vanessa, this episode landed slightly on the satisfactory side. So far, we’re even tolerating the development of the Blair/Dan relationship without too many negative symptoms. What’s happening to us? As always, put your own tallies in the comments and we’ll round them up on Friday.