Trench coats! Venn Diagrams! Red Hot candies! The plots within last night’s plot of Gossip Girl contained as many elements and were as difficult to understand as Sleep No More, the Macbeth-inspired show in Chelsea where much of the action took place. Chivey and Serena hatched a scheme to to get the attention of Gossip Girl. Blair planned to entrap Chuck, who colluded with Dorota on a counterattack. And of course, Diana plotted against everyone, with, as it turns out, a Sliver Fox we’ve seen before.
More Real Than a Band Playing to a Lone Bartender
• Sleep No More is such a great fit for Gossip Girl, which loves to dress up its characters in Gilded Age finery of all eras and make them wear super-confusing masks so they make out with each other by accident. Also, the show itself, which we got to see a lot of in last night’s episode, is so freaking weird and awesome. It’s fun to imagine parents all across the country walking into their suburban living rooms to see their kids watching that bloody bathtub scene. Plus only 4
• Despite writing a first sentence that really sings in the last episode (“Most people don’t even know what they’re talking about”), Serena has not made any further progress on her blog. Writer’s block. Plus only 4
• In real life, no one would mistake a person they knew for another person they knew simply because they’re wearing a mask. On Gossip Girl, however, where every single person has Hollywood Body and masses of hair extensions, this makes perfect sense. Plus 2
• The way Serena always talks about Gossip Girl “taking shots at people” is exactly the way people who are jerks talk about the media that calls them out as being jerks. Plus only 4, because as far as we’re aware no one has yet responded to these complaints by saying, “She’s just jealous.”
• “People who go to book signings are real readers,” Rufus tells Dan. “They don’t care if about being on ‘best whatever’ lists.” It’s true. They often don’t even care what book it is you’re reading from, as long as it’s warm and there’s access to a bathroom. Plus 3
• “Without the pressure of me on top of you all the time — so to speak.”
• Blair has a Venn Diagram of Old and New Chuck, in which “Russians,” “cheap liquor,” and “200-thread count” overlap. “What do you think would be most effective, having his shirts starched or getting him served blended scotch at the Empire bar?” Plus 1
• Wait, Ivy’s last name is Dickens? A little heavy-handed, but we have to give the writers props for going straight for the direct reference, instead of pussyfooting around and calling her “Ivy Climber” or somesuch. Plus 5
• Daniel Boulud really is crazy about apricots. Plus 2
• Is Serena’s necklace made of shucked oyster shells? These recession-era jewelry designers really know how to make it work. Plus 1
• Elizabeth Hurley can barely keep a straight face reading Gossip Girl’s headline, “Nate Archibald’s cougar and her cub in pride war.” Plus 2
• “I always thought you were too good to blog.” Plus 5
• Serena shows up to the party rocking a Jerry Hall look, which is really in right now, according to Jerry Hall. Plus 1
• Chuck has, of course, found the only bar inside Sleep No More set. Plus 2
• Nate’s grandfather calls Elizabeth Hurley from the back of a limo where he’s having himself a nice drink, and we find out he’s the one who put Project Cougar in motion. Thanks for screwing some sense into his grandson, he tells her, and for “rehabilitating his image.” Wha? Did someone put a little Alzheimer’s in Grandfather’s Scotch? Why did he think becoming the boytoy of a skeazy tabloid editor would be a better look for his grandson than working for a Senator or Goldman Sachs? Actually, okay, fair enough. Plus 5
Faker Than a Seventysomething Man Manipulating Teenagers in Service of an Elaborate Plot to Take Down a Website Called “Gossip Girl”
• The “New York Journal” carries a huge front-page story touting “Benevolent Bass.” Not even Warren Buffett and Bill Gates got font that huge for their Billionaire’s Pledge! Then again, neither of them look like Ed Westwick, so Minus only 1.
• Nate complains to Chuck of Elizabeth Hurley: “We don’t leave her house or the office, it’s just sex and work, same as before.” Minus 5, because no man has ever complained about this, ever.
• When Dan doesn’t show up at his readings, his agent calls his parents. Minus 2
• Serena bumps into Max, Ivy’s ex, who is on his way to a job interview at DB Bistro. He says he doesn’t know where it is, which is evident since he’s about 30 blocks away. “Why don’t I show you?” Serena dimples. Because, yeah. She’s going to walk all the way from Grand Army Plaza to 44th Street with a dude she just bumped into on the street? Who seems to be stalking his ex-girlfriend? We know, we know: This is Serena, who as it turns out was quite accurately depicted in Inside. But our point is: In those shoes? No way. Minus 2
• Everyone thought he was missing, but it turned out Dan was just in his bedroom. Minus 3. This reminds us of the time we “ran away” and hid in some bushes in our backyard. (That was last year, by the way.)
• When Lily and Rufus mention getting in the car to go to Boston, we thought for a second that they were going to visit their other son. You know, Scott? The love child they discovered they had in season three? Did you forget about him? So did Lily and Rufus. Minus 3, for negligence.
• Since Louis is busy with trade negotiations in Italy this week (good luck with that), Lurking Duties falls to Max, who in addition to chance meetings with Serena and Chivey in a city of 8 million people, easily strolls past office security at the Spectator, makes his way into Liz Hurley’s office the second Serena says to her boss, “I’m sure I’ll never see that guy again.” Minus 9
• In addition to wearing a mask, one of the things about Sleep No More is that you’re not supposed to speak. Much less have long, heavy relationship talks or explain loudly why you canceled your trip to Paris. Minus 3
• And while they did a beautiful job of showcasing the show — we got to see a lot of the set, a good number of the scenes, and beautiful close-ups of a lot of the actors — it’s more than most people see at the real show. Shouldn’t at least one of the people in the Gossip Girl cast have followed the wrong character, spent too much time poking through the drawers upstairs, or been unable to see shit though a tightly packed cluster of people? Minus 5
• Spoiled brat Dan is upset that “In Hartford, only ten people showed up” to his reading. Doesn’t he know that in Hartford, there’s only like ten people who read? Minus 2
• We love Chuck and Blair as much as anyone and probably more. But this whole, “I have to prove that Chuck is still the same!” plotline was just silly. “I had to kiss her to set her free”? Seriously? Minus 2
Despite a few ridiculous coincidences, a lot of convoluted plots, and an egregious Lurking Incident, this episode came out slightly on the real side. Next week: Will Scheming Old Man Archibald tip the Index back into nonreality? Or will drunk, depressed writer Dan Humphrey save the day?
Interested in compiling our recap of the recap? E-mail alice.urmey[at]nymag.com, subject line: Sound the Trumpet, Strumpets.