Last night, we returned from our monthlong hiatus to find a world that has been turned upside down: The Van Der Woodsens have been exiled to Brooklyn, and Ivy Dickens is occupying their apartment. Chuck and his evil, scheming uncle Jack have reunited as friends. Nate issues correct diagnoses in the fields of law, journalism, and psychology. (“That sounds like classic Dan Humphrey overthink.”) And Dan and Blair are having sex.
But the most salient metaphor for how backwards things have gotten on this show is the dress Serena wears to Ivy’s party: It is backless, not her usual frontless. Symbolism!
And now, onto our weekly Reality Index.
More Real Than the Sudden Onset of Assorted Horrible Noises in New York City
• Jack Bass is perfectly tanorexic. Plus 3
• Chuck: “I just had an interesting conversation with Nate.”
Jack: “It’s about time he confessed his true feelings for you.” Plus 3
• Cedric! Plus 3
• Blair sets out to seduce Dan in lingerie and a trenchcoat — but leaves on her wedding band. Plus 2, and another Plus 1 for the lusty look William gives her after she flashes the family.
• Plus 2 for the really great self-important expression Serena gets whenever anyone recognizes her from the gossip pages. Plus 1
• For once, characters on Gossip Girl are going through something normal college students experience: trying to have sex despite sharing rooms with other people and other kinds of inconveniences. Plus 1
• The invite Ivy sends Serena that she posts to Gossip Girl is addressed to just “the Van Der Woodsen residence,” without a street address. Guess we aren’t the only ones in New York who know they live on 55th Street. Plus 2
• “You’ve been so looking forward to this Magnetic Fields concert,” Lily says to Rufus. Plus 2
• Oh wow, One Tree Hill is still on??? No points, but we’re glad we’re not recapping that shit.
• “You know I can’t do that,” William says when Carol demands money from him. “I work for a living.” And fake cancer patients are hard to come by in this economy! Plus 5
• “Don’t tell me there anatomical reason he always so lonely?” Dorota says. Plus 2, for the writers holding back on the kielbasa line we know they workshopped.
• And another Plus 1 for Dorota’s apartment: Granted, the furniture looks like it came off the street, but they’ve still gone to the trouble of creating a whole new set, which indicates commitment to further scenes in Queens.
• “Sorry, kid, but let’s face it, you’re crippled,” says Jack Bass. “Don’t touch me,” he adds, as Cancer Kid paws him. We didn’t really get why Chuck had to hire a fake cancer kid, but Jack Bass’s delivery was great. Plus 2
• At her party, Ivy races off to meet Lauren Santo Domingo, who would never come to a party hosted by “Florida trash,” and then we never see the actual LSD, probably because she would never agree to appear on this show, especially not in its millionth season. Plus 3
• But hey, look, it’s Dick Cavett! “You look like a million bucks before taxes,” he tells Serena, then ruins the family plot against Ivy by nattering on like an old man. Dick! Remember when you were pissing off heads of state and mediating literary feuds? Oh, well. Wash
• “It was the least sexy thing since Courtney Stodden,” Blair says. “I don’t know who that is,” says Dan. Of course he doesn’t; Dan only reads Harper’s. Plus 3
• Dan has a hairy pot belly! Amazing! And realistic — those waffles had to go somewhere. Plus 9
• “I like to think of myself as the Magic Johnson of Hep C.” Plus 2
• Ivy: shoving down tartlets, eating Lonesome Cake. Is she going to get fat this season like January Jones on Mad Men? No points, just wondering.
• We’re not really sure why this McKensie guy was the only investor that Nate, who is best friends with two billionaires, could dig up, but Plus 10 for him firing Serena anyway. “S by S” always sounded more like the name of a fragrance than a blog anyway.
Faker Than a Reporter at a Start-up Figuring Out the Jack Bass Blood Conspiracy
• We’ve known all of the Van der Humphreys for years at this point, and we’ve understood them to be empathetic, if shallow. Which is why it’s kind of inconceivable that none of them — not even Rufus! — will entertain the idea that Ivy actually came by her inheritance rightfully, after being thrust into her predicament by horrible aunt Carol. They don’t even express a flicker of emotion when she confronts them to their faces with the honest truth: “Now I see why she left me everything. None of you can even honor her for an hour.” If only Eric were around. He and Ivy would have had that place done up in Jonathan Adler in a matter of days. Minus 10
• The long moment in which Dan fails to say, “Oh, no, my parents are here, put your coat back on.” Minus 1
• Isn’t Gossip Girl a blog? Why would anyone need a specific computer to access it? Georgina could just e-mail Serena the link, username, and password. Minus 5
• Wait, Why do Ivy’s art consultant, personal shopper, and fabric shower-offer have to be from the Upper East Side? What 22-year-old loves heavy curtains and decorator tables? Minus 2
• “A beneficiary is not allowed to award an executor,” recites Nate “Man Bangs” Archibald, Sudden Estate Law Expert. “It could call the entire inheritance into question if he was working for her.” Minus 3
• “At least our month of failed intimacy attempts brought to light every potential problems. Oh and I moved the condoms to the dresser from the nightstand.” “That’s one I don’t care to relive. It wasn’t as bad as the time my dad and Lily … ” “Twice … ” Jesus. When exposition is your foreplay, no wonder the sex is bad. Minus 5
• Do you think when medical records are opened, they flash Hepetitis C diagnoses in bright red? Nah, neither do we. Minus 3
• No matter how grateful Chuck is, the wing of a hospital seems like an inappropriate way of thanking a confirmed degenerate like Jack Bass. Shouldn’t he have have bought him something more personal, that he would have appreciated, like a strip club or a casino or all of the Rockettes? Minus 2
• “Hey, dad, I’m glad it’s you, I wanted to ask you something,” says Serena. “Great, why don’t you ask me at Ivy Dickens party.” OR, you could ask right now, like a normal person. Minus 1
• Why does it seem like the only publication covering this huge hilarious scandal is the Spectator? The Post would be all over Ivy’s side of the story in a minute. So, for that matter, would New York Magazine. Minus 4
• Nate describes Serena as “our generation’s Dominick Dunne.” Minus 10
• Charlotte Rhodes doesn’t want William and Ivy to see her, so she hides … behind a coat rack. Minus 3
• “Take it easy on me in your column, Serena,” says Dick Cavett. Wait, Serena has been busting Dick Cavett’s balls in her column?? Minus 1
• No one makes it to 20 years old still thinking that vodka has no scent. Minus 2
• Sorry, these days, the kind of bar that would be called BKLYN and have “like 300 whiskeys on the menu” would be in the East Village, not Williamsburg. Minus 4
• “When a show is written by L.A.-based writers, lots of things happen in alleys,” a former Law & Order writer pointed out to us recently. “In Los Angeles, there are alleys everywhere. There are very few in New York City.” Or in Williamsburg. Minus 3 for Dan and Blair’s AlleySex.
• Blair’s eye makeup, though hideous, is remarkably un-messed-up after her sweaty elevator sex. Primer? Still, Minus 1
• Just because William said Ivy’s funds would be frozen at the end of the party doesn’t mean they were frozen the moment he said it. Billy Baldwin does have piercing blue eyes and a hypnotic voice, but he’s not magic; Ivy probably still could have paid the catering bill. Minus 2
• Minus 2 for disempowering Gossip Girl to the point that she has to beg Serena for the password back to her own blog.
This week’s episode came out on the fake side, thanks mostly to the Van Der Woodsen family’s jerkiness. Will the return of Gossip Girl herself make things right? We’ll see, next week.