The characters on Gossip Girl are steeped in problems of a decidedly 2009 nature, problems most New York residents will sympathize with. The real-estate bubble, the recession, the actions of a “certain imbecile former president,” as Dan puts it, are taking a toll on their wallets and their psyches. But these outside forces have not changed their essential nature. Like a variety of magnets stuck in the same force field, these creatures are forced to perform a constance dance of attraction and are repulsed by one another to varying degrees. Ferromagnetic ex-lovers Blair and Chuck, for instance, find themselves suctioned together at every opportunity, and though both also feel the pull of Nate Archibald, their connection with each other is decidedly stronger. Georgina Sparks is sucked away from Jesus to lock horns with her archenemy, Blair. Meanwhile, Vanessa opts to stay off the force field, — that is, in Brooklyn — this episode, so repulsed is she by her encounters with Chuck Bass. Dan does, too, which is a good thing for the writers, as if Young Mr. Humphrey were to set foot in Manhattan, he would no doubt be propelled toward Serena, thereby disrupting the plot for everyone else and making it another sucky episode wherein the real-life couple spends the whole hour mooning at one another. And it wasn’t a sucky episode!
There were some great one-liners, and the return of Georgina Sparks, and some spectacular clothes. And now, onto our weekly reality index.
More Real Than a Socialite Thinking the Subway Is Full of Mole Men (Because Honestly, It Is):
• Okay, let’s go over Blair’s awesome, back-to-form lines in this episode:
Faker Than the Idea That Murray Hill Is “Halfway” Between NYUand Columbia:
• We will never, ever, ever get over Chuck and Nate playing basketball on Chrystie Street, just south of Houston. There is not one explanation for why they would play there and not in some private club. Minus 3, because honestly. It must have been awkward for them to even film there.
• Even though Nate is dumb enough to say this line: “I think next year is going to be harder than I thought. Me in Morningside Heights, and her all the way down in the Village, it’s basically going to be like we’re in a long-distance relationship,” doesn’t mean that every single other character on the show isn’t smart enough to punch him in the balls for doing so. Minus 2.
• Lily: “I asked the caterer for a ‘99 Brunello; it’s not a PTA meeting!” Aw, that’s sweet. But even we’ve been to co-op board meetings uptown, and sorry, it’s not for your favorite vintage. Minus 2.
• Lily, Rufus and the rest of the adults are completely charmed by Gabriel. Don’t they think it’s at all weird that this adult businessman is dating someone in high school? Minus 2.
• Lily signs on to Gabriel’s crackpot investment opportunity after a three-minute presentation, and Serena effuses that “everyone” in the co-op will sign on hence, since an endorsement from Lily van der Woodsen is “golden.” Minus 5. Surely someone at the co-op that rejected Bernie Madoff five times knows the meaning of due diligence.
• Also, why does Poppy have to jump into Gabriel’s arms and wrap her legs around him every time she sees him? No one does that. Not even Lily and Rooster in Annie did that, and that was a musical. Minus 2.
• Serena: “I’ve done the two-girlfriend thing; I can’t do it again.” Minus 3because, aw, bless. Yes you have. Yes you can. And yes you will.
• Not to steal the thunder of Murray Hill (okay, to do so exactly): You can see the UN from the window of Nate’s new apartment. It’s not Murray Hill, it’s midtown — or at the least, Turtle Bay. Which, let’s face it, is awkward. Minus 4, because what the eff was wrong with the UES townhouse that he owned that his mother never, ever visited?
• Serena to Gabriel: “Without you, how else will all of the African teenagers send in updates to Gossip Girl?” Minus only 2, because we should all die a little for that.
• Serena: “Our board rejected Bernie Madoff five years in a row.” Minus 4, because come on — the van der Woodsens just moved there. And they wouldn’t have allowed them in if it was a truly classy building. Especially not with Serena wearing an undershirt.
• Blair: “Oh Nate, what are you doing here? I thought there was a Mets game. I saw Dorota wearing her hat.” We would give positive points for this, but to be fair, Nate would be a Yankees fan. The Mets are for poor, normal New Yorkers like us, who have no natural instinct for always winning. Minus 4.
• “Serena didn’t steal me. She swept me away.” Minus 2, because we’re quite confident no straight man in the world would ever say something like that, out loud, in public.
• Sorry, but wasn’t Georgina in Idaho??? Minus 10, because we thought only a flyover state could truly hold her.
• Of course Serena would have admitted immediately to Gabriel that Chuck and Blair didn’t like him. But she wouldn’t have the guile to think of the redhead ruse. Minus 3.
• Minus 3 for Chrissie, the Dove-sponsored “Real Life Gossip Girl,” saying that when she went to school on the Upper East Side, her family was like the “poor family,” which we strongly suspect is untrue.
• For what it’s worth, Chuck wouldn’t wear a double-breasted tweed topcoat. Especially not on an outdoorsy country trip. Single-breasted, of course! Minus 3.
Total: 60. Despite Poppy Liftin’s increasingly absurd haircut and not nearly enough Georgina Sparks, this episode came out on the realistic side. Until next time, Upper East Siders.