Hangovers are funny. A particularly insufferable one last Friday morning prompted me to write a post about why no one watches teen soap Gossip Girl (no one does) in which I wrote that I do not, in fact, like the show. And, you know, I sorta still don't—I like the idea of what it could be much better—but it's really hard to say the show has no merits when last night's episode was so... good! Good indeed. Funny and plot-filled and slightly open-ended enough to allow for continued interesting stories in the coming weeks. So yeah. Today, at last, I come to praise Gossip Girl, not to bury it. While a few early scenes did take place out on Long Island, the fun picked up when everyone packed up and limo'd and Jitney'd back to pointy old Manhattan (well, OK, Dan went back to butcher block Brooklyn). Serena and the Humph couldn't stop knocking boots, even on that Hamptons-to-New York bus (that has nothing to do with the August Wilson play). They touched hands and then Serena ate the biggest strawberry known to man and that was enough to send them over the edge. They boffed in the bathroom and then decided they needed to take a break and then they boffed some more. Nate, poor Nate. He haz teh biggest sad evar. His pops is out on the lam, so the Feds are taking all his sweet, sweet haircut-buying money. His moms is all "let's borrow from Chuckles Bass," but Nate won't have it. Instead, he'd like to hit up his old lady, that forty-something-year-old he's been diddling (so far no enormous berries have been involved). So she sorta makes him her kept boy, giving him little envelopes of cash for services rendered. Meanwhile Uta Hagen rolls in her grave because Chace Crawford conveys all of these ups and downs with the same befuddled look. It's like a moth batting at a light in a dim old farmhouse. The only time he mustered something bordering on real was when he asked Chuck if he had a girl with him and then laughed because it's funny to think of his real-life boyfriend being with a girl. Oh, and about that old lady. She's the Duchess, step-mother to that guy Lord Foppington who Blair is trying desperately to hold onto. They kind of have this weird sexy-pex relationship, the Duchess and Foppington, but mostly I guess she glowers about his girlfriends. Blair threw a hilariously last-minute party (with the help of weary, delightful, text-message-receiving Dorota) in the hopes of impressing Foppington and the Duchess, but it was boring and pretend and the Duchess hated it and Blair insulted her bad botox. But then, heh, Blair caught Nate handing the Duchess her scepter and after yelling "oh my effing God!" she blackmailed a stamp of approval out of the mountain lion. Other things happened like Vanessa feeling sad about Nate and flirting, horrendously creepily, with Pa Humphrey, who has returned from his wild, Kerouacian travels across this great gurgling nation of ours, playing muzaks. He thought about going back on the road, but then after seeing some photos of his children doing perfectly well without him, he decided they needed him. Then they all had dinner and Dan said he was writing a novel and I cried bitter tears because no, Dan, you are not writing a novel. So yes. The episode was great and funny and full of intrigue and double-entendres and all that fun bitchy stuff you can only hope for, many times in vain, with this show. Series co-creator Stephanie Savage wrote the episode, which I'm sure didn't hurt. Please continue on this course, thanks. And please just lock Chace Crawford in a glass case and have him dance silently. Anything else is just... [befuddled squint]