Another episode of Gossip Girl happened last night. There was, for the first time ever on the show, a party. It didn't go so well. People made out in the snow, and then someone died.
OK, actually I'm kidding about that last part. No one died. Well, at least not on the actual show. In my weird Miller Lite fever-dreams there was a passing, though. Anyway, the episode was mostly about the economy, and was exactly as exciting as that sounds. Do you hear the low keening and grim shuffle of an approaching Dance Macabre? Because I certainly do. The past three episodes of this bear have been DOA. And I'm kind of losing the thread of why I should care again. But still! Work to be done. On we go.
Little Jenny Humphrey was turning sixteen. Oh how exciting! She can drive her not-car to the no-parking lot and also it means she is officially a woman. You see she's just grown and changed so much over the last year, and she'd really appreciate it if her stupid old family could respect that. She's got a new shaggy haircut and everything! So while she appreciated her new mommy Lily and her new stepsister Serena planning a fabulous, catered soiree for the auspicious day, she'd rather have chili farts while playing Midnight Party with Erik and his girlfriend Jonathan. Serena suspected that this was because Jenny has no friends and nobody likes Jenny and sometimes there just aren't enough rocks. So she named her shrimping boat after the littlest Humphrey and set a course with her legless friend Poppy for Party Island. There they ate chewy-chewy cocoa beans and wove Missoni dresses for the blonde muppet. They'd throw the best party ever and Lt. Poppy would wear her new titanium walking stilts and all would be well with the world.
While Serena was off planning her End of the World Party, Blair was sneaking around town buying pastries for Natalie Archibald, the reverend's daughter who she was trying to court. She'd bring young Natalie pastries and play her songs on her mandolute like "Down to Georgia With My Brown Shoes On" and "Nearer My God to Thee" and Natalie would giggle and clap and wave her hand at the crooning Blair and say "Fresh..." Then they'd take a turn about the room and Blair would ask Natalie "What's the difference between a raven and a writing desk?" and Natalie would just coo and giggle again and say "Father will be worried sick about me!"
OK, what was actually happening was that Blair wanted Nate to break up with Vanessa and Nate didn't know what to do. Luckily for no one, Vanessa spied Nate getting hugged by his old friend Blair and was immediately suspicious. She sang a song in Latino language and then put on her best jet turbine earrings and flew over to Chuckles' house. Chuckles meanwhile had approached Blair during their approximately ten-minute school period and accused her of sexual flimflammery. "I fought for you," Blair intoned. "Don't tell me I didn't." Chuck grumbled and nodded. "Yes," he purred. "It lasted for three or so awkwardly-written episodes, didn't it." Blair insisted to Chuck that nothing, yet, was going on between her and Natalie, but that something might be soon enough. "You have no spark," Chuck shot back. No spark! Why just the other day Blair was unplugging Nate from the wall and she got a small shock. If that's not spark, I don't know what is!
So the stage was set for stupid drama: Serena was throwing Jenny a secret societie party that she didn't want, mostly because Serena wanted to feel like she could be a party girl again because remember that one episode last season where she was a party girl and then they completely forgot all about it because evidently not even the writers watch their own show? Yeah, well. That was that. Blair and Chuck and Ted and Alice and Vanessa and Nate were all going to have a blowdown at the party. Plus there was other drama...
You see, Dan got into Yale. He likes to talk about it and sometimes he plays his late-night 'Just Me Game' while rereading his acceptance letter. The only hitch is this: Though they live in a sprawling DUMBO loft and pay for fancy school and Pa Humphrey was a successful 90's rockstar, they don't have any money to pay for college. Dan didn't get need-based financial aid, most likely for the above reasons, so what are we going to do? Seeing the opportunity at getting a Court Minstrel at cut rate, Lily offered to help financially. "Thanks, Lily," Rufus said. "But my pride is more important than my son's education. I will sell the house and move in with you, though." Lily smiled. She had just the hat with bells on the ends picked out. This would be perfect. So Rufus decided to call a realtor before even remotely discussing the matter with his children and then the realtor called and Dan answered the phone. "Mrs. Humphrey, hi, this is the realtor..." Dan raised his voice and twirled his pearls and said "Yesssss. Do call us back, won't you?" Sure his dad had made chili. But he had also lied about the Loft. Sometimes people are two sides of a coin at once. Sometimes they are both day and night. Sometimes they make you chili while selling your house. These are the lessons of life, young Humphrey.
So at the party there was: fancy disco house trance music pumping into the van der Woodsen compound like air conditioning, Lt. Poppy teetering around on her hydraulic leg-lifts, her beautiful Asian warbride beside her, Erik and his girlfriend Jonathan sloppily doing a Maypole in the corner, and, when the elevator doors opened and the aroma of Lying Real Estate Chili came wafting into the unit, a befuddled Dan and an angry Kewpie doll named Jenny. Clad in a gold Missoni, she furrowed her face and said "What the pigeon fuck is this, Serena? Don't lie to me or I will end you." Serena pulled out a small Derringer and shot Jenny square in the chest. The birthday girl stumbled back but then caught her footing. She grabbed a table lamp and swung hard at Serena's golden, melony head. Thhhhhwack!!! it went as it made contact and blood sluiced out of Serena's face. Still reeling from the blow, Serena grabbed a letter-opener and lunged at Jenny. She stabbed her repeatedly about the face and neck while Jenny shrieked and thrashed around. Finally she grabbed Serena by her long hair and flung her clear over the sofa, sending her crashing down into the glass table. It shattered and Serena groaned once, then lay motionless. Heaving and bleeding profusely, the victorious Jenny grabbed her iBlackBerry and sent a note to Gossip Girl. "Rager at S.'s. Come on, come all."
Then Bob and Carol and Nate and Vanessa and Whosie and Charlemagne and Magenta and Mrs. Garrett and everyone showed up. What had happened was: Nate broke up with V. because he wanted to. V. said: "Is it someone else?" He said: No. That was a lie! So V. went over to C.'s and they D'd in the A and then he C'd all over her F and then they decided to go to the P together so B and N would be F'ing jealous. It sort of worked, but not really. Basically V. walked into the party and sucked face with C. while B and N were like "The F?" and then everyone walked away.
Meanwhile a ton of stupid high school kids showed up and started ruining the classy house trance disco dance. Poppy came lurching up on her steam-powered tin legs and said "Serena, this is getting seriously lame. Plus I think my warbride escaped while I was in the can." Serena said she had to stay so Poppy whirred and clanked off, upset. Serena then whirled around and threw a ninja star at Jenny's head. Jenny narrowly missed it sticking into her cranium, but it did cut her right by the eye, like bloody Cleopatra makeup. Jenny quickly grabbed a candle and threw the hot wax in Serena's face. "Aieeee!!!" the wannabe socialite shrieked terribly. She stumbled around, looking for something, anything to defend herself. But it was too late. Jenny had nimbly leaped over the kitchen counter and wrapped the toaster cord around S's neck. She wrestled her into the bathroom and roundhouse kicked her into the tub, which was full of water and votive candles. Serena sputtered and splashed and tore down the shower curtain, trying to get out, but Jenny was quick. She plugged the toaster into a socket then tossed it into the tub. Serena shook and frizzled and flailed and after a sickening minute or so, lay still again.
Blair lured Nate to a bedroom, where she hoped to F him in the B. She straddled him on the bed and tried to get him hot 'n' bothered, but it was to no avail. Nate just lied there, like a captured cat. Like a deer who knows its time is near up. "C'mon baby... why can't we," Blair cooed. Nate got a pained look on his face. And for a second. Just for a short, glorious, shining second I thought to myself: "You magnificent bastards. You're going to do it. Nate is going to say that he's gay. Holy Toledo, here it comes." But it didn't come. Nate just farted slowly and said he couldn't just then. Then he tried to rub his paw on Blair's head. "No!," she said in the worst line (out of many, many) of the night. "Only my boyfriend gets to touch my hair." She stormed out and Natalie quickly R'd one O while thinking about the Bowdoin equestrian team.
After yelling and screaming and pounding and heaving, a tearful, wild, hysterical Dan finally revived his beloved Serena. "Oh God, Oh God" he moaned, hugging her tight. "I thought you were dead... I thought she'd killed you... Just like the others. Oh God, Oh God," he wept. Serena blinked at him, her hair standing on end. "The others?" Dan blinked awkwardly, then smiled. "Sshh, sshh" he said, petting her hair. Their moment was interrupted when someone was all "Uhh... people are doing it in your bed, Serena." So she and Dan went to go clean up stained sheets and the party reached a tipping point because the police and, worse still, parents showed up.
Lily was furious and blamed Serena. She refused to take the blame and stormed out. Dan shrugged his shoulders and chili farted. Jenny said "It was meeee!! I don't want to be high society!!!" in a completely unearned because it came from nowhere monologue about feelings and status and being true to your heart and when will my reflection show and where do we go from here? You see, Dan had told young Jennifer about the Real Estate Espionage and she wasn't ready to be a van der Woodsen. "Well, little idiot," Rufus cooed, "That's actually not how last names work." But it didn't matter. Rufie and Lil knew they couldn't live together, not yet.
Serena went down to the VFW where Poppy was propped up on a bar stool. Turning to see her bruised, battered, fried-headed blonde friend, Poppy grunted. "The hell happened to you?" "Oh, you know, sweet sixteen party." Poppy nodded. "You wanna go to Spain? My ladyfriend Gabrielle is coming." So Serena said... OK! They were leaving the next morning! Squeeeeee!
Cut to: The Next Morning. Dan and Rufus had a heart-to-heart about money and schooling and Rufus said "We have time, we'll think of something." He stared glumly at the closet. Inside were some fishnet stocking and a pair of glittery, size 11 platform stilettos. I'll have to take the wig to the cleaners, too, Rufus thought. In a bed across the river, Chuck and Vanessa had just finished B'ing each other in various H's, and she was insisting that it was just physical. Which was just fine for Chuck. In the park, Blair went walking with Dorota, and was surprised by Natalie. "Oh, Mrs. Blair. I do think I love you ever so much!" Natalie declared. The music swooned and the comically cockney milkmaids cried in the background and that was the end of their snowy tale.
The episode also included a bit of intrigue about Serena and Dan's mysterious half-brother. They think he's dead, but he's not! He actually sent Dan a 'fan letter' about his shitty New Yorker short story. Ha ha ha. Dan thought someone actually liked it. No, it was all just a creepy strategy from his probably-deformed half-brother. So Dan called up the house, unawares, and spoke to the fake father. "No... he's... he's not here." When he told his worried wife what had happened, she whispered "He knows..." So they went up stairs to kill the kid. End of plotline.
Sure probably other stuff happened, but what does it really matter? I said earlier that this episode was all about the economy, and it was! Jenny was being class-conscious and didn't want to have a fancy b-day party. Rufus was broke as an m.f'in joke, like so many of us today. And, realizing there is an energy crisis on, Nate and Vanessa and Nash Bridges and Claire Arnold and Blaire and Natalie all decided just to switch lovers, rather than expend the resources of making new ones. Or maybe that was the lazy, impoverished writers' decision. This episode, and the past three, really, have all just been recycled junk from the show's first season and from other series. Last night especially was sloppy and over-warmed. I'm willing to lose a few plotlines per episode (let's maybe just try A Story and B Story) for the sake of some decent continuity and build. Lately this show is making 90210 look nuanced.
And speaking of nuanced, a direct time-slot competitor to GG is ABC Family's wonderful Greek, which just premiered its new season last night. I'm not going to try and Pied Piper you rats away from our once-beloved GG, because I still want all these kids to have a job and whatnot, but if you've got DVR, watch both. There's a layered, nuanced, but still really fun show for you.
No matter what you choose to watch, I do hope that GG gets better. I mean, next week's vacant lot no-holds-barred rumble between Jenny and Serena looks promising. As does the tawdry Dorota/foreign doorman sex scene, set in the broom closet at The Box. Whether S. gets in trouble with that guy Gabrielle to whom she introduced herself last year as Savannah, well...
Glug. Whatever that means.