Oh look. The CW built us a time machine. And, hey, a date's already programmed in. It says "sometime in the 1980's." Huh. That's sorta vague and unfocused. Oh well. Let's step in.
WHOOOOOOSHHHHHHH!!!!! HEELLLLLPPPPPP THE EIGHTIES ARE SO UUUUGLLYYYYY!!!! WHOOOOOOOOSSSHHHHHH!
Whoa. That was a crazy time machine ride but it was worth it, right? Because here we are. In the 1980's. In California no less. LA, even! So... wait. Why does it look and sound exactly like nowadays? Well, a theory could be brought forth that trends and cultural idioms repeat themselves every twenty years so we're right smack in the middle of a late 80's revivalist movement, but really, I think it has to do with two people.
Y'all, I wasn't here last week. So I didn't see, and still haven't seen, last week's episode. (And I never will.) But I'll tell you this. Because I was in Paris for a week, I am now fluent in French. And Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage? Well, they're what the French would call Les incompetent. Yeah you, Josh and Stephanie. You two. What in the hell was that last night? I know you're big time rich TV writers now and you don't have to work hard for the money anymore, but that was some of the most phoned-in, awful, lazy writing I've seen on television in recent memory. Seriously. And I watch Degrassi. A lot. Shame on you both.
Anyway. The episode! So what happened was: Serena the Brave was locked up in the clink because, I can only imagine, she killed Poppy with a harpoon gun during last week's crazy marina showdown climax. Lily van der Hodakotb seemed to be responsible for the clinkering, and everyone felt bad for everyone else because mothers are terrible, and daughters are even worse, and Gil the prison guard just wants to go home and help his son study for the SATs rather than stand here like a total chach and watch these two dumb dizzy dames blonde-talk their way through fambly drama. But the world isn't perfect—in fact it can be quite shitty, the world can be like a paper cut—so everyone had to deal with this prison bullhockey.
Meanwhile back at Shittington Manors, a low-income housing development that a mean man wearing a cape and mustache built and sold to unsuspecting 90's washouts, Rufus and his two dumpling-cheeked kids, Geronimo and Dandelion, fiddled and faddled and worried and winked about Serena and was she maybe being mistreated in the penitentiary and made to poop in front of the other inmates, who are all scary and black and have hair that sticks up and are named strange things like Bertha and Denise. Dandelion was especially sad because, in last week's episode apparently, he had sex with Lily van der Beagle and Serena walked in as he was c'ing all over her f and she was singing/shrieking in Spanish and holy god, why was Wallace Shawn sitting in the corner, taking notes? But Dandelion really needed to feel good about himself and it was too early in the day for no no special place touching so he called Lily and said "We gotta help Serena, lady. I mean Lily think about it... Black people." So everyone hopped into Rufus' Ghostbusters car that he made out of old milk crates and the bones of the Pipes brothers and off they went to the dark and scary Arkham Asylum.
When they got there, Serena was dead.
Oh, I wish! No, Lily van der Brueggers and Serena just got in a fight and Lily said that she wouldn't change her ways and that she didn't care if it meant Serena hated her, she was a mom and her job as a mom was to make her daughter hate her. That's just Parenting 101. Grandma Rhodes was there too, whispering bitchy things in everyone's ears and gently jerking Dan off in the parking lot. So everyone fought some more and Rufus wept tinkle tears because, you see, last week he was going to propose to Lily, but after she had Serena locked up and then when she performed an Illinoisan Zeppelin Dive on Dandelion while Rufus watched through the slats of the closet door, he just doesn't know who Lily is anymore. Fighting. There was more fighting. Then Serena left prison, but on her own. Without her terrible mother or her drunk robot Grammumz.
Across town, a plot was unfolding of such stultifying dumbassery that it barely merits reportage. But, Denton pays me the big beans to talk about Gossip Girl, so talk about Gossip Girl I will. Basically: It was prom! Yeah, real genius there Stephanie and Josh. Your last chance to do a Gossip Girl episode about prom and you wedge into an overstuffed KFC Foodbowl of an episode that was trying to launch a spinoff. Terrific. Prom was like, totally wasted. But Blair didn't think so. She had a big scrapbook of Prom Dreams that she'd had since she was a little girl living at that home upstate, where everything was soft plastic so you couldn't get the scrapeys and everything, even the nurses, was flame retardant. So she had this big grand idea of what prom is supposed to be—the perfect gown, the perfect limo, the perfect dance, the perfect transgender Tasha Yar impersonator to be her date. Yes, Natalie Q. Thunderbritches was escorting B. to the big promenade, and boy was he excited to see what Mr. Slotnick, the gruff hockey coach who was strong armed by that needling bitch Nancy in the math department into chaperoning, looked like in a tux.
But there were so many problems. First their limo exploded and then the flowers and the dress were all wrong and then Mr. Slotnick died and was someone trying to ruin the prom? This is what Natalie asked his ex-boyfriend Chuck while they took a wistful stroll down the Champs-Élysées, stopping only at Fouquet's to get a coffee and chat with Audrey Tautou. After they left Audrey, they walked some more and Natalie turned to Chuckles and said "Baby, are you trying to ruin prom?" Chuckles smiled wanly and kissed Natalie delicately on the lips. "No, Puckerbutt. I'm not." And Natalie chose to believe him, because he'd once loved him so fiercely, so fully, so Frenchly.
What happened was everyone went to prom and Mr. Slotnick's widow stood in a corner in her black dress, swaying slightly to Sisters With Voices, furtively sipping punch that she'd spiked with schnapps stolen from the funeral home. Blair was wearing a special dress that was sponsored by Vitamin Water and Serena came too! Her date was Dandelion, who was all flush faced and red because Gramma Rhodes had just given him an Indiana Beam Tickler in the hallway before puttering off in her Studebaker. And that was pretty much it about the prom. I mean, the prom, guys! J & S, have y'all seriously never watched 90210? That's how you do motherfucking prom episodes, you dinks. This was just a shitty, warmed over mess. That you expected people to enjoy! That's what boggles the most! Blargh. Blair won prom queen even though the Weird Sisters tried to poison her, and it turned out in the end that Chuck wasn't the killer, that he was in fact the secret savior of the evening and that even though he was still in love with Natalie, he'd sell their little garret in Montparnasse and let Natalie live her life. "Goodbye!" he said as he walked away into the white Christmas light evening, his heart thump-thumping, a lovely song playing in his beautiful, blooming heart.
But it was all unnecessary! Because Blair and Natalie broke up anyway, because I have no idea why, because everyone breaks up every three weeks on this show, because Josh Schwartz was too busy taking a swim in his money vault so Stephanie Savage just got drunk and had her assistant write the script. Whatever the reason, Blair and Serena ended up sitting outside the prom, sharing their hopes and dreams and tenderly fingering each other.
Something else happened on this episode. And I... almost... can't... remember... what... OH RIGHT. The time machine! Josh and Steph built us a time machine and we hopped in it and now we are back in the 1980's, a place just outside of Charleston, West Virginia. See, while Lily van der Snitsen was fighting with that old lady who drinks gin out of a wee thermos and can fart "La Marseillaise," she had flashbacks to when she was a rebellious young shitstarter, just comin' up in the world and worrying her parents, Blaine from Pretty in Pink and Libby from Lost. I was really happy to see that Libby wasn't dead or in the mental institution, and was relieved to see that poor Andrew McCarthy is allowed some work release from the home. Poor Jonathan Silverman hasn't earned that privilege yet, and really, after all these years, probably won't ever. So good for everyone for working and o hai there Brittany Snow, I used to think you could act.
Now I disagree!
The 80's flashback/spinoff attempt was just so so so bad. Why even bother, really. Young Lily ran off to join the circus, which her idiot sister was already a part of. The sister was played by an actress pulled out of obscurity at central Horribly Annoying People casting, as was her 45-year-old boyfriend and Lily's butt-faced love interest. They cavorted and gallivanted around stupid Los Angeles and said stupid things ("Is this the part where you fall in love with me?" a@$#Q%Q$%$Q$#~!!! I wanted to throw something through the TV, but I would never actually hurt my lover) and then No Doubt showed up singing a song that didn't sound remotely like an 80's song. I guess the thinking is that since Gossip Girl's core audience was born in 2002, if Lily had been doing the Charleston on top of a flag pole or vulcanizing her model T's tires it would have seemed just as legit as No Doubt singing a brand new 2009 pop song because the 80's were so far away that most people who lived back then are either dead or bog mummies at this point.
There was a plotline of sorts about Lily's idiot sister doing a music video or some bullshit with a boy named—g(r)asp!—Van Der Woodsen. Yep. One of Lily's future fuckbuddy husbands. The kid with the ass face who looked like Elvis after a hotdog eating contest glowered and then everyone got in a coke-fueled fist fight and everyone ended up in jail. Just like Serena did for killing Poppy with that lanyard. See, the whole thing was parallels! Two lines that will never intersect but are sort of the same line. Mothers hate daughters and daughters hate mothers and boys with butt faces never get the girl in the bitter end.
What's the point of watching this show if we know already how it turns out? What's the point of watching this show if no one is actually going to bother to set the thing in the 80's? Dumb, arbitrary Rubik's cube references and shots of Jane Fonda workout tapes aren't going to cut it. For Christ's sake, That 80's Show looked more authentic. Embarrassing. What an embarrassment it was.
At the end of the flashback everyone died in an auto accident, when Yahoo Serious's Datsun collided with Delta Burke's Stutz Bearcat. Oh, and Lily went to live with Idiot Sister and Butt Face's face pooped, because that's what butts do.
Isn't that right, Serena?