Graduation is kind of the most anticlimactic day of high school. There it is just sorta... there. You don't feel different, you just feel bored and pandered to. At least I did last night.
Yes, friends, I've been awfully sour on Gossip Girl of late, and unfortunately, that attitude shan't abate even for last night's season finale. While not as bad as last week's clusterfuck debacle of a spinoff attempt, the big graduation episode was still sloppily done and terribly written. What with the Gossip Girl non-intrigue and the ever-revolving dance of couples mingling and intermingling that they will do, one assumes, until the world has become occluded with the gray mists of oblivion and we are only memories of dust.
The episode began with brave young Gossip Girl saying that graduation is done just a little bit differently here at Constance's Billiards Academy. She was supposed to mean special and flashy, I guess? But the writers are lazy, so flashy and special ended up being twelve kids showing up and sitting in a dark-wooded room and Serena not even putting her fucking graduation cap on. No, she just tied the tassel in her hair like she was some kind of Indian from the Novel Ho tribe. (Ha ha ha, "Ho." That word didn't stop being funny in 1999 or anything!) My rage at these small details was only compounded by the setups and canards employed in the plot's wan unfolding. Little Jennifry Humphsy wants to be Queen Bee next year? But also sort of not? Blair says she gets to decide who is Queen Bee, but the Weird Sisters say it's up to them now because they don't listen to Blair anymore?
Whatever. Basically the Weird Sisters were bitching at Jenny in the hallway and then they were like "Oh, and here's your competition now, she's transferring in next year." And then the girl said "Hey Jenny, if you're sick of taking the subway you can always sleep over at my house, I live on Park Avenue." And she said it in a super acidic bitchy way. Because, right. That's how you get served. When someone who you've never met invites you to a school night sleepover. Terrific. And, also? Why was the new girl who doesn't even go to the school until September just wandering around the halls unattended on graduation day? Like, really Gossip Girl writers? You're just gonna have some random character walk into the frame because she's required at that moment. Hang Time had better writing than that.
If this all sounds a bit too harsh, it probably is, because who really cares. But my beef is this. Clearly a lot of time is spent on coming up with zingy one liners that everyone is hoping will become pop culture catchphrases and notable quotables. Sometimes those lines land really well! But most of the time they just seem meant to distract from the huge, gaping, stupid plot holes and bad storytelling. If the writers spent half as much time actually writing the script as they do coming up with stupid designer clothing puns, I think we'd have a much better show on our hands. Ugh. I'm sorry. I'm ruining your special day, Gossip Girl! It's your graduation! Let's sit down for the ceremony.
Oh, there you are Rufus. Oh, yes hello Lilian. Well this is awkward. It certainly is. Oh great now that chatterbox Wallace Shawn is sitting behind us. Oh no, he's telling us to get married. Because that happens, normally. Someone you met one time telling you to get married to someone he met one time. Yeah, the world works this way. The world works this way. Oh! The kids! Everyone applaud! There's Natalie, she looks lovely. And Daniel, oh my little buttface. Hey Serena, where's your hat? Hi Blair! You look sad. So do you Chuckles. Are you in love? And... um... Vanessa...? Wait. Why do you keep showing up to random places that you don't belong? Why are you here?
Why is Vanessa ever anywhere?
Before the ceremony some stuff happened where Blair was sad about Chuck and Nate and Vanessa made careful wordlove to each other right there for everyone to see. But now everyone was sitting down for the big ceremony and Vanessa was in the bathroom choking on sobs and wee fistfuls of Valium. Then, suddenly, like a loud moan from heaven or a bright flash of purple light in the sky, er'body's phone started bumpin'. It was one final (???) missive from Grossip Grill. "Hey Upper East Siders," it began. "Happy graduation, you're all idiots. But especially these five idiots. Here are senior superlatives."
And then she called Nate a Slut and Dan an Insider and Blair a Walking One Liner and Chuckles a Catfish Face Who Increasingly Looks Like a Lesbian Made Him Out of Wax and Serena... ohhhhhhhh Serena. She called Serena officially Irrelevant. A bitchy and dismissive and wonderful word to use on dumb old Serena! The whole class was scandalized. Oh, ha ha ha. Noooo. No they weren't scandalized because those five weirdos were once again the subjects of Gossip Girl. They were scandalized because they were the only five kids mentioned. Out of the whole class. Just those five. So either it's all some nerdy cabal that no one else wants to be a part of, or once again everyone's lazy and dumb and no one thought to just, for veracity's sake, add a few more rumors about players or characters we haven't met before. Gurgle.
OK, Gossip Girl. You want to focus on the same dumb five people instead of divulging secrets about the rest of the Billiards Academy senior class? Well then I'll do it for you.
— One time last summer on Fishers Island, Schuyler Dennis got really drunk at The Big Club and ended up making out with a Choate boy in his parents' Volvo. But in the harsh light of the early New England August morning? That Choate boy turned out to be a Rosemary girl. Schuyler never told anyone about her Sapphic tryst, but she thinks about it all the time.
— Back in October Pierce Fletcher got a Prince Albert. But it got infected and his thing almost fell off. Thought that sexy limp was a lacrosse accident? Think again...
— One time at equestrian camp, Dana Marx-Sutton and Cassie Fensley got super stoned on Dana's dad's premium bud from the Caymans and they ended up wandering into Greenfield Park and hooking up with some townies. Cassie ended up getting HPV and Dana? Well let's just say that Dana's last-minute skiing trip to Pike's Peak was actually to another PP entirely.
— Remember sophomore year when Shana Waxman-Gross's older sister Monica was dating that hottie, Thayer Williams? Well it turns out that Monica must be hairier than Mr. Kadowski's forearms. I mean, how else could she be Thay-Thay's beard? Yep, Thayer Williams met a Regis grad named Patrick Doyle when he was a freshman at Haverford, and they've been dating ever since. And, actually, they just got married last month in Brookline. Yeah. They seem really happy, actually. Thayer teaches third grade at BB&N and his husband(!) works at Berklee College, in admissions or something. And Shana was totes invited (no, she wasn't in Biarritz like she said), in fact Monica was Thay-Thay's maid of honor. It was so nice. It was at Lars Anderson and the weather was warm and beautiful and everyone seemed so happy. There was champagne and dancing and little while christmas lights and it was just one of those evenings when, years later, all bundled and twined up by age and little mounds of loss and regret, you can just think back on and smile. Because everything fit perfectly, like some things do, a few things do, once in a very rare blue while, in this big weird world.
— Oh, and Missy Thatcher totally killed a hobo when she was on PCP last Christmas.
So there. Now all the secrets are really out.
After the Gossip Girl info dump, everyone was reeling. At some big classy apartment gala after the ceremony, the Big Five decided that they would uncover Gossip Girl's true identity. Serena especially, because she was so so so upset about being called irrelevant because of course she was relevant! She didn't wear a graduation cap for God's sake! I mean, fashion!!! After some minor intrigue, the kids did some very, very simple math and figured out that because the first GG blast went out their freshman year, then the person must be in their grade. They're like Mathnet! Serena decided to end the thing once and for all and so, gazing out at all the booze-fed young futures of America, she sent a twitter tweet text email to GG and.... brrrrriinnnnggggg! went a phone. A gay phone. Gossip Girl was Erik the Lonely's floppy boyfriend, Jonathon. Cut to commercial!
OK, we're back from commercial. Turns out, heh heh heh, that it actually isn't Jonathon. Because, um, why would it be. Instead Jonathon had conveniently hacked into GG a couple weeks earlier and he'd seen all these emails and there was soooo much stuff about the Big Five that had never made it onto the interservers. Including the secret of Blair and Jack Bass the Jackass. You know, that they boned on New Year's. Jenny found this info and realized that this could be her ticket to Queen Beedom. Because the Queen Bee Cup can only be won by disclosing a juicy bit of gossip at midnight. At Nate's big warehouse ball.
At the warehouse party, Blair wanted Chuck to love her so she seduced him in the most awkward foreplay scene I've maybe ever seen on television. Serena was still weepfarting about being irrelevant, and Dan was busy imagining scenarios in which Nellie Yuki was deeply, deeply in love with him. Because Nellie drunkenly galumpfed up to him and said "There's something I want to tell you..." Actually, she was going to tell Dan that his fly was unzipped, but everyone was rudely interrupted when another Gossip Girl blast came rumbling through the cell lines. GG, enraged by Serena's ace detective work, decided to send out the secrets. Everyone knew about Miss Carr and Dan! And about Vanessa and Chuck! And, as Chuckles discovered just before he mounted Blair and began The Inserting, about Jackass Bass and Blaironica. Oh dear. What a weary, horrible place New York is.
Blair gave an impassioned speech to Chuck that went something like "I'm a girl... standing in front of a catfish... asking him to love her... and also asking him to forget that she fucked his brother." But Chuck couldn't do it, so he said "Go Go Gadget Copter" and puttered off into the silky night. Of course everyone totally blamed Serena for the whole beans spilling mess, because everyone always blames the people who are irrelevant.
So Serena ran away and Nate came tumbling after, saying "Don't worry, everyone will forget about it... eventually." Which was hilariously cold comfort. "Don't worry. I'm sure in thirty years, people won't be mad at you. They'll just be coldly indifferent." Serena wept, snot and goo pouring out of her face, and she said "This is it." She texted GG and said "Meet me at Oak Room." Because... right. Because after all this time GG would say "Oh, OK. Someone wants to meet me. Fair enough. I'll do it."
Back at Humphington Manor, Rufus was watching old Lincoln Hawk concert bootlegs on YouTube and furtively touching himself when Lily showed up. She was carrying Haitian beer and a bag full of something. She said it was from Chuck's room, so I guess we were to assume it was marijuana. My roommate said it would be funnier if it was coke, because wouldn't it be fun and dirty if they just stayed up all night drinking warm beer and blowing lines and listening to Gin Blossoms really loud. But no, I'm pretty sure it was weed and they got frittered and looked at each other gummily and aw what the hell, they decided to get married. So that's nice for them.
At the Oak Room, Serena and Natalie waited anxiously for Gossip Girl. Nate is an idiot, so he assumed that everyone who walked in was Gossip Girl. "Merciful Crap Balls, Gossip Girl is a Greek merchant and his beautiful young bride, Illana." "By Hook and By Crook, Gossip Girl is a group of lost Dutch tourists!" "Great Archimedes' Pan Flute, Gossip Girl is Dan!" Serena sighed and stared hard at dumb little Natalie. Then she shriekd. "Harmony Korine's Ghost, Gossip Girl is everyone on the show!" Yes, everyone showed up. Everyone who's ever been on the show. There was the dead cocaine guy, glassy eyes beaming. There was Aaron the rat-faced boy, gnawing away at a stool leg. There was Lisa Loeb, melancholicly playing a banjo. Gossip Girl sent an email that said "I'm all of you. You're all to blame. But now that your secrets are out, everyone has a clean slate. See you in college!" Everyone nodded and Jimmy the Greek said "drinks on me!" and the beleaguered bartender sighed and said "Guys, I just heard you saying you graduated from high school. I can't serve you. This ends here."
But of course it doesn't! Because Gossip Girl is following everyone to college. It'll be like Facebook, with more and more colleges being added until it's for just about damn everyone. Colorado College Gossip Girl ought to be interesting for the one Billiards Academy grad who's going there. ("Huh. Apparently I cheated on my boyfriend, Calvin.") As will UCSD, for twins John and Maisey Banks, ("You slept with a girl in your Chem class?" "Yeah." "Oh. Huh.") But mostly, of course, we are still referring to the Big Five. Plus, um, probably Jenny.
See, Jenny and Blair teamed up after Blair was sad because Chuck never can say "I love you." Which, by the transitive property, means he's in sorry with Blair. (Think about it.) Blair said "you have to be a bitch, Jenny. Just like Queen Elizabeth." It was a fairly decent bit of referential writing, I guess, so I'll give the episode that. Blair and Jenny swooped in on a meeting of the Lemoncake Stupid Society and declared it under new management. The Ascension and Headband Coronation happened right then and there, and Jenny made her first edict. No more headbands! Oh, comedy.
After all the gossipy rubble had been sifted through, there was an eerie calm. Serena was headed to Europe for undisclosed reasons, and Blair was wallowing in her frilly sadnesses. Dan and Vanessa were sitting at an NYU coffee shop, because everyone is going to NYU and everyone starts college a week after high school graduation. These are just facts! In sauntered Natalie Archibald, who had some news. See, at the big champagne grad party, he decided that a crowded room was the perfect place to talk privately with his Grampapa about that time he screwed that old lady and she paid him for it. Grampapa sighed and said "We'll keep it quiet... It was your grandmother, wasn't it?" Because of this conversation, or because some lady at his new internship was hitting on him (Dan: Is she hot? Nate: Dude, totally. The Entire World: Oh, come on.), young Natalie decided not to continue his life in politics. So, he reinvited himself on Vanessa's big backpacking trip. How she's financing this thing, I have no idea. But, details. There was a weird interlude where some black haired fairy pretended to be going on the trip with Vanessa just to mess with Nate, but it was wildly unclear when that whole thing was set up and my brain sorta fizzled and smoke curled out of my ears and it was almost the end of the episode so I decided to press on.
So, Vanessa and Nate. Rekindled, perhaps. And that mysterious raven-haired Link in the corner? His name is Mitsy St. Halfbrother and he is Dan's half brother and they will be at NYU together. INTRIGUE. Also at NYU? Georgina! And she's requesting to live with Blair! NOT AT ALL INTRIGUE. God, seriously, folks? Georgina in fall 2009? I think I might be checking out of this heartbreak hotel.
Then Serena got a meeting from the bonny gay prince from Kings and he said "I found your dad on a Greek isle." Serena blinked. "Is he still married to Illana?"
No, he's not still married to Illana but he is hiding out somewhere and Serena said "Hop in!" to the gay prince and they zoomed off to Greece in their limo. Glug glug glug they'll go as they zoom off the edge of Manhattan and into the Atlantic, like Tia Carrere in her sad exploding limo at the end of True Lies.
And Blair. Blair was glum and wandering the city and then Chuck showed up. With chocolates from Paris. And pantyhose from Germany. And Collin Farrel's corpse from Bruges. And a small, sobbing street kid from Romania. It was beautiful! And then Chuckles opened his gigantic maw and out poured the sweetest mumblings Blair had ever heard. "I love you!" he said.
And they kissed.
"I love you!" he said again.
And they kissed some more.
"I love you, I love you, I love," the phrase coming fast and furiously and meaningless now.
The cameras tilted up and launched into the sky. Over the blurry impressionist greens of Central Park. The stolid browns of midtown behind them. And there was New York, left to twirl and wander alone until next fall. Are you not entertained?
Oh, and I'll tell you one more juicy Gossip Girl secret, dear readers. After all these shadows did offend, all the other kids at Billiards Academy had the real graduation party. They rented out the Boat Basin on 79th and the river and there was grilling and beer and some kids started a game of flipcup and, man oh man, everyone was friends! How great things were without the Big Five. What a shame, then, that everyone was scattering, like dandelions in the wind, out to places and schools and lives faraway. They always say that you don't know what you got til it's gone, but really you usually don't know what you got until it's almost gone, which sort of makes it crueler, doesn't it? But at least all the boys and girls of America can enjoy these final few days, these glistening glimmering shimmering afternoons, these starry giddy nights, before their lives move ahead one more space on the board and the difficulty of the game begins to snap clearer into focus, faster and faster. Before they begin to see that wall here, that obstacle there, things blocking them everywhere.
For now at the Five-less Billiards party, the world is precarious and open ended and time passing is exciting instead of scary and sad. Just the way it should be when you're 18 and your heart isn't heavy and the summer is calling. Enjoy it, mysterious friends.
And to you, dear readers? I just say: