The Gossip Girl kids are ever transacting, aren't they? Bartering their bodies for desired outcomes, weighing and counting the merits of friendships, making cost benefit analyses, finally going ahead with the sale or not. It begins to get exhausting to keep track of—who's making out like a bandit, who's penniless, who's anti-capitalist, etc. Last night's episode especially, with its flurry of goods, services, and statuses being exchanged back and forth, willy nilly. A whirlwind! But anyway, let's dispense with this hackneyed metaphor and just get on to the "good" stuff after the jump. We began, as I hope we do more often, with a sunshine-yellow (those shirts!) breakfast at the Bass-van der Woodsen household, where Bart was finally making an appearance. He and Lily were going to be parents, you see and decided to lay down the law. Chuckles! None of your gallivanting. Boring girl! None of your whatever it is you do. Gay one! No more gaying! Serena reacted brattily and bitchily to the news, because well, why not. Her character has never shown any of those qualities before, making it completely inconsistent with whatever meager bit of personality that the writers had cobbled together up to that point, but whatever. She got to wear a hot orange dress and piss off her elders. Meanwhile, Enrique was struggling with his gayness after being kicked out of his house, but luckily his teacher Mr. Katimski was there to help him ou— Oh, wait a second. Sorry. I just had a My So-Called Life flashback. No, hah hah, on Gossip Girl the gay character, Erik, meets floppy haired boyfriends and brings them to brunch with his gorgeous sister and her gorgeouser friend, who are both chipper and curious. Yes, Erik has a boyfriend! His name is Floppy and he is floppy and a gay person. That is fun! Other gay people include: Dan Humphrey, who after being hilariously defensive about his lack of bromances, called up Nate Archibald for a little game of one-on-one ball play. Soccer! I mean soccer. In Latin America, they call it futbol. But here we call it soccer. Well, Dan forgot where he was supposed to meet young Nathaniel, so he went to Archibald manor. Which—holy Christmas!—had been SEIZED (it said so in large letters). Using his Nancy Drew-like woman's intuition, Dan went down to the garden level apartment, broke through the chain, and found inside a sad little scene. A tiny bed, a mess of clothes (Brooks Brothers, Dan cattily points out later), and probably some open cans of half-eaten cold Chef Boyardee. Poor broke ass Nate is squatting while his moms holes up in the Hamptons. Dan feels bad. Also feeling bad was Blair, who was being blackmailed with really old and who-the-f-cares info about the Duke and the Cougar (or whatever) by, um, Vanessa? Really? Again with the major character inconsistency. (Also despairingly inconsistent is V's hair, which last night looked like Gene Simmons' wig had been put in the dryer too long.) Vanessa wanted to save —ha ha ha ha—The Brooklyn Inn from wicked gentrifiers, even though... um. That place? Is pretty yuppie at this point. But in Gossip Girl land it's a soulful dive that's owned by a music-loving Magical Negro. And it must be protected! So Blair was forced to get petition signatures and she decided to get really Dangereuses about it and will Chuckles into a sex pact. If he destroyed Vanessa—humped, stripped of her favorite bar, one enormous dangly bling bling overdone earring missing—increasingly pathetic Blair would let him sample her new and improved Panini Hot Pocket. The game was afoot! Serena kept acting out, pissed at her moms for being all "I've been married 142 times, and now you will obey" about the whole sitch. Then she found out that Floppy had been disinvited from the big party—oh, yeah, there was some sort of party goin' awn at van der Bass acres—and she was all "oh, hellllll no" and decided to be a bitch to some reporters. "My mom's husbands have done cocaine and kept her away from us!" Lily was embarrassed, Bart's face tightened a little more (he's looking a little peaked these days, isn't he?). Eventually though, everyone realized that love was all they needed and Erik made the worst "our ringtone for you was 'Since U Been Gone'" joke that made me keen loudly for the Old World in which people who wrote lines like that didn't get hired to write for network teleivision shows, so they ate cake together and were, finally, a family. Except, um. Chuckles wasn't there. He was busy actually acting nice to Veronica or whoseits about her little Lafitte's Blacksmith. You see, he actually wanted to rescue the place with his oodles of money. Plus he got to be the good guy to this struggling Chicana. Yeah, a fella could get used to that. Too bad Bart had other plans for him. At the party, Bart said "no! no!" to Chuckles' plans and he felt sad. Then Blair acted the bitch with V, telling her about the wicked bet. Chuck was all pissed off and ended up back at the crumbling old aqueduct of a watering hole and told Bagger Vance that he would, by gum or by golly (if necessary), save this important booze parlor. Vanessa lurked in the shadows, vaguely impressed. Or something. Then Chuck, lying essentially, went to get a stiff Waldorfing, which Blair meeped and pouted for in her little red gymnastics outfit. They got almost there, but then Chuck—bizarrely! seriously, what's going on with all these characters these days?—asked B to say those three magic words. Those eight easy letters. And she couldn't. So he left to scour riverbeds like the catfish he is, telling Blair it was time she pursued him. Which just... didn't fit with anything. Oh well! Lest I forget, Dan and Nate fell more and more in love. At first Nate was angry that Dan knew about the pauperdom, but then he came over for chili and Dan took him in his big strong arms and petted his soft, Leeza Gibbons-y highlighted hair, and all was right with the world. Little Jenny fluttered around like a bird in a Disney movie and Pa Humphrey, kindly old King Triton that he is, sang a low song while the boys danced together, fumbling—like fawns, or Lt. Dan, on new legs—ever closer toward ecstasy. And so we close another chapter of our sordid tale of the way New York City was once, when a rich lady named Cecily fell down some stairs and during her unconsciousness dreamt of a place where Floppy exists, where boys will be boys and sometimes more, where home schooled Latina goddesses champion the noble cause of Carroll Gardens bars, and where a Valmont and a Merteuil are forever circling one another; each feint and bow and jab more piercing than the last, more urgent than the desert's need for rain. It's a silly world, but I sort of love it. Oh! And I should mention. There will be another Gossip Girl Summit! It is being organized by the hilarious comedienne Sara Benincasa (she of the outstanding Sarah Palin impersonation) and will feature an esteemed panel of funny and informed guests, plus shambly old yours truly. It's on Saturday, November 15th and more info is here. Hope to see you there!