“Good Morning, Upper East Siders.” In case you forgot, on the second episode of Gossip Girl, otherwise known as Statutory Rape in the City, the anonymous narrator really drums it in that this show is based in Manhattan, more specifically Upper East Side. “We Upper East Siders don’t do lazy,” she says at one point. And, after the social volcano erupts at The Big Brunch (the show has adopted the O.C. construct of always ending with a Big Event), she adds: “Some people might call this a flustercluck. On the Upper East Side, we call it Sunday.” Yeah, that’s right. Flustercluck.
The glory of Gossip Girl is in its implausibility. But even we have to recognize that there are some things that are painfully real about the show. After the jump is the list of things we found completely absurd — and strangely true-to-life — in the show’s sophomore episode, rated on our completely subjective point system:
Okay, We’ll Buy It
• According to lady narrator (Veronica Mars!), on the Upper East Side, “Breakfast is brunch, and it comes with Champagne, a dress code, and a hundred of our closest friends.” For New Yorkers we know, brunch comes with a hangover, your outfit from last night, and the shits. But we’d like to have it their way! +3. Just because it’s important to recognize there’s no such thing as “lunch” on the weekends.
• Serena is staying at the Palace. Brunch is at the Palace. Chuck and Nate wake up in the Palace. Chuck owns the Palace. If everything on this show is about the Upper East Side, why are they all hanging out at a hotel in midtown? +2, for recognizing that kids actually do venture outside of their neighborhoods.
• The Humphreys are hip and artsy, you know? So they live in Williamsburg. But do real adults with kids live there? We’re not so sure. Transition shots before scenes at their loft show the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, which we believe a bit more. Living in Dumbo but saying you live in Williamsburg makes much more sense. +4, for real-estate emotional conflict.
• Rihanna is constantly playing, in every situation. + 5.
That’s a Bit Rich
• During the recap of what happened last week, we have a delayed reaction to something. Apparently we’re to believe that after her indiscretion with Nate, Serena went straight off to Connecticut and enrolled herself in boarding school. Is that even possible? Doubtful. Even Hotchkiss is not that accommodating to the rich. [Valerie Burke, who works in admissions at Hotchkiss, says they never admit students mid-year, even the superrich and perfectly blonded. “We only have so many dorm beds, and we fill them.”] - 3
• Blair descends her staircase in full Mae West garb. She’s wearing a translucent dressing gown with bell sleeves and mules and what appears to be one of Alexis Carrington’s old teddies. Again with Blair and the lingerie! Maybe the show’s stylists think they are really getting at the motivation of the character — fancy undies are yet another way Blair is trying to hold the interest of Nate! Interesting. But back to reality: New York teenagers may buy their undies at Agent Provocateur, but do they wear them when lying around the house alone? - 7, for wishful thinking.
• Serena’s mother visits Papa Humphrey in Williamsburg for we’re not sure why. We’re also not sure why there are trees in this Williamsburg. The real Williamsburg has very few trees. Life simply does not thrive there. Neither do adolescents, see above. - 4
• Okay, so now Blair is wearing a corset and ruffled boy shorts. Someone at the CW needs to read this book. - 3
• Right, and every single thing that happened involving the plot. -11
So that all adds up to -14 reality points! Last week it came out even. This is a vast improvement!