‘Gossip Girl’: There Are Only Eight Colleges in America

Episode Title
Poison Ivy

In perfect sync with the Times Magazine's college issue last weekend, it's Ivy Week for the girls at Constance Billard and the boys of St. Jude's, and everyone's all gussied up in their navy blazers trying to impress the reps from various schools so that they don't screw up the rest of their lives. The characters don't look like they're having that much fun, and frankly, neither are we. The competition is meant to be all intense! And cutthroat! But in reality everyone looks sort of blasé about getting into college. This is mostly because they are not very good actors, but also, it sort of makes sense. The show up until now been delightfully implausible, but the underlying fiber of last night's episode rang uncomfortably true: As much as they bitch and moan and stress, rich kids don't really need to worry so much about getting into college — they're pretty much going to do okay anyway.

Other things, however, seemed a little more questionable–slash–patently fantastical. (Though, man, the end of the episode was awesome, huh?) After the jump, our vaguely researched, but mostly completely subjective, guide to what in this week's Gossip Girl was as fake as Melania Trump's face, and what could pass for real.

We'll Buy It!
• Blair: "My father left my mother for a 31-year-old model. A male model." Plus 10 for awesomeness.
• "Super-successful parents expect nothing less from their offspring. And when it comes to college, that means the Ivies. It's more than just getting into college, it's setting a course for the rest of your life. And those who aren't legacies are no exception. When parents have sacrificed for their children, what kid would want to let them down?" Plus 5. It may not be how your parents would have put it ("Your mother and I didn't work this hard just so you could make it up as you go along," snapped Nate's dad), but the sentiment is uncomfortably still the same.
• Blair's two unnamed sidekicks donned fake Steve Urkel glasses for the Ivy Mixer. Who hasn't tried to look geek-hot when the situation fits? Plus 3.
• An underclassmen a cappella group sings Fergie's "Glamorous." In chapel. Okay, singing it in a house of God may be a stretch, but high school a cappella is just that absurd. Plus 2.

Total: 20

That's a Bit Rich
• "Brown doesn't offer degrees in Slut." Wait — you can make your own major at Brown. So, Blair, Serena can major in Slut if she wants to. And she can do it Pass/Fail! Minus 2.
• It's beginning to be offensive how every time they cut to the Humphrey's "Williamsburg" apartment, they show a building directly Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Minus 1.
• Blair wears a Marni belt during field-hockey practice. Even she knows grass stains don't come out of white leather. Minus 1.
• Dan is number two in the class at his snooty Upper East Side private school? Then why does he want to go to Dartmouth? Minus 3
• After Serena stands up for her brother and makes it seem as though she's the one in rehab, someone purrs, "''I Was A High School Addict' is not an ideal college essay." Um, actually, that would be the BEST COLLEGE ESSAY EVER. She'd definitely get into Yale with that. Minus 3, for total misunderstanding of the application process.
• Nate's dad wants him to go to Dartmouth. He actually calls it the "old alma mater. But Nate, face flickering impressively from "blank" to "blank/tortured" — acting! — says he wants to go "out West." Presumably so he can join the cast of some other show. We swear the crap about his "future" was cribbed straight from the script of Freddie Prinze Jr. movie She's All That. (How gay is it that we know that?) But more important, what would Nate's chances of getting into Dartmouth really be, especially after he told the rep he wasn't so sure he wanted to go? In the Times Magazine, Winthrop Pearce Rutherfurd, whose family legacy at Princeton dated back to the 1770s, totally didn't get in. And he actually gave a shit! Minus 10.
• Serena and Dan are flirting together again. Yay! Oh, and their little siblings are flirting with each other, too. Hm. And wait, their parents have already slept together? Uh-oh, we smell something gross. Minus 1, for a little too neat incestuousness.
• Wait a second. There's no Ostroff Center in New York. Oh! Ha. Dawn Ostroff is the CW's president of entertainment. Minus 2 for accuracy, plus three for inside joke that lets everyone know that Dawn totally parties.
• Nate is always waking up on Chuck's hotel-room couch. But Chuck (who also implausibly drives to school in a stretch limo, so tacky) owns the hotel. Can't he get a suite with two beds? Or are we just preparing ourselves for some excellent bonus features on the unrated DVD set of the first season? Minus 3.

Total: -26.

So in the end, we come out with negative six points on the plausibility scale. Which is really off-balanced, considering that really, the only thing realistic about this particular episode was that the actors were pretending to be human beings. But if they can keep pulling it together in the end like they did last night, we'll keep watching and rating!