‘Gossip Girl’ Embraces Friendships, Reality

Photo: Courtesy of the CW

When last we left Gossip Girl, Serena and Blair had just made up in Central Park. It was a glorious scene: fantastic outfits, fraught dialogue, rain pouring down — that showed their range. Well, Blair's range, anyway. And just like that, their major feud was over. This week, the bon-mot-tossing, label-whoring pair is all Stila-slicked smiles. Which is too bad for us, because the show known in some circles as Jeffrey Epstein's Wet Dream just got picked up for a full season, and what's it going to be about if not Blair and Serena calling each other sluts and battling it out in field-hockey uniforms? That said, it is a smidge realistic for two teenage girls who have been fighting for months and months to one day suddenly be besties again, isn't it? And that's what this recap is all about, right? Realism! Because if Gossip Girl is to live up to those that came before it, the greats like Dallas, Melrose Place, Sex and the City … in short, if it wants to win over the hearts and souls and disposable income of a generation of aspirational young women, it had best represent — or at least preserve the essence of — the lives of actual Upper East Side teenagers. Which is why we're keeping tabs on each episode. Below, our guide to what seemed passably real in episode four: 'Bad News Blair' and what came across faker than a Fendi purse at public school.

Passable Imitation
• Blair goes to Tiffany's*. "Moon River" is playing the background, and she's dressed in full Holly Golightly going on: black dress, pearls. Her hair looks kind of heinous though. She looks in the window and sees Serena, being served tea by Nameless Asian Friend and Nameless Black Friend, each of whom is wearing French maid outfits. Blair tries to get in to join them, but the doorman won't let her in! Serena's having all the fun while Blair's locked out. But wait: Cut to Blair in bed, pulling off her satin eye mask. It’s a dream. We were going to give this a Minus 2, because no one has dreams that are this obvious and only gay twentysomethings wear satin eye masks, but instead we're giving it a Plus 1 for the casually racist minorities-in-uniform thing. An Upper East Side princess would totally dream that.
• Blair's mom eyes her when Blair picks up a croissant. "Before you tuck into that, you might find the low-fat yogurt more appealing," she says. Oh, hell yes. We all know that kind of mom. Plus 6.
• Serena and Blair go shopping in Nolita. We're to assume that this is Serena's idea, because she's such a free spirit, and also because Blair is so weird about it: "It's called Nolita, not no showers," she says. Then, when Dan Humphrey shows up, Blair flounces off, saying, "When you're done with your charity work, I'll be at Tory Burch looking at … ponchos." Plus 2. Nolita may have $400 jeans and Hollywould flats, but to uptowners, it's still kind of like visiting another country. And, a bonus Plus 1 for the swipe at TB.
• Suited men leer at Blair and Serena. Plus 5. It would be more if homeless men leered, too.
• Nate and Chuck are surprised when their old friend Carter Bazin, who shrugged off his life of privilege for the privilege of bumming around the globe with a digital camera, strolls into their annual "Lost Weekend" party (more on that later). Where's Carter been all this time? "Yeah, I did some reconstruction work post-Katrina," he says, rubbing his stubble. "Spent a year in Machu Picchu. It changed my life, man." Ha! Plus 10. The Baja shirt is a little much, but this guy is a total archetype. Also, Plus 2 for Chuck's amazing line, "He looks like Matthew McConaughey between movies."
• During the extremely cool "Lost Weekend," we catch the boys doing outrageously uncommon things like playing Wii Boxing and going to the Lower East Side to play basketball in ridiculous outfits. Plus 2, because that's actually just what we'd expect from UES boys. Especially the ridiculous basketball outfits.
• Nate, when deciding to ditch his friends for the scary poker game, has to use his BlackBerry to figure out where Queens is. Plus 2.
• Near the end, when Serena is setting up a date with a skeptical Dan Humphrey, she says, "I'm hanging up before thou dost protest again!" Plus 3, because really, what teenage girl in the city doesn't think at some point that she's Julia Stiles?

Total: Plus 34

Obviously Fake
• The boys of St. Jude's celebrate getting through Ivy Week with the annual "Lost Weekend" party. It's at the Palace, of course, and since Chuck owns it, he gets to be the host. Before everyone gets there, he locks up his Piaget watch and a baseball he says belonged to Babe Ruth. "The only girls you talk to are the ones I paid for," he instructs the roomful of dudes when they arrive. Minus 6. One point off because after Duke and everything, it seems kind of doubtful that teenagers still pay prostitutes to come to parties. And the other five because Chuck so does not give a shit about Babe Ruth.
• Um, has anybody else noticed that studly Mr. Humphrey looks about five years older than his son? Minus only 1, because in real life the actors are seventeen years apart, which you know, is gross but possible.
• After Blair freaks out because her mommy doesn't love her, Dan sits down and they have a heart-to-heart, because his mommy doesn't love him either. Even though they hated each other at the beginning, they bond, and by the end, they're besties too! No, no, no, no. Minus 10. This is exactly the kind of scene that fucks up nerdy teenage boys completely. They think they can be all sensitive and kind, and girls like Blair ignore them in public and tell their friends how creepy and stalkerish they are.
• With his chiseled cheekbones and perpetually deer-in-the-headlights expression, Nate is probably the dumbest character on television. When he loses his high-stakes poker game with a bunch of glaring Russian dudes, he actually expects he can write them a check. When Chuck saves him, he does it with a concerned air, like someone charged with looking after an Alzheimer's patient. Minus 3, because beautiful rich people are at least a little smart. Right?
• Michelle Hurd plays Blair's mom's stylist. Um, duh. She's actually a detective in the NYPD Special Victims Unit. Everyone knows that. Minus 1.

Total: Minus 21

So in the end, we're thirteen points on the realistic side. And we didn't even get into the fashion-shoot stuff ("You're Britney with the umbrella! Posh in America!"). This episode was practically cinéma vérité!

Earlier:
Intel's Previous Coverage of Gossip Girl

* Wait! An astute reader who maybe didn't drink three glasses of wine during last night's episode has informed us that it was actually not Tiffany's in the opening scene, but Bergdorf Goodman. Thank you!

* Hang on! ANOTHER Gossipmonger just said told us the store in Blair's dream was not BG, but Bendel! This actually makes more sense, because Bendel was the store buying Blair's mom's clothing line. Also, it would make Blair an actual PSYCHIC instead of just a girl whose problems are so minimal she has really simpleminded dreams, which is interesting. Our DVR is failing is so we can't put an end to this important debate. Email us to let us know what store it looked like to you: Intel@nymag.com. Or, better yet: Email us during the episode next time you spot a discrepancy.