This episode of Gossip Girl was all about the sweeping, romantic gesture. Vanessa got one of Dan's short stories into a fictional fiction issue of The New Yorker, then put aside her getting-kinda-creepy feelings for him in order to help Serena create the second-perfect gift for Dan. ("He's not really into things," Vanessa told Serena smugly. God, we hate Vanessa. But more on that later.) Also, Blair's mom found it in her heart to accept her ex-husband's Eurotrash new boyfriend, Chuck's dad proposed to Lily, and Dan flouted Palace rules by sneaking a Christmas tree into the Van der Woodsen apartment. "What you are doing for Serena is so romantic," Jenny told him as they lugged the giant fir down the street. "I wonder what mom and dad are getting each other for Christmas." We soon find out: a divorce! Hands down, Rufus's coatless, Zhivago–like trek from Dumbo to the Upper East Side in order to reclaim his one true love, Lily, was the most romantic gesture of all in this week's episode. It was also, like much of this week's Victoria's Secret–sponsored episode, just a bit unrealistic. No one in history has ever walked that far, not even Lewis and Clark. Especially in winter! No matter how much warm Lily–love was coursing through his veins, a thin thermal is no match for the gusts of wind that crusade across the city in December. In real life, Rufus would probably have gone the way of the Little Match Girl right around 14th Street.
And with that! On to our mind-shatteringly detailed guide to what in this week's episode of Gossip Girl could pass for real-life New York experience, what seemed kinda fake, and what really put the "Jesus Christ" back in our Christmas.
As Pure As Fake Snow on an Odd-Looking Loft Skylight
• We paused the episode long enough to make a quick scan of the Gossip Girl home page. It was pretty simple, but it wasn't a blogspot or TypePad page, so our gal must have a little HTML experience. But the "Pics" and "Parties" tabs are probably things that she'd have on the page. Plus 1. There's also a "Links" tab. What would Gossip Girl link to?, we wondered. New York Social Diary? The LOLCats? Planned Parenthood?
• We were surprised and delighted to see the all-girl a cappella group from Constance Billard make a return at the holiday auction. Their awkward almost-choreographed dance moves are perfect, as is the coquettish Betty Boop finishing squat. What a cappella girls (okay, and let's be honest, boys) haven't made that move? Plus 3.
• At last, Gossip Girl drops its Parent Trap–ings. In this episode, Jenny learns that while you may be able to drag your mom back to your Brooklyn apartment from Hudson, you cannot stop her from having dirty-sex fantasies about a guy named Alex or being too unlikable to remain on the show. Similarly, Blair's trick of inviting her dad's boyfriend's ex-boyfriend to her mom's Christmas Eve party fails to create whatever convoluted circumstances she imagines will cause her dad to move back to New York and actually just manages to get her in trouble. Plus 2, because even smart kids get stupid when their parents act like slutty children.
• The first time we meet Romaaaaahhn, he is wearing a perfectly lovely cashmere V-neck sweater. With a perfectly disgusting disco shirt underneath. Wow, writers — somebody has a late-blooming gay uncle, huh? Plus 3.
• Jenny tells Dan that since he got his dream girl and got a story in The New Yorker, "he might as well just die." "That's true," Dan replies. "I may have peaked." OH, GOD, WE ALL PEAKED JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL. Plus 10.
• Though he often seems perfect, Dan does have negative attributes. For instance, he's pretentious (remember that time he watched I Am Curious Yellow? To learn about sex?), has a self-righteous-dick streak (Remember how he wouldn't speak to Serena after he found out she slept with Nate?), and in certain lights, has the overcast look of a heavy smoker. The dickiness unfurls itself spectacularly during his exchange of Christmas gifts with Serena, when Dan ungraciously refuses to accept Serena's gift of a watch: "Did I overdo it?" she simpers, causing him to snap: "I think even your underdoing it would be overdoing it." Later, he actually weasels out of spending the agreed-upon 50 bucks on her present by stealing her a Christmas tree. Sigh. We can see where this relationship is going. Thirty years from now, Dan will be calling her stupid for watching Julia Roberts movies and screaming at her over credit-card bills, and Serena will self-medicate with Botox and diet drugs. Still, Plus 3 for finally embracing authenticity. Dan has been a little too unrealistically great before.
• Serena originally rejects Vanessa's offer to help shop for Dan because she wants to pick out his Christmas present on her own. Plus 1, because obviously Vanessa would want to be in on the perfect present and be able to say later, "Guess who helped her pick it out?" But Serena was too dumb to realize this and asked her for help in the end. Plus 1. Then Blair sees what's up and uses all her powers of bitchery to scare Vanessa off. Plus 1. Then Serena wins the contest the only way she knows how, by giving Dan sex for Christmas. Plus 1. Did the writers go to high school with us or something? (Also, did anybody notice in the pre-show teaser, there was an ad that said "Happy Holidays from the CW," and they showed a clip of the scene where Dan and Serena have sex? We wonder what would happen if we played that alongside Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad. Would the world end?)
• Blair wanted to have tea at the Carlyle with daddy. So real. And so glad that wasn't our life. Plus 2.
• Chuck's text message to Blair: "Just one question: How did you fake your virginity for N?" That is such the kind of message that an asshole teenage boy would send. In real life, later texts would contain "tuna fish" comments. Plus 3
• Dan jokes about making his own cheese. He's a locavore! Plus 1.
• When Chuck photo-texts Blair a pic of him and Nate on the beach, Nate is shirtless and Chuck is wearing a hat, polo shirt, and sweater. Plus 3.
• Holy hell. Are adults really just as awkward as regular people? Rufus calls Lily while she's at the Waldorf party, and she confronts him: "If there's something you want to say, you should go ahead and say it." "Is there something you want me to say?" he shoots back. We swear to God, Brody and LC had this exact conversation on The Hills. Plus 3
• Vanessa sure is a whiz at the computer. OH MY GOD SHE IS GOSSIP GIRL. Plus 1, because we think we're so clever.
• "We've been friends for a long time," Romaaaahhn tells Eleanor. "Since before Marc Jacobs went into rehab." Hahahaha. Ouch. Plus 1.
• Oh my gosh! Dan and Serena are both so surprised that they end up having sex! BUT: WHERE ARE THE CONDOMS? Plus 5.
• On Christmas morning, Eleanor didn't want to kiss her one-night stand good-bye. Adults are too classy to pretend they still like you in the morning. Plus 2.
Total:49 reality points!
Faker Than Clean White Snow on the Sidewalk
• Dan gets published in The New Yorker. Minus 4, because we become incensed when someone we know writes a "Talk of the Town."
• Okay, so let's get into this Victoria's Secret business. Now, we don't really have a huge problem with product placement: We want to continue watching TV shows sans commercials and whenever we feel like it, and we know that the networks still have to make money. And, we've pretty much come to terms with the fact that The Man is in control of our minds; in fact, these days, we barely even notice. But last night, even our corrupted little brains revolted against the constant promotion of Victoria's Secret. Supposedly, Blair's mom was designing a line of "retro lingerie" for them, and she was passing out Victoria's Secret gift bags and all "I am meeting with the CEO of Victoria's Secret." "You know, I'm doing a line with Victoria's Secret." "I was in Victoria's Secret." Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret! It drove us nuts. Not because we felt manipulated, but because it was just so wrong. Not only would none of the people on Gossip Girl actually wear anything as down-market as Victoria's Secret, Eleanor wouldn't be caught dead designing a line for them. That's like if Carolina Herrera decided to put together a small collection for Fashion Bug. Minus 6 Then, like two days after she seals the deal with them, she throws a VS-themed Christmas party. That's ridiculous. Everyone knows it takes at least a month before those pink hookers start showing up at your home. Minus 2.
• On the flip side, we're frankly kind of amazed that they couldn't get a product-placement deal for the watch Serena gave Dan. It looked like it maybe said Mont Blanc on the face. But wouldn't she have given him a Tag Heuer? Not too chichi, but something that would make him subtly look less poor and gay? Minus 2.
• In this episode (and frankly, in all episodes), the younger siblings are entirely too helpful. Eric helps cut out snowflakes for Serena, and Jenny helped Dan steal the Christmas tree and then carry it to the Palace. In real life, younger siblings are mostly just for undermining and overachieving, not moral support. Come on, writers. Not even any weird slapping fights or farting on anybody's face? Minus 3. And don't Eric and Jenny have friends or lives of their own? Minus 1.
• Romaaaahhn's model ex-lover, that actor that's been on one billion episodes of Law & Order, delivers the following line when he crashes Eleanor's party. "How does one explain the indescribable pull to see an old lover, to feel that jolt of electricity?" Then he exits. After the second-worst piece of dialogue in the show's history (after Grandma Rhodes's speech to Dan), what else is there to do? Minus 1.
• Blair's dad tells her that in France, they have "a cat named Cat, like in your favorite movie." Enough with the Breakfast at Tiffany's. We all know her favorite movie is Weekend at Bernie's. Minus 1.
• Speaking of France, no way is Blair spending her last high-school summer in the countryside there. She wants to go to Yale. Bitch needs an internship. Minus 1.
• What the hell are Blair and Serena wearing on Christmas? Silk teddies? No, no, no, not even rich people like prostitution on a high holy day. Also, it's completely gross that Serena is wearing that in front of Chuck's dad. Minus 2.
• We are to believe that Allison received a letter from her mysterious lover, in which he writes requesting a meeting. Except we later learn that they've been talking on the phone. What is this, Middlemarch? No human under the age of 138 would convey information about a meeting in a letter, when the same information could be conveyed through sixteen phone calls and two texts from the opposite side of the food court. Minus 4.
• Blair's headband looks like she has a bratwurst wrapped around her head. Minus 1. Seriously, it looks like one of those Christmas collars you make a dog wear.
Despite Rufus's snow crawl, the weird availability of an empty loft space for Serena to build her sex nest for Dan, the Gossip Girl Christmas Spectacular was balanced out by those realistic holiday staples: dysfunction and assholic, selfish behavior. See you next year!