Remember how awesome it was when school vacations came? When school ended, you’d always have that big feeling, like that something major had ended. And when it was time to go back, there was that thrill, like, Yeah! This time I’m going to be cooler. More together! Bustier! And then within like an hour of being back everything was the exact same way it was before except a handful of people had peeling sunburns on their noses and the occasional beaded hair braids. But not so for the students at Constance Billard and St. Jude. When they returned from spring break last night, everything was different. Serena and Eric had moved in with Chuck and Bart Bass. Chuck had become nice, but Jenny had turned into an asshole. The silent girls from previous episodes had gotten names (or, two of them did, Hazel and Penelope) and have personalities (slight variations on the same blend of disdain and boredom, but still). And Isabel (the black one) even had several lines! Things were, however, pretty much the same for Blair, who really should have headed to France when she had the chance.
As Fake As a Custom-Made Valentino From the Seventies Still Fitting Someone's Mom
• After her bad dream, Blair wakes up for the first day of school. A box of half-eaten chocolates sits next to her on the bed. “Lady Godiva, my only friend,” she sighs. Minus 2: Okay, first of all, Blair is bulimic, so there would have been no chocolate left and in its place would have been a nice ol' box of boot. Second, if she was so depressed as she said, would she really look this good? What ever happened to gaining weight, getting acne, and good old-fashioned cutting?
• The Waldorf maid, Dorota, plays the Rosario–from–Will & Grace card. "Club Bed is over," she says, yanking Blair out of her satin sheets. Sorry, writers, cartoonishly sassy maids only exist in the fantasy minds of gay men. Minus 1.
• A deliveryman pulls up to Constance Billiard. “Serena van der Woodsen?” he asks to someone who is, if not clearly a high-school student, at least wearing the school uniform. We understand the confusion (Serena was looking a little wizened in her "I didn't shower" makeup), but dumping three cases of Champagne in the entrance to a school? Not even on the Upper East Side, friends. Minus 5.
• “I never wear the same thing twice,” Isabel says. “Mommy taught me well!” Okay, seriously? Unless Isabel is literally playing the daughter of Diana Ross (entirely possible, to be fair), we can't imagine she would ever reference her mother in a social setting. Teenagers like that don’t even want to acknowledge they have parents. Much less "Mommies." Minus 2.
• Blair is walking to school wearing sunglasses and head scarf … and what is that billowing, royal blue robe? Is she one of the FLDS wives? If so, then where's her Gibson girl cut? Minus 1.
• Okay, we need to talk about the amount of things that everyone gets done before class. To start, high school begins at some ungodly hour like 8 a.m. Nobody is having "brunch" (much less for $120 a head) because even Balthazar calls it breakfast that early. Minus 4, for effing with the New Yorkiest of weekend traditions. Also, the Van der Woodsen and Bass families are having breakfast all together? The Bumsteads don't even do that in Blondie. Minus 2. And Chuck smokes pot? We've smoked before class and let us tell you, it is no fun. By junior year, even Chuck would have known that. Minus 2.
• Um, and also? Bart keeps reading the Observer. Come on, we read the Observer. Billionaires don't. Minus 1.
• For those of you who don't bother to pay attention to the real world, Nan Zhang dropped out of the show. She was the Asian girl who played Kati Farkas. Except we learned during this episode that "Kati's dad moved her family back to Israel." As a commenter pointed out yesterday, Kati is Jewish! We did not see that coming. Minus 2.
• “You’ve got so much more to offer than those girls,” Dan tells his sister, Jenny, after she gets totally busted ripping off Hazel’s mom’s dress. “You’ve got so much more to bring to the table.” Okay. We get it. Dan’s sensitive. He’s loving and kind and wise beyond his years. But does he never falter and say something like, “Way to go, dickbag,” before slamming his door and cranking up wailing guitar music? Minus 2.
• Serena and Dan, adorably and annoyingly, sit outside the Palace with a blanket and hot chocolate. Like homeless people. Not in that courtyard, kids. Minus 1.
• There was something so real about this episode that it almost made us question the whole premise of the show: Jenny screwed up. She gave in to the need to be popular and stole a dress from Hazel's mom. It was sad and awkward, and painful to watch. It's not even that she abandoned her moral compass, it's that she just stopped being clever. This is a girl who escaped arrest through her quick thinking and knows how to make a designer dress from scratch. Minus 3, because if we're going to go with the premise that a sophomore is smarter than everyone else, we need to stick with it. And then Minus 2 for the ridiculous manner in which she gets out of her whole mess. We don't like for there to be consequences on the show, but come on. Penelope isn't that desperate. She's probably at least dating the captain of the JV squash team.
• Blair shows up at Rufus's art gallery to chat about his daughter's welfare on a weekday morning. Rufus, Blair may talk like a wise, seen-it-all grown-up, but hello? Why is she not in school like your kids are? Minus 1.
Total: Minus 31.
As Real As Jenny’s Slightly Too Frail Shoulders
• Best lines: "Not going to Butter is so much better than going to Butter," and "411? Brooklyn, please. I think that's in New York." Plus 2.
• At first we were annoyed by the whole Breakfast at Tiffany's setup. Blair has a dream, in which she's Audrey Hepburn running around looking for her cat in the rain. Come on, we've done the whole Capote-and-crullers thing before. But then, halfway through the dream sequence, Blair pauses for a moment to notice that she's in a trash-filled alley. "Ew," she says. And then, Nate comes in and calls her Jenny, instead of helping find the cat and kissing her awkwardly like in the movie. Which is actually totally the kind of adolescent dream you have. Like how we, as adults who write about celebrities, sometimes dream that we're friends with Madonna and get this weird, happy feeling in our stomachs that is obliterated when we have to wake up at seven in the morning and blog. Plus 2.
• “Maya finally made it into Brody Jenner’s cell phone.” Yessssssss. Plus 5, because you just know that Brody and Spencer would be all on this crowd like body glitter on a girl at Lotus.
• As nausea-inducing as it is, this brief morning exchange has a gross ring of truth to it — Serena: "I don't want to share your DNA." Chuck: "Then you should get new hand towels." Plus 2, for going there. Oh, and a plus from us to you? Dab, don't scrub, to get the chunks out of your keyboard.
• Did it strike anyone that Blair's running through the crowd after getting yogurt thrown on her was like Anna Wintour's running through the masses outside of Fashion Week when someone slammed a pie in her face? Plus 2.
• OMG THE NEW YORK MAGAZINE LOGO IS IN THE BACKGROUND OF THE SCENES IN THE BASS APARTMENT! PLUS ONE BILLION!
• Jenny puts a large stuffed animal in her bed to fool her brother and father into thinking it's her. Plus 2 for introducing this trick to a generation of kids too young to have ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
• Jenny’s birthday is scheduled to be celebrated by table service at Socialista. They seem to have a slight confusion between the definition of "dinner" and "bottle" service, but it's not the first time a gaggle of skinny girls have made that mistake. There is, after all, fruit involved in both. Plus 3, even though we think Socialista wouldn't let in a bunch of girls so obviously young.
• Nate tries to be Dan with Jenny, telling her she's "not like those other girls." Aw, everyone has to try every once in a while. Even brain-dead super-hotties. Plus 2.
• Eric's hair has really improved, probably per the influence of Chuck. Plus 1. Speaking of which, wasn't someone supposed to come out this episode? Oh, wait, when they're 15, it always happens months after everybody already knows. Plus 1.
• It may seem ridiculous that Rufus lets Jenny go to Aspen with her friends (that she seemingly just made), but it's actually so real. Remember, he and Jenny's mom just got a divorce. He's overcompensating! Plus 3. This also explains how Jenny weirdly doesn't get yelled at for stealing a $15,000 dress.
• Isabel observes that Jenny's dad is a hottie. She's right. Plus 2. We can't wait for that plotline to develop.
Total: Plus 1,000,000,027
So the grand total score is somewhere just over a fat B. Okay, so this episode had flaws. Like, Blair would have never fallen for the Butter trick, and Chuck wouldn't have forgiven Serena so easily. And we really shouldn't give it 1 billion points for including a mention of our magazine. But, it really won us back in the end with Jenny's triumphant checkmate, and also with the teasers for next week's episode starring Michelle Trachtenberg, Method actress, as Georgina Sparks. "If I go down, you go down with me?" YEESSSSS!