‘Gossip Girl’ Gives Us the High of Our So-Called Lives

Photo: Courtesy of the CW

Every teen drama is, by nature, a recycled composite of previous iterations of the genre. So it makes perfect sense for Lisa Loeb, the patron saint of My So-Called Life, to make an appearance on Gossip Girl. Indeed, it is a fitting nod to those of us watchers of the show (like last week's plotline was a nod to the gays) who should have gotten this sort of thing out of our system ten years ago. Okay, nearly fifteen years ago. That her iconic song, "Stay," was the diegetic soundtrack of a sinister interaction between hopelessly naïve Dan and dangerously vindictive Georgina — well, that was a particularly Gossip Girl twist. And we loved it. As did we love the unholy, Thundercats-like alliance of Nate, Blair, Chuck, and Vanessa that came together to defend Serena and confront the evil of Georgina. It didn't come to complete fruition this episode (such is the fodder of season finales, after all), but we can imagine it now. Chuck, in the form of Lion-O, will summon Tygra (Nate), Panthro (Vanessa), Cheetara (Blair), and maybe even WilyKat and WilyKit (Jenny and Eric) to join forces for the ultimate cosmic confrontation against Mumr-Ra (Georgina).

Well, that's how it would happen in our version. We are, after all, indulging our generational obsessions this week. And so we come to our weekly Gossip Girl episode recap, in which we evaluate which things were real (like the fire-hazard candles at Lily's rehearsal dinner), fake (like Rufus's "singing voice"), and every glorious little thing in between. Thundercats, HO!

Faker Than Vanessa's "Gold" Necklaces That She Clearly Bought on the Street in Union Square
• We'll get more into the parent-child interactions on the show later, when we get into Serena's whole Basketball Diaries–meets–Upper East Side plotline, but just to start with: Never in the whole history of mankind has a teen boy ever listened to advice from a parent about his girlfriend, thoughtfully considered it, and said, "I'm going to find her right now!" So when Rufus advises Dan glibly about Serena, we just don't buy it. Parental advice is for ignoring until you are 21, and spiting from thereon after. Even for someone as gullible as Dan. Minus 2.
• A reunion concert for the "Top Ten Forgotten Bands of the 90s"? Maybe a road race or a tour of college campuses, but not a concert in New York. And certainly not in Queens. Minus only 2 because it would be something filmed by VH-1 Classic. If that even is a real channel.
• Why would Rolling Stone interview a socialite on her wedding weekend, even if she was a former rock photographer? Minus 1. And furthermore, why would the random reporter ask about a decade-old romance with a random has-been rocker? It would be like if Genevieve Jones got married and Spin interviewed her about the days when she used to sleep with Trent Reznor. We're bored even thinking about it. Why do we know who Genevieve Jones is? Minus 3, mostly for self-loathing.
• Also Minus 2 for Rolling Stone's being involved in the whole "Forgotten Bands of the 90s" thing to begin with. This is a magazine that just put Heidi and Audrina on the cover. The nineties (and, let's face it, real rock music) are ancient history for them.
• Last episode Lily said her wedding planner was Preston Bailey. The guy from this episode is visibly not Preston Bailey. Minus only 1, because if we learned anything from Father of the Bride, it's that even the best wedding planners have assistants.
• Georgina tries to flee Dan at the Palace Hotel and he isn't even fazed and buys her ridiculous cover-up. Come on, isn't this kid supposed to be a little smart? Didn't he figure out how to steal a Christmas tree once or something? Minus 2.
• Serena's phone is found at 1OAK. Okay, okay: Kudos for picking the hottest club of the moment. But why on earth would she go there if she was upset? She wanted to steal a $11,000 mink coat? It's the opposite of relaxing and comforting. Minus 3.
• Okay, the whole "We have to get Serena in the shower! Keep her awake!" thing would be appropriate if they were all freshman in college and this was the first time they've seen a friend black out, but Chuck, Nate, and Blair are (a) huge alcoholics already and (b) have seen what a sloppy ho Serena is. This whole routine would be old hat for them. Minus 4, because they'd clearly be at the "leaving her on the floor and drawing a penis on her face" phase.
• What the hell is that morning robe Serena is wearing when she comes down from her morning of puking to talk to Dan? What is this, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Don't answer that, homos. Minus 3. Also, an additional Minus 2 for the speed of Serena's miraculous blackout-to-sober recovery (not even the weepy "I'm going to die call my parents" phase?), and a Minus 3 for Dan's ability to stand that close to her and not be bowled over by the reek of booze. It comes out of the pores at that point, people.
• We've never had a maid, but somehow we feel like the conversation where Dorota called Lily and said, "Miss Serena is like the old days. I think you should have worry about your daughter. Worry like before she went away" probably wouldn't have happened. Minus 5.
• Would Rufus really subscribe to the Post? We all read it, sure. But does anyone actually subscribe? Minus 2.
• We've complained about the whole sex–in–the–Campbell Apartment thing before, so we'll drop it. But weren't they escaping from a wedding? When Serena tumbled out onto the street to hail a cab in the flashback, she was carrying her dress and wearing Nate's shirt. What the hell did Nate wear back into the wedding? Minus 3, partially because we were denied some hot pectoral peekage!
• There's no Eastview Hotel in New York. Minus just 1, because let's be honest, if you are a location scout, how do you convince an establishment to let you film your underage date-rape/drug-use/overdose/murder scene there?
• This is kind of just a side note, but nobody smokes cigarettes on this show. Isn't that weird? Vanessa for sure would be a Camel chick. Minus 4.
• Um, you can't just take a train to boarding school in the middle of the night and decide to enroll. You have to at least be wearing bottoms. Minus 4.
• Lily can't get it together to learn about the Gossip Girl blog, but she instantaneously knows how to use a memory stick? Minus 2.
• How come when they left the rehearsal dinner it was still light out? Tacky! Minus 2.
• Speaking of which, they left the rehearsal dinner. It couldn't have waited one day? And where was Eric? And why didn't Lily melt down like most normal adults who find out that their daughter accidentally aided in a lethal overdose while in a drunken three-way sex situation? Minus 10.
• And why is Dan so goddamn gullible? Who is he, Screech getting blown off by Lisa Turtle? He'll believe anything a pretty girl tells him! Her mom told her to change her name and get out of town? WHAT? A parakeet wouldn't believe that story! Minus 5.

Total: Negative 67 reality points.

As Real As Frantic Repeated Voice Messages Being the First Sign That a Girl Is Grade-A Batshit Insane:
• On fashion — Chuck's keeps getting better and better. Even the cardigans, to which we have a moral and religious objection. Plus 2.
• Despite the initial hysteria among Nate, Blair, and Chuck, bagels are the perfect hangover food. Plus 2. And Chuck would totally still scope the stumbling Serena as she took her top off. Plus 2.
• Blair lost Serena the previous night because she did the only thing she knew to do when a friend is freaking out: raid her mother's Valium. Plus 3.
• Rufus's mid-nineties hair is so accurate. So Goo-Goo Dolls. Plus 5. For that matter, when he sings later on in the episode, so is the monotonous tune and his raspy, wimpy yet sexy voice. Plus 10.
• Kudos to the adults for calling Chuck "Charles." Usually you save a child's full name for occasions when he is in severe trouble. But what do you call the kid who is bad all the time? Plus 3.
• Lily looks amazing in her non-mom jeans. Hey! She's been married a few times before; she knows how it's done. Plus 3. "I've had three perfect weddings," she says, "and I want this one to be the most perfect." Perfect like your ass? She's got the legs of a female Devendra Bernhardt!
• Serena would so have been at PJ Clarke's making out in bathrooms with investment bankers. Plus 3, for making statutory rape seem somehow nostalgic.
• The entire scene where Chuck, Nate, and Blair comfort Serena is realistic. They totally would have let the drama bring them all back together (which is what they secretly want anyway), and they would have definitely admitted all of their foibles to try to make her feel better. Plus 5. "We’re the non-judging 'Breakfast Club,'" Blair says, taking a stab at pop culture. When it comes time for Chuck to admit his wrongdoings, he just says, "I'm Chuck Bass," and appropriately steals the scene. Plus 3.
• Meanwhile, Serena totally broke the seal when she told Blair her deep, dark secret. It was only a matter of time before she told everyone else. Plus 3.
• Chuck lost his virginity to Georgina in the sixth grade? Awesome! Plus 4.
• We were going to deduct points for Lily watching the sex tape, but we feel she stopped it at a believable moment. It's a wash. Likewise, we were going to deduct a point for the dead guy doing only one line and overdosing, but then we realized that this is a good message for kids. Also a wash. Cocaine kills, readers.
• OMG! Lisa Loeb is old! Plus 3 for that and for having her play "Stay." Best ever.
• Blair finally gives up. "I'm out of my league here," she says, spilling all to Lily and asking for her help. "I've done all that I can do." She finally went to an adult — perhaps the most realistic play she has in her bag of tricks. Plus 3, because even Blair knows she can't outsmart a dead body.
•l Nate (whose blazer fits in an achingly perfect manner) tells Blair, "I'm on my way to Queens." She quickly replies, "Ew, why?" Gets us every time! Plus 1.
• Our other two favorite lines from the episode were when Blair says to Chuck, "What if I told you I knew where Georgina Sparks was right now?" and Chuck replies, with that dark, demonic look, "I'd say, 'Let's go get the bitch.'" Plus 4. Also, hello, when Lily tries to comfort Serena after she tells all to the dead guy's family (yeah, we can't even go there), Serena bursts out, "I'm the one who gave him the line that killed him!" Um, yeah. Plus 3.
• Look at that grin Vanessa has when she catches Georgina in a lie! She's totally secretly a bitch too — and she loves it! We finally like her. Revenge brings everybody together. Plus 3.
• Wait, Peter the dead guy was an addict for ten years? Wasn't he like 17 when he died? Eh, we'll buy it.
• Georgina can cry on cue? A SUPER-psycho. Yes! Plus 4. They either end up in drama club or in rehab, people.

Total: Positive 64 realistic points.

Okay, so this episode ended up three points on the unrealistic side, which is probably fair since the show went the completely predictable route and had Serena not actually kill anyone. Ripoff! We're beginning to really get tired of all this crying and ugliness though (she totally cries like Claire Danes, and we prefer pretty criers, thank you), so it's about time it ended. We really, really, really want some sort of awesome mousetrap-like ending next episode, where everyone participates in Georgina's spectacular downfall. We could see the seeds of it in this one. If that happens, we will go into the summer hiatus happy fans.