A Chilly Night in ‘Gossip Girl’ Country

By and
"As a gymnast I admire your blazer." "Thank you, it's armadillo." Photo: Courtesy the CW

While it was billed as the holiday event for high-school seniors, the Snowflake Ball did not feel as festive, as lively, or as crucial as the Gossip Girl Big Events of the past. The décor, of course, was flawless, thanks to Lily; the sound, thanks to Rufus, sublime. Blair and Chuck bantered, the mean girls cackled, and everyone made little dancing motions in their ice-violet gowns, but the guests didn't seem to be having fun, and neither were we. Something was off. Everyone was preoccupied — the characters, yes, but also, cameramen, who at one point lost their sense of purpose and drifted away from taking meaningful shots (Fuzzy Serena with Focused Dan in the background! Fuzzy Dan with Focused Serena in the background!) and at one point homed in on a handful of extras who quite frankly had no business representing actual Manhattanites. (Did anyone else see that couple tongue-kissing? It was worse than "November Rain.") But some well-drawn characters and funny dialogue warmed up what otherwise might have left us cold. And anyway next week Bart officially dies and Chuck does something spiteful that causes Rufus to wear a pullover. We can't wait! Now, on to this week's reality index.

Realer Than a Jeff Beck Anthology on Vinyl
• What's amazing is that while Jenny herself buys Vanessa's lies about Nate hook, line, and sinker, her neck appears to completely know what's up. Plus 2.
• Penelope: "Oh, hello, weird documentary girl." Vanessa: "Oh, hello, sad Blair wannabe." Plus 5.
• When Aaron Rose comes onscreen, Jessica's husband, who claims he doesn't really watch Gossip Girl but is forever wandering in and saying stuff like, "What is Dan thinking?," comes into the room and just goes: "That guy's a dick." "Why do you say that?" Jessica asked, because he hadn't seen an episode in a while. He thought about it: "He just seems like a dick." See? Boys can tell.
• Aaron's ex-girlfriend is Ally Hilfiger?? Plus 5.
• Seriously, she is great. Lexi is just as awesomely terrible as Aaron. Maybe even worse. We especially enjoyed that
(a) Lexi asked Dan if he had any Kopi Luwak coffee, which is passed through the intestine of the Asian civet and therefore costs $175 a pound, despite the fact that it tastes like actual shit. "I had it in Indonesia," she says. "It is sooo good." Plus 1.
(b) She said, "Okay, wait, pause," when Serena mentions the Snowflake Ball. Plus 2.
(c) Her Brooklyn walking outfit consists of a hooker cheetah jacket, purple tights, a short pleated skirt, and black bootees. Plus 3. We hate her so hard.
• Dan talks about how he always wanted to knock on Norman Mailer's door, but he didn't, and now he's dead. Plus 1, because this is kind of moving and lovely. And because now we know who they originally wanted for the Jay McInerney role.
• Serena buys Aaron Letters to a Young Poet, because she knows from experience that's what artsy dudes are into. Plus 1.
• Everything about how Dan and Serena try in this really over-the-top way to be "friends" while simultaneously testing each other's boundaries (and trying to see how much the other person still cares about them) is spot-on, from Serena's showing off the Rilke she bought for her new boyfriend to the awkward-aggressive way Dan brings up Serena and Aaron's plans to Finally Do It like he doesn’t care, his own obvious relief at the fact that someone wants to have sex with him and her totally pouty overreaction to this information ("I just thought sex was meaningful to you, that's all") followed by his lame and insensitive joke ("It is, especially when I haven't had it in a while") — it all rang so true we got an adolescent pimple (near the hairline!) just watching it. But we're only giving a Plus 5, because right now the Dan and Serena currents seem to be running a little too strong for our liking, with the whole "It was the greatest night of my life" business. If they get back together, where will it go? Especially since the Rufus and Lily current is going full blast, too. Sorry about this metaphor. But seriously, is it all going to come full circle, back to season one and incest? If so, we will give loads of points because that would rule.
• Blair: "I have depths that [Chuck] will never plumb." Not true, but great, gross imagery. Plus 2.
• Serena: "Shouldn't I give him a heads-up or something?"
Blair: "Oh, absolutely. Guys hate to be caught off guard by sex." Plus 3, because Blair remembers all too well when she had to Murphy the seat of Chuck's limo after her little surprise.
• Blair refers to one of Dorota's picks for a date with Chuck as a "cross between moron and Mormon." Plus 1. "Where did you find these people?"
Dorota: "Facebook. I joined few groups!" God, give that woman a raise. Plus 5.
• Vanessa kind of looked skinny and great in that outfit. Plus 5, because the only reason the girls at the ball would have made such a spectacle of seeing through it briefly would be because they were all jealous. Seriously, one of Serena's boobs displaces more air than Vanessa's entire body.
• Speaking of which, how hilarious was it when Serena's boobs asked Dan to dance? Plus 1.
Plus 20 for the slightly uglier, ten times more hilarious Blair and Chuck knockoffs, and the fact that they are referred to as "Beta Chuck" and "New Blair."
• Jenny knows she's done a bad thing, so she's wearing her best Cruella De Vil outfit, which appears to be made entirely of black Labrador retriever. Plus 2.
• Lily: "I never thought my life would turn out like this. I always tried to do the right thing!" Plus 2 because oh please, and also, of course she would think that about herself.
• The stock PI, Anthony, is appropriately Italian and greasy. Plus 1.
• Blair looks suspiciously fantastic at the ball: lovely necklace, great hair. She knew what was going to happen all along. Plus 2.
• Vanessa's crying scene is really kind of moving. Her face gets all nice and scrunchy and she almost gets hiccupy. She then tearfully confesses she has "never felt about anyone" the way she feels about Nate. Plus 1, for the writers instilling her with teenage hormones. Because otherwise obviously the Nate thing makes no sense. They have like nothing at all in common.
• OMG, if Bart dies, does that make Lily a billionaire? Or better, does it make Chuck a billionaire? Either way, Plus 20.

Faker Than Hearing a Cell-Phone Conversation Under the Elevated Subway
• Serena is holding out on sex with Aaron? Minus 2. That would have been the first weapon she deployed in the Getting Aaron Rose to Commit arsenal.
— "There's something I love about the Snowflake Ball," Serena says. "It reminds me of Anna Karenina only by Anna Wintour." While we believe that Serena knows who Anna Wintour is, she would never have read or seen Anna Karenina. Wouldn't that have been assigned when she was blowing lines with Georgina? Plus 5.
• Okay, even we must say "enough" at some point. The Snowflake Ball is "THE holiday event for high-school seniors" according to Blair. As opposed to the ten non-holiday events for seniors? Or the ten holiday events for non-seniors? There are too many effing parties on this show that are THE event. What happened to the one Gold and Silver party (the Red, White and Blue ball for you younger folks) every year and then interschool dances? Didn't those used to be enough? Minus 3. And why is Lily and/or Blair always in charge? Minus 2. And why is it in Brooklyn? Minus 2.
• It's too early for Casablanca lilies. Minus 2.
• We're sorry, does everyone swallow their sentences now? Is that the new cool high-school thing now? Instead of rainbow parties, does everyone sit in someone's basement and toke up and whisper? Minus 2.
• Rufus and Lily go to the PTA meetings? Minus 2. Do private schools even have PTAs? (Seriously, we don't know.)
• Jenny and Nate's excuses not to date one another are always that the other one isn't into it. That's not a reason. The real Vanessa would see this and go bonkers. Minus 2.
• Wait, did Jenny make Penelope's dress in three minutes? Minus 5. And since when does Jenny design like Jessica McClintock? Minus 1.
• Speaking of which, why was everyone else wearing Marchesa Grecian knockoffs at the Snowflake Ball? Was there a toga theme no one told us about? Minus 3.
• Vanessa had a gift certificate to Grimaldi's? No way would she admit to that. She'd be a Di Fara diehard all the way. Minus 3.
• Wait, they just bartered Dorota? Minus 5.
• UGH, Aaron is wearing a red checked farmer jacket. This is our least favorite hipster trend, mostly because Daily Intel editor Chris grew up wearing that jacket. On a farm. Minus 1.
• Dan wouldn't want the four of them to go to the dance together. He's too awkward. That kind of setup would make his brow knit together so far his eyeballs would have to burrow into his brain. Minus 2.
• Chuck's sparkly tuxedo and striped bow tie: Minus 10.
• Nastia Liukin only got two lines? One of which was "Oh"? Minus 4.
• Seriously, Lily would have waited to find out what the deal with the PI was before deciding to divorce Bart. One doesn't drop a billionaire so easily, especially before the prenup has built up some time credits. Minus 3.
• Why is the party in the same place that the Kiss on the Lips party was? Minus 1.
Minus 1 for "Dan is going to be taking a ride on the Lexicoaster," which is just not up to Blair's usual standards.
• In one scene, Vanessa is, we swear to God, wearing one of Delta Burke's sweaters from Designing Women. In another, she appears to have borrowed the jacket that Michael Jackson wore in "Thriller." If Vanessa worked in wardrobe at Universal Studios, sure, this would make sense, but she works in a coffee shop in a gallery in Brooklyn. So it doesn't. Minus 2.
• "You're not who I thought you were," Nate says to Jenny. Honestly, what is he talking about? Sometimes we think he thinks he is actually on that other show, where they all live in North Carolina. Jenny has been a petulant, vindictive, crowd-following 15-year-old this entire time. Minus 2, because even Nate would have figured it out sooner.

You know the drill — put your points in the comments!