After the long break, Gossip Girl kicks us off with a lot of nice exposition about what everyone did over their not-so-happy-holidays. Chuck was in Thailand, sucking on a long, red hookah. Serena banged coconuts in Argentina, sans Aaron, whom she broke up with on the plane (apparently she was as revolted as we were by his stammering "I think I'm falling in love with you" in the last episode). Dan, meanwhile, pined at home alone, because the writers forgot that way back at the beginning of the season they imbued him with Magic Pussy Powers he could use to forget Serena. Vanessa was with her parents, Man Bangs was MIA, and Cece, it seems, wisely fled the scene after revealing the Big Secret to Rufus. Which was, yes, a Baby. A live one! But it appears Rufus and Lily didn't even have the most rudimentary of conversations about the fruit of their coupling — she even kept him waiting two weeks to hear the answer to his question. We even know, or think we know, what Blair and creepy Uncle Jack got up to — and it's definitely no good. (Although he is kind of sexy. In a willfully idiotic, soon-to-be fat former college jock kind of way.) Now! Onto our reality tally!
Realer Than a Gay in a Sweatercoat:
• On her first day back at school, Jenny is wearing a terrible version of the Constance Billard uniform — with a little tulle peeking out from under her kilt, Kenley style. Plus 3.
• We like that Eric and Jenny are drinking deli coffee and not one of the Starbucks Holiday Trio. Enough with the damn Trio — a pumpkin is a squash, not a spice! Plus 1.
• The Waldorf address, according to the mail, is 1136 Fifth Avenue. Seems reasonable. Plus 5. Also, the Colony Club? Unfortunately real. Plus 2. (Though when Blair calls it "the most exclusive club in New York which means the world," we can't help but think that any club with that uniform can't be all that hard to get into.)
• Chuck's life thus far has been a practice opium den. All that silk has not gone in vain! Plus 2.
• How awesome was it when Blair started shushing Dorota about Chuck, and Dorota instinctively started shushing herself? Plus 3.
• All the cool girls at school wear non-matching white cashmere coats. Plus 1. And plus 1 for having them do it only once.
• Rufus offers to go with Dan to school. "That's fine," Dan says. "But no hugs." Plus 1.
• Uncle Jack mutters to Blair, "You hear the term den of iniquity, but until you really see it…" Plus 2, because the delivery of this line is actually kind of genius. Why does he seem so familiar?
• Blair brilliantly "doesn't realize" Dorota is there when she first sees Chuck, until Dorota touches her, and then Blair orders her back to the house. Plus 1.
• Chuck shows up at school totally addled, smoking hash and wearing a horrible sweater and not even a scarf and all Blair can think about how he still hasn’t said "I love you" to her. Plus 1.
• Serena: "He was probably thinking about you the whole time he was in Thailand."
Blair: "Not unless I was a Thai hooker named Bo."
Serena: [Dan approaches, hugs her.] "This is my news…"
Blair: "A postcard would have been fine. I'm really happy for you, I'm going to go vomit now." Plus 3.
• Is Rufus's latest exhibition of African orphans because he now has a lost child? Plus 2.
• Rufus's speech when he catches Serena is so parental! "I don't like the two of you being alone. This is my home, and I would appreciate it if you respected that." He's finally getting the hang of this thing. Plus only 1, because along with responsibility apparently come tattered bangs.
• Did anyone see the PSA about three-quarters of the way through the episode, telling kids not to smoke weed? Chuck would agree: "I prefer hash," he tells headmistress Queller. "I find it gives a smoother high." Plus 6, for synergy.
• Of course the girls (and Eric) are at Pinkberry during lunch. Plus 3.
• Penelope: "The only way Nelly is leaving is in a bodybag."
Hazel: "God, P. Tone down the crazy." How did Hazel get a moral compass all of a sudden? And some of Blair's lines? Plus 2.
• The fifteen seconds that Blair looks into the mirror, cries, gets serious, crumples, and then freezes are perhaps the best moments in the entire season. Plus 20. Where is her Emmy, for Prada's sake!
• The Colony Club ladies' outfits are awesomely Argyle. They're the same women as the Sex and the City episode when Charlotte gets drunk with her sorority sisters at brunch! Plus 2.
• Dorota gives an awesome "Ha HA" look after Blair says, "I thought I was leaving high school behind, I guess you never do." Plus 3. (And Blair, that's a lesson you'll keep learning the hard way.)
• Jenny dyed her roots halfway through the episode! Plus 1. Meanwhile, did anybody else want her to go to that Collegiate party?
• "Sharing a sibling is a bit much, even for me," Chuck says to Dan. Plus 1, because of course Chuck would have one weird, random personal rule that would never actually come up in real life.
• Lily refuses to give Rufus the information he wants when he is being all aggressive and dicky, but the second he shows some empathy she totally folds. See, that's all we want. Let that be a lesson to you, men. Plus 5.
• Serena is all high and mighty about how Blair should go help Chuck but then is thrown off the scent the minute Dan wants to talk in private. Plus 2.
• Instead of jumping off the roof ledge, Chuck drops a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label. Fitting. Also, he is singing a pirate song. Plus 4.
• Uncle Jack gave 15-year-old Eric a drink and told him to enjoy it. Plus only 2, because how did that kid get in there anyway? Even a bouncer at Chuck's bar wouldn't let in someone who looks approximately 9. Unless it was a Thai hooker named Bo.
Faker Than a Historic Women's Club Fighting to Get a High Schooler's Approval.
• Gossip Girl explains, "Word is Serena van der Woodsen tangoed in the New Year in the plazas of Buenos Aires." Yes, the Argentineans are always tangoing, but if Serena spent the whole week dancing around with random older dudes in rundown bars, we're guessing she'd come back with more than an invisible tan. Minus 2.
• Serena tells Dan she never e-mailed or called him after break because she "needed to make sure we both felt the same when the dust settled." Sure. Because teenagers are known for their patience and maturity. Minus 3, because she would have been texting him I luv u's from the bathroom on the plane while the tears and snot were still rolling down Aaron's face and into his skimpy little mustache. "I wish we could have seen the breakup," Jessica's husband, now a fully committed viewer, commented. "I wish we could have seen him cry like a little girl."
• The Snowflake Ball made Jenny feel 15? Then how come at the start of the episode she is still all roots and no bottoms? Minus 2.
• Wait, did no one apply early to college? If this episode were really the first day of their last semester, some of them would have already been admitted to college if they applied early. Minus 2, because there's no way
Blair Dorota would not have sent in the perfect application well in advance of the first deadline.
• Dorota got a new coat? Minus 2, because not only do we not think the Waldorfs would have encouraged that, but we also kind of really just like that Li'l Red cape.
• Let's discuss Uncle Jack. Hot, but a letdown. He's an idiot in this episode, and we're led to believe he's somehow going to be an appropriate villain in the next? Minus 5, also because we don't care what the explanation, he's Chuck's age and that's weird.
• And wouldn't Uncle Jack have bodyguards to carry Chuck around? Minus 2. And wouldn't they be staying at the Palace? Minus 2.
• Not only is Chuck still stoned after a fifteen-hour flight, he apparently smuggled hash on the plane. Which he kept rolled in a cigarette box. Which, being experts (we saw Brokedown Palace, dudes), we're pretty sure wouldn't fly with the Thai police. Minus 2.
• Dan always has the most beautiful coats. Sorry, they don't have Zegna at Buffalo Exchange. We've checked. Minus 3.
• Dan: "Well, you look tan." Serena: "Well, it is summer in Buenos Aires." Um,
Serena is white as a ghost. Minus 2.
• When Dan reaches to kiss Serena, he has a lovely manicure. Minus 1.
• How come people like Serena and Blair don't have to wear (even a vague effort at) uniforms, but everyone else does? Minus 2.
• Why is it daylight for so long after school? It's winter! Minus 2.
• The Colony Club ladies finally say what we've all been saying forever: Serena dresses like a Prostitute Barbie. That being said, we're not members of old Waspy clubs, because they don't accept people who talk like us. Minus 2.
• We're just going to say this once, and forgive us for being earnest: PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE BABIES UP FOR ADOPTION! In fact, when parents aren't ready, it's a wonderful thing to do for a child and for a set of hopeful parents. (Plus, how else do gay people get them??) Minus 10 to the producers and characters for making it seem so incessantly monstrous.
• Victrola/the Box, as we all know, does not merely have cute burlesque dancers waving fans around. The only reason the dancers there would be wielding giant feather fans would be if they were about to stick them up someone's ass. Minus 1.
• Chuck says the words "It was fun being your brother … I think I'm going to take in the view from above," in a tone that echoes approximately every after-school special ever made, and yet somehow Eric, who has been hospitalized for attempted suicide, is just like, "Cool." What about the SIGNS, Eric? Minus 4.
• On that roof, they're far too close to the Citi Building in Long Island City to be at Victrola/the Box on the Lower East Side. We understand production limitations, but we'd have loved to see that bottle of Johnnie Walker smash down on the crowd in line outside the Box. Minus 3.
• We know that complaining about this is so season one, but why did Serena come all the way to Dan's apartment in Brooklyn to do reconnaissance on Lily and Rufus for only three seconds? That's like an hour-long subway ride! And we know: Serena may not take the subway but Rufus does, and he still came all the way to the Upper East Side to tell Lily that Dan knows about the Child. Why is everyone always dropping in on each other like this?! This is a show about texting! Enough is enough! Minus 5.
• Lily and Rufus are going to go to Boston to "find that child," presumably to bring him back so that he can eventually date Blair. Apparently they have to physically go to Boston for this, so that they can ring doorbells and knock on doors instead of just using the goddamn phone ever.
• Cute Longchamp weekend bag, but Lily would have a Louis. Minus 1.
So, in the end, this episode ended up 22 points on the real side, which we're happy about because it was a pretty good one, even if we did want to slap the pinstripes right off of Uncle Jack the whole time. We look forward to his character (read: evil) development next episode. In the meantime, as always, put your tallies in the comments!