Watching last night’s episode of Gossip Girl, we felt like we were listening to a song composed only of choruses. Like we were eating sundae without the ice cream, or watching a figure skater perform a set of only the insane pirouette moves. All can be the best parts of their respective experiences, but they are best not gorged on alone, lest you end up nauseous and dizzy. So it was with last night’s installment of the Greatest Show of Our Time, “Gone With the Will,” which was made up entirely of twists: Chuck found out his dad left him in charge of Bass Industries, then had it taken away due to the machinations of his uncle and a fine-print “morality clause” less than 40 minutes later. Things seemed like they were going to be okay between Blair and Chuck for at least one episode — but they weren’t, and she threw peonies at his feet, forever. Dan and Serena seemed like they were finally doomed; then they weren’t; then they were again. But most head-spinning of all was the plotline between Lily and Rufus which, playing out in a Boston hotel room, felt like The Exterminating Angel meets Days of Our Lives.
In the beginning of the episode, the once and forever lovers swore their relationship was over, and were told they couldn’t meet the child that Lily had given up for adoption. Then they were told maybe they could meet the child, then they were told they couldn’t again. Ever. Then they had sex, after which it was indicated they may be able to meet the child after all, so they hotfooted it to meet the child’s adoptive father only to find that, actually, the child was dead — he had drowned just last year. Too late! But also, convenient. Too convenient, it turned out: The kid wasn’t dead, they were just having the wool pulled over their eyes by some sneaky Bostonians. Double convenient. Ugh. All that said! There were some funny lines about tuna-fish sandwiches and some surprisingly realistic moments. Onto our weekly reality index!
As Real As Getting Groped by the Drummer From Buffalo Tom:
• For once Chuck wears the same outfit through an entire episode. Plus 3, because even for Chuck, with all that sleeping in the limo (or not sleeping at all), it was bound to happen. Plus, Chris liked that trench coat with the blue piping, even though Jessica found it disturbingly ladylike.
• Chuck’s predictions about what his father’s letter would say were amazing, and so self-aware and correct. “I’d die of embarrassment if I hadn’t already … Why do you wear so much purple?” Plus 3.
• Chuck can’t stop dropping the story about his Italian au pair making him a man. Plus 2, because a 17-year-old dude would mention that every chance he got.
• We must admit it’s so accurate that Jenny desperately wants to be besties with Eric’s boyfriend. She’s at that age where nothing is more exciting than gay boys. Plus 3. Luckily for her and them, this will pass. And Edith Head movies? We so
were knew those gays and girls in high school.
• Lily has to read an old Boston Magazine in the adoption agency waiting room, because somebody already circled all the toasters in the tree from Highlights. Plus 1.
• Penelope: “I’m really getting sick of how much time [Blair] is spending with [Chuck].”
Izzie: “But, his dad just died.”
Penelope: “Yeah, like a month ago.” Plus 2.
• Chuck: “I owe you a lot, Jack, you saved my life when I didn’t want it to be saved.”
Jack: “You noticed that Thai waitress I was going to take home the other night had a penis, so we’re even.” Plus 5.
• Blair, who acts kind of like an ass in this episode, still has some good lines — including, but not limited to: “Tuna fish? Why does he make it so hard for himself?” “Spare me those expressive eyebrows, I can’t wait until you get Botox,” and
“It’s so hard finding obedient minions.” Plus 4.
• Jack: “The last time I had a friend like that I wind up with gonorrhea.”
Jack: “Rocephin.” Plus 5, because though we had to listen to this like five times and then Google the words (we swear), we were rewarded by finding out that they are indeed drugs to treat the clap.
• For once it made sense that Serena would go to Brooklyn to talk to Vanessa. They’re not friends, so she needed to make the in-person appeal for the scoop on Dan. Plus 3. But don’t think this excuses every other time on this show someone “pops by” Dumbo for a question that could easily be resolved in a five-word text.
• Rufus’s hair is looking terrible. Plus 1, because obviously he’s using hotel shampoo instead of Jenny’s TRESemmé.
• The parents don’t want to meet Rufus and Lily. Plus 5, because this is the only realistic adult plot turn in the entire episode.
• Chuck had éclairs reserved for him. Plus 2, because sometimes it’s the small, high-calorie things.
• Jack calls Chuck “a teenager who can’t his pecker in his pants for more than 24 hours.”
Chuck witlessly replies: “At least I can keep it in service for more than five minutes.” Plus 3, because only a teenager would think that matters when there are much more important things at stake.
• Also, is Jack having a bowl of All-Bran with his Champagne? Oy, drinking will do that to you. Plus 2.
• Dan compares his and Serena’s situation to Flannery O’Conner, Toni Morrison, and the Russian aristocrats “before they all became hemophiliacs.” Serena says it’s just like Clueless and Dan’s just like, “Aw,” and kisses her, because after all, she is like nine levels hotter than him. Plus 3.
• The kids intuit who is to blame for the adoption mess: it was Grandma CeCe, the root of all evil. “It reeks of gin and Chanel No. 5!” Again, we cannot wait until we can be her! Plus 3.
As Fake As Every Single Controversy Manufactured in This Episode
• How would Nate know when Chuck’s dad’s will was being read? Nate has been AWOL for weeks, and Chuck was incommunicado in a K-hole. Minus 2.
• What is with the mumbling on the show lately? We keep having to rewind things to hear some of the best lines. For example, we know this isn’t right, but we swear it sounded like Dan said Rufus just wanted to get Lily out of town so he can “give her head.”
• Sorry, sometimes these people have to be adults. Lily would be there for the reading of the will, not just her lawyer. Minus 3. Oh, and while we’re at it, every other cousin and employee Bart ever glared at would have been there, too. Minus 5.
• In the real world, Chuck would get access to his trust when he was 25 or thereabouts, not 18. Minus only 1, because the complete inanity of all of the subsequent legal proceedings just blows this little quibble out of the water.
• Not only did the Gossip Girl writers betray Chekhovian theory by hinting at some fling between Blair and Uncle Jack and then dropping the story line — but they also had Jack wink at Nate for some confusing reason. Minus 3.
• Supposedly Lily told her kids that Sarkozy was a bad kisser. Minus 1, because no. But a Plus 1 to cancel that, because duh.
• Vanessa would not just stand there, smiling awkwardly and not taking off her coat and acting totally weird and suspicious, when Serena came to see her about Dan. She would have come up with something comforting to say. So Minus 1 for that. But more importantly, she would never, ever have texted him such a stupid and unwittingly explicit message: “When R Rufus and Lily going to talk to S? She needs to know about their child!” First of all, hello! They were just talking about how he’d been avoiding Serena because he couldn’t tell her. Second, why would she spell out “their child”?? She would at least call it “the thing” or something.
• Why is Uncle Jack’s (and later, Chuck’s) office in the Palace? And why is it so small and crappy? Doesn’t Bass Industries have a building? Or, like, secretaries to sexually harass? Minus 4.
• Okay, let’s get to this disaster with the will — and forgive us, but Chris was watching this episode with his roommate who is a LAWyer. Here we go: That gift of 51 percent of the stock is not valid if it’s only notarized in that letter. Minus 5. Chuck’s lawyer, if not Chuck, would have noticed the morality clause. Minus 5. Even if there were such a clause, there’s not much they could do if Chuck really owned 51 percent of the company. And let’s think this through; at the beginning of the episode, Jack and Chuck thought that the former would get control of the company and the latter would get all the money. But what massive amounts of capital did Chuck think he was getting if not shares in Bass Industries? It was his dad’s holding company — did he think there was a bank account somewhere with a billion dollars in it? Minus 10. Oh, and also, WHAT? Chuck would never be given control of his father’s company at the age of 17. It’s not even ridiculous — it’s verging on criminal. Bart Bass may have secretly had the soul of a father, but he didn’t secretly have the brain of a pigeon. Minus 20.
• Why would Lily’s mother’s lawyers be in touch with the family who adopted the child? Minus 5. And what adoption agency that gave a closed adoption would ever try to hunt the child down? Minus 5.
• Also, yeah, great idea. Let the adoptive parents know their child is related to a billionaire. Minus 5.
• Rufus: “I’m not ready to leave yet. Maybe we should write the family a letter.” A letter? And wait till it has been delivered by what, carrier pigeon, while they just wait there? It’s weird enough that they were hanging out in Boston, anyway. Kids who are adopted usually want to take some time to think about whether or not they want to meet their birth parents, they don’t just want to rush out and meet them at the Finagle- a-Bagel that day. Hello, it’s been nineteen years. You can take the Acela up to Boston any old time! Minus 4.
• And while we’re on the subject of location issues: We don’t care if it’s near school, Vanessa and Dan would never go to Dylan’s Candy Bar. They’d only go to Economy Candy for wax lips and Big League Chew. Minus 2.
• Would Dan and Vanessa really not notice Nelly Yuki creeping over and rustling though Dan’s pockets to steal Dan’s cell phone? Minus 2.
• Gossip Girl blogs: “While I’m always a fan of star-crossed lovers, at least Romeo and Juliet didn’t share DNA.” Minus 30 because DAN AND SERENA DON’T SHARE DNA! STOP MANUFACTURING THIS CONTROVERSY!
• Also, Minus 5 because the Girls of the Steps are cruel, but they’re not that cruel.
• Why would Chuck go to his office to do drugs and play with hookers? He lives in the hotel. He would be in his room, where there are smooth horizontal surfaces and blankets. Minus 5.
• Ugh, again with the thing where people on this show don’t immediately (and fairly) point fingers at other people when the blame gets tossed around. Blair wouldn’t have batted an eye before blaming Jack for the whole mess. She could have just said to Chuck, “You were set up, not by me” and the whole thing with the peonies could have been averted. Minus 5.
• In this episode, they take Rufus’s selfishness too far. We get that people are inconstant, but you can’t expect us to believe this asshole streak about the adopted baby after you spend a season and a half convincing us that the guy is a dickless pushover. Minus 3.
• Lily: “You don’t think I’ve thought about this child every day of his life?” Please. She doesn’t even think about the children who live in her house most of the time. Minus 1.
• Those peonies Blair threw at Chuck were huge. They totally would have set off the elevator sensor when she threw it in, and the door would have opened again, and they would have had a really awkward moment. Fake! (And a waste of hilarity!) Minus 3.
&8226; Why would Jenny rent Showgirls? We rented that shit when we were in high school. Surely a worse movie has been made since then that kids rent when they want to be ironic. Glitter? Swept Away? Minus 2.
• Related: Dan refers to Vanessa’s collection of Simple Machines seven-inches. While our cockles are warmed, we’re pretty sure only record geeks pushing 40 remember the long-lost Tsunami. Minus 1.
• Eric would have told Little J. to chop off that idiotic little side braid with the bow. Meanwhile, Chris really wishes he’d had a gay bestie to do that to his rattail in middle school. Minus 2.
• Why wouldn’t Lily have gone home to her house first? She was gone for like a week and she has two underage kids at home! Minus 4. And why weren’t the two of them checking in with the teenagers every three minutes? Or even returning their frantic calls? Minus 3. Eric only tried to commit suicide like one year ago! Even though we were somehow, maddeningly touched by the last-minute hand-holding between Lil and Roof, this still is just wrong.
So, yeah, this episode was deeply on the unrealistic side, and left us with lumps of after-vom in our noses. But it looks like next week’s college-oriented episode (with the return of Blair’s gay dads and some really awesome Yale accessories on Dorota) will be a return to older, simpler forms. Put your own point additions in the comments, and we’ll tap another one of you to tally them all up at the end of the week!