In your face, all you parent groups who decried Gossip Girl as a sensationalist, immoral piece of trash. This episode, the second to last one before the season finale, reminded us that this show is not merely a sensationalist, immoral piece of trash, it is a tool for learning.
For instance, this episode introduced its audience to a new vocabulary word:
Gabriel: "Poppy's got the rich friends who invite her to parties, the designers who give her expensive clothes to wear in the pictures..."
Chuck Bass: "In other words, she's a fauxialite."
It's a word we like almost as much as 'mocialite, which we coined (and which we suspect Gabriel is). Plus, the kids at home were schooled about issues in the news:
Gabriel: "I had to give my investors something, so I brought on new investors to had to give the old investors …"
Chuck Bass: "We know the rest, it's a Ponzi scheme."
More Real Than Faking a Pregnancy to Solve a Boy Problem:
• Chuck asks for a glass to go with the flask that he brought into his taxi. Plus 3, because cars without stemware are of course well out of Chuck's realm of experience.
• Serena: "The entire thing was a scam."
Chuck: "His suits never did fit well." Plus 3, because of course that's how Chuck would judge character, and it's true: Those suits never did fit well.
• Serena, hours after discovering her boyfriend Gabriel is a Ponzi schemer who has ripped off her family and friends: "I keep trying to figure out what was real and what wasn't. It doesn't make any sense." At this point, Jessica's husband says, "Is Serena a moron?" Yes, which is why this is totally realistic. Plus 3.
• Serena thinks that Gabriel, the half-witted Ponzi schemer who has just made off with her mother and others' money, is going to return the money because she is pregnant with their child. Plus 2, because see above.
• Serena: "It doesn't make sense!"
Blair: "Feelings never do. They get you all confused. Then they drive you around for hours before they drop you right back where you started." Plus only 1, because though this is an amazing allusion, Nate briefly detects that Blair is talking about Chuck, which in real life he'd never do. In real life, he'd write poetry for Blair later about "feelings" being a Pakistani cab driver lost in Queens.
• Georgina, to Chuck: "No thank you, the Lord cannot enter the body solely by alcohol."
Chuck: "That's good, because I prefer to be the one doing the entering."
Georgina: "To each his own holy water." Plus 2.
• Rufus is too cowardly to ask CeCe for permission to propose to Lily, so he asks Eric. Plus 2.
• Eric totally scoffs at him for it, for his mother is a whore. Plus 5.
• "This is an adult scandal." Lily says, finally. Shortly thereafter, she declares her intention to deal with the situation like a petulant, terrified child. Perfect. Plus 2.
• Georgina: "I gave up my old ways when I let Jesus take the wheel."
Blair: "That is a Carrie Underwood song, not a life choice!" Plus only 1, because while this is a great line, the two are not mutually exclusive. "Before He Cheats," anybody?
• Blair: "If you cut revenge out of the Bible, there's not even enough pages to make a pamphlet." This is so, so, so true. Plus 2.
• Eric's hair keeps improving. Listen, we gays have to go through a lot of bad blond phases before we hit a natural equilibrium. It's like we're all junior members of LFO. Plus 2.
• Georgina's dress (Dior?) for the sting looks good, but her black tights and gold leopard-print heels are a nightmare, which is perfect. The pièce de résistance is the purple headband of power Blair gave her. Plus 3.
• When Serena meets Gabriel at the Bass hotel, we know it is a classy destination because they are playing Vivaldi. Plus 1.
• When Georgina is all dressed up as the young oil heiress, Chuck actually sniffs her for authenticity: "I sense aspiration, yearning, striving to be accepted," he says, after taking a long inhale. "Then I sense this appealing counternote of sincerity ... This is the story of a young girl who is enjoying her first taste of the spoils of dirty oil. It's perfect." Isn't this what Lucifer does? Plus 2.
• We love how Nate is along for the ride with all this scheming, but has no idea what's going on at all at any given point. Plus 2.
• Jenny actually uses the phrase "bespoke chocolates." ??? Plus 2.
• JENNY IS OBSESSED WITH TWILIGHT, WE WERE SO RIGHT. Plus 5. It explains everything.
• Lily has a BlackBerry Curve. Finally, somebody has a BlackBerry! Plus 3.
• During their weird breakup fight, Blair and Chuck's eyes are limpid pools of emotion. We have never wanted to use that term before in our lives, ever, and now we realize it's because we've never seen true emotion. Plus 4.
• Georgina on the kids in Africa with Wi-Fi: "And they can download Kirk Cameron movies!" Plus 2.
• We like Lily's avocado-core necklace. It's heinous, but we like it. Plus 1.
• Also, Serena has worn that gold scaly dress before. Plus 1, because even she wears the same thing over once in a while.
• Chris and Jessica disagree on whether Lily's having Serena arrested was realistic or not. Chris thinks Lily is too empathetic, and the fact that she lobbied hard for Jenny when Rufus tried to have her arrested is in his favor. But Jessica was a rebellious nightmare of a teenager, and while the records have since been erased, she remembers all too well what mothers at the end of their ropes are capable of. Plus, she thinks the producers are making a point about Lily turning into her own mother so she wants to give it a pass. So, Even.
• Georgina: "You can tell Jesus that the bitch is back." Yeah! Plus 15, but it really took that long???
• This setup let us down last season, but the great final shot of Nate, Blair, and Chuck on the police-station steps at the end of the episode leads us to believe that the gang is going to join forces to tackle evil in a way they could never do alone — like on Voltron. Plus 3, but if you let us down this time, it will be minus points until next season is halfway through.
More Fake Than a Ponzi Scheme Started by a Pair of Pretty Twentysomething Half-wits:
• Okay, so, this Ponzi scheme. First of all, it has a serious timeline problem. For instance, when the episode starts, we are in the same day where we left off, meaning the party where people agreed to make investments was the night before. This means that, technically, we're still in the same day as the last episode, and everyone is still wearing their same outfits and everything. But somehow, Gabriel already took off with all of the money, meaning everyone at the co-op party gave him either packets of cash, which they apparently had on their person at the party, or got right on the phone with their banks and had the money wired to him at the party without even the pretense of checking him out. But even if that is all true: How did Rufus's pathetic Wachovia check already clear? Minus 10.
• And why does Lily think it's reasonable to send Rufus his fake dividends the very next day? She knows better than that. Minus 5.
• ALSO: How does Georgina's fake character, who supposedly just got into town, manage to meet Poppy Lifton on this self-same, extremely action-packed day? Minus 5.
• AND Gabriel gets off the hook that easily? That hurts our brains. Minus 2, because what hurts even more is the fact that his face, voice, clothes, hair, and sideburns scream "DOUCHE" at the top of their lungs. And no adult would have ever invested with that guy. Not even Rufus, whose own bangs blind him to all signals of good and evil.
• Anyway moving on. Lily says to Serena when she gives her the vintage bracelet from her grandmother: "I've been so proud of you lately with Brown and graduation … " Was it not a mere TWO EPISODES ago that Lily was calling Serena was a plane-hopping skank with lacrosstitute tendencies? Minus 3.
• We love how Lily is constantly on the phone with caterers, despite the fact that there's not even one of those Big Events attended by the entire cast this episode. But minus 2 because, hello, she is a billionaire. Not only would she have an overpaid Ivy League–educated assistant to handle those calls, she would have five.
• We appreciate the emotional stakes created by Nate asking Blair to move in, but Eleanor would never let her do it. And more important, neither would Cyrus. Minus 3. (Most important, of course, is that neither would Dorota.)
• Again, Lily, that Hermès bag is too small to cover your pregnancy belly. But kudos on having it in so many colors! Minus 2.
• Lily: "Whenever anybody hears the name Serena van der Woodsen, they are going to think of how she helped scam her friends and family out of hundreds of thousands of dollars." Minus 6 because, wait, "hundreds of thousands of dollars"?? That's all we're talking about? Why is this even a conversation?
• Blair: "It's the Russian Tea Room, you can drink tea." Minus 3 because: lie. Every single person in the restaurant is drinking a martini in the background during that scene, which in our experience is really how it is there. We had a martini there when we were 8.
• At the Russian Tea Room, Poppy just takes the money from Georgina and then abruptly gets up and leaves, even though they have just been served caviar, and she hasn't even made any pretense of trying to pay for the check. Why are people always doing that on this show? Minus 2.
• Serena: "Chuck, why did you just do that?"
Chuck: "Because I love her, and I can't make her happy." WHY. DOES. THIS. STILL. WORK. ON. US??? Minus 1.
• Minus 1 for the fact that the Lily prequel, which is going to premiere next week after the season finale, contains a role of Kristin Ritter, a.k.a. the Poor Man's Zooey Deschanel. (We're not sure what we're going to do about that show yet — it's unclear if we have the mathematical and physics expertise to create a reality index that will span both shows, although Chris has been studying up on string theory.)
• Bitch Georgina, intent on her pursuit of Poppy, tells her cab driver to: "Follow that car," and he follows that car. We're sorry, but this doesn't work. If you say "Follow that car" to a cab driver in New York City, here's what happens:
Cab driver: "What?"
You: "Follow that car."
Cab driver: Squints at you in rearview mirror without car moving. "What?" At this point, if you are very, very lucky, they will tell whoever is on the Bluetooth to hold on. "What car?"
You: [Hysterically] "THAT CAR."
Cab driver: [Suspiciously] "Where's it going? I'm not going to Brooklyn."
By the time you've negotiated all of this, the car you've been trying to follow is long gone. Trust us. We've tried. Minus 5.
Total: 50. Which puts this episode solidly on the reality side, bizarre financial antics notwithstanding. Which is good, because this and the last episodes have been quite solid and give us high hopes for the season finale. As always, let us know your points in the comments!