"Wait!" Intel Jessica's husband yelped during last night's episode of NYC Prep when a familiar face briefly appeared onscreen, then disappeared. It was a girl — pale, pretty, flawless of skin yet spackled heavily with makeup — that they knew from somewhere else. "Was that Jenny Humphrey? Pause! Rewind!" Jessica rewound. It was in fact Taylor Momsen, the actress who plays the role of Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, mingling with the NYC Prep kids at Tank. But that we knew her from another show was not the only reason her appearance next to Sebastian and his friend Gabe was jarring. It was how much older she seemed: Momsen, at 15, is actually younger than most of the kids on the Bravo show, but between her makeup and the worldly cloud of prime-time, cusp-of-the-third-season experience she floated in on, she looked ten years older. It felt meaningful: Like the ghost of the NYC Prep kids' Christmas future had appeared to show them what they might become. And for us at home, the vision was a harbinger of things to come, for this episode was all about maturity: who had it ("it" being a pair of dark glasses and the ability to affect a bored drawl and reference threesomes while sounding like you "know what you are talking about"), and who didn't (immaturity is apparently characterized by friendliness to strangers, worrying about other people's feelings, and laughing in any way other than sardonically). Adulthood is what these kids all want more than anything, which makes sense: It's the one thing they can't buy right now. Of course, as adult watchers of the show knew, they'll get there soon enough, and then they won't want it anymore. When it comes to maturing, you cannot pause the program. You cannot rewind.
Decked out in flamboyant outfits, tossing off bons mots and accompanied by a dwarfish sidekick who snickered obediently at his every word, Peter Carey Peterson was like the master of ceremonies at Camille's Firebird dinner. Upon arrival, he immediately took control of the situation: "This dinner was just not going anywhere," he explained later about why he asked who was a virgin and pointed out that Sebastian and Taylor hooked up right when Cole came into the dinner party. "And I just had to stir things up a little bit." He wasn't all artifice and posturing, though, like when he diffused Kat's Mean Girl attitude toward Camille by saying he liked her, and he elucidated our feelings about Taylor when he said, "She's either really stupid or really smart, and I'm not sure which. There's no in between." Also, he truly seemed to mean it when he told her she was adorable and "If you were a veggie burger, I would probably eat you." ("I respect that, if I was a veggie burger I'd eat me, too," she replied.) Also, he called out Dan on saying "homo" at a boutique in front of a gaggle of gays, which was nice. But overall, he kind of overdid it with his overawareness of being on a reality show (especially when he referred to being drunk on the street, and wore a blazer and tie to the Natural History Museum), and this lost him the episode.
PC's partner in crime Jessie also proved herself a master of the provocative one-liner, like on PC's lateness. "Trust me: I will gut him like a fish next time I see him." The somehow more terrifying: "Really, when I'm just tired I CALL MY FRIENDS." And the playful: "I haven't even ripped open your ass yet and given you one." Also, regarding Camille's dinner party, "It just sounded like a hot high-school mess and I was glad I didn't have to be there." Other than those moments, the fact that she's finally figured out her camera angles, and the amazing off-the-shoulder T-shirt with sunglasses on it she was wearing at Dean & DeLuca, Jessie was kind of a nonentity in this episode, and therefore, we aren't judging her performance this round.
Taylor, who has previously performed strongly, slipped in the rankings this episode for being a little too cocky. She was harsh to Sebastian, making uncharitable remarks about his dancing and ignoring him at the concert, even though he'd actually (remarkably) only been nice to her. Yes, it was awesome when she threw him a cheek as he tried to kiss her, but later, when she tried to be friends with Sebastian, we don't blame him at all for blowing her off.
For a little person with the voice of one of the Lollipop Kids, Kelli is kind of boss. Early on, she joined Camille in reveling in the awkwardness of the dinner party, and rightly called out PC on his "douchebag" greeting of "Hello, children." Later, she uttered one of the best lines of the series thus far: "You wear tight pants and you say 'darling' — that's maturity? Sorry, I must have missed that memo." Though we were pleased that her singing career was referenced again, we were sad that it wasn't addressed further. This was such a lucrative plotline on The Real Housewives of Atlanta! The only explanation for it getting such short shrift here is that Kelli actually has talent. Boring! Moving on.
Blair Waldorf wouldn't have suffered through a date with such an Aaron Rose–esque character as Dan, but other than that, there were many parallels between Camille and the Gossip Girl character in this episode: She even donned a headband for the Neil Simon–esque dinner party she masterminded! Okay, the producers masterminded it. But she played along: "You realize this situation I've set up is for prime awkwardness," she told Kelli gleefully. Here are some of Camille's best, most Waldorfian lines:
• "When Taylor kept rejecting Sebastian, it was kind of fun to watch because it was like a train wreck."
• "One of the reasons why I haven't had a boyfriend boyfriend is because I have really high standards."
• "I guess I'm going to have to lower my standards."
• "I'll just take the, you know, random hookups or whatever, and turn them into boyfriends." (Awesomely, her friend replied: "The reason they're random hookups now is that they don't want to be your boyfriend.")
• To Dan, her date, who kept asking whether she was enjoying her night: "It's gone from like redundant to like annoying, so, like, enough."
• Re: Dan's college choice: "George Washington is a party school."
• Re: Dan: "It's just kind of a hookup for me."
• "I don't know if I'm being too harsh or the guys are subpar."
• To Jessie, on PC standing her up: "Makes up for you not showing up to my dinner party."
• Behind Jessie's back: "Jessie is known to be a little bit of a bitch."
But in the end, Camille's cattiness (and her stockings!) narrowly lost her the episode.
Which leaves Sebastian the unlikely victor. He was ahead from the beginning, because of this conversation with his wingman Gabe:
Gabe: "[Public-school girls] are always like into, like, long-term boyfriends, and they take like Facebook pictures with their boyfriends, and like Photobooth, like themselves on an office chair leaning on each other. Private-school girls are like Jewish and don't really care."
Sebastian: "They have a lot of money."
Gabe: "And they don't care."
Then he used the term "unenthused" to describe how he felt about having Cole at the dinner. Then he wore the same winter coat in every scene. And he only hung out around the Bowery in Manhattan. And he said he wanted to be a journalist when he grew up. And he made hilarious faces when he felt awkward, or was dancing, or both. It was just so ... normal. We even found it endearing when he said, "It was pretty bad when she rejected me, because I just feel like, it doesn't happen to me that much." Finally, another layer to his player personality! Sebastian gets the win.
Calypso: Because it's at this Lafayette boutique where we see PC buy the black piped blazer that he has been already wearing all season.
Cole: Dealt with the terrible dinner party with surprising grace.
Maite: Camille's friend, for asking, "Was it stagnant?" about Camille's date with Dan. ("Yes, that would be the SAT word to describe it," is Camille's reply.) Also, for YELLING AT CAMILLE THAT SHE WAS DYING TO PLAN HER WEDDING BECAUSE OMG SHE WANTS TO BE A WEDDING PLANNER even though she is like 16. Because as a New Yorker, this chick clearly spotted a good, early branding and publicity opportunity and took it.
Alice's Tea Cup.
The Tank: Even though the concert appeared to be only attended by teenagers, some of them were famous teenagers!
What Goes Around Comes Around.
Firebird: Though this was almost a loss, because what was that place?
Aroma espresso bar.