With everything they’ve been through — the lies, the scheming, the boyfriends who turned out to be Ponzi-schemers, the girlfriends who turned out to be stepsisters, the children they never knew existed — it’s not surprising that our friends on Gossip Girl have developed what would commonly be called “trust issues.” Except, in their case, they’re actually right. The Gossip Girl world is one of sidelong glances, elaborate lies, and outlandish plots. If someone awkwardly stutters a sentence or tries to get off the phone quickly, it means something.
In last night’s episode, square-jawed, shifty-eyed Scott’s flubbed lie about a college-seminar causes Vanessa to question his entire identity, and, of course, she turns out to be right because he is not who he said he is. He is, in fact, Lily and Rufus’s son, which he then lies about later. Meanwhile, Serena doesn’t trust Carter Baizen, in part because of ... WHAT HAPPENED IN SANTORINI.
Chuck and Blair pretend not to trust each other, but only because they think it’s hot. And, of course, no one trusts Georgina. Except maybe Rufus, who, human labradoodle that he is, trusts everyone. Or maybe it's just the Botox?
Anyway, with all this subterfuge going on, it’s hard to keep track of who’s real and who’s fake. But we can at least track the details in our patented Reality Index.
Realer Than Cutout Butterflies Taped to a Dorm-Room Wall:
• Of course Georgina and Dan would put a sock on the doorknob to indicate they were hooking up — college students just inherently know to do this, as children all over America in the eighties inherently knew that you had to blow into a Nintendo cartridge to get it working again. Plus 3, with an additional plus 3 for Blair having no idea what this tradition meant. Oh, and plus 1 for her putting her glove on to take the sock off. And plus 1 for “EW! EW! I’m even wearing a glove and I still want to wash my hand.”
• Yes. Everyone would have awkwardly overdecorated their dorm-room doors in the first week. Especially Vanessa, who has only ever been schooled by wolverines. Plus 3.
• Serena and Vanessa in unison, to Dan, on whom he was hooking up with: “Please tell me it was Blair/Georgina and not Georgina/Blair” Plus 1. (Do you think Penn Badgley, who spent a year training to bulk up, made them promise to let him go shirtless in the first three episodes?)
• Someone should invent an iPhone app that allows you to speak like Chuck Bass. Like that “I Am T-Pain” app. No points. We’re just saying that would be cool. Even.
• Plus 3 for Blair remembering exactly how many days it's been since she had sex with Chuck.
• We were weirdly happy to see Eric and Jenny appear. It was like a breath of fresh air. Or at least a peroxide rinse. And plus 2 for the line “Wow, ’72 David Bowie is a dead ringer for Shakira.” Because kind of, yeah. (Though Bowie's hips do lie.)
• Does Dan own only plaid shirts? Probably. Plus 3. And an additional plus 3 for Scottonly s terrible, terrible, continuing wardrobe errors that are a faint echo of Dan and Rufus’s style.
• Serena to Dan: “If you want to date Georgina, then more power to you. I would just check to see there’s not an ice pick under the bed.” Plus 1, because with her ditz slur, the first time we heard it, we thought she said “do” her, which maybe she did on purpose.
• Good for Blair and Chuck for picking a believably snobby/slutty, hip/old, nice/gross bar like Brandy Library for Carter’s alleged assignations.
• “My last boyfriend told me his dad invented the battery.” Plus 2, just because, though it would have been better if it had been the Post-it.
• Is Georgina wearing a Wiccan neckpiece? Plus 2.
• Plus 2 for the slow dissolution of Dan and Georgina’s relationship, beginning with Dan’s awkward conversation with Georgina in which he explains that just because they’re diddling each other on the regular doesn’t mean they’re an “us” — it just means they’re just “hanging out.” Plus 3 for Georgina then pretending to be totally cool with this arrangement out of sheer desperation. “Sure,” she says, “no strings.” (Have we been there, ladies?) And plus 4 for Dan pretty much falling for it because he doesn’t know better yet, poor guy. And plus 5 for Georgina revealing in various and increasingly dramatic ways that she is a roiling psychopath, including:
1. This line: “I knew she’d have a problem with us. But I think Vanessa’s going to be supportive, and Serena, and Jenny, and your dad.”
2. The fact that she kisses him like a dementor from Harry Potter.
3. The fact that she has a picture of herself with Dan on the first night they hooked up as her screen saver.
4. The insane look she gives said computer when Dan asks her to come with him to Sotheby’s.
Really, we’d predict that she would have chained him to a bed and broken both of his legs, like in Misery, in the next episode, if not for the happy intervention of the Scott Drama, which will now enable her to do something even more crazy. We can’t wait.
• “Finally, something exclusive to strive for,” Blair chirps when she gets the invitation to the La Table Elitaire. “Something worthy of all my pent-up energy and ATTENTION.” Plus 1. “My prayers have been answered,” she says later. “A secret collegiate society wants me!” Plus 1.
• Georgina, on almost walking in on Chuck and Blair going at it: “Judging by the size of the sock on the doorknob, I didn’t want to knock.” Plus 75.
• Blair stole Chuck’s shoes. Nice. We’ve pulled that move, but usually it was to foil someone who is drunk into following us out of the dorm. Plus 2.
• Georgina is really great at Internet stalking. Plus only 1 because surely she has even more advanced means at her disposal. See above, re: Wicca and Harry Potter.
• When Serena showed up at the Sotheby’s auction in a rust-colored skintight bandage dress that divides her cleavage into fourths (eighths?), her hair teased so high that Bon Jovi could see it from Jersey, we had to wonder: Would she really come dressed like that to an adult event? Yes, we said to ourselves. Yes, she would. Plus 3, and plus another 1 for the return of the cleavage rhombus!
• We wonder if a side effect of Jesus Camp is that anytime you put on a skanky dress you look like a tranny, not a tramp? No points, just asking.
• Okay, let’s talk about Sotheby’s. Yes, that’s the building’s exterior and interior (they filmed it back in August). Plus 3. And, yes, that’s vice-president David Redden serving as auctioneer. Plus 3. And, yes, that’s even Tony the doorman. Plus 3. But pretty much everything else is ridiculous. See below for more.
• After the Sotheby’s auction, Rufus suggests everyone hop in the limo and go downtown to Morandi. Plus 2 because it would take us only a couple of weeks to get over our issues about spending our billionaire spouse’s money, too.
• Plus 1 for “What warrant?” “Well, you might want to take a DNA sample down to the 24th Precinct tomorrow.” Nice. Plus 1.
• Plus 5 for Chuck speaking for the viewers: “Finally, what happened in Santorini ... ” But minus 4 for it being kind of a dull story about Carter stealing a boat, which only reinforced what we already learned in the last episode, which is that Carter was bad but now he is reformed and, furthermore, loves Serena with such a deep and pure intensity that it has caused him to go way, way outside the normal twentysomething realm of stuff nice guys do to show they care, traveling internationally in search of her estranged father when he could have just, you know, handwritten her a card or something.
• Rufus and the crêpes. Arrrggghh! Plus 1.
• At first when Scott’s mom showed up at the auction, we were all As if. Really? We’re supposed to believe she drove all the way down from Boston? And how did she know he was at Sotheby’s? Did she implant him with GPS? Tsk-tsk typety type. But then she spouted off this amazing piece of exposition: “I got right in the car and drove down from Boston. I knew where Lily lived, and the doorman told me you were here.” Plus 2 for effort.
Faker Than Georgina Having Any Edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She Has Sex With Jesus and Eats Baby Girls for Breakfast; She Knows Plenty About Female Sexuality, Thank You:
• Vanessa goes straight to investigating Scott at the first hint of weirdness. (Well, other than his scary looks, statements, hair, and clothes.) Minus 4 because she would delude herself for longer.
• We’re not sure we buy all Blair’s boy shorts all of a sudden. Minus 1 because, sure, it’s still late summer, but in the bedroom we know she goes for lace teddies. Also, even for a “sex renaissance,” the Blair we’ve come to know would be too anal to skip a class so early on. Especially French history. Minus 2.
• Like we said, Dan/Penn is desperate for people to look at his body. No way would he try to cover up once getting busted. Minus 2.
• Why does Rufus feel the need to adopt every kid around him? Vanessa is not “a part of the family” — she has parents. We know because the producers cast at least one of them this summer. And then Scott: Why the guitar lessons and those gazes, the ones that say, “I would furrow my brow, but I can’t because of the Juvederm”? Even Jenny thinks it’s weird. Minus 2.
• “I have an MBA from Tuck, I’m not the coat-check girl.” Oh, yeah? Your “work attire” tells us differently. Minus 3.
• Okay, let’s talk about Sean MacPherson. Yes, that’s him. And, yes, he is a hip hotel owner, designer, and club impresario. But the reality ends about there: He doesn’t have the lease on the Empire Hotel rooftop. Minus 2. He doesn’t have a club on 63rd Street. Minus 2. And while the “Tuck” assistant may have made up the thing about his “sense of history,” we’re not sure the pictures on his wall would be of Donovan Leitch (his most recent picture on the Patrick McMullan archive) and Glenn O’Brien (from not long before that). Especially since the O’Brien photo was from a pre-opening party at the Standard, a hotel that isn’t even his. Minus 4. Also, who says “Nice photo” about a photo of themselves? Minus 1.
• Okay, since we’re there, about these Patrick McMullan images. To be sure, they are often lovely, and you’ll definitely see the vintage ones at charity auctions. (Intel Chris has one of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, in fact!) But they are not one of a kind, they are not worth nearly $8,000, and they would not be sold at Sotheby’s. In fact, most of the recent ones you can just order from the website. Minus 8.
• Also, really, why was everyone at the Sotheby’s auction? If Rufus wanted “everyone to be together,” as Dan said, why were Eric and Jenny not there? This whole scenario is absurd. Minus 4. Also, unless Bono was sponsoring the event, there wouldn’t be paparazzi outside of an evening sale. Minus 5.
• We know Nate was never really an academic, but surely there’s, like, a mandatory Freshman Health Seminar he has to attend at some point, or Rocks for Jocks, or something. Minus 3.
• Nate and Bree are talking about one day risking “actually going out together” and “being seen by other people” as they are WALKING DOWN THE STREET UPTOWN. Minus 6.
• Scott: “It’s been twenty years; what’s a day or two more?” Anyone who has ever said anything aloud like this must immediately know they’re in a TV drama. Minus 3.
• Chuck: “Look, our relationship should be more important than business deals or secret societies.” HA, that’s the whole fun about their relationship!! And they know it, too. Minus 3.
• Okay, Chuck’s huge purple tie is too much. We get the whole huge tie, widespread collar metaphor, but please. Don’t sacrifice style for sex. Minus 2.
• Even Blair wouldn’t let such nice furniture be tainted by dorm-room air. Minus 2. The combination of ambient marijuana and Popov alone would strip the finish off that antique boudoir.
• Vanessa wouldn’t have a huge turquoise cocktail ring unless it was actually handcrafted by the Navajo. Minus 1.
• We don’t understand why, from the start, Chuck didn’t try to build this club on his own. He’s a billionaire. Minus 3. And it’s not a huge risk to buy the Empire Hotel. He’s a billionaire. Plus, it’s not like he’d be putting everything on the line to buy it. He would only be putting in a certain amount of equity, and the rest would be debt. Minus 4.
• Minus 2 for the fact that Serena confronted Georgina about the fake La Table Elitaire invitation, then lamely disengaged with her instead of taking her down like she deserved. At least she should have told Blair, who would have concocted a fabulous revenge scheme in which she was, we don’t know, lured to Central Park and then spirited away by Dorota’s Eastern European boyfriend and the entire cast of Cirque du Soleil.
• When Scott, with his glossy hair and high cheekbones, took the hand of the plain-Jane lady from Boston and told the beautiful TV people before him that she was his mother and he was not actually Rufus and Lily’s son but the brother of Rufus and Lily’s son, and they believed him, we actually laughed out loud. It was like a gazelle telling a bunch of gazelles, “No really, I was born to this family of beavers.” And they were like, “Okay, cool. We totally believe that.” Minus 3.
Total: 70 Fake points, 139 Reality points
Georgina’s giant sock joke overcame the absurd Sotheby’s scenario, the lameness of Scott’s lie, and the many impossible outfits of this episode, putting the episode on the reality side. But please, we need more drama, less love and forgiveness. The inner psychos of Scott and Georgina need to be released! And from the looks of it, next episode they will be. As always, put your own tallies in the comments, and we’ll round them up on Friday.
Related: Our friends over at Vulture are testing the reality index on the latest painstakingly New York show, Bored to Death.