Gossip Girl’s Heart of Darkness

By
"Ugh, I can smell the Jesus on you." Photo: Courtesy of the CW
Episode Title
The Freshmen
Season
3
Episode
2

Georgina Sparks has arrived at NYU, and like the maenad from True Blood, she has cast a wicked spell over the city. Everywhere, formerly sane people's pupils are going black as they fall under her spell, and it's only a matter of time before they're committing unspeakable, inhuman acts against one another. Vanessa is the first to go: Just a few vulnerable words from Georgina and she forgets that just last year, girlfriend did the exact same thing, and fake-befriended her in order, it turned out, to wreak havoc on another hapless human. By the time G breaks out the heavy-handed compliments about Vanessa's documentary "about the community garden in her neighborhood," V's ready to carve someone's heart out for her, and doesn't even notice when Georgina shuts Blair out of her own dorm room. It takes Dan slightly longer to come around, but soon enough Lonelyboy gives in, and utterly forgets that Georgina actually pretended to be a different person under a fake name in order to sex him out of his relationship with his former girlfriend, now sister, Serena. And Carter Baizen is wrong: Serena's not just acting out because her daddy doesn't love her. Even though she doesn't have direct contact with Georgina, she's still affected, which is probably why she becomes possessed and lashes out cruelly when Chuck and Rufus calls her out on her dicky, marble-mouthed behavior. Meanwhile, Blair, the only bitch big enough to stop the tidal wave of destruction Georgina is planning, has lost her powers. We trust that next episode, she'll realize: They aren't in your headband, Miss Blair. They're inside you.

Faker Than the "Adult Bankers" From Central Casting Who Are Always Meeting With Chuck at Inappropriate Locations:
• When discussing the dorms, Chuck says: "Forced all-nighters, communal showers, public schoolgirls? There's a place for all that and it's at the back of a video store." Please, like someone as rich and young as Chuck Bass has ever been to a "video store." Minus 3.
• Why did Rufus wake up at Lily's house and Dan wake up at Rufus's? Minus 3.
• Nate and Bree flip each other over during their romantic pillow talk at least once, maybe two times, over the believable limit. Minus 2, because the reason they have to keep moving them around is that they’re totally boring, and this is transparent.
• Bree asks to go into Nate's pants to see what he's like, but when she gets to his wallet, she fails to open it. Minus 2. Please. As any seasoned stalker would know, the wallet is the treasure trove. How else are you going to find out what his ex-girlfriend looks like, what his Available Balance is, and exactly what he bought at Barnes & Noble? This is Chris writing this, by the way.
• Since Vanessa brings it up by saying, "Of course she arrives in a limo," and Blair later tells the entire freshman class that she has "limos waiting for them downstairs" outside the party, we suppose it is time we address the problem of limos on Gossip Girl. Meaning: Why does everyone have them? In real life, the only people in New York who ride in limousines are out-of-towners, bachelorette parties, and maybe Victoria Gotti. Actual rich people just travel in Mercedes, Maybachs, giant black SUVs, or Town Cars like everybody else. Minus 5.
• While we're at it, we might as well disabuse the notion that Dan would ever have been as unpopular in high school as we're meant to think he was — not with that messy hair, those protruding biceps, those perfect cheekbones and strong, succulent lips. Real lonely boys have messy rooms, thick mustaches, protruding acne, perfect World of Warcraft scores, and a strong aversion to sunlight. Minus 3.
• Scott's pink-sleeved henley shirt, combined with Vanessa's colorful outfit, was absurd. Together, they looked like members of the Wiggles. Minus 1.
• When Katie hears Dan say, “The world of Greenwich Village intelligentsia is exactly Dan Humphrey’s natural habitat,” she somehow knows that he’s talking about himself in the third person, as if anyone does that. Ever. Minus 5.
• Scott is creepy and it’s totally obvious. Minus 8 for no one noticing his intense stares and bizarre outbursts. The kid with Tourette's is always the first victim of Freshman Week.
• Related: How is it not obvious to Vanessa that Georgina is totally evil? Minus 8. Even her accessories are malevolent.
• Okay, how have Blair and Serena not discussed their mutual sexing of Carter Baizen yet? Minus 2, because at the very least, Blair should have tried to convince Serena that Carter was just using her to sign her up as a hooker for that whole Eyes Wide Shut club thing from last season. Minus only 1, because the writers are clearly dying for us all to forget that ever happened.
• Serena is not going to college because she doesn't know what to do with her life? That's what Brown is for. Did she not read the guidebook? Minus only 2, because that is also so Serena. She needs her own sound effect, like Debbie Downer's, but maybe with a tuba.
• If they're freshman at NYU, why are they constantly hanging out on Prince Street in Nolita? The NYU bookstore isn't McNally Jackson. Minus 3.
• Is Bree wearing a housecoat? That is the dowdiest nightgown a college-age co-ed has ever worn in the history of rich people. Minus 4.
• Not to be macabre, but NYU students are not allowed on roofs. Especially not to, you know, have a big underage drinking party. Enough kids wind up jumping off those places when they're sober, okay? Minus 5.
• Okay, we loved the music at the party (yay Phoenix!), but to play Leighton Meester's song as Blair commits social suicide? That just seems wrong. Minus 1.
• Carter is always just roaming around random parts of the city. The Village, Nolita, Park Avenue, etc. Does he do anything?
• Wait, the moral of the story is that Serena doesn't have to go to college? What? And that Georgina and Dan can get back together? Are their collective hair products squeezing their brains too hard?? Minus 8.

Total: 64

Realer Than Blair's Endlessly Morphing, Desperately Awkward Facial Expressions:
• Blair uses Smythson Stationery for her notebooks. Plus 2. Also, she wears multiple strands of pearls to the first day of freshman orientation. Plus 2. Also, the way she picked up her headband, it was like she was unsheathing a light saber. Plus 2.
• Lily isn't there to take Serena to her first day of college. Plus 3. Okay, okay, we know Kelly Rutherford just had a baby, but like we said last time, there's no place on earth a billionaire cannot travel at, say, 30 hours' notice.
• When Blair says she plans on being queen at NYU, Chuck says: "The only queens here are the ones with tickets to see Liza at Carnegie Hall." Plus only 1, because please, Liza? The only aging queen NYU queens would have tickets to see is Madonna. Maybe.
Plus 2 for Blair’s retort that Chuck should really stick to doling out life lessons he knows, such as “Never drink absinthe with Daniel Baldwin.”
• Chuck refers to his apartment as “The Bass Cave.” Finally, he says something teenage. With his business deals and his new Gordon Gekko look, we worried he was becoming an adult. Plus 1.
• Not only does Serena say, early on, “NYU is totally the perfect place for you,” when she knows he really wanted to go to Yale, she later says, when Dan says he’s making friends there, “I can totally see why people would love you there.” This character has such an underminer side. We love it.
• When Good Serena is required to lie, she always pauses and gets kind of distracted-seeming, like her mind is broken a little. This makes sense. Lying is hard.
• Chuck: “For people like us, a college degree is just an accessory, like a Malawian baby or a poodle.” Plus 1.
• Blair: "Riverdale doesn't count." Plus 1 for that, and another plus 1 for: "You should never have been seen in a club on Saturday night — it's strictly for Bridge and Tunnel only." We don't know about the first point, beyond it being funny, but the second is definitely true. It's actually in the Torah.
• When Blair arrives in her enormous freshman room, of course she would think it was a single. Plus only 2, because also, she'd have gotten one of those awkward personal-letter set-ups from her future roommate earlier in the summer, and therefore would know that she was about to live with her personal kryptonite.
• The look on the girl's face in the background as she examines her new headband is priceless. As is Blair's face when Georgina comes into her room. Plus 2.
• Vanessa: "Yeah, um, my room is just down the hall. So that's, awesome." OMG, V made us laugh!! Plus 2, because now if she just cuts off the bottom half of her hair hat, even we might give her a Freshman Year Second Chance.
• Dan says, “I know everything I learned about women from Judy Blume's Forever.Plus 2, and an additional Plus 2 for the way his nerd gallery howled with laughter at that one.
Plus 5 for Georgina's shiny wall tapestry, which is so perfect. We can't wait for when she drives Blair crazy by getting the smell of patchouli into all of her clothes, or burning down half the room by putting a colored scarf over a halogen lamp "for effect."
Plus 5 for everything about Dorota.
• Ugh, Dan and V are both taking "Women and Literature." Plus 3. And an additional plus 1 for the fact that Georgina is reading The Prince, even though she was so unsubtle about it.
• What happens when Bree runs her fingers through Nate's hair is amazing. It's like trying to eat an angel food cake with a blunt spoon. Plus 2.
• Is Dan wearing the exact same plaid shirt that Rufus is wearing, only in a different color, on the same day? Plus 1, because we bet they even talked about it.
• Ugh, a kiddie pool at a roof party, fine. But the neon glow-in-the-dark necklaces and an earnest Battlestar Galactica debate? They're freshman at a party, not 14-year-olds in a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot. We'll let that go as a wash.
• Jesus camps make house calls to Greenwich Village roof parties? Eh, we'll buy it. Plus 1.
• Blair: "There's a reason we never went downtown. It's awful!" Oh, Blair honey, you went downtown. We all remember. But plus 1 for your own selective memory.

Total: 45

Well, this one ended up nineteen points on the fake side, which seems about right to us, as it's college, and while there may be, as Vanessa said, "no cool people" freshman year, there are also enough kids that somebody would want to be Blair's friend. And Serena probably wouldn't have gotten away with not going to school. And Carter Baizen would have to wear a belt at some point. But all in all, good stuff! As always, put your points in the comments section, and come back for the recap recap on Friday afternoon.