Having just watched the ubiquitous holiday movie Love, Actually on our own Thanksgiving, your Daily Intel editors were under the impression that Christmas was the holiday on which people told the truth about how they really felt. But trust that eager young minx Gossip Girl to get a jump on things. In last night’s episode, feelings spilled forth from our cast of characters like stuffing falling from a turkey, all soft and mushy and quite possibly full of bacteria. As usual, circumstances conspired to throw everyone together, and while distracting Autotune played in the background, several key mother-daughter pairs uneasily bonded: While Vanessa and her mother had a real “heart-to-heart,” Blair and Eleanor and Lily and CeCe each came to Waspy understandings of each other. Meanwhile, on the romantic front: Doorman Vanya pursued the love of Dorota across various digital platforms. Dan’s love for Vanessa manifested in the form of a new facial expression, one that managed to impart equal parts longing and the sense that he had just sharted. And both Nate and Trip van der Bilt summoned all of the passion of the Manchurian candidate while declaring their feelings for Serena.
Realer Than a Traditional Humphrey Family Recipe That Is Just Plain Ol’ Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows
• Yes, at Thanksgiving people are already skating at Wollman Rink. We don’t have to like it, but it’s true. Plus 1.
• You’d think people would use online recipe boxes these days, but of course Rufus would use handmade index cards that look like they were ripped from The Anarchist’s Cookbook. Plus 3.
• Serena’s holiday tradition is fucking up Thanksgiving. Plus 1.
• There is a Mondrian in Tripp’s house. In the hallway. Plus 2.
• B: “Flying in from Paris to escort me back? How dumb does she think I am? She has some bomb she wants to drop on me in a controlled environment surrounded by air marshals and French people.” Plus 1.
• B to S: “Then what are you, exactly, an 18-year-old blonde coincidence? Call me in six months when he meets his next coincidence. That is, if he even leaves his wife, which I highly doubt.” Plus 1, because at least she watches the show she’s on.
• Nate, on the “look” during the threesome: “Oh, this is not your next story for The New Yorker. I’m sending it out to an entirely different magazine.” Plus 1, because wait, wait, let us guess: Real Simple!
• B: “Hello is the word you’re looking for.”
D: “I sorry Miss Blair. I not talking with Vanya, and now he not stop calling. And texting. And tweeting. And writing on wall.” Plus 2, because aw, Dorota.
• Nate’s look at Serena when he decides silently to ditch Gramps and spend Turkey Day with her is touching. Somebody got acting lessons for high-school graduation! Plus 3.
• D: “Miss Eleanor ask me to pick up some things for Paris. It’s private.”
B: “You know what isn’t? The INS tip line.” Plus 1.
• D: [Later] Gratulacje! That is congratulations in Polish. Plus 2. And an Upper East Side maid would get a pregnancy test at Clyde’s Chemists. An Upper East Side mom would know to go to Duane Reade in order to not be recognized. Plus another 2.
• Serena is wearing a dress with no front. Plus 5.
• C: “A little Thanksgiving proclamation: You two ever play grabass in my elevator again, and Serena will be staying in an airport Marriott. Happy holidays.” Plus 2.
• D: “Come on, CeCe’s heart pumps secrets and gin.” Plus 1, because so does ours!
• When Serena smarmily tells Lily that Trip leaving his wife for her isn’t like Lily being left, because “Trip actually cares about me,” Lily faces down her burn and ices her back. “Do you think so? Why don’t you take a look at what he’s doing: leaving someone who until today thought the exact same thing. Walk away, Serena. Until you do, you’re not welcome in this home.” Even when Lily is wasted, she’s right. Plus only 1, because her and Chuck’s transitions into paragons of wisdom and judgment still isn’t sitting right with us.
• The pie Blair is eating is a sissy version of the ones from her eating-disorder days. Plus 3, because even she subconsciously realizes this fight with Eleanor is not a real problem.
• B: “No offense to Cyrus, but do you really think the world needs another Aaron Rose?” Plus only 1, because where the hell did that kid go, anyway?
• Blair loves Rotisserie du Beaujolais. Fair enough. Plus 1.
• Vanessa’s mom, Gabriella, says she would have attended Rufus and Lily’s wedding, but “I was boycotting the floral industry.” We would give points for this, except where is Vanessa’s father, Arlo? Didn’t his lack of presence deserve any exposition? Say, “I’m sorry your father couldn’t be here; he’s working his shift at the co-op”?
• Vanessa’s mom has only appeared a few times, and while most of her lines have been over-the-top (see above), her particular brand of selfish selflessness is pretty well done. She’s the type of person who acts like she’s doing things for other people, when really she’s just doing them for herself, often at the expense of other people. Like when she spent the entire performance of Hair talking to a homeless man when Vanessa had spent her entire paycheck on tickets. Even now, instead of apologizing to her daughter, she guilts her about it by saying, “He was a vet.” She explains her nosiness about other people by saying she “cares about people,” but she clearly just wants to patronize them: She even does it to Dan, pointing out that he’s in love with Vanessa instead of actually taking in what he says about how her daughter just wants her attention. So. Plus 5 for all that.
• “How do you find having a sibling? Someone whose sole purpose in life is to compete for your parents’ love and attention?” The way that Blair, the consummate only child, delivers this line — with a slightly hysterical edge, like she is one slice of pie away from shoving a coat hanger into her absentee mother’s uterus — is perfect. Plus 1.
• No points, but we love the repeated D&G ads that so obviously reference the Gossip Girl threesome.
• B: “Doing the right thing takes courage and strength. At least that’s what I’ve heard.” Plus 1.
• B: “Chuck can shop for sweaters with Harold and Roman” in Paris. Plus another 1, because that explains a lot.
• D: “Tom Colicchio live in building, I’m sure he send plate already. Mr. Rufus good cook but not Top Chef.” Plus 1 for this subtle reference to Padma Lakshmi’s own mystery pregnancy!
• Okay, let’s address Serena and Trip. It seems to us they were laying the foundations for Trip to become seriously creepy, starting with his creepy declaration to her in the elevator: “Yes, Serena, I’m stalking you,” he says, eyes dilating weirdly, and goes on say that even though Thanksgiving with her mother and his wife was going to be heinously awkward, he didn’t care, because “Now we get to spend some time together. That’s ALL I care about. Even with everyone else around. To be near you. One last time.” Ew. She’s 18 years old! He’s a congressman! Get it together, Swimfan. This relationship is going somewhere bad. Even if the car accident foretold in the preview of next week’s episode didn’t happen, the already less-interested look on Serena’s face as they drive away in the limo tells us that the novelty would soon wear off. One day in the near future, Serena would look up at Trip’s Adam’s apple bobbing above her and realize that actually, every single thing about him, from his Speed Stick meets Italian sub smell to the way he pronounces “crayon,” completely grosses her out. She would make excuses to get away from him, and the next time he calls, she’d let it go to voice mail. From then on, each loving text message he left, each e-mail signed “Can’t wait to see you again,” would be another brick in the wall she was building against him. Plus 5, because OF COURSE a congressman who falls in love with an 18-year-old is gross.
• “But you love New York,” Blair says when her mother explains that she and Cyrus are moving to Paris. “You always say, anyone who lives anywhere else is fooling themselves.” Plus 10, because that is such a New York thing to say.
Faker Than College Students Making Pie on a Vacation Night in the City — Fake Crust or No
• Why would Eric and Jenny be sitting next to each other listlessly at the beginning of the episode after all that’s happened? They’d be sitting listlessly in different corners of the room. Minus 2.
• Lily: Do you mind if I just walk down to Grace’s and order a Thanksgiving dinner so we don’t have to cook?” She knows Rufus would mind. And she’d never walk when she could just call. Minus 5.
• Jenny is hopeful that “this Thanksgiving is going to be different.” Minus 3, because come on, at that age and with that eyeliner, she’s over breathing, let alone Thanksgiving.
• We are to believe that Trip van der Bilt lives in the Neue Galerie? No. Minus 10.
• Tripp claims he told Maureen immediately and said that he was going to divorce her, but not because of Serena? No way. Even Serena would know that was a lie, and she would want it to be because of her. Minus 4.
• Nate is wearing a Humphrey special. Minus 2, because he would never cave to the faux flannel.
• V shows up at Dan’s to spend break with him without calling? No. She was in the threesome, too. Minus 3, because remember, she was the “vocal” one? She’d not get over that awkwardness for at least a month.
• No Grandma, even grandma CeCe, would know how to video chat. Or log herself off in less than 340 seconds. Minus 4.
• Why does Lily know Maureen so well? Though it’s awesome that they are wearing the same coat. But again, what’s with all the WALKING? Are we to believe they carry their own shopping bags, too? Minus 4.
•Chuck’s paisley tie is awful, but his well-tailored chocolate suit is impeccable. Wash.
• Lily wouldn’t drink straight Scotch. She’d push her mother down the stairs and pretend it was an accident. And she definitely wouldn’t switch to vodka. She would know not to mix. That’s something they teach you in fourth grade at Spence. Minus 3.
• The parents wouldn’t let formerly suicidal Eric and disastrous wastoid Jenny drink wine at the table. Minus 3.
• Why is the turkey uncarved throughout dinner? Minus only 1, for every reason from Gabrielle to Blair.
• As soon as Maureen sees Nate, she asks him if Trip is having an affair with Serena. This is entirely realistic, both because of her spot-on women’s intuition and because obviously the first person you would corner when you want to know the truth is Nate, since he is only capable of making two expressions (well, three now). But it’s canceled out by the fact that, hello, before asking him for a favor, doesn’t she first owe him an apology for making him take the fall for her slimy ploy to get Trip to win the election? Minus 3, because even Nate would remember that.
• Why does Rufus keep telling a joke as if he’s 100 miles away, when he’s literally four feet away at the end of the table? Minus 10, because suddenly he was like one of the adults on Peanuts. Eh, that kinda makes sense.
• If we know our grandmother, and if we know CeCe, she wouldn’t be drinking white wine when she could have a big martini right beside — or in — her creamed onions. No minus points, because later she turns up with a giant tumbler full of gin and twists.
• Wouldn’t Tripp and Maureen have left after the affair confrontation? It wasn’t even a homemade meal! Minus 3.
• Please, Blair would come around to Trip and Serena. The man looks like the skinny gay version of Mr. Potato Head. Minus 5.
• Vanessa still thinks that Paul Hoffman is not a gay? Come ON. No points deducted, because we’ve already ruled on this.
• “That’s absurd,” Jessica’s husband said, indignantly, when Serena chose Trip over Nate. “Nate’s such a more appropriate mate for her.” No one would ever choose Trip over Nate. Ever. Minus 10.
• Maureen would have abandoned that effing coat! She’s rich! And she just got dumped! In front of a bunch of teenagers and people of mixed race! Minus 5.
Even for Gossip Girl, the various coincidences that brought everyone together were a little too hastily orchestrated for reality. And let’s face it, even if people do play heavily Autotuned R&B during Thanksgiving dinner, that doesn’t mean it should happen on TV.