We were concerned after last week’s episode that Gossip Girl was embarking on a downward spiral, that the writers’ strike would cause it to slink off the air like a disgraced social climber, never to be heard from again. But, we’ve realized, our relationship with Gossip Girl has followed a path not unlike Dan and Serena’s: Every time we find ourselves doubting or mistrustful of our lover, he or she surprises us, we are proven wrong, and we fall in “love” all over again. As the great writer Jessica Fletcher once said, what does not kill us makes us stronger. And this week’s season finale had us feeling strong indeed! Not only did “A Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate” contain our favorite line of the entire season (“You pregnant little hypocrite!”), it was the first to play up the role of Gossip Girl herself and her effect on the character’s lives. Now we understand why they act so crazy! The whispers of the Constance Billard students talking about the latest posts — Slut. I see a bump. WTF does she think she is? Keep your legs closed, Blair — are as scary (if not scarier) than the whispering of the island on Lost, and that place has actual monsters. Apparently because they’ve been driven insane by the freaky whispers, all the characters on this episode sell each other out: Serena tells Chuck about Blair being maybe pregnant. Jenny tells Nate about Chuck sleeping with Blair. Nate tells Blair about Jenny telling him she slept with Chuck. And Rufus tells two hot chicks he’s up for a threesome. Other kinds of truths are told as well: Dan declares his love for Serena, while Chuck’s unrequited love for his best friend, Nate, is writ openly across his pallid face as his best friend stalks away. Acting!
But even brilliant thespianism cannot make real what is patently false, and that, of course, is where we come in. Yes, it’s time for another Shirley Jackson’s–The Lottery–inspired evaluation of what in the writers’-strike-imposed season finale of Gossip Girl seemed true to the lives of teenagers living on the Upper East Side today, and what struck us as so laughably unrealistic it might as well have been made in Nebraska.
So Real, It’s Like They Didn’t Even Use Writers
• Everything about the passing around of the gossip about Serena being pregnant was accurate. Of course Dan would hear about it from someone else. When we went to high school, it would have involved a lot of gossiping near lockers (don’t judge, we went to a school with lockers) and during stretching at indoor track practice. These days, it’s over text and IM. Gossip 2.0! Plus 3.
• On a gripey side note (this one is by annoyed hag fag Chris alone), it’s 100 percent accurate that Eric would get the text in question before Serena. Her phone was in that fucking giant bag. It was probably doused in makeup and muffled with Dentyne Ice crystals. She probably wouldn’t have gotten that text message for DAYS, much less in the hour that you needed to get in touch with her to ask her for the phone number of that FUCKING boy in her physics class. Plus 5.
• Serena says to Blair: “You need to know whether you and Chuck are going to have a baby.” Wait a second. Did Judd Apatow write this script? UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WOULD BLAIR HAVE CHUCK’S BABY. There would be a quickie schmaschmortion with a discreet private phyisican, and no one would ever know it never happened. We’d give minus points, but the panic is so real (as is the excitement in being part of something extremely dramatic in high school that doesn’t actually affect you), we’ll call it a wash.
• Is it us, or does Serena kind of WANT Blair to be pregnant? Plus 4.
• Chuck is moping and stalking around in a newsboy hat, so real. Open the gates and seize the day, Chuckles! Plus 2.
• How great (and real) is it that when Nate tells Blair, “I need you to come visit my dad with me in rehab,” she thinks it’s romantic. Plus 1. Reminds us of the time the guy from the football team “needed” us when he had to get his stomach pumped.
• “Why are you taking his advice?” Jenny asks Dan. “He’s old and alone.” Such a Cassandra. Such a little sister. Plus 1.
• Does anybody else love the black-and-white-checked floor in Blair’s entryway? So real! So slippery and lawsuit-inviting! Plus 2.
• Blair says to her mirror: “I command myself not to be pregnant.” Seem fake? Try being gay in high school and then see how easy it is not to give ultimatums to your reflection. Plus 4. (Yeah, Chris again.)
• Of course Dan would have a winter picnic to tell Serena that he loves her. Way too early. While wearing a pashmina. Plus 2. Later, she asks him, “I need to know why you love me.” Classic teenage narcissism/insecurity! Plus 2.
• To be fair, Blair’s sleeping with Chuck after getting dumped was kind of understandable. But it’s so real that no one would see it that way. Plus 4.
• The tides quickly turn against Blair, which is accurate, but did the producers really have to produce two extra characters to make it happen? They regain all points, though, for giving one of the newbies the chance to say ” Consider yourself dethroned, Queen B.” She’s clearly been waiting three years to say that. Or, you know, the 25 minutes that she’s existed. Plus 1.
• Dan and Serena have a romantic candlelight dinner … at his father’s apartment. While Jenny is totally there and interrupting. This is so realistic that we just got retroactive embarrassment from fifteen years ago. Plus 1.
• Serena says “okay” to Dan after he says he loves her for the first time. Um, duh. We have memories; we know this is real. Plus 2.
• It’s real that Chuck and Nate would get in a fight in front of everyone in school. Plus 1. Just not in a blue Paddington bear coat. Minus 1.
• Blair’s headbands get bigger and bigger. It’s like she’s wearing the Goddamn Prada turban. Plus 2. Maybe it is holding in all of her feelings.
• Love: The bitchier Jenny gets, the higher her hair gets. Plus 2.
Total: 37! Pretty good, but then we didn’t figure in that crazy “My first response is that the sky would be a clear blue easy” line.
So Fake We Suspect It Was Scripted by Monkees
• In the drugstore buying the pregnancy tests, Serena is looking all around, but she somehow doesn’t see the girl five feet away from taking pictures? Minus 2. Also, why on TV and in movies do they always buy like five pregnancy tests? We’re not taking away any points for this, but trust us: It only takes one.
• Okay, we’ve let this slide before. Kids can smoke weed in Central Park. They just can’t do it on a bench on a popular walkway during the DAY. You could see a street in the background! Minus only 1, because once we smoked pot in the middle of a crosswalk on Fifth Avenue, and we know anything’s possible.
• Rufus and Dan come into Jenny’s room when she screams and insist on looking at what’s on her laptop. Minus 2, because everyone knows when girls scream when looking at their computers it’s because they’ve been surprised by one of those random dick photos on Craigslist, and who wants to see that again?
• Actually, let’s walk through this whole scene. So Rufus and Dan see the picture. Shock, horror. Rufus says, “Can you excuse us, Jenny?” which by the way is something people never say in real life. Minus 1.. Then he and Dan settle down to have their father-son pregnancy-scare talk. We bet that Rufus is wishing he’d sent Dan to public school now, where at least they teach kids about condoms. He looks steamed. Plus 1.. But how can he expect Dan to take him seriously when his bangs are flipping out in that ridiculous way, and he is sitting on a chair draped with pink crushed velvet, wearing a ladies’ cardigan? Minus 3, because no matter what they were wearing, a parent would look terrifying in that situation.
• This reminds us of a thing that’s been bugging us about the Gossip Girl site. The Upper East Side is full of crazy, rich, bored parents. Wouldn’t they be checking the Website constantly? And after checking it, wouldn’t they would be on the phone immediately with the Waspy headmistress, using their embarrassing “This is not ACCEPTABLE” tone. That shit would be shut down faster than you can say: “My mom used Facebook to make a little girl kill herself.” Minus 15.
• And why doesn’t anyone ever send Gossip Girl lies? This is high school. Lies come easier than freshmen at an “Ookie Cookie” party. Minus 2.
• Dan confesses to Jenny and Rufus that he has a problem: He told Serena that he loves her, but she thinks it was only because he thought she was pregnant. “Take a step back, son,” Rufus advises. “You’re only 17 … we’ll talk more later.” Then Jenny gives her older brother some sound advice. What is this? Father Fucking Knows Best? In real life, Jenny would call Dan a pussy for what he said to Serena, and Dan would be grounded whether she was pregnant or not. Minus 5
• Hey, remember when we figured out that if Constance Billard’s address was real, it would be at the bottom of the East River? Okay, so it’s not that far east, but it’s also not close to the Met. There’s no way they’d hike over from York Avenue to sit on the steps for lunch. Even if it involved yogurt. Minus 5
• Two very attractive women hit on Rufus at his gallery, one right after the other. Minus 2, because he is wearing a ladies’ cardigan.
• At one point, one of the brunette whores (THEY’RE NOT BLONDE LIKE ALLISON AND LILY, PEOPLE) asks him about the new art in the gallery. “There’s a beautiful mixed media piece on the wall here,” he says. Except the painting in question is not mixed media. Minus 3, because half of the teenagers watching this show are aspiring to have trophy jobs in the Sotheby’s contemporary department, bitches. Pick some new rubes.
• Would Serena have really trusted Chuck with Blair’s secret? He did once tried to RAPE her. Over a grilled cheese. The ultimate betrayal! Minus 4. Plus, would he so easily give up his power in this situation? Wouldn’t he have milked his possible babydaddyhood for all it was worth?
• Also, Chuck was smoking a cigarette on school grounds. Dude, we went to prep school and broke every possible rule. But that, even on the Upper East Side, would not happen. Minus 1.
• AGAIN WITH THE WHITE TIGHTS!!! Minus 1.
• And what about Chuck’s outfits?? The yellow turtleneck? The scarves? The pink houndstooth cardigan? Even Carson Kressley would have thought the houndstooth cardigan was a little effete. Minus 2.
• Blair is wearing a riding helmet to board a helicopter. Overprecautious much? Minus 1.
Total: 46! The sheer speed with which the pregnancy scenario unfolded reminds us that in action-packed episodes such as this, it’s tough to keep it real. And isn’t that why we watch scripted dramas, anyhow?
Stay tuned for our full season recap later today. Because letting go is never easy, and sometimes you have to say “I love you” twice in order to hear it back.
And for a final walk down memory lane through all of our obsessive recaps, gossip and keyboard diarrhea about the Greatest Show of Our Time, click here.