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A Little Bit of Danger Makes Gossip Girl’s Life Worth Living

Even someone without Blair Waldorf’s unerring nose for sexual tension would have caught a whiff of the mammalian scent in the air on Gossip Girl last night. Pheromones coursed through the characters’ bodies like so many high-grade drugs transported from Holland by a disaffected diplomat’s son: The previous episode’s ménage, we learned, has changed the chemistry of the relationship between Dan, Vanessa, and Olivia, after Olivia suspects Dan and Vanessa’s feelings for each other go beyond friendship, which Dan awkwardly confirms when, during the gang’s ridiculous performance of Snow White, he briefly forgets he is a man who just performed a white rap while dressed as a hipster elf and plants a tender yet masculine kiss on his best lady friend. Meanwhile, Jenny is attracted to trouble like a dog to Beggin’ Strips, and Serena is practically in heat over boyish, ruddy-cheeked Trip van der Bilt. After listening to several hours of her helpless yowls, Nate is at last forced to drug and almost physically restrain her from acting on it. Alas, she breaks free, to the expected results. That one probably needs to be spayed.

Realer Than a Van Der Bilt Apartment With Forest-Green Walls and Framed Pictures of Horses:
• Dan would clearly walk down the street giving strangers high fives — even if he hadn’t just had a threesome. Plus 1. Also, Plus 1 for: “Two girls, four boobs, one Dan Humphrey.”
• B: “In the second grade I saw our gym teacher giving Lavern Glazer’s mom the gladeye. Not only did it earn me the first A++ for gym in Constance history — I learned that my sexual-tension radar is unparalleled.” Plus 1.
• “Vanessa is very vocal” during sex, Nate mentions to Dan, surprising us not at all. Arlo and Gabriella wouldn’t have raised a girl who wasn’t comfortable with her sexuality. Plus 1
• Nate knows he’s not all “book-smart,” like Dan Humphrey, but there are a few areas he has expertise in, okay? One of them is the politics of threesomes: “I know things,” he explains to Dan. “I go to Europe. Chuck Bass is my best friend.” Later, when Serena comes to him to tell him that she’s “about” to have an affair with Tripp, his married cousin to whom he sacrificed his own reputation in order to get him elected to Congress, he’s pleased to be further able to demonstrate his skill set. “Affairs with married people, threesomes, it just so happens everyone’s problems are within my area of expertise,” he says proudly. Managing marital scandals and political disasters are decidedly outside of that area, however, though if anyone needs help packing a one-hitter or feathering their man bangs, Nate is your man.
 Plus 5.
• Blair: “I don’t converse with liars or Lewinskys.” Plus 2.
• As soon as Olivia said the movie KC was begging her to take was called Bitches of Eastwick and was “like Heathers but with witches,” we knew she would take it, because who wouldn’t? That sounds awesome. Plus 2.

• “He gave six girls from Nightingale gonorrhea of the throat last year.” Plus 500.

• Willa Weinstein is a nasty, dowdy, crochety biatch. Plus 3.
• Jenny is reading Nylon. Plus 1, because we would, too, if our stepsister had been on the cover 1.5 million times in the past two years.

• Serena has insane long dragon-lady nails, which, combined with her dragon-lady tights, outweigh the bewildering unreality of her shoulder pads. Wash.
• B: “Olivia — just the starlet I was hoping to find.”
O: “Hi Blair. Uh, Dorota, need to use my outlet for your towel warmer again?”
B: “Actually, I have a question: How do I win over shallow, superficial actors?”
O: “Calling them shallow and superficial didn’t work?” Plus 1.
• Tripp has bad neckne. So real. Plus 1.
Plus 2 for both Blair’s theater-mask brooch and the tiara she wore as the queen in the play, which did not appear to be costume jewelry.
• O: I guess being a movie star has a certain cache.
B: “I may have read that at the dentist.” Plus another 1.
• Why are there so many signs telling people to be quiet in the hallways at NYU? Is that a thing? No points, just wondering.
• Serena kind of has a Carrie Fisher–in-the-metal-bikini-from–Return of the Jedi–style mole. Plus 1 to the costume designer, Eric Daman, for finally figuring out how to expose it.
• Nate is talking to Serena about having an affair like she’s a rational person. Only he would be dim enough to think that would work — and that getting Serena drunk is going to keep her from sleeping with a married man. Plus only 1, because they were just reminiscing about high school, and surely even Nate can remember that far.
• Serena was 13 when Alfie came out? Plus 1, but we want to throw up.
• Jenny: “My family is really into waffles.” Plus 1, because that could be the “I carried a watermelon” of the aughts.
• N: “Oh, yeah, it’s post-threesome stage one, wherein one if not both girls try to figure out which one you belong to.” This sentence is so awesome that we’ll ignore the fact that Nate used the word “wherein.” Plus 1.
• Blair threatens to tell “the town crier in nowheresville Vermont” about Vanessa’s threesome with Dan and Olivia.
 Plus 1, because she would. (Do you think the town crier is also the village idiot? Because then maybe Dan knows him, too.)
• Other than the complicated machinations of the drug deal — “What did you expect us to do? Meet in an alley?” Actually, yes. And furthermore: Who floats drugs on mini-sailboats in Central Park? What if there was a strong wind and the boats capsized? No self-respecting dealer would risk their product like that — everything about Damian’s shady character and Jenny’s fear of/attraction to him is totally realistic. For her, he’s salvation from the ordinary mean girls whose rigid, perfect world she’s having such a hard time fitting into. By hanging out with him, it won’t seem like she’s giving up, but instead like she’s opting for a life that is more sophisticated, worldly, and dangerous than their own. Plus 5
• Damian takes Jenny to SL, and they run into the real Eugene Remm! And then rub his cute little head! Hi Eugene! Plus 5.
• At the bar, Damian grabs Jenny’s inner thigh, which is a thing that hasn’t happened to us since we were 15. Plus 2
 (but minus 2 for us, personally).
• Olivia traps Dan in a lie he doesn’t even know he’s telling with the line: “That you even know what I am talking about proves it happened.” Devastating. Plus 1
• “Dude, I’m Chuck Bass. Even Europeans must know what that means.” Plus 10. Seriously, we swear sometimes they’re writing this show for you, commenters.

• “He worked on the Oslo Accord? That sounds major.” Plus 1, because at first when Jenny said that, it sounded like she knew what he was talking about, and then she made herself look like a ditz for a cute guy.

• “POKER FACEIS ABOUT CYRUS ROSE!!! So, so, so fake. But for once we don’t care!
• Of course Dan would think Prince Charming would wear a plaid scarf and a little hat. Plus 1.
• It feels weirdly real that Chuck protects Jenny in that way. Plus 3. But let’s not dwell on it.
• Okay, first of all, did Lady Gaga do a backflip onstage in the background when Vanessa walked up to Dan and Olivia? Plus 5 in general for the performance. Yes, it didn’t sound like she was actually singing and yes, no one would have been able to have a normal conversation twenty feet away from that. But she was in full Gaga mode, and she made an awesome showing with just a plain ladder and what appeared to be a red sheet. Perfect for a surprise NYU performance.

Real Points: 560

Faker Than Dorota Letting Blair Out of the House Wearing That Beret:
• Okay, let’s talk about all the arbitrary James Frey references. The only thing real or natural about them was when Gossip Girl mispronounced his last name. Minus 2.

• Rufus gave up his beloved effing Welcome Back, Kotter mugs for little effeminate espresso cups? Eh, minus only 1.
• Remember how in the first season Nate wanted to go to school on the West Coast? And how he went to Columbia in the end of the second season? Now he just hangs out in the penthouse at the Empire Hotel, apparently. Minus only 1, mostly for not being explained, since it’s actually pretty realistic.

• We know we said this when she first came on, but it bears repeating: If Olivia is a giant movie star, why are there never paparazzi following her around, ever? We know this is New York and not L.A., but still, Kristen Stewart steps onto her balcony for a cigarette and it winds up on less than an hour later. Why is the star of the famed Endless Knights trilogy blithely swanning off to get coffee — at a street vendor, no less! — undisturbed by flashbulbs?

• “Humphrey, this isn’t terrible!” Blair says, approximately two seconds after Dan hands her his script. Minus 2 for the generosity and implied speed-reading.
• Nate and Serena go to Brandy Library, which has been mentioned on this show before. We get that sometimes it feels like there are only three locations in all of New York, but the Brandy Library is not a place where you go to do shots of clear liquor. Minus 2.
• Serena was “just leaving Tripp a note about the Observer article.” ENOUGH WITH THE OBSERVER. Minus 3.
• Tripp wouldn’t live in D.C. full time. Minus 3. And Maureen has to leave for D.C. in an hour and has time to have brunch? Minus 3, because rich-people brunches never take under an hour.
• Dan has a fancy notebook, maybe Smythson. Minus 3, because he’d clearly have a marbled Mead.
• A guy wearing the coat Damian was wearing would not walk with his Italian leather shoes into a pond. Minus 4.
• They wouldn’t rehearse in the coffee shop — there are 1 million rehearsal spaces at NYU Minus 2.
• Drug dealers don’t have “a guy.” They are “the guy.” Minus 5.
• Why is Olivia so mature about everything? She’s a movie star. Minus 3.
• Vanessa thinks Paul Hoffman likes her? HE IS A GAY. Eh, minus only 2.

Fake points: 136

Okay, so this episode lands squarely in the real zone. Which is only fitting for the episode that introduced Lady Gaga and ushered out Olivia. As always, put your tallies in the comments!

A Little Bit of Danger Makes Gossip Girl’s Life Worth Living