Burning Questions About 'Gossip Girl.'

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It’s been a few weeks; so I thought I’d check back in on Gossip Girl, my favorite nighttime soap, which continues to be silly fun, even if the storylines this season have veered into ridiculous territory. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the show works best when the leads are engaging in age-appropriate problems. Making friends at NYU? Perfect. Dealing with dorm gossip? Great. Opening a hotel? Eh… Launching a speakeasy? EHHHH…. Addressing the press corps about your cousin’s congressional campaign? Dumb. See what I’m getting at here?
The saving grace of Gossip Girl, however, (and this too I’ve mentioned before) is that no matter how ridiculous the plot gets, the tongue-in-cheek tone of the show always reminds us that no one’s taking any of this stuff too seriously, and therefore, neither should we. Still, despite that, this week’s episode really pushed our abilities to suspend disbelief. I’m still a fan of the show 100%, but I’m starting to take issue with a few items.
After the jump, some vital questions that my friend Lil Grans and I had after the latest episode.


Is Jimmy Fallon really a solid plot device?
The big to-do in Humphrey land this week was that his starlet girlfriend went on Jimmy Fallon and apparently mocked him behind his back, giving him the below-the-belt moniker of… Bathroom Boy? I don’t really see the harm in that — it’s not like she labeled him “Doucheface McLittledick.” But of course, this is Dan Humphrey we’re talking about. If anyone is looking for an excuse to jump on a high horse, it’s him. I’m sure if Serena or Chuck or Vanessa ever lobbed a light insult at him – like saying he looked a bit pale — he would launch into some tirade that would end with “Maybe you should stop looking at other people’s complexions and think about your own for once. You know what? I’m done with this.”
Nevertheless, for the first chunk of the show, we watched as Olivia tried her best to keep Dan away from all modern technology – which was mildly amusing, I suppose. It all ended with the lovebirds playing a marathon Scrabble session with Rufufth and Lily, both of whom seem entirely too homely these days. They’re newlyweds. Why aren’t they boinking under the Prada painting? And furthermore, now that Kelly Rutherford has been liberated from a half season of sweater dresses, pillows, and bulky bags covering her pregnancy, can’t the producers give her something else to do other than sit on the couch like Cleopatra? Then again, it’s better than what Jenny’s been up to, which leads me to my next question:
What is up with Jenny?
Seriously, what is up with Jenny? Her character showed some signs of life when she reclaimed a spot atop the steps at the Met, but now she’s back to cameo-ville, and even worse, this week she was in SICK cameo-ville. The poor girl had a VIRUS (swine! swine!) for really no good reason. Maybe Taylor Momsen was sick in real life? Either way, it was yet another indignity that Little J had to suffer at the hands of the writers.
And yet, despite her virus-fueled haze, Jenny was spunky enough to deduce why the hell Dan suddenly jetted out of Scrabble Night At The Humphreys (or SNATH). You see, Dan had gone to another room to do something or another, and he came across Jenny’s laptop, conveniently open to Olivia’s Jimmy Fallon interview. We finally saw the clip, and honestly, it was not bad at all. The story Olivia told on Fallon was some drivel about Dan getting something on his shirt in the bathroom or something like that. Not only was it completely benign, it was totally unmemorable, which is why it was further unbelievable when people actually stopped Dan and called him “Bathroom Boy” repeatedly. Let’s be honest: the only way anyone would remember such a dumb anecdote would be if it involved Dan giving a dirty sanchez to a bathroom attendant as a joke. Or something like that. Why Olivia was so concerned is beyond me, but again, she must have grown keen to Dan’s moody ways.
Either way, Dan zoomed out of the apartment in classic Dan style, causing Jenny to mutter “The computer!” What? Huh? How did she divine that? And why was this stupid interview such a secret? This isn’t like when everyone was gossiping that Jenny was a beard for that gay dude (ah, the good old days). Everything about this plot felt contrived, even for Gossip Girl.
Ah, but guess what? Turns out Dan wasn’t being his usual bitch self. Turns out the Fallon interview reminded him that it was his one month anniversary with Olivia and that he had done nothing for it. His rapid departure was not out of anger (or so he says). It was so he could return to his Brooklyn haunt and build his standard sex ploy: the candle trap. Sure enough, Olivia appeared at the door a bit later, and lo and behold, the apartment was littered with what appeared to be a full store’s worth of Yankee Candle Co. inventory. Olivia felt relief, and the two returned to a state of loving bliss. And oh, there was one more surprise, which leads to the next question:
Why was Olivia on Jimmy Fallon twice in one week? And when did she have time to tape the second appearance?
As Dan and Olivia had shoulder sex (aka cuddled), she turned on Jimmy Fallon, and the two watched as she presented a cake that said something to the effect of “Happy One Month Anniversary Dan.” It was supposed to be sweet, but rather than feeling elation, I was instead wondering why the hell Olivia would be booked so often on Jimmy Fallon. Doesn’t she have better things to do? Could she not get on Letterman? Oh well. I suppose it’s not the worst affront. But while we’re talking about these lovahs smooching down in Brooklyn, I must now ask another question:
Why the HELL is Dan still loitering down in Brooklyn?
Look, I know the set designers put a lot of time and effort into making that DUMBO loft, but it’s totally unrealistic for Dan to spend his nights down in Brooklyn. He already has a dorm room (I think), and even if he doesn’t, he’s like the king of NYU. Why would he willingly leave his domain? The commute alone is a pain in the ass. I suppose it’s better than Nate’s living situation, which seems to be nonexistent. We’ve yet to actually see Nate go to college, live in a dorm, or do anything remotely plausible this season. That brings us to the next question:
What is the deal with Nate?
But before we get to that, let’s ask another question:
Who the hell did the Vanderbilts hire to pretend to drown? Because that asshole should be fired.
So it’s Election Day. Trip Vanderbilt is behind in the polls (he’s running for Congress). Conveniently, a man falls in the river, and the heroic Trip dives in to save him without even the slightest hesitation. It’s a media sensation. Everyone loves Trip. This might be the boost his campaign needs. And then comes Vanessa. And what do I always say about Vanessa? VANESSA RUINS EVERYTHING (heck, there was an episode two weeks ago where Vanessa spent an entire episode ruining EVERY SCENE IN THE ENTIRE SHOW. INCLUDING HER OWN! I MEAN, EVEN HER MOM HATES HER!!!). Anyway, NY1 wants to use Vanessa’s footage of Trip saving the day (because as always, Vanessa’s omnipresent camera has caught everything), and while Vanessa examines her glorious work, it becomes evident that the drowning man was a plant. How do we know this? Because we see him blatantly slide into the water, swim out to a spot, and then splash around. I mean, why even BOTHER being a plant if you’re going to be that ridiculous? The Vanderbilts are wealthy people. They can afford a better thespian. And they can certainly afford to pay off someone dumb like Vanessa, who then drags Nate all the way downtown to tell him that the drowning man was a plant. Next question:
Why the hell did Vanessa drag Nate downtown just to tell him that?
I mean, seriously. Why not meet at that God-awful coffee shop? And furthermore:
Why does Vanessa have such a crappy camera?
I shouldn’t say that. It’s not a crappy camera, but it’s a consumer camera, and if Vanessa is supposedly so wonderful with her filmmaking, you’d think she would have graduated to something a bit more impressive? Or at least professional. Doesn’t NYU have any loaners? And FURTHERMORE:
If Vanessa’s such a filmmaking hotshot, why the HELL isn’t she in Tisch?
As wonderful as we’ve been told Vanessa is, the simple fact remains that she’s not even in Tisch, NYU’s lauded and vaunted arts school. It’s clear that she’s simply not a good filmmaker. She has no idea about film in general, as evidenced by her proud jubilation about courting interest in her footage from a local New York news channel. I may be mistaken, but last time I checked, the road to Sundance does not go through NY1. Don’t tell Vanessa though. She acted as if Steven Spielberg himself had plucked her footage from the ether and given her a four picture deal at Dreamworks. Maybe that’s why she got all high and mighty about her footage, making declarations about having a moral compass etc. (Clearly Vanessa forgot her shenanigans with Blair two weeks ago, not to mention the fact that she totally dissed her mom for no good reason – see note above about Vanessa ruining everything).
Anyway, when Vanessa told Nate the truth about the drowning guy in the river, he looked shocked. Well, Nate always looks shocked. But he looked more shocked than usual. This leads to the next question:
Will the writers ever get a consistent harness on Nate’s character?
So here’s how the episode went for Nate. When Trip saved the drowning dude, Nate cornered GRANDFATHER and essentially asked if this was all a setup. Grandfather denied it, but Nate seemed distrustful. Seemed like there was a lot of judgment being passed by young Nathaniel, especially given how a few weeks prior, he had manipulated Serena in an equally devious plot to leak a bong photo out to the public. Nevertheless, when Vanessa later told Nate it was indeed a setup, Nate was positively shocked. But why? He himself had suspected such a situation. Had he totally forgotten his own theories? Or maybe he was just pretending to be shocked for the sake of bamboozling Vanessa. Whatever (chalk my confusion up to bad acting from Chace Crawford). This election story was ridiculous, which leads me to ask the next question:
Have the Gossip Girl writers ever seen an election?
To kick off the show, we saw Trip Vanderbilt (played by an actor who is utterly unbelievable and too young for the part) entering a suite at Chuck Bass’s new hotel. It was to be ground zero for the Vanderbilt campaign on Election Day… which was that day. Kind of late planning, yes? Not what I’d look for in a candidate. Nevertheless, if it was Election Day, you’d never know it based on the casual attitude of everyone in the room. Rather than hitting the campaign trail for one last surge — as most politicians who are trailing in the polls do — Trip and the crew just stood around and daydreamed about the magnificent party they were sure to have that night. The good news for him is that despite a rather laissez-faire effort (give or take some heroics on the Hudson), Trip still eventually won the election, and as the show closed, he shared a quiet moment with Serena (mistress alert!!!) where he AS A CONGRESSMAN seemed completely unfazed by her underage drinking. FOR SHAME! FOR SHAME!!! It’s okay though because I enjoyed the passive-aggressive implication of the scene (that Trip, in need of mindless conversational drivel, of course turns to Serena). Speaking of Serena:
Why the HELL does Serena not have to report to the office?
I don’t mind Serena working for a publicist (even one as poorly portrayed as this Casey character). What I do mind is that when we see a shot of Casey’s firm (which appears to be housed in a spare bedroom at the Waldorf penthouse), we see all the workers except Serena… who’s hanging out at the awful coffee shop. That hardly seems fair. Or logical. Report to work, bitch!
Luckily, I don’t seem to have too many questions about Serena this week. I enjoyed her subtle realization that she was in fact a prostitute — a realization which of course was brought on by Blair’s new whore friend. Literally. Blair befriended a high class hooker, which was sort of an awesome twist, even if Blair’s big dilemma of the week was a bit thin (she MUST find a friend or else… or else… or else…? The stakes were a bit unclear). Either way, I think we can all agree that we need more hookers in the cast, especially now that Chuck has become upstanding and the Humphreys have turned obnoxiously sweet and wholesome.
So yes, this was a fairly weak episode, but it was nothing that a random Lady Gaga portrait and some cake-in-the-face couldn’t fix. In case you missed it, Serena shoved Blair’s face in a cake, which was somewhat wonderful, even if we’d have preferred it the other way around. As long as there are still petty squabbles on this show (not to mention a Lady of the Night), I’ll be happy.

9 replies on “Burning Questions About 'Gossip Girl.'”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been waiting to see what you’d have to say about all this mess. lol It was interesting the way they spelled Vanderbilt throughout the whole episode. Did you catch that? They did it Van Der Bilt. Why? I would also think that the guy “drowning” would have made it look like he actually did fall in rather than how he got into the Hudson. Anyone could better a fake accident than that. It was an interesting moment between Nate’s grandfather and Trip’s wife. I felt like hitting her. As for Serena and Trip, I saw the whole thing too like you said, “mistress alert.” I personally wanted to see Vanessa fall and drown in the Hudson but that’s me. Jenny looked like crap and I think Olivia went on Fallon the second time to “make it up” to Dan for the first time. I could be wrong.

  2. I love reading your thoughts on Vanessa. She really does suck.
    Are you not watching Melrose Place? It’s trashy and fun.

  3. I thought they sold that loft so Dan could go to school, but no he is still there.
    I wish they would really show what a pain in the ass it is to get to school for Dan. They always act like it’s a quick walk and boom he’s there. They did that when they went to high school too.
    I agree with everything you say about Vanessa. You forgot to add her hair sucks. Every time I see it I want take a big pair of scissors and chop it off.

  4. Thank you! This show is my guilty pleasure (OK I also watch Greek but that’s a very, very dark secret) and I just cannot get past how 18-19 year old fuck-ups are running hotels, managing campaigns, etc. I don’t even get the sense that Nate could spell his own name. He probably thought the “drowning man” was a mermaid.

  5. I actually thought this was the best episode of the season so far. They have never acted as teenagers and the things they do are pretty out there for their age but that’s always been Gossip Girl to me.
    Loved the art at Chuck’s hotel. I actually got interested in Nate’s family for once and loved how Maureen/Tripp was like a glimpse into the future, making us see what would have happened if Blair and Nate had stayed together.
    There were hints dropped of something between Serena and Tripp and it’s disgusting but color me intrigued.
    Nate actually schemed and did it well, and he talked down to stupid Vanessa.
    The whole prostitute face shoved in cake was very much a Serena/Blair fight at its highest.
    Ill give that Dan and Olivia sl was pure crap though.
    Bring on the threesome next week!

  6. Just wanted to pop in to say I was wrong, last night’s episode was the best of the season so far. Threesome was lame but it was expected not going to spoil it in case you haven’t seen it.

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