There have been many strange Gossip Girl episodes, but probably none as bizarre as last night’s installment, which somehow hinged on a combination of cabaret, Lady Gaga, Snow White, and, of course, a threesome. None of it really should have made sense, and I’m not saying that it really did, but the end product was still highly enjoyable, even if the central premise of the hour was a bit contrived.
It all began with Blair announcing her desire to take over the Tisch drama kids, an endeavor that felt a bit ridiculous in this post-Constance world of NYU. Still, we like Blair when she’s on a petty mission, and none could be as petty as this latest adventure, which sent her into that awful coffee shop in an effort to ingratiate herself into the world of blue blood acting wannabes. Unfortunately for Blair, this social takeover wasn’t the cakewalk she was expecting. These kids hailed from showbiz royalty (the word “Weinstein” was thrown about), and they weren’t just about to let Blair into their fold, even if she was stepdaughter to a major entertainment lawyer (speaking of which, where the HELL has Cyrus been this season? Bring back the Waldorf clan!)
It turned out that if Blair wanted to impress the Tisch kids, she’d have to take part in a cabaret, and the only way she could get into the cabaret was if she impressed the Tisch kids. And so the dilemma unfurled itself. I wouldn’t say an episode centering on community theater would qualify as one of Gossip Girl’s strongest conceits, but like so many other times in this show’s history, I just accepted it and went along for the ride.
So what was Blair to do? How could she enter this all-so-important cabaret? Enter Olivia, the campus starlet who was last seen knocking boobies with Vanessa in a threesome with Dan Humphrey. Now let’s talk about that for a moment. Since when is Dan Humphrey (he who grumbles and mumbles and lights candles over any sexual experience) suddenly okay with a spontaneous threesome? The Dan Humphrey we know doesn’t just hop into bed with two girls, even if one of them is a movie star. He’s sensitive and thoughtful and, let’s face it, holier than thou. If given the choice between hot sex with two girls (who are way out of his league â€” yes, even Vanessa) or the chance to browbeat someone about the sanctimony of intimate relations, you know he’d opt for the latter. But I guess anything goes once you’re wasted in Brooklyn (again, I’m shocked Dan even touches booze, as he is the goody-two-shoes, board-game playing, neo-Ryan Atwood of the Gossip Girl universe).
Well, long story short, Dan porked both girls last week, but he ignored the cardinal rule of threesomes: the third person should be a stranger! Duh! And given that Olivia and Dan were already together, that means that Vanessa was the third wheel / vag, and lo and behold, we return to my theory: VANESSA RUINS EVERYTHING. Yes, Vanessa even ruined the threesome, merely by being there. Clearly she should have excused herself and done something else with her time like, I don’t know, editing that vague documentary she’s perpetually shooting.
Nevertheless, the deed was done; the threesome was had, and the awkwardness was now settling in. Exhibit A: Vanessa cornered Dan and requested his presence at a Morrissey concert that night. Apparently this was their stupid tradition, and no threesome or girlfriend was gonna get in the way. The only problem was that Olivia wanted Dan for herself, and when she heard that he’d be spending the evening with V and her v, she was not pleased. And so we get back to the cabaret. Blair needed Olivia’s movie star cachet to get her into this strange showcase, and Olivia was more than happy to oblige, knowing that she could recruit Dan for the project, thus effectively cockblocking him out of concert plans with Vanessa.
And so the stage was set for shenanigans and sexual intrigue!
You see, Olivia told Vanessa that Dan couldn’t go to the concert because she had signed him up for this playwriting thing ages ago, but then later when Vanessa found out that Olivia had only enlisted Dan’s help that morning, the shit hit the fan. Vanessa made her power move and stepped up to the be the director of this production, which, for those who are interested, centered around a modern re-telling of Snow White via the music of Lady Gaga. Surely this would not end well, especially when it was revealed that Vanessa had “boxed out” Olivia during the threesome. I immediately interpreted that phrase as something naughty involving fingers and lady regions, but then I remembered this was The CW, and such lewd allusions would surely be verboten. Turns out Vanessa had literally tossed Olivia off the bed during the threesome, all in an effort to get Danny Humphs all to herself. And so the seeds of resentment were sewn.
Sure enough, the tension between the girls bubbled over during Snow White rehearsal, causing Olivia to declare that she was quitting. This in turn prompted Vanessa to announce that no, SHE was quitting too, as if her quitting would somehow earn her quitting brownie points. Neither of the girls, however, would stray far from the production because their participation was essential to Blair’s ascension over the Tisch kids (and kudos to the writers and Leighton Meester for having a wonderful field day with Blair this episode. The random “Julie Taymor” line in and of itself was worthy of an Emmy).
Well, Blair cornered both prima donnas and informed them that if they didn’t get back into the show, she was gonna blab to everyone about their threesome (little did Blair realize that Dan had already told half the Upper East Side, but that’s neither here nor there). The girls begrudgingly returned for the show, which despite being billed as a Lady Gaga tour de force, merely only showcased the weakest of her singles, “LoveGame.” And I’d like to add that Hilary Duff covering Lady Gaga was not a particularly enchanting moment.
Anyway, things seemed to be going just fine until Olivia admitted to Dan that her real problem was that he had given Vanessa a look during the threesome that he had never given Olivia. We were supposed to assume it was a look of love or lust, but I’m thinking it was more like “Who let this homeless girl into my bed?” Nevertheless, Olivia then went MIA for the rest of the Snow White performance, forcing Vanessa to play her part, which was significant only in that Dan, as Prince Charming, had to then kiss her to wake her from her slumber. And of course, the kiss resurrected all sorts of special feelings and memories from That Night, and suddenly Dan realized that maybe he did love that wacky hipster chick who used to stalk him endlessly by crawling into his bedroom window.
Later, at a cast party held amusingly at a Lady Gaga rehearsal (featuring the real Lady Gaga), Olivia explained her absence during the play, noting that she needed Dan to kiss Vanessa in order for him to see that he still had feelings for her. Hmmm… no. That doesn’t seem like a logical response. But it doesn’t matter. She then alerted Dan that she had taken a role in a movie called The Bitches of Eastwick and that she wouldn’t be back until the fall. Oh well. At least Dan had Vanessa to reignite things with. OR DID HE? Turns out Vanessa now had a thing for the head Tisch kid, thus leaving Dan pining in the dark. How the mighty have fallen: last week he had a surplus of ass, now he has none. Alas!
Dan wasn’t the only one left pining away at the end of the episode. Elsewhere in the city, Serena and her shoulder pads were trying their best to keep her legs closed to married men, but it was a failed effort. The object of her desires: Trip Van Der Bilt, our resident babyfaced congressman who seems poised to throw away his political career for a little teenage booty. Nate tried to keep Serena busy all day, and in the process he a) announced that he has a thing for married men (he later revised his statement to “women” instead), and b) fell in love with Serena all over again. It was quite the turn of events considering that he started off the hour absolutely detesting her. Still, I’m happy to see Nate crushing on S because it’s a welcome return to the dynamics of season one. Let’s not forget the good old days when we had a daisy chain of romance: Blair wanted Nate, who wanted Serena, who wanted Dan, who wanted waffles. Anyway, just when Nate and Serena looked about ready to swap spit at a bar, in walked Trip looking all flustered.
Flip, you see, had just discovered that his wife Maureen had set up the whole drowning victim thing two episodes ago. Surely I thought her Lady Macbeth thread would last more than two or three scenes (at least let there be some simmering tension between her and Serena), but the writers hastily dropped the twist by outing her Machiavellian ways through some clunky exposition (GRANDFATHER had told Nate’s mom about Maureen, and she in turn told Trip. She had tried to tell Nate, but he had rushed her off the phone, saying something amazingly ridiculous like “You’ll have to tell me your new information later.” Literally. Who would say that?) Anyway, the point of all this was that Trip was now feeling down in the dumps. He needed the warm attention of Serena’s shoulder pads, and so off she went, ready to DO IT with a married man / congressman, and leaving poor Nate alone at the bar yet again.
Also languishing by the end of the hour was Little J, who thought she might have found a new beau in the form of an ambassador’s son, but oops! Turns out he was a drug dealer! We discovered this when he went to massive (and risky) lengths to exchange cash for E, via the little toy boats in Central Park. Seemed slightly extravagant, especially when later in the episode, he engaged in another drug deal by merely passing the contraband under a table (via Jenny’s lap). You know, if he’s comfortable doing business in a club, why the need for the boats? Maybe he just has a maritime obsession. Whatever the reason, Jenny seemed entirely too embarrassed by the boating situation. Apparently playing with the boats in Central Park is the laaaamest thing anyone could possibly do (which is why those nasty Chapin bitches were laughing from afar). This whole sequence of events seemed strange, and when it culminated later in the show with Jenny almost being forced to do drugs (how very ’80s sitcom), in swooped Chuck Bass out of nowhere to save the day. He saved Jenny (even though it was he who tried to rape her way back when) and brought her back to the penthouse, but it turns out she didn’t want to be saved. Jenny loved the danger, and when left alone, she texted her drug dealer BF and asked when they could tango once again. Sounds like big trouble for Little J on the horizon.
As for Rufus and Lilly, they were relegated to the sidelines, left only to exchange a few random (and hilarious) lines about gonorrhea of the throat. Don’t ask.
What did you think about this episode? Is it possible for Vanessa to ruin anything else?