Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Much ado about Blair
Yay! Gossip Girl is back. I didn't realize until last night just how much I'd missed those crazy kids. It was a rather entertaining return, too. This installment saw all of the characters involved in the school's production of The Age of Innocence. Never mind that none of them has shown the slightest interest in acting before. I'm a sucker for these goofy gimmick episodes where every principal character winds up in the same situation. All except Chuck, who might as well have been starring on his own show last night for all the interaction he had with the other characters. Continuing the wacky Skull & Bones-like storyline he'd become embroiled in last ep, Chuck struggled to save the mysterious young Elle. After happening upon her in a restaurant, Chuck became determined to save her from the secret society's machinations, only to trust sleazy acquaintance Carter with smuggling her out of the country. But then Carter turns out to be-- gasp!-- a member of the cult himself, flashing his tattoo at Chuck as their limo pulls away. And then two scenes later Elle's escaped, anyway (??), but tells Chuck she doesn't need him anymore; she just needed the money to go off and start a new life. She tells him to give his love to "someone who deserves it." (And seriously, what did he see in that chick, anyway? The whole storyline seemed a little forced and random, and it appears they've now dropped the whole business which suits me fine. Chuck needs to go play with the other children again!) Apart from that the episode was all about Blair, with ever more opportunities for Leighton Meester to show us what a kick-ass actor she is. After telling the ever-present Dorota and Serena that she can't relate to her hopeless onstage role, since everything in her life is perfect, she receives a rude awakening: Nelly Yuki's been accepted to Yale and Blair is out! Seems someone spilled the beans about Blair's dirty doings at Constance and Yale reconsidered. The rest of the episode becomes a whodunit as Blair desperately seeks out her new enemy. As Nelly points out, there are plenty of potential suspects; after Blair accuses her of being jealous, she insists, "People aren't jealous of you-- they hate you!" Nice wake up call for B, by the way. The plot thickens when embarrassing secrets concerning Serena and Yale are also posted online. The girls butt heads for the zillionth time, with Serena sure that she's been betrayed yet again. Insisting she isn't to blame, Blair decides that Dan is responsible for both rumors, although he's so used to her disdain that her latest passive aggressive stint elicits little more than an eye roll. An amusing scene in which the two fight while acting out a romantic interlude ensues; with her head wagging back and forth, Blair looks like she's sucking face with Humphrey. Later, the entire cast breaks character with everyone bickering and yelling. But theater critic Charles Isherwood, who's in attendance (riiiight) compliments the director for what he thinks is some sort of meta approach to the text blending the script with contemporary teens. Two things: why in the hell would Charles friggin' Isherwood deign to show up for a high school theater production? And are we really supposed to believe one of the word's greatest drama critics is dumb enough to mistake a bunch of ranting high schoolers for cutting edge theater? I don't know why Isherwood agreed to this cameo, because it kind of makes him look dumb. Meanwhile, a minor spat fails to prevent Nate and Vanessa from being the Dullest Couple Ever. Seriously, these two are beyond dull! Chace is pretty, but what for the days when he was a duchess's gigolo and not the lamest female character's cuddle monkey! Vanessa does her usual lame "I'm making a documentary" biznizz while helping Serena try and win over her handsome director. Never mind that this guy is pretty obviously gay, with his episode-ending revelation shocking no one besides Serena; he's a total tool, anyway! Still, it was nice to see Serena crushing on someone new and foregoing all the Dan-related angst for a change. But Vanessa's funny coaching of Serena via Bluetooth makes Nate think she's cheating on him, then he realizes it was a misunderstanding, then they decide maybe they're not meant to be, and finally they have an I-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth interlude on the couch, where Nate's watching The Age of Innocence DVD Vanessa lent him. "It's heart-breaking," Nate declares. Ugh. Heart-breakingly lame, that is. (Luckily the teaser for next week promises Nate/Blair intrigue, so hopefully we can finally move on from Our Long National Nightmare of V & N.) Then there's Dan and Miss Carr and the World's Most Ill Advised Relationship. I mean, I understand why they got freaky when they still thought Rachel was fired, but how can they think this is still a good idea? Hooking up at the school during rehearsal, no less? Have they never seen Dawson's Creek or any other teen soap dealing with student-teacher nookie ever made? Jenny manages to drop a note from Rachel-- along with her apartment key-- in front of Rufus, who shows up to confront Rachel and tell her Mary Kay LaTorneau playtime is over. (She had lit a bunch of candles and I kind of wished Rufus would blow them out-- just to make a point.) And who, you may ask, was the one who dished the dirt on Blair and Serena? Why, it was none other than Miss Carr. Dan tells her off for being such a treacherous biotch, after all, and when Blair puts two and two together, she realizes that for Rachel, "hav[ing] to live with it is punishment enough." Dan gets a heartfelt letter from Miss Carr (which Jenny says was "under the door" at their apartment-- is this woman seeking a Rufus ass kicking, or what??) saying that she's going back to Iowa (of course you are, dear) and learned so much from Dan, and can't believe what she did, and blah blah blah. She even throws in a quotation from The Age of Innocence for extra schmaltz. Good riddance, missy. But the damage is done for Blair, too; she winds up at a bar refusing comfort from Serena and insisting that she truly is a bad person, and no wonder S suspected the worst. "You're still my best friend," Serena says, sweetly. Back at Chez Waldorf, Chuck shows up to see Blair (realizing she's the one who deserves his love, natch). But shady Carter is putting the moves on Blair at that very moment. Next week promises a Nate and Blair reunion to infuriate Vanessa and Chuck in equal measure. While I never thought those two made sense as a couple, I think a reunion will be a good way to complicate things... and it will probably wind up pushing Chuck and Blair back together while tearing Vanessa and Nate apart. (Aww, shucks.) I can't wait for next Monday.