Gossip Girl Review: Blair Waldorf Lite
Remember when Gossip Girl teased us with the maybe death of Bart Bass, then came back with arguably the best Chuck Bass episode made so far? Remember how you really got into the characters, their struggles, heartbreak, drama, intrigue, the works?
Where the hell were those people last night?
Granted, there was no big, story-changing moment that had occurred the episode before (though they tried their damnedest with Dan and Rachel now boning), but what the hell, Gossip Girl?
The idea of a mandatory senior play struck me as a bit contrived, but I shrugged it off of the sake of pacing like a borderline annoying friend who’s coming on a road trip. They’re going to be back there, just ignore it and enjoy the way the other passengers deal with it. Beyond the gripes I’ll have later, let me say I did not have a problem with the play. It was the way it was handled.
Gossip Girl, and Josh Schwartz series in particular, are notoriously self-referential. So when they took Age of Innocence and turned it on the characters, they made you aware of it. The be-scarved director (what is it with this show and scarves on the artsy, horrific characters?) calling Nate “emptier than the Federal Reserve” made me feel happy in a guilty way.
The only bit of good that I REALLY took from the whole “play as commentary on GG AND the kids,” was Leighton Meester’s jab at Serena/Blake Lively about her being a stronger, more complex female lead while Serena/Blake Lively’s just vacuous and pretty. I imagine Leighton was hopping up and down with glee when she read that script for the first time.
WILL THE REAL BLAIR WALDORF PLEASE STAND UP?
Then she probably cursed the writers for neutering her character through the rest of the script. As soon as Blair lost the Yale spot, it should have been action stations, fire ze missiles, the Nelly Yuki Project is back on!
But no. Maybe it was because Blair could never figure out exactly who it was who was sabotaging her, but she just floundered from denial to denial until Dan handed her the answer. To be honest, I expected Georgina Sparks to show up. At least that would have introduced a smidge of drama. Blair’s “she will be destroyed” midway through the episode was, frankly, a horrid tease. Don’t give me a promise of Blair’s rage and then don’t deliver! You think I’ve waited months to see Blair have an introspective over a dirty martini? Shank a bitch, dammit!
GOSSIP GIRL AS CHEESY SITCOM…NOW, MORE THAN EVER.
I’m not sure who wrote this episode, but they must have watched a whole bunch of sitcoms before sitting down with their computer. Let’s point some fingers at some of the obvious, contrived bits that you see in sitcoms that were shoehorned into Gossip Girl:
-Secret letter falls out of messenger’s hand into the prying eyes of concerned party, who proceeds to open said letter? CHECK.
-Feeding your friend information they need through hidden earpiece for the duration of their conversation? Did any of you see Flight of the Conchords Sunday night? They made fun of this really well, and I thought it was hilarious that Gossip Girl goes for it the next day. CHECK.
-Big production falls apart in a spectacular way? Big newspaper critic is there and a reputation is on the line? Uber-sophisticated critic reads into the farce FAR more than realistically possible and LOVES IT? CHECK. (btw, way to use the NY Times while it still exists)
The bit with Vanessa catching Nate watching “Age of Innocence” was a bit contrived too, but let’s face it kids, if Nate loses Vanessa there’s not a lot of places for his character to go. Except Jenny, Blair, Serena…you know, anyone to keep Nate in the plot.
I will say this quick thing about Nate. Though I hated the breakdown in the middle of the play where he starts yelling at the director, and it was machinated from the start, I was glad to have Nate get the whole financial thing off his chest. And by all that I mean Nate got to speak angry words to a crowd, and it’s good to make him feel included from time to time. Ok, back to Brooklyn for you!
HOW TO NEUTER ALL YOUR GOOD CHARACTERS
And now, let’s get to Chuck Bass. Chuck Bass, who now has unfettered access to a safe with gold bricks, files from J. Edgar Hoover, a sat phone, runs Bass Industries, and gets accidental invites to that cult from “Eyes Wide Shut.” When we last left Chuck, he wanted back in so he could once again bone the nanny/high class call girl/chick who doesn’t realize one of her premier clients is dead. She said she couldn’t tell him anything, and she disappeared. It’s a secret cult. A woman disappears. She’s so dead.
She’s not dead.
From the moment Chuck runs into her (“Hey, aren’t you the escort who I presumed dead from the scary, incredibly powerful society? What are the ODDS?!”) I entertained a fantasy that she was like the twins from “There Will Be Blood” and become an enemy of Chuck’s. Unfortunately, all she did was contribute to the neutering of the other great character in Gossip Girl. I hate this episode.
Roommate Tony called Chuck being played from the start. Of all people, should Chuck freaking Bass be the guy who gets played? I just couldn’t understand how Chuck, with all his connections and leverage, had to go back to Carter (CARTER!) to negotiate a passport AND NOT COME WITH! This guy almost got Nate stabbed! Time and time again this guy’s been evil, and you’d think game would recognize game. Nope.
Again, Gossip Girl teased us and gave us nothing. When Stupid Escort left with Carter and he flashed his society tattoo, we all thought that girl was about to get hers. Why couldn’t we have done that? Why couldn’t Chuck have been involved in some cool Quantum-type scenario? Sure, it would kick GG into a ridiculous place, but to be honest, it’s not doing too well at its current pace.
SMALL BITS THAT NEED POINTING OUT
Chuck’s doctor got him off with a case of “acute stage fright.” So…wait. Chuck’s back in school?
“They should have used mercury poisoning.” DO YOU HEAR THAT, JEREMY PIVEN? New York City does not forgive, and it does not forget!
Serena is having trouble getting over Dan. Maybe you should have considered this situation when you were torpedoing every friend you had last episode. I have no sympathy for Serena; I’m starting to resent her.
Jenny Major Hair Style Change Count: 3
When Rufus barged into Rachel’s room, how much money would you have given for Rachel to have been lounging in a sofa in some skimpy lingerie (a la Blair earlier this season), get freaked out by this older creepshow barging in, tase/pepper spray/junk kick Rufus, and call the cops? Now what if that had all be engineered by Georgina Sparks? Now THAT’S a Gossip Girl episode!
…At any rate, I’m not convinced Rufus and Rachel DIDN’T bone. I mean, come on, he’s the lead singer of Lincoln Hawk!
Things people NEVER say unless they’re on TV or drunk: “I must confess…” I was not a huge fan of the director, but he’s better than Aaron Rose. Never forget that.
Just FYI, the Humphrey’s eat Haagen Daz, and Dan is still unbelievably stupid. He sees the way everyone is looking at Rachel, she’s still being watched by everyone, and STILL he hits it! The Humphreys would never survive in the wild.
THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF BLAIR WALDORF
So I’m about ready to give up on Gossip Girl. It’s had its chance, but time after time it’s just been damn disappointing. How will a spinoff survive if the main show dies?
Answer: make the rest of your episodes about the rise of Blair Waldorf, and here’s some heartening words: they’ve set themselves up for this quite well.
Blair has everything to gain back. Her spot at Yale (maybe a last minute transfer to a different school?), her sense of self-worth, and a reliable love interest. Carter’s only going to enrage Chuck, who apparently wants Blair back again (good luck with that, btw). Blair now gets to figure out what she wants again, on her terms. Blair being defeated by herself just felt too weird. Such introspection does not become her.
So which Blair are we going to see? Wrath, vengeance, and LG hellfire Waldorf; or suddenly humble, introspective, and decidedly Humphrey-esque Blair?
Let’s all have a dirty martini and hope for the former.
‘Til next week!
You know you missed me,
Filed under: comedy, Gossip Girl Review | Tagged: age of innocence, blair waldorf, blake lively, chuck bass, dan humphrey, ed weswick, Gossip girl, Gossip Girl Review, josh schwartz, leighton meester, new york city, new york times, serena van der woodsen, the age of dissonance, the cw, vanessa abrams, woody tondorf |