SILLY VANESSA, SUCCESS IS FOR RICH KIDS.
I think before Gossip Girl came to TV one of the senior writers had a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” moment with Jessica Szohr (Vanessa Abrahms) and swore on the grave of his/her parents that Jessica would pay for whatever transgression she made. This week, that vendetta against Vanessa became the A storyline.
I have to get a little bit ranty for a moment. Jessica Szohr is underrated. After three seasons of watching Serena fumble from mistake to mistake and Nate being banished to permanent C stoyline arcs, Vanessa has been consistent. She’s always getting crushed but she’s never whiny. She’s always the underdog but she never makes a big deal out of it. It was funny for a couple years to laugh at the Gossip Girl staple of crushing V time and time again, but come ON. Maybe the writers were trying to make point this week that Vanessa is her own worst enemy and the only true source of her disappointment, but Jessica Szohr’s been working hard on this role for three seasons and she deserves a victory this season. Ok, sincere moment over. Let’s step on some poor kids.
Vanessa is the shining star of NYU’s Freshman class, as we hear from a glowing op-ed in the NYU paper. Apparently those community garden documentaries are exactly what the kids want, let’s not go into detail about this lest our heads explode. Because she’s awesome, Vanessa’s going to give a toast at the freshman parent’s dinner. This greatly upsets Blair, who apparently now cares deeply about an event she knew nothing about a few months ago…but it’s Blair wanting to the center of attention and she’s going to wage war against Vanessa, so we’re into this.
Here’s why this episode was good: Vanessa wasn’t content to just wait for the rich kids to pull the rug out from under her. She cared about this and she was going to fight for it, which is great news because Blair is at her best when she’s in the center of the ring and verbally slugging it out with someone. My favorite parts of this running battle were all the little opportunities Vanessa got to tell a Waldorf minion that she’s doing the toast, she’s preparing the toast, etc. It’s been brewing for years, and finally V gets her chance to backhand that headband-wearing despot.
Of course it wouldn’t last. It wouldn’t be Gossip Girl if the (one) poor character doesn’t get trod on.
Blair explains to Vanessa that the home schooler “always put [your] fate in the hands of other people. That’s why you lose and I win.” Following that classic Blair line, Vanessa completely forgets who she is and goes off the rails entirely. We haven’t seen her this sneaky since that little tryst with Chuck back in season two, and we all remember how that worked out.
It’s not to say that Vanessa can’t do sneaky. This is the same girl who blackmailed both Chuck AND Blair and then used the money to start a STD clinic in Chuck’s name. The girl CAN throw down, but she’s still a character on Gossip Girl, and as such she is incapable of committing to lies and seeing them through. Once Vanessa finds out that Olivia is going to give the toast, she immediately sets up two lies to uninvite Dan (who, if I’m not mistaken, is a student at NYU and could go if he wanted to) and keep Olivia with Dan and far away from the dinner. Suck it, Waldorf.
Meanwhile, Blair’s on the goddamn warpath, and she’s about to use her weapon of Bass destruction. It’s funny to see Blair firing on all cylinders and still only 3rd place, it’s definitely territory we haven’t seen Waldorf in since about midway in season one, and if we follow that path we will know that there will be no prisoners, no amnesty, and no hesitation. There will, however, be some dude on dude action with Chuck Bass and the Freshman dean.
Chuck’s nonchalance about the whole same sex seduction was pretty hilarious. Of course it would take him half the time to seduce a guy than a girl, and of course making out with Chuck would be part of an elite scavenger hunt. I wonder if doing it in the backseat of the limo is bonus points? It also makes you wonder if all those episodes about Chuck taking Erik under his wing were…well, you get the idea. So just like that, Blair is back in the spotlight and asking Vanessa just how she likes those apples and Chuck is asking Blair if she really thought he’d never kissed a guy before.
The weird part in this is Chuck Bass never thinks there’s a motive behind Blair’s “scorned woman” game. Blair’s enemies have almost always been girls, I’m curious why Chuck wouldn’t have even asked who the guy is and why Blair targeted him. When Chuck finds out, he’s furious. More on that later.
Vanessa has had enough of these motherf’ing snakes on this motherf’ing plane. Speaking of motherf’ing, we see Vanessa’s mom for the first time, who’s a well-dressed hippie and takes every opportunity to disapprove of everyone’s everything. I kept waiting for Rufus or Lily to get up slowly and throw hot rhubarb in her face, but alas some dreams don’t come true. Nevertheless, Vanessa’s mom is there to hear her daughter speak, and Vanessa will NOT be denied.
At the dinner, Vanessa grabs a mic and hides it in her purse, so when Blair tells Vanessa once again that she’s better than her in every way and she’d even lie to Chuck to get her way, the whole party hears it. It was kind of like “Batman Returns,” when Michael Keaton records Danny Devito saying that he’s going to run Gotham into the ground, except Blair’s not deformed and biting people’s noses and Vanessa’s not a costumed vigilante…yet. (I’d love to see that. I’m just saying.)
Vanessa’s plan is fueled out of desperation and it shows. She doesn’t think through her lies and gives Dan and Olivia conflicting stories about why they shouldn’t come to the dinner, the best being Rufus and Lily hating Hollywood people. I know lies are hard to conjure up on your feet, but wow. That lights a fire under Olivia, who shows a glimmer of Georgina-crazy by showing up at the dinner and basically being a nightmare. The only thing Olivia fails to mention is Twitter. I would have liked some kind of Twitter acknowledgement in her vapid remarks.
The moment Olivia shows up at the dinner is the moment that Vanessa’s done. Cooked. Toast. The terrible part is Vanessa had it. Until her lies fell through she had a plan for dealing with Olivia and Blair, and she actually executed it well.
Sadly, she’s Vanessa Abrahms, and she’s destined to be trod on, manipulated, and fail in whatever endeavor she attempts. Often Vanessa’s house of cards fall down shockingly fast at the last possible minute, and for good measure Vanessa alienates her mom as well when she says that she wishes Rufus was her family. I mean, it is true. I’m not sure why Vanessa chased after her mom when she overhead it. Come on, she sucks.
So Olivia gives the toast because she’s famous. Olivia acts surprised about it, which almost made me throw my Sam Adams. I don’t dislike Olivia, but she still has to prove something beyond her “I’m going to pause, look to the side, take a quick breathy sigh, and confess that I just want to be a normal person.” That’s all for Olivia right now. (What the hell was that watch? We get it, the Japanese are weird.)
To cap off the dream crushing, Blair can’t find Chuck and Lily (LILY!) has to tell Blair that she messed up big time. That’s like getting a voice mail from Lindsay Lohan tomorrow morning telling you to consider taking it down a notch. Message received.
It all ends with Blair and Vanessa sitting across from each other in a local coffee shop, feeling alone and generally miserable. Ah, freshman year.
And I KNOW you’ve been wondering this whole time, “Ok, but what’s Nate up to?” The answer, friends, is politics! Cousin Tripp Vanderbilt (played by friend of the program Aaron Tveit) is running for Congress, and the Buckleys are buying attack ads wholesale like a good old money nemesis should. Normally we wouldn’t care about this, but this is the point in the season where we have to pretend like Nate’s part of the story, so Serena teams up with Nate to join an underground poker game and pay back Carter’s debt so he doesn’t go into a full season exile.
Oh, there’s just one thing: Nate can’t join the game, but Serena can, and she’s armed with the completely infallible knowledge of her opponent’s “tell” and about six hours of actual poker playing experience. Serena, for once completely aware of her faults, says that she’s only played poker with Necco wafers as chips. Nate tells her to think of the game as “half a million Necco wafers,” and conveniently leaves out, “if you lose my Necco wafers, your boyfriend dies off the coast of Texas.” I think that was a solid move.
To win back Carter, Nate raises the stakes with a cell phone picture of Tripp with a tremendous bong. Oh no! We think. Not a marijuana pipe! I can’t think of ANY politicians who have admitted to drug use and gotten elected! Certainly not the last three US Presidents!
Serena, as we knew she would do, jumps on her opponents tell and gets burned worse than James Bond in “Casino Royale.” There’s a moment as they leave the game, Serena’s just sentenced her boyfriend to hard labor on an oil rig and Nate’s cost his cousin his political career, where both Serena and Nate are just vacant, not numb, but just not emoting anything. You might as well have put Bluto from “Animal House” with them, along with Bluto’s shrug and a, “You fucked up, Flounder. You trusted us.”
Serena and Nate contemplate a Hank Moodyesque bender but Nate has to tell his grandfather he politically killed his family first. Serena pops in with some piece of mail and overhears Nate telling his grandfather that he set up Serena to lose on purpose so the Buckleys can be exposed as the cheatin’ Texans they are. Serena Hulks out and double-crosses Nate’s double cross, winning Carter’s freedom in the process.
When Carter meets up with Serena (who’s preparing an “I won you back” sex lair with two dozen lit candles) he tells her that it was really nice that she backstabbed her friend and went to a sketchy underground poker game and has perfect boobs, but he’s going to take the twenty year sentence on the Buckley family oil rig. And thus, right before we say goodbye to Carter Bazien, we remove Serena’s “Divine Ruler of Idiot Nation” crown and place it securely on the brow of Carter. Let’s do the math one more time on this:
Serena Van Der Woodsen. Incredible breasts. Bruce Wayne rich. Not too bright. Put herself and her friends on the line for Carter. Just spent ninety minutes constructing a sex den for Carter. Incredible breasts.
Half a million dollars in debt. Working it off on an offshore oil rig in Texas. Working with a bunch of dudes who are paid by the Buckley family. The same Buckley family that Carter enraged by proposing to, and then dropping with no word, one of their eligible bachelorettes.
And Carter picked option B. I refuse to think that it’s because Carter didn’t want to put up with Serena (though that is hilarious), but rather that Carter truly is a stubborn idiot who we may or may not see again.
So that’s this week’s episode! I have to say as I scurry off that I’m really waiting for Vanessa to have some kind of success. At this point it’s gone beyond funny, throw the poor girl a bone, or at least a steady boyfriend who’s not too annoying. Just…please.
Until next week!
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Filed under: Gossip Girl Review | Tagged: aaron tveit, blair waldorf, blake lively, chace crawford, chuck bass, dan humphrey, ed westwick, enough about eve, Gossip Girl Review, Hilary Duff, jessica szohr, leighton meester, NYU, penn bagdley, serena van der woodsen, tripp vanderbilt, underrated, vanessa abrahms, woody tondorf |