The Gossip Girl Review: The Debarted


The Gossip Girl Review: Chuck Bass Sees Dead People

"The Island still needs you, Chuck."

So between planning the holiday party and the next glorious opportunity to shoot Serena’s boobs, the Gossip Girl producers asked the writers, “What was our biggest triumph last year?” The whole room said in unison, “Bart’s funeral,” and they were right. We got incredible performances out of Chuck and Blair, a really emotional ending, gripping and uncomfortable situations for pretty much all the characters, and a feeling that 2009 was going to be EPIC.

In short, the cake was a lie.

Bart Bass’ funeral episode was incredible because they just gave Chuck the damn ball and let him run roughshod over everyone. That’s it. This time around, I don’t know. The way they worked in Bart’s influcence over Chuck was just plain odd. For the Lost watching audience, there was no way to watch that and not think, “Did they just turn Bart into Christian Shepherd? What the hell is going on?”

I didn’t get it. Can’t we just throw Chuck the damn ball again and let him do what he does best? He didn’t need some ghost of fathers’ past last year and he certainly doesn’t need it now. It was too much, and sadly it took a lot of power out of what could have been a great Blair/Chuck episode, which we always enjoy.

For all of season three we’ve been watching Chuck come to Blair’s rescue, with maybe one or two exceptions. This episode was Blair’s chance to show us that she’s the strong one, to remind us that she IS a fierce force of good for those she loves…and they watered her down with the ghost of BART BASS? Get off my plane. On to the review!

SERENA: WHERE GUEST STARS GO TO DIE

"Seriously, what's with the giant countdown clock?"

Serena Van Der Woodsen Bass Humphrey is Gossip Girl’s relationship hurricane. Love interests spring up in her path, get thrown around and buffeted worse than a suicidal Weather Channel on-site reporter, and are thrown out to sea and never heard from again.

This starts an interesting conversation about which TV guest star roles would actors only be half-grateful for. I’ll take a stab at three: an enemy of Ben Linus, girlfriend of Tim Riggins, and Vanessa Abrams. You’re happy to be on the show, buuuuuut…

So the town of Tripp Van Der Bilt lies in Hurricane Serena’s path and suffers the same fate as the city of That Rose Kid No One Liked, the village of Carter Bazin, the principality of Con Artist Guy, the Dan Humphrey commune, and Nate Archibald outlet stores. I liked that this time none of it was Serena’s fault…except that fact that she exists for no other reason that to get in really uncomfortable immature situations. Because, you know, lots of girls get accidentally married in Spain and then have affairs with married politicians a few months afterwards!

I’m saying Serena’s an idiot, but this time it’s not totally her fault. For those of you who may not understand what Gossip Girl tried to do with Tripp’s accident, in 1969 Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge in Martha’s Vineyard with a 28 year old girl in the car. He fled the scene and she drowned. The only differences are GG couldn’t afford a bridge and Serena’s not dead…on the outside.

Just so we’re clear, if you’re missing the connections between the Van Der Bilts and the Kennedys in this series, you’re dead to me.

I don’t know if we’ll be seeing Tripp any time soon, which is a bit sad because I liked him a lot more than all the other guest stars who go on the Serena relationship trail of tears. That said, good guest stars do pop up from time to time (We need more Cyrus face time! Not enough!) A departing Tripp means the all-new reincarnation of Nate Archibald: Boyfriend, which makes me happy because Serena really has become the new Nate.


(Fine, let’s talk about Nate and Dan.)

Chace Crawford discovers too late that Penn refuses to wear pants for close ups.

Nate Archibald is the Vincent Chase of Gossip Girl. He just magically appears in helicopters with beautiful women, and if you think his dorm room doesn’t have a turnstile right by the door you lack imagination or a spec script for “How I Met Your Mother.” (I’m looking for agents.)

Nate also insists on giving love advice, which is also LOL-worthy. Great example: Archie telling Dan that he needs to go on the trip with Vanessa so he can fight for the girl he loves. Solid strategy, Nathan. How’d that go last week?

While I’m being vindictive, “Paul Hoffman’s a douche?” C’mon, Gossip Girl! Would it REALLY be that hard to put my name in there? My name’s delightfully pretentious! I deserve some name time!

So Dan totally takes Nate’s advice to stand up and fight for the girl he loves by watching Vanessa’s Wiccan friend in a porn flick. Actually, I give this move a thumbs up. Dan’s picking his battles and there’s nothing more college than avoiding love troubles with sex. Trust me.

For the two of you who are concerned about how Dan and Vanessa are going to end up, especially after Vanessa’s look of, “You…oh, you mean ‘I love you’ like THAT? Son of a bitch…” let me break it down for you:

-Dan and Vanessa go to the same college.
-They have the same friends.
-Their plot lines are fraught with guest stars, some of who are mentioned and never seen.
-They don’t have anything better to do.
-You don’t have to put any effort into mashing their names up. Danessa. Done.

While I feel comfortable calling Danessa a lock, I won’t yet call it a mortal lock. There’s still time for V to come to her senses, confess her love to Dan, and get smacked down for the 300th time.

Lily Van Der Woodsen Bass Humphrey for Commissioner of the Gold Digger League

"Mom, the doctors say you've got to leave. They're afraid I'll catch the S1UT."

Lily’s a slut. You know it, I know it, even freaking Maureen Van Der Bilt knows it. All of this stuff never occurs to Rufus because, well, he’s Rufus Humphrey. He’s good at stumbling across damning evidence, but he can’t really put the pieces of Lily’s deception together. At this point there’s an orgy of evidence that Lily hooked up with Serena’s dad recently, and while it’s probably a foregone conclusion that Lily did what Lily does best, I’m not convinced.

Right now I’m Colin Farrell in “Minority Report” at the scene of Leo Crow’s murder and I’m staring at all the pictures of kids on the bed. It’s all there, and this being Gossip Girl we should always conclude that the simplest answer IS the answer…but I’m still waiting to hear it from Lily.

The Jenny-Eric conflict is the worst Constance War ever.

(Yes, I’m counting Dan vs. Serena in season two.)

"Look! I now get half your inheritance!"

Readers, there was a time when a power struggle at St. Jude’s/Constance turned the courtyard into post-war Berlin. You couldn’t say anything without being documented. You couldn’t turn your back on someone at a party for fear of a Nair cocktail sailing in from the blind side. CHUCK BASS MADE UP A PERSON TO FORCE SERENA INTO SEIZING POWER.

So what do we have now in this brave new world? We get an arms race with designer handbags and the fiery rhetoric of Eric Van Der Woodsen Bass Humphrey.

“If you think about it, Jenny said things would be better, and they’re really not.”

Seize your blackberries and pitchforks! Once more into the courtyard! This! Is! Constance!

(sigh.)

Oh yeah, Jenny’s a drug dealer now. See you in a brief jail stint that Lily gets you out of…probably by sleeping with a Detective.

The guy's name is Damien. Do the mother lovin' math.

Chuck sees dead people

"Dad told me I should stop wearing belts. Interestingly his thoughts echo my own."

I just didn’t understand why they assumed we’d think Chuck could turn into a cold hearted Basstard in one episode just because his dead dad was brought back by The Island. We KNOW he’s got a heart! We’ve seen it! You can’t shake our faith, Gossip Girl.

I thought it was interesting that the hospital would bring back all those memories of Bart’s death. While it certainly wasn’t the tearful embrace from last year, I think it was entirely appropriate that Chuck and Blair talked through his issues like that and left the hospital immediately. I’ve spent about four pages talking about how Bart took the oomph out of Chuck/Blair, but that “Thank you” at the end was excellent. In these seasons, readers, you have to focus on the little great moments. It’s all we have now.


Finishing with sporadic thoughts and Chuck’s not so dead mom.

"No, Nate, I don't think they let you 'big spoon' here."

It’s the last episode of 2009, there had to be SOMETHING that makes you stay for 2010, and the shocking reveal of Chuck’s probably not dead mom was this episode’s, “Oh No They Didn’t” moment. While it’s totally possible that Bart didn’t want Chuck to know about his mom, I look back on the episode with the secret Eyes Wide Shut society and its ho-hum conclusion and can’t help but think this will go the same way.

If I had my way, I’d take Mrs. Bass in one of two directions. I’d either make her the real mom and give Chuck a parent character that he will eventually warm to, or I’d make her a machination of an evil alliance of G. Sparks and Carter to finally push Chuck over the edge.

The former is safer and probably better for Chuck’s character because Chuck’s mom is arguably the only adult that could affect him in a positive way. Combine that with the tearful reveal that she is actually his mom and you could have fireworks that approach last year’s funeral, and that’s something I think we all want again.

The latter is just plain awesome villainry that would push the boundaries of what the schemers in this series could do. Nothing would seem out of bounds, as absurd as it seems. That said, it’s a little too fantastical and maybe too dark…but isn’t that what Gossip Girl needs to get back? 2010 will answer that question.

Little bits of the episode I enjoyed:

Nate, asking Serena if she’s read “Old Man and the Sea,” and Serena saying that she’s a Fitzgerald girl, followed by Nate saying, “Yeah, I’ve never read it either,” and thinking “…or any other book for that matter.”

“Ho ho homeless.”

Serena telling Nate she’s glad they still talk annoys me. I hate when girls say, “I’m glad we can still talk.” It’s basically a girl’s way of saying, “I beat you down and dragged you through the dirt and now you lack the conviction to hate me. I can’t believe I came out on top!”

I like that Blair’s dorm room door has a number to contact Dorota if Blair’s not there. Thanks, HD!

As a Boston die hard, it takes a lot to really enjoy something from New York. That said, I really enjoy “Empire State of Mind,” but it was a waste of a great song, like when they threw away “Sex on Fire” with Serena and That Rose Kid I Refuse To Recognize. I can’t believe I’ve almost had to type his name twice. TWICE!

Rufus telling the women at the Co-op he’s not a trophy husband. Rufus, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and flies like a duck, it’s a trophy husband.

See you in 2010

Later on in the month I’ll be posting predictions/desires for the second half of season three, and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on this episode and the coming season as well. Please leave some comment love and feel free to retweet, share on facebook, or print pictures of me on your wall. Not that one. That one’s just for us.

‘til next episode!

You know you skim me,
XOXO

twitter.com/woodytondorf

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4 Responses

  1. Gossip girl is no longer epic. I’m sad. The whole Eric vs. Jenny thing couldve been awesome but it’s not. And Serena needs to drown. There’s no more OMFG-ness to GG anymore. 😦
    hopefully, it’ll get better…..

  2. The most true Woody statement of this review:

    “Dan’s picking his battles and there’s nothing more college than avoiding love troubles with sex. Trust me.”
    Yup, I know — I was there.

    Other thoughts:
    – It’s so hot that Serena is a Fitzgerald girl. I’d like to show her an orgastic green light…
    – Vanessa’s reaction to Dan’s statement of love is the reason that I don’t talk to girls
    – I totally forgot that Colin Farrell was in Minority Report
    – Are the Tripp van der Bilt/Tiger Woods parallels getting a little eerie?
    – They need to stop the Ed Westwick “real British voice” segue between One Tree Hill and GG — it’s like having Christian Bale use his real (and weak) British voice to introduce Batman. (“YOU COULD BE THE SPOT OF TEA…THAT I COULD NEVER BE!”) Chuck Bass voice only, please.
    – While I liked “The Debarted” as a title, I also could’ve went for “Trippacquidick” or “Tripp and Fall” or “Charles Not In Charge” or “An Affair To Dismember” or “Poorly Van Der Bilt Bridge.” With Serena professing her love for Fitzgerald, and on a crash course to hook-up with Nathaniel, I’m hoping the next one will be called “The Nate Gatsby”…

  3. i just know this page, nice blog you have,
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    The Gossip Girl Review: Chuck Bass Sees Dead People

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  4. Oh jeez. I really like your review.
    i will be coming back often!

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