Giant-sized Gossip Girl Review: The Kids Aren’t All Right

Gossip Girl Review: Dan and Blair. Yeah. You read that.

This is happening. Just accept it.

Okay! Let’s shake off the rust here for a second. It’s been a dog’s age, friends, lovers, and thieves. I think my last review was somewhere at the start of season three around the time that Gossip Girl decided to just go off the freaking rails and I swore I’d never love again.

Then people started paying me to write about TV.

SHAMELESS PLUG: My new show, bought and paid for by Hulu, where I write with brilliant folks about TV. It’s called The Morning After, and it’s on Hulu every weekday. I feel dirty doing that, but that’s why I watched Gossip Girl last night and why I’m back to doing this.

Also, I now have help. Very witty, New York-based, wonderful to look at, delightfully English help. Learn who it is after the jump.

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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!
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Gossip Girl Review: “Enough About Eve”


This is when we start the "Un-der Ra-Ted" cheer

This is when we start the "Un-der Ra-Ted" cheer

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.

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Gossip Girl Review: The Lost Boy


"Why does that awkward British auctioneer keep saying 'Ha?'"

“Why does that awkward British auctioneer keep saying ‘Ha?'”

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Gossip Girl, it’s that everyone sucks at keeping secrets. Sometimes it’s not their fault. Sometimes important pieces of the puzzle literally fall off a table into the hands of the Humphreys, who bumble and stumble their way into telling everyone in earshot that Serena got married in Spain and Blair could be pregnant with Basstard child. But mostly they can’t keep secrets because none of them know how to lie.
This was the first fun episode of the season because it finally gave us the power struggles and the schemes that we all crave. While it wasn’t exactly Chuck Bass making up a new student to unseat Blair (I still love that episode, shut up), it was good enough. That said, the wheels kind of fell off once we reached the least secure Sotheby’s auction in the history of mankind. The fact that we didn’t get just ONE punch thrown made me feel cheated. I’m getting ahead of myself.


Georgina and Dan have now been hooking up, a fact that is thrust (See what I did there?) in Blair’s face when she doesn’t realize that an oversized sock on the door handle means occupants are gettin’ biz-ay. Blair leaves in a huff, Dan gives the first botched lie of the episode about forty seconds in, and Serena apparently didn’t hear the clopping of Blair’s heels and runs right into Dan, which sets Inexplicable Casanova up for his second lie in thirty seconds. He’s heating up!

At this point, Blair, Serena, and Vanessa (VANESSA!) feel free to judge Dan and mock the fact that he’s Humphreying the most devious, evil girl they’ve ever known. Two things: if I’m Dan Humphrey, I’m looking around at my present situation and thinking why not? There are groupies by the handful and Dan can take a crack at the conwoman who seduced him GUILT FREE! Have we ever known Dan to have standards OR discretion? NO! Secondly, and Serena headed me off on this before I could write it, there’s no WAY they can judge Dan after some of the stuff they’ve pulled…and for two out of three, it’s Chuck Bass.

People don't forget.

People, and herpes, don't forget.

Then Vanessa stumbles onto Scott’s (Poor man’s Jacob Black) lie that he’s even a student at NYU, and we immediately jump back into the time-honored tradition of treading on Vanessa. Having the plot smack Vanessa around is like laughing at videos of skateboarders getting their nuts crushed: you’d feel worse if it didn’t just feel right. Vanessa of course gets this query confirmed when a girl behind a counter tells her he’s not enrolled. Counter Girl tries to soften this blow by telling Vanessa, “I used to date a guy who told me his dad invented the battery.”

So here are some facts about NYU students that Gossip Girl has given us: they sit in their rooms and watch documentaries about community gardens and can be convinced of pretty much anything. I have NYU’s Admissions Department on line 2, they say they need a word with the producers.

more after the jump.
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Gossip Girl Review: The Freshmen

GOSSIP GIRL: Solo cups, headbands, and Serena’s still an idiot. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

"We can both agree Asher Roth sucks, right?"

"We can both agree Asher Roth sucks, right?"

I can’t say I was blown away by this week’s episode, and GOD KNOWS we were all underwhelmed after that swing-and-a-miss that was the premiere, but it didn’t suck completely. In fact, it was one of the more true to life Gossip Girl episodes we’ve ever had.

After the prerequisite “where are they now?” episode, we finally had to face the music of college…and oddly, that music was real life Leighton Meester singing. Twice. Dan, Blair, Vanessa, and the kid who looks like a poor man’s Jacob Black are all at NYU, Chuck’s running Quantum, Lily/Eric/Jenny are irrelevant, and Serena is all about just messing her life up. We’ll address Serena in a bit, but let’s deal with the biggest waste of our time right off the bat.

Nate and Bree, fresh off their polo expedition (it still bugs me that an apparently competent Bree never realized that the polo match was an Archibald institution) decide that the only way to burn through their infant relationship is to lock themselves in a room until they hate each other. While this sounds like the pitch sheet for one of the worst reality TV shows of all time, it actually becomes the starting point to what should be a committed relationship (Which, by Gossip Girl timelines, will be all of five episodes maybe. Actually, five is pushing it).
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Gossip Girl Review: “CONNNNNNNNN!!!!”

Gossip Girl occasionally sets us up for an alley-oop of an episode that puts all the strong characters together for a purpose that actually—hold your breath—makes sense. The result: definitely the best episode since, “The Grandfather,” possibly the best ep of 2009. Spoilers ahead.

This is about 9 different kinds of not good.

It's in the house. WHY did you let it in the HOUSE?

They took a whole episode last week to set us up for this week’s, and it was worth it. It had all the ingredients they needed to make a good/great episode:

-The kids (led by Blair and Chuck, obvi) planning vengeance and thinking they can do a better job that anyone else.
-Hints at the unspoken class war that you wish they would just overtly address for a whole season (Lily is…what? The Humphreys’ benefactor?)
-Beautiful people, fashion, and Chuck talking about how he has lots of sex.
-Georgina “I sold my show pony for coke” Sparks.
-Betrayal from every side with velvet daggers.

But the very best part is after the jump.

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Gossip Girl Review: Poppygate

Yes, I know, I missed last week’s review. There wasn’t really anything to declare from that episode…I would have made mercilious fun of it and you would have giggled.


suspension of disbelief only goes so far, fellas.

suspension of disbelief only goes so far, fellas.

The only thing we can take away from last week is that Gossip Girl, despite its inane sub plots and going-in-circles character arcs, has a desire to live beyond this season. They’re taking steps to keep all the college-bound characters WITHIN New York, instead of the Jump The Campus death trap of sending them out into the world. Well done, Gossip Girl. We might have learned something from The OC after all.

The strength of this episode was not in the dialogue. It wasn’t in any big revelations or deaths or giant social events where every character, regardless of class status, shows up. Instead it moved quickly to the end and, with the exception of one scene between Blair and Serena, never really stopped to let the lines fall flat. Not a REMARKABLE episode, but after the streak of stinkers we’ve had lately, I’ll take whatever I can get.

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