Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the Realm of the Basses

Thank god TV is back from the pesky winter hiatus. It was simply killing me not to have my regularly scheduled programming. As an unemployed degenerate, I have no routine to speak of and can often fall into periods where I am completely unaware if it is 6 am or 6 pm, losing all track of time and wandering around like a vagabond neglecting to return phone calls or post on my blog. As a result, I don’t just like TV, I need it in order to provide some sort of order in my otherwise unfettered life.

So Gossip Girl. The episode opens with a montage of how our respective players rung in their New Years. The most exciting part of this sequence is the miraculous change in Jenny’s appearance. If you are anything like me, then you’ve been nauseated by the quasi-hipster haircut and pathetic home sewn getups that she’s been traipsing around in all season. (Ironic, is it not, that she is supposed to be a designer when her wardrobe is by far the worst of anyone on the show, including Rufus?) So it is a welcomed change to see her in a Constance-appropriate pea coat for her first day back to school. See below for a before and after. Wow what an improvement:

By the time she arrives at school, she is met by the mean girls clique who – in an inspired reversal of the associations of good versus evil - wear white (below) while little J and her lackie (as pictured above) wear black. True to form, they begin to relentlessly bully her. I must say that I found this plotline entirely enjoyable. Jenny is usually one of the characters for whom I care about least, but amidst Rufus and Lily’s predictable storyline and Serena and Dan’s mushy one, hers stood out. Also (and I might be alone in thinking this), she is a surprisingly adept actress, and when given good material, really shines. So I relished the juicy return of the diabolical girl-clique and Jenny’s crusade to reform the school’s social system.

Also making a grand reappearance to school is Chuck Bass. Depressed and drugged, he oddly looks hotter than ever. However, though his acting is raw and his sex appeal smoldering, this is truly Blair’s episode and it is she who steals scene after scene. Torn between her mutually exclusive (rejected) love for Chuck and her desire to climb Manhattan’s social ladder by getting into the Colony Club, she finds herself at a crossroads. Though Chuck rebuffs her in her repeated attempts to help (note the heartbreaking scene where she cries after he mocks her for saying “I love you”), the true strength of her character is exposed when she stands up to the petty and highschool-esque Colony ladies and defends Chuck before rushing to his side.

At the episode’s end, Chuck ironically throws a party at which he drunkenly ponders jumping off the rooftop and poignantly delivers his tried and true line: “I’m Chuck Bass!” into the night air, before tragically finishing by adding: “Who cares?” It is only through Blair’s limitless devotion that Chuck at last steps down, and when the two finally embrace it was hard for me to keep back tears (and I’m not a crier). Blair’s devotion to Chuck – which goes so much deeper than purely a merely romantic attraction – elevates the show and this episode in particular beyond just being superficial. Call me sentimental, but its true. Also, the whole rooftop debacle is more than a little over the top, but I must say that in the hands of two such talented young actors, the scene didn't bother me.

However, not to get too sappy on you, there were some problems with the episode. Firstly, I must ask, where the heck has Nate been? He’s been MIA for what seems like an eternity (and even when present, is largely peripheral). My advice to the producers is – if a so-called regular character is so hard to integrate into any plotline that he rarely appears – he should be taken off the show entirely. Its tacky to keep Nate around and as he’s always been the weakest of the six central characters, I say kill him off. Please. Also, make Rufus less annoying. This episode featured a breakfast scene at the Humphrey household in which whiny soft rock played in the background. I mean, how irritating is that? No one listens to that kind of music in the morning, and no, we don’t need another reminder that Rufus is an alleged former rock star. Also, as much as I appreciate seeing a sweeter side of Blair, half of the show's fun is in her devilish and calculated scheming (this is also where she and Chuck have the best chemistry), so while it is necessary to expose us to the sweeter side in order to appreciate the sour, it shouldn't last much longer. Also, Uncle Jack is pretty dull so far...and I cringe to think that he and Blair hooked up on New Years as the show seems to be implying. Lets just hope this doesn't become another soap opera-esqe Duchess plotline, and that instead, we get something better to gossip about (ha ha ha).


  1. I don't think our posts were too similar until the end. I can't believe we both ended with the same lame gossip pun. Wasn't there a time when we disagreed on everything? And yours did a much better job covering the fashion angle.

  2. After this episode there can be no doubt that the 2nd season of GG belongs to Blair. How brilliant is it that the two most caricatured and unsympathetic characters are now the best written and most touching?

    Kudos to Blair for being all "I am so over this hs BS" and totally wrecking Penelope and crew's pathetic little social delusion

    Good call on the Nate disappearance- how sad is it that I didn't even notice? And also on the MIA front, where's Vanessa?