It's official: I'm in love with Blair Waldorf. Of all the things this show has going for it (and please know there are many, many things) she is by far the best. Numero uno. The queen bee. The bees knees. I want to follow her around with a little notebook and write down everything she does and make a little "book of awesome" out of it, and then use that book as my personal Bible. You guys, I want to be her Jenny Humphrey.
Why is Blair so awesome? Um, well, she's fabulous and gorgeous and classy. There's that. Beyond those more external things, though, she's a complicated character that doesn't fit into any one stereotype about rich, privileged, parentally neglected prep school girls. She sort of encompasses them all at once and mixes them together into something new to create someone you not only root for when she's being good, but when she's being evil as well. Largely, though, credit for Blair's awesomeness has to go to Leighton Meester. I've mentioned her performance in the past, but it deserves to be brought up again and again, because it's what she's doing with Blair each week that makes the character come to life. There's something to be said for acting beyond the page, and Meester is doing that and more. You believe her when she laughs, cries, manipulates, wishes, hopes and dreams, and feel for her when it all inevitably falls apart. Because it always falls apart.
That leads us to Blair and Chuck. I've made no secret of my affection for Chuck, despite his dubious date rapist-wannabe past. I would feel more comfortable about him as a character if they kept him essentially evil, but Ed Westwick's strange charms and some decent backtracking writing for his character have won me over, despite my misgivings. What's fascinating about them as a couple is that they are on equal ground: they can't fool each other, because they are essentially the same person. This was never the case with Blair and Nate. Blair and Chuck both straddle the line of sincerity and manipulation so easily that you never seem to know which side they are landing on at any one time, and two people like that in any sort of relationship (be it emotional or simply sexual) is a fascinating idea. Does this relationship have any chance of working? Doubtful, but the downward spiral will surely be interesting. But I am secretly hoping it does.
Serena and Dan once again did the everything is great/everything is not so great/everything is great again dance which, while Serena and Dan are very appealing characters and have great chemistry, was pretty darn boring. Vanessa was possibly the most annoying she's been in the series so far, intentionally sticking her nose into Dan and Serena's relationship and then acting as if she never meant to do such a thing. It's so obvious and desperate, and the character needs more of a purpose on the show than Dan's best friend/thorn in his relationship, because right now I can barely tolerate her. Go away, Vanessa! The one amusing thing about this story was when Dan was absolutely flabbergasted that Vanessa and Serena didn't get along, considering they both liked Dan and he liked them both. So obviously the girls should like each other! They have Dan in common, after all! If Dan really doesn't know why this isn't possible, ever, he's going to have a very painful dating life.
Getting a bit of a better showing this week was Nate. The only way he is ever going to be interesting is if he stands up to his parents and becomes his own person, and this week he took a huge step in that direction by rejecting his parents idea that he give Blair his mother's engagement ring to secure his father's business deal with Blair's mother. He also had a few pleasant moments with Jenny, and if they are hinting at a relationship in the future for them I could be on board for that. The age difference between the actors is a bit visibly uncomfortable, but the idea of social climber Jenny dating Blair's castoffs is quite fun. Also, Nate loosened up a bit in his scenes with Jenny and it is a welcome side of his personality to see.
Now, even though I really don't want to I suppose I must mention the adults. Jenny brought her mother home this week, and let's just get it out there right now. She SUCKS. The actress is bland, the character is shallow and not well thought out, and the story is a retread of things done many, many times before, and done better. Here it is in a nutshell: Mom wants another chance, Rufus gives it to her, Jenny is happy, Dan is not, and no one cares. The end. Lily and Rufus are a million times more interesting, so hopefully she will pop back up to inject some caffeine into this plot line pronto.
This show is almost out of episodes due to the strike, and I have to say it's one I am going to miss the most. I've already set my Tivo to record episodes of The O.C. on SoapNet to fill the Gossip Girl-sized hole in my life in preparation. As much as I love Summer Roberts, though, she's no substitute for Blair.