Friday, December 07, 2007

"I don't like my ice to get lonely, dear.": Gossip Girl

[Before we get down to business, I just need to mention how absolutely FABULOUS the clothes were in this episode. I will be sharing extra pictures throughout to highlight these glorious fashions that only the rich, beautiful and fictional can pull off. -C]

While Todd has been busy writing intelligent articles about television and the effect it's had on his life, I've been busy watching rich teenagers get their angst on. It's good to know your strengths, I suppose. I hope you are all as excited for Todd's list as I am.

Moving on to my less erudite strengths: sitting on my ass and watching teen dramas. This week featured the ubiquitous debutante ball, although what counts as a debutante ball in this world is different from any other interpretation I've seen before. This debutante ball was more like an afternoon tea with ball gowns, and while the clothes were fantastic, it was a bit disconcerting. What was familiar was the pressure by older generations for the younger set to conform to the traditions of their era, and in this case that pressure was masterfully applied by Serena's calculating, manipulative grandmother, CeCe. Sweeping into town and playing both Lily and Serena like a cheap fiddle obviously came naturally to CeCe, although by the end of the episode Lily and Serena are both onto her games which causes a nice moment of mother/daughter bonding. Although I have been critical of the adult characters on this show, I do enjoy the more genuine parent/child interactions, and Kelly Rutherford was pretty fantastic tonight. Grandmother CeCe will obviously be playing a role in future storylines, as her cancer non-secret was slyly outed as a real case at the end of the show. Will she have a deathbed realization that her life was empty and hollow, and will Lily and Serena forgive her indiscretions? I'm sure you've all seen television before and can predict that one for yourselves.

Not as fantastic this week, however, was the maturation of the love story between Rufus and Lily. After learning from CeCe that Lily left him all those years ago because her mother made her choose between Rufus and her inheritance, Rufus semi-tearfully reveals that if he had known that all along, things might have been very different. Am I the only cynic that thinks a 17 years gone relationship should be sort of left alone at this point? No wonder Allison is so insecure about Lily. Gracious.

The best part of the episode was again Blair and her love triangle of doom. It seems that despite her protests, Blair seems to enjoy spending quality horizontal time with Chuck as we see her willingly lounging with him in her bedroom and frantically texting him while hanging out with Nate. Her attitude is even ten times lighter, which is a telling damnation of how her relationship of Nate was bringing her down. Nate notices this change in attitude and like a ridiculous teenage boy decides he wants her back, so jealous Chuck stages a multi-layered manipulation more complicated than the invasion of Normandy in order to ensure that Blair stays away from Nate. (Interestingly, this manipulation involves former hippie, now good-guy-again Carter who is revealed to have a prior, secret relationship with Serena. Hmm.) In the end, what Chuck doesn't realize is you can't manipulate a manipulator, and after figuring his machinations Blair immediately runs to Nate and gets horizontal with him instead. I'm personally wondering when Blair is going to have some sex that isn't revenge-based. It's troubling. In response to Blair's rejection, Chuck dresses in his finest, craziest outfit and leaves town! Oh no! I'm not sure I like this development one bit, because Ed Westwick has grown on me like a rash.

In Humphrey land, it's status quo as Dan's substandard upbringing causes complications with him and Serena yet again which are conveniently and neatly resolved by the end of the episode, and Jenny goes further on her path to social climbing destruction. It's interesting that Allison is the only person who realizes how horrible Jenny is going to become in her quest to be like her peers at school, and I hope they explore this further. Jenny needs to go over the edge, otherwise what is there to her character? The writers seem to be having a problem defining who she is and why she is on the GG landscape. Is she a manipulative, scheming social climber that will do anything to be one of the elite, as shown in the pilot and other episodes? Or is she determined to be a part of that world but still be her own independent, strong person, as shown in her reaction to Blair's manipulation at the slumber party? Personally, I think someone needs a downward spiral and I nominate Jenny, because what she's doing now is quite boring.

Next week: Dan and Serena have sex. In a museum or something. What is this, Friends?


Bianca Reagan said...

Why weren't the dresses white? Where was Eric; wouldn't his presence be a requirement at his sister's debut? I think Josh Scwartz and his writing posse need a serious clue if they are going to continue penning stories about young women. His people should call Amy Sherman-Palladino for some insight.

I'm getting tired of not only seeing entire plotlines from The O.C. rehashed in this show, but also the neverending drama of the Blair-Nate-Chuck and Lily-Rufus-Aliso love triangles. Also, I get it: Dan is POOR! Gosh, beat that dead horse into the ground.

These characters need something to do . . . like in the books. Their whole lives don't have to revolve around who is going to sleep with whom after what party. They actually have school. And if they are UES private-school kids, they probably have a whole lot of their time sucked up by actual activities so they can get into prestigious universities. You can't put "manipulative drama-whore" or "increasingly-sympathetic attempted rapist" on your college applications. Actually, the latter might get you into Duke. Yeah, I said it.

Carrie said...

I don't know. I don't fault them for ignoring the school aspect, as I really don't care to see these people studying and doing class projects. In real life, yay for girls getting a fabulous education! On Gossip Girl, bring me the having sex after parties. I wouldn't mind some storylines taking place in the school setting, however, as the world they are building feels oppressively small and could use a bit of broadening.

Gilmore Girls was a completely different animal. Rory's intelligence was practically built into the premise. Her school obsession belonged...without it, imagine what a distressingly horrible character she would have been? I truly hated almost everything about Rory except her devotion to academics.

page said...

Chuck cannot leave! I love Chuck. How weird to love two TV Chucks in one season. What riches.

So, curiously, my mom debuted at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in NYC. How's that for weird? Actually, my cousin Jennifer did too. I remember being just fascinated by this concept as I milked cows in my overalls. We didn't debut in Appalachia. So a secret side to the debutante ball, some of those girls might end up moving to a dirt farm in the sticks and choosing to live with no indoor plumbing.

I loved the dresses! I loved the dancing! I loved Chuck's evil machinations. It was all so "Dangerous Liasions!"

I agree totally that the Rufus-Lily story took a turn for the worse. Blech.