Monday, January 12, 2009

"Gone with the Will" - Gossip Girl, episode 2.15

"Gone with the Will" takes an intriguing premise and carries it to an uncharacteristically warmhearted conclusion. The character farthest removed from their usual role on the show is in fact Kristen Bell's Gossip Girl herself, whose lack of omniscience helps push the story forward.

We're used to Gossip Girl commenting on (and sometimes influencing) the action through their network of citizen bloggers and cell phone photogs. But what if GG didn't know everything? The central question is, why is Dan acting so weird and avoiding Serena? We know that the reason is because he's freaked out by the knowledge that a. his Dad and Lily had a child years ago and b. they're in Boston trying to reestablish contact with the young man who is Dan and Serena's half-brother. Given the circumstances, Dan's more-reticent-than-usual behavior is perfectly understandable. But this is the Upper East Side, and a secret half-brother is so 1997 right?

In the world of GG, Dan must be up to something. His strange routine must mean that he's stepping out on Serena, and so GG puts out a call for tips ("opposition research" if you will) that will prove Dan's infidelity. Dan seems to be at the center of everyone's attention; a trip to the candy store with Vanessa turns into a confrontation with the "mini-Serena" from earlier in the season, the pint-sized GG reader with no problem calling Dan on his shortcomings in public. The show could use a little more of this self-mockery, a sense that there's a world outside of the characters' narrow one that finds their actions and sensibilities baffling. Maybe Adam Brody could be persuaded to play a member of the paparazzi or something....

When the news finally breaks it breaks at what's supposed to be a party for Chuck thrown jointly by Blair and Chuck's scheming Uncle Jack. It seems Bart has left controlling interest in his company to Chuck and Jack isn't too happy about it. It's all a setup of course. Jack tempts Chuck with some old vices (drugs, women) and tricks him into embarrassing himself in front of his board members, who promptly hand the Bass Industries reigns to Jack. Couldn't we have had at least a half-episode of Chuck running the company and realizing that he might need, you know, a high-school diploma? Instead, the downward cycle begins again and Blair and Chuck are on the outs. Any bets on how long it will last?

Oh, and the adopted parents of Rufus and Lily's son pull a fast one and pretend the boy is dead. Huh? Except a season finale return to this story with a cliffhanger to follow....

UPDATE - I almost forgot about my favorite thing in this episode, the scene when Rufus and LIly are lying in bed and Rufus tells the story about Lily "being groped by the drummer from Buffalo Tom" during his rock star days. Buffalo Tom is a great band that never got their due, their leader Bill Janovitz blogs here.

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