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TV Recap: Gossip Girl – “The Serena Also Rises”

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Look, I know it’s been a tough week nationally. I know that you suddenly find rich people and their greedy outlandish behavior abhorrent, and that you want to find the CEO of Lehman Brothers and string him up outside of your local church and watch him perish in agony.

At a time like this, I think we need to turn to the immortal words of Wynona Ryder (pre-arrest) as Lelaina Pierce from the 1994 classic, Reality Bites. In this clasic scene, Janeane Garofalo’s Vickie Miner shares with Lalaina her concern that she is HIV positive.

Vickie: You don't understand, every day, all day, it's all that I think about, okay? Every time I sneeze, it's like I'm four sneezes away from the hospice. And it's like it's not even happening to me, it's like I'm watching it on some crappy show like Melrose Place or some shit right, and I'm the new character, I'm the HIV AIDS character and I live in the building and I teach everybody that "It's okay to be near me, it's okay to talk to me." And then I die. And there's everybody at my funeral wearing halter tops or chokers or some shit like that.

Lelaina: Vickie stop, okay? Just stop. You're freaking out. And you know what? You're gonna have to deal with the results, whatever they are, we're gonna have to deal with them just like we've dealt with everything else.

Vickie: This isn't like everything else.

Lelaina: I know that, alright? But it's gonna be okay, you know? I know it's gonna be okay. Melrose Place is a really good show.

So in that spirit, I assure you that there is a reason why the word "guilty" is part of the phrase "guilty pleasure", furthermore teen soaps are exactly where we need to see rich people cavorting in excess. It’s having them do it in real life that causes all of our problems.

It’s gonna be okay! Gossip Girl is a really good show!

Dan and Jenny Want to be Artists

Poor Rufus, he’s knocking himself out to put his kids through private school so they can get into college and become the vapid, rich dolts that he never had the chance to be and what does he get for his efforts? Two kids who would rather be artists and are using his failed rock and roll career against him as leverage. The truly sad thing is that Rufus spent this entire episode chasing Jenny around, while Dan wound up in jail about to be raped by the two gayest looking dudes the shows casting agents could find.

Look Rufus, Jenny is talented – you need to be concentrating on Dan, because, well … he isn’t.

The Worst Mentor Ever

Dan has somehow found some other literary lion to help him get into college, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer named Noah Shapiro. Noah really liked one of Dan’s stories. Unfortunately for Dan, after reading five more, Noah realized two things: 1. that all of Dan’s stories are weak fictionalized accounts of himself, whining about Serena; 2. aside from somehow once landing Serena, Dan is really, really dull

Now I’m not sure what advice I would have given Dan at this point, but given that he’s a teenager, I probably wouldn’t have told him to go out and try to be Charles Bukowski like Noah did.

Armed with this "expert" advice, Dan decides to spend some time on the wild side with Chuck Bass. Here’s how bad of a writer Dan is. When he fictionalizes his night out with Chuck, Dan names his protagonist Charlie Trout.

Sympathy for the Devil

Chuck had a tough time this episode. After his genius machinations in last week’s episode forever upset the Blair/Serena balance of power, he seems to have thought that Blair would have welcomed his help with open arms. Didn’t happen.

Instead, Blair lashed out at Chuck and sent our young Mestopheles into his own spiral of despair. In a moment of weakness, Chuck confides to Dan the awful truth behind his evil. He has daddy issues.

Chuck assures Dan that when it comes to evil, he's nothing compared to his father. Here’s the bombshell: Chuck’s mother passed away giving birth to him, and Chuck is convinced (probably accurately) that his father hates him for it.

This leads to a thirty second moment in jail where Chuck and Dan seem close to becoming allies (there are no real friends on this show, only allies). Unfortunately (for Dan), a mix-up in processing alerts Chuck to the fact that Dan has been turning him into Charlie Trout, and a hurt Chuck vows revenge.

I honestly can’t see a future for Dan at this point. My best advice would be either to enlist in the military or go to biblical college.

Blair vs. Serena

Blair could rule the world, but she of course has an Achilles heel. Serena always outshines her and it drives her batty. This all came to a nuclear meltdown during Blair's mother's fashion show.

Here are the highlights:

Serena blew off spending the fashion show with Blair backstage. Blair was appalled because according to her, it’s their longest, most cherished tradition.

Serena, while failing to point out that Blair believes them to have about 600 longest, most cherished traditions, did nonetheless decide to take the advice of her new socialite friend Poppy(!), which was something along the lines of “You’re way hotter than her girlfriend, she’s holding you back.”

Serena told Blair that she no longer has any sympathy for Blair’s insecurity – in essence, it’s on!

Blair vs. Jenny

This episode went really badly for Blair. Despite being at her manipulating best and being willing to destroy her mother’s fashion show, everything blew up in her face.

Since Serena is Blair’s Kryptonite, Blair went after Jenny with everything in her nuclear arsenal, but amazingly Jenny kept taking the hits and through sheer dogged hustle weathered the storm somewhat triumphantly. So industrious was Jenny that she even earned Blair’s respect.

How does one earn Blair Waldolf’s respect? Always go to the person’s point of greatest weakness. Jenny told Blair that when it comes to the Serena/Blair competition she’d choose Blair every day and twice on Sunday – and she even sounded like she meant it.

Rufus vs. Jenny

We all thought that this had been settled when Rufus laid down the law this summer — well, Rufus did at least. Jenny is now in full rebellion. She’s essentially quit school and made it nearly impossible for her to return. What is Rufus’ next best move? You’ve got me, I have no idea. Let’s just hope that Jenny’s seeming ability to run a large fashion consortium all by herself at 15 works out for her. Like I said, Jenny has talent – Rufus needs to worry about his huge mope of a son.

Lily Is In The House Of Pure Evil

When Lily tries to use her newfound uber-wealth to proudly purchase a photo that Robert Mapplethorpe once took of her, she finds out that Bart has already purchased it. Unfortunately for Lily, her husband didn’t buy it for her as a gift; he bought it because he was embarrassed about her past. This leads to Lily realizing that Bart has a dossier of all of her life’s bad behavior.

Lily instantly demands to see this dossier, which winds up containing a photo so heinous (it wasn’t revealed) that Lily will undoubted spend the rest of the season doing her best to keep it away from her kids. This of course raises the logical question: What could be more embarrassing than having posed for Robert Mapplethorpe?

Poor Lily, she’s been abandoned by Rufus, and she is now trapped in the web of the truly super evil Bart Bass. Because when Chuck says someone is super evil, I’m going to take his word for it!

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