This week’s episode opens with a dream sequence. It’s basically My Fair Lady, with Blair as Eliza Doolittle taking diction lessons from Henry Higgins, who we will later recognize as the dean of Yale, and then Serena walks in and steals all of Blair’s enunciation thunder. You see, the joke is that in My Fair Lady, the aristocratic Higgins decides to elevate the poor Eliza Doolittle as a sort of social experiment, whereas in this scenario, everyone’s already super rich, so when they wake up from the nightmare in their silk nightie and satin sleep mask, there is a Hispanic servant waiting to pack their Louis Vuitton matching luggage for them because the car is waiting outside to drive them to their college visit. It’s all very Upstairs Upstairs. Anyway, this week: COLLEGE! Our little monsters are all grown up.
Despite the fact that there are eight Ivy League schools in the Northeast, including Columbia University right in New York City, not to mention some of the comparably prestigious universities across the country like the University of Chicago, and Stanford, everyone at Constance Billard wants to attend Yale. Awesome. That is going to make it so convenient in terms of plot and keeping all of the characters on one campus. Actually, Serena doesn’t want to go to Yale. She wants to go to Brown. Even though the dean of admissions HAND WROTE Serena a letter of invitation to come visit Yale (the dean of admissions did not hand write Serena a letter of invitation). The reason that she doesn’t want to go to Yale is because it’s for “over-achieving bookworms and preppies, the Blairs of the world.” Wait, what? Over-a-wha? Bookwhats? Sorry, Gossip Girl. You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. Nelly Yuki, the girl Blair tried to destroy in season 1, episode 15 before absorbing her into her clique, is an over-achieving bookworm. Blair is an over-conniving c-word. But ANYWAY, it’s always been Blair’s dream to go to Yale, and even though her and Serena aren’t talking anymore, Serena would never dream of getting in the way of that, until five minutes later when she totally decides to get in the way of that? Granted, Blair makes fun of her for being a lesbian for going to Brown or something, but Serena calls her mom on her cell phone and says “tell the driver we’re going to Yale.” Ew. “Tell the driver to hit that brick wall at 100 miles per hour.” Just because Josh Schwartz killed off Marissa Cooper in a car accident DOESN’T MEAN he can’t kill Serena Van Der Woodsen in a car accident.
So now everyone is at Yale (actually, everyone is at Columbia where this episode was taped, but you know what they say: college is college [what? No one says that.]). Even Dan Humphrey! Dan meets with the dean who tells him that he only has one letter of recommendation, because that is how college applications work. You sit with the dean and he looks over your incomplete application package personally, and you try to explain why you only have one letter of recommendation, and he explains that the only way to get into school is with more letters of recommendation. As if that was not ridiculous enough, he then explains that the best way for Dan to get into Yale is to spend the rest of the day finding a college professor at Yale to write him a letter of recommendation? Admittedly, it has been some years since I applied to college, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say UH, NOPE. Anyway, bye Dan. Have fun doing this ridiculous thing that no one does.
MEANWHILE, Nate Archibald decides that he likes a 35-year-old extra from the movie Singles, so he goes back to her dorm room to make out with her, because that’s a thing that happens all the time on college campuses. The girls just can’t wait for some 17-year-old guys to make out with. They’re so sick of making out with people who’ve graduated high school. The only thing more realistic than that is the fact that everyone on campus is out to get Nate Archibald because of how his dad embezzled money. Totally. So Nate pretends to be Dan Humphrey. Sure. Dan Humphrey may be a lonely social outcast who no one likes or respects, but he’s also the first person everyone thinks of whenever anyone thinks of anyone ever.
ALSO MEANWHILE, Chuck Bass is at Yale because he wants to get accepted to Skull and Bones. “How are you going to do that?” Nate asks. “By showing up,” he replies. CLASSIC CHUCK BASS. Anyway, he does get abducted by the Skull and Bones guys who take him to their Eyes Wide Shut dungeon and demand that he prove to them why he should be a member of their elite fraternity. Chuck explains that the reason he should be allowed to join Skull and Bones is because he hired some hookers, and in walk some hookers. But this is not enough for Skull and Bones. They want to beat up Nate Archibald, and they heard that Chuck was friends with him. OH YES, SURE, TOTALLY, THIS HAPPENS. Chuck pulls a classic Bassattack and tells them that Dan Humphrey is Nate, to get back at Dan Humphrey for writing a terrible short story about him. So the Skull and Bones guys tie Dan Humphrey to a statue in his boxer shorts.
Got him! Ooh, they got him so bad?! He’ll be so embarrassed he probably won’t even go to college. Then the Skull and Bones guys go into a bar where Nate is getting drunk and talk about how they totally got Nate and Nate is like I’m Nate and they’re like Get that Nate! But Nate is too quick for them, in the sense that he kind of half-assedly drops a bar stool in their path. THWARTED AGAIN, SKULL AND BONES. IT WILL TAKE HOURS TO MOVE THIS TIPPED OVER BAR STOOL.
The fight between Serena and Blair gets particularly ugly when they both end up at a private engagement at the dean’s house. Supposedly, the dean plays a parlor game where everyone answers the question of what person living or dead they would like to have dinner with, and whoever has the best answer gets to go to his college. Another totally typical depiction of the college admissions process! This show is basically a documentary about stuff. Anyway, Blair’s answer is George Sand (Blair’s answer is not George Sand, Blair’s answer is Haylie Duff), but then Serena steals her answer, but then Blair double reverses the stolen answer and submits the name of the guy that Serena supposedly killed in season 1. That old chestnut? I was really excited when we had buried that plotline last season. Get it? Because you bury stuff that stinks.
So now both of the girls excuse themselves to the porch where they throw purses at each other’s faces and pull on each other’s gorgeous hair. Five minutes later they decide that maybe they should just officially not be friends anymore, which I guess means submitting some kind of press release to Women’s Wear Daily or something. And then ten minutes later they decide that they are best friends forever duh. Then the dean calls because he wants to admit Serena to college right away and tell Page Six about it. I bet when College watches this episode it’s just like looking in a mirror.
The best moment of the entire episode, though, comes when the disgruntled Skull and Bones guys confront Chuck Bass about his classic Bassattack. They know that he lied to them about Nate Archibald, and they’re going to make his life miserable when he comes to school next year. “Oh, I’m not coming to school here,” he says. And then he shows them photos that the prostitutes he hired took of their blowjob party and explains that these future CEOs and Presidents are now under his control. DOUBLE BASSATTACK. Chuck Bass is a one-man illuminati in Nantucket Red! Chuck Bass controls oceanic tides. But Nate is not happy that Chuck Bass continued to behave in the exact same manner in which he has always behaved. Chuck tells Nate to get in the car and Nate is like “I think Dan Humphrey is cool and I’m taking the bus.”
Oh, a bunch of stuff also happens with Jenny Humphrey, so apparently she’s still on the show for some reason.