It’s Fashion Week! This is obviously a show about high school because the most important thing to remember is IT’S FASHION WEEK. I remember when I was in high school every fall it was like “Ugh, isn’t western civ over yet? I need to get down to the tents!” Just kidding. I would never have missed western civ because it was hilarious. Our teacher was this incredible failure who spent most of every class day showing episodes of Montel and talking about his obsession with Waco, Texas. Srsly. That’s why I’m such a genius. Anyway, Fashion Week. It’s funny how the fashion industry represents the supreme anti-humanitarian aesthetic accomplishment of capitalism and the indulgence of wealth, and this show is Gossip Girl.
Serena Van Der Woodsen has become friends with socialite Poppy Lifton, if you can believe it. None of the girls at school can believe it. Really? I suppose this is what life is actually like on the Upper East Side for the insanely privileged, but the rules by which these girls are either impressed with something or crushingly disdainful, you’d need a fucking Nazi Enigma machine to decode it. Because they’re Nazis. Who wear their armbands around their heads. Like I said earlier, I’m a totes genius. Anyway, Serena’s friendship with Poppy Lifton is causing major troubs with Blair who is like “Oh no, I’m not the queen bee anymore, well there’s one way to solve that, overly complicated and disastrous scheming!” Meanwhile, Chuck Bass stands in the background and watches, as Chuck Bass is wont to do.
Seriously, that guy’s always standing in the background, watching. He loves it. Standing in the background is Chuck Bass’s boyfriend. This might have also been the funniest moment in the episode, when Blair told him he didn’t have any friends and he dismissively sneers “Nate should be here any second.” COMEDY.
The Serena/Blair feud comes to a head at Blair’s mom’s fashion show when Serena abandons their “most beloved tradition” of watching the show from backstage, opting instead to sit in the front row with Poppy Lifton. After a number of ridiculous and improbably double reversals by the conniving Blair, Serena ends up as A RUNWAY MODEL in the show. Sure. So in a last ditch attempt to ruin everything for everyone, Blair gives Serena the finale dress but switches the actual finale dress with a dress made by Jenny Humphrey instead of Eleanor Waldorf, which is embarrassing for everyone. Kind of. I mean, also of course everyone loves the dress because who doesn’t love dresses designed by 15 year olds, and then Jenny tells Eleanor to take credit for the dress, because again, the only thing 15 year olds are better at than designing runway dresses is making carefully weighted diplomatic decisions with grace and humility. ALL OF THAT BEING SAID, we have the final confrontation between Blair and Serena in the dressing room, where Serena reminds everyone that she’s basically a total The C Word.
Ew. I liked Serena more when she was just boring. I mean, that’s not quite right. I less didn’t like Serena when she was just boring. There we go. Her argument that Blair should probably be less mean spirited and manipulative is fair, and her argument that Blair should probably work on her insecurities is also fair. But her argument that all her life she’s avoided being such an unbearable asshole just because she was worried about Blair’s feelings, while clearly an accurate assessment of what’s going on, is kind of ridiculous. “I would be a real self-involved narcissistic nightmare if it wasn’t for all these PEOPLE and their FEELINGS.” OK, Serena Plainview, take it easy.
The fact that Jenny Humphrey has been skipping school for two weeks to spend all her time working for Eleanor Waldorf also comes to a head this week when Blair, as part of her grand scheme, tells Rufus what his daughter’s been up to. Sure. Although, the way that she tells Rufus is by going all the way to the Humphrey residence in Brooklyn. DOUBT IT. At most, I would imagine that Blair Waldorf would have her broker buy the Humphrey’s building and rat out Jenny in a letter to all the new tenants or something. But travel across the river? Doubtful. So Rufus is all mad at Jenny, and tells her that she can’t work for Eleanor Waldorf anymore, but Jenny is like “you are a failure and I am quitting school to be a slightly bigger failure.” I’ve said it before, and I will always say it, Jenny Humphrey is an asshole. But I’m not sure Rufus really has much of a right to act all Dad-ish on this one. He left his children completely unsupervised for the entire summer, tried to fuck his son’s girlfriend’s mom, and did not notice that his daughter was skipping school until someone knocked on his front door and said “I’m Blair Waldorf, and you are a horrible parent.” Also this:
I was actually kind of startled last night by the Jenny Humphrey storyline, namely the part about her dropping out of high school to work in the fashion industry. I had one of those moments where I had to think about how I would feel if I had kids who watched this show and what kind of message that sends them. Not that everything needs to be an After School Special. My kids would hopefully be smart enough to understand the difference between a fictional TV show and real life (my kids would not be smart enough to understand the difference between a fictional TV show and real life). But still. It’s a tough one. But then I saw that at the Eleanor Waldorf after party when everyone was drinking champagne, Jenny Humphrey was drinking water, so I was like, NEVERMIND, this show is all about providing its core of high school aged fans with nothing but the POSITIVIST role models.
Which brings us to the Dan Humphrey, Charlie Trout storyline. Dan Humphrey still wants to be a writer, even though Jay McInerney fired him from his job as assistant to the worst cameo actor ever. He meets with the editor of the Paris Review (sure he does) who we know must be a great writer and mentor because he has a decanter of whiskey on his desk.
Always with the decanters this show. Love decanters. Anyway, he tells Dan that the only way he can be a good writer is if Dan finds his own Bukowski because when he was young Bukowski made him put a shot glass on his head and then blew it off with a pistol? Um, no he didn’t. Also, that man should not be around children. There’s a difference between encouraging a young artist to spread his wings (ew, sorry), and feeding him apocryphal stories that are obviously untrue as explanation for why he should have someone shoot him in the face. For writing. But this leads Dan to realize that the only person who can show him that kind of dangerous life is Chuck Bass, so he goes to Chuck’s penthouse and asks him to show Dan what his life is like for a night and get Dan out of his comfort zone. Wait, what? Sorry, but the idea of a socially outcast high schooler going to a classmate’s house, a classmate with whom he does not get along, and asking him to take him out of his comfort zone is the single most improbable thing that has happened on a show built on the world’s most improbable improbabilities. Ridiculous.
Anyway, Chuck takes him to a bar and makes him do six shots and also take unspecified drugs. Unspecified drugs!
Then he steals his shoes! His shoes! Dan writes a story about the evening in which he cleverly changes Chuck’s name to Charlie Trout. WRITING. But his old shithead teacher is like “you’ve got to get his secrets” because apparently, and I did not realize this, but every story is about someone having a secret. Dan finds Chuck to get his secrets for his story and they almost become friends when they end up in jail, but then Chuck is leaving jail and the jail gives him Dan’s stuff, and Chuck finds Dan’s short story all marked up with really interesting notes from his teacher.
Hahaha. “Really?” “Get his secrets!” So now Charlie Trout is going to murder Dan because NO ONE WRITES A SHORT STORY ABOUT CHARLIE TROUT.
When Dan’s teacher bails him out of jail he’s like “you got his secrets now you are a real writer” and Dan is like “maybe I don’t want to be a writer if it means getting people’s secrets” and his teacher is like “you are a terrible writer.” True, but I think maybe we didn’t need all this secret chasing for us to realize Dan was not a good writer. I think his carefully naming Chuck Bass, Charlie Trout was enough. CASE CLOSED.
There’s also a storyline about Lilly Van Der Woodsen. It involves a photo of her taken by Robert Mapplethorpe (of course it does), but really it can all be summed up like this.