Hey, PopWatchers: Last night’s episode of Gossip Girl was all about Thanksgiving, so in a gesture of belated holiday hospitality, I invited my friend John Ortved, whose Blake Lively profile you can read in November’s Vanity Fair, to dish on the show with me. Here’s what happened when we butted heads.
Youyoung Lee: Okay, so first things first: Dan technically saved a drunken Serena’s life as she was attempting to hail a cab, so where’s the appreciation? I think if I were ever to be reunited with someone whose life I had blatantly saved, I would bring it up in conversation first thing so I could get due credit. Obviously. It’s like returning a lost wallet and keeping the change.
John Ortved: Ah yes, change. Change is good. If the blue-hued flashbacks were any indication, this Thanksgiving was continents, not just city blocks, apart from last year’s for our Upper East Siders. First, we got a glimpse of Serena in all her drunken, promiscuous glory. With that cheetah-print coat and lioness hair, girl looked like a hooker gone on safari. I’m sorry, but something tells me S didn’t lose her wallet and taste along with her sobriety and chastity. And Blair as the responsible, mature one: loved it! Which is why the present-day scenes were such a letdown — with all the cheese being served up, it kind of left me hungry for more 2006. The biggest change: Blair’s daddy, who left Mrs. Waldorf for a Mister, was still on the scene. His absence at this year’s Waldorf festive dinner brought up some demons in his daughter, who countered Serena’s disorderly conduct for the year before with a disorder of her own.
YL: Right, but B.’s pie-eating montage was so weak. I mean, I kinda wanted to see her smearing pie all over her face, not just daintily stabbing her fork into the crust, hoping Olga the household help doesn’t catch her. Maybe I’m sadistic. Also, what’s more scary-funny: Blair being the responsible one, or Lex Luthor trying to be a father figure to anyone?
JO: Who didn’t titter/cringe when Nate was given the task of bathing the drunken Serena? We go from their wet and wild party in the Waldorf bathroom to the streets of Chinatown, where genius mom Lily van der Woodsen has decided to take the kids shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.
YL: There was something wrong with the whole Humphrey family: Jenny requested, “Can you pass the mashed,” the lamest nickname for a side dish ever; Alison whispered too-loudly, “I’m a fool”; and Dan always came in with the perfect one-liners, his dimpled chin rivaling Freddie Highmore‘s.
JO: And Dan put together that dysfunctional holiday meal, inthe tradition of the WB (channeling Dawson’s Creek, Felicity). At leasthe saved the van der Woodsens from starvation, and us from having towatch Eric shop for a personality.
YL: Or X-Acto knives. Wait, did I just say that? Yes, I did.Anyway, yeah, I have to admit that I liked the kids’ lunch tableassembly post-Humphrey awkwardness. It revealed a rare, good-naturedspirit. But what’s with the women resorting to food for comfort? FirstBlair, then Serena’s mother. And I love how hyper-dramatically Lilycommanded, “Excuse me, could I get some fries — and just keep ’emcoming.” Just because Lily is missing her Jane’s Addiction days on theOhio Turnpike doesn’t mean she needs to undulate, as B immediatelypointed out, where garage-doors dare exist in bedrooms.
JO: This episode was way too much about the parents. Nevermind that Blair’s folks are the only people who look old enough to haveany children that aren’t fetuses; the drama in Rufus, Lily, andAlison’s past is not why we watch this show. Where was Chuck? Wheredoes he spend Thanksgiving? A Chuckless episode, especially after lastweek’s closer, is not what the doctor ordered.
YL: Chuck gives thanks with a dime bag in the basement of Scores, duh.
JO: Dan’s mom is from the planet Bland, and her whole bitabout “I focused on transferring my anger into art,” made my stomachfocus on not transferring vomit to my mouth. Things got a little toofamilial, a little Clueless, as all came out about Lily andRufus’s past indiscretions, but Dan and Serena (pictured) are too lovey-dovey toreally care that there’s a chance they could be related.
YL: Ten bucks says that in an Ugly Betty-inspiredtwist, Dan’s turns out to be the half-brother of Serena. Also, what’swith this kid — first the football sheets, then the “Cedric” cabbagepatch doll. I didn’t know man-children were “in” on the UES. But then Ijust remembered Mr. Archibald and his untamed ways, and hissprawled-out stance on his office floor — apparently Lily’s not theonly drama queen.
JO: Love Nate’s loyalty to his dad despite all of Daddy’smoney-grubbing and shortcomings. If Nate survives Dartmouth, orPrinceton, or wherever he’s headed next, he might make an impressivefather. Blair finally confronting her mother about all the lies andcontrolling behavior, and the Dragon Lady’s capitulation, was one ofthe episode’s few real dramatic moments. The Humphreys’ football/fast-food montage was unspeakably horrendous; Blair and her mom’scommiseration over the man they both miss saved the whole thing from asugary, diabetic death.
YL: You know that feeling when you’ve eaten too much dessert?(Blair does). The whole episode was all dark, but then there was thissappy ending that played like a Lifetime holiday special. Left a badtaste in my mouth. Hey, want to do a tenth-grade Serena and findsomething to wash it down?
JO: Yes I do, but it’s dark outside — we have a good 12 hours before van der Woodsen cocktail hour.