By Youyoung Lee
Updated October 18, 2007 at 11:50 PM EDT

Yawn. I got sleepy midway through the fifth episode of Gossip Girl, though I can’t really figure out why. All the juicy elements were present — Serena and Dan finally get it on, resulting in one magical, hungry kiss (that only New Yorkers would recognize started in the Upper East Side but ended in the meatpacking district’s cobblestoned streets). And our social-climbing Jenny comes into her own, puffed up in makeup and self-importance, but then smartly beats Blair at her own game, walking out on B.’s 500-threadcount sleepover party with dignity intact and Eleanor Waldorf’s sequined bolero on her shoulders.

Maybe I’m weary because GG’s formula is starting to become all too apparent. At the crux of each episode lies some kind of event (Kiss on the Lips, Ivy Week, brunch), to which is added a divine, centrifugal force that catapults everything into pandemonium, inevitably leading to confrontation. Providing comic relief is Dan, who always finds himself entangled in the torrid affairs of the UES. “Wait, what are you doing here?” the kids will ask him, suddenly noticing an outside presence, to which Dan can only shrug. Then, like a blind person, Dan aimlessly throws a punch or two, but more out of confusion than real emotion.

Anyway, to recap last night’s show, Dan finally takes Serena out on a highly-anticipated date, first trying to impress her with a fancy meal at a place that he clearly cannot afford, then keeps it “real” by playing pool at a dive bar in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO. Some advice to these youngsters:

Lesson No. 1: Be yourself.

Lesson No. 2: Don’t pick up your phone if it’s Dad. S.and Dan zip to the club (Marquee, I believe), where Jenny and Blairtease a drunken Wall Street type by flirting shamelessly with him —thentormenting his girlfriend via his Blackberry. “After sticking my tonguedown his throat, I can tell you what a great catch he is!” Jennygiggles. The minority twins squeal, and queen bee Blair looks on, proudof the monster she’s created. (Um, aren’t they supposed to be 14?) Andspeaking of the minority twins,what was up with their totally unexplained kiss? Because I, too,randomly make out with my girlfriends for the sheer heck of it.

Lesson No. 3: Don’t steal. Blair’s daring theimpressionistic Jenny to steal the jacket from her mother’s storereminded me of a social phenomenon from my youth. It’s part initiationprocess, part willful humiliation — but in order to fit in with thepopular group, you have to first win peer approval with your bravado oroutright shamelessness. (Example: Third grade. While waiting in thelunch line in our school cafeteria, Collette, the most sophisticatedgirl in my class, stood impatiently, tapping her foot. “I dare someoneto say sh-t,” she sang, then stared directly at me. Growing up, myparents’ faulty English led them to drop a consonant, change a vowel. Wood became oohd; fork, pork;and so forth. Occasionally, they would curse. So it came as a bigsurprise for me to learn that the expletive was not actually shet!,as my mother shouted it — mostly while driving — but rather thefour-letter word that slipped so easily out of young Collette’s mouth.The hall monitor who had whisked me away was not so understanding, butI didn’t care — not after earning the respect from my fuzzy-hairedclassmates. Confidence bolstered, I gleefully went home and educated myhorrified parents that same night.

So I completely understand Jenny’s position. What redeemed her in myeyes is her quick calculation while being interrogated by the police.This girl is smarter than she lets on. And that might be a Lesson No. 4 (for Blair): Be careful what you preach.

What kind of experiences did you have growing up, PopWatchers? Anyhorror stories in an effort to fit in with the popular crew? For theNew Yorkers out there, how incensed are you that scruffy Rufus’ galleryis named Bedford Avenue? And why is Lily always knocking on his door? Ten bucks say that a rekindling romance between them is in the imminent future.