Gossip Girl, Michelle Trachtenberg

Hey PopWatchers, did you hear? Word is a very naughty newcomer with a mysterious past returned to stir things up for everyone, but especially one, on last night’s Gossip Girl.

See, I too can write like our omniscient narrator, voiced by Kristen Bell. In fact, the acronym-tastic way of speaking is pretty addictive. I’ll confess to seeing GG star Taylor Momsen (Jenny) on the street in the New York’s Meatpacking District one sunny Saturday afternoon—and immediately texting my co-worker Tanner Stransky with the following: “Spotted. One social-climbing freshman with a nose for trouble heading into a coffee shop. Guess who? XOXO.” Groan, I know. But the funny thing? Nearly everyone who passed by her appeared to be doing the same thing, whipping out their phones and whispering madly into their companions’ ears. The whole situation felt very meta, as if the 14-year old Momsen were the Serena to my Kati, with someone else, far away, writing about it.

But enough about that. Let’s move on to the multiple-choice test GG slipped us last night. So many possible answers to the huge question mark that is Serena’s troubled past—and Georgina’s stranglehold on her. Mischa Barton reportedly turned down the part of the UES muckraker, but Michelle Trachtenberg excelled at playing harlot-villain Georgina. The first sign that her intentions were evil? Those inky latex leggings. They don’t look good on anyone, and no “good” girl I know would actually wear such things. Anyway, I enjoyed the two joining forces at a club and reminiscing fondly about their party-girl ways, holding hands, fending off the Wall Street-types swarming around them. (And Crystal Castles in the background! Double happiness.) Aww! Until? Serena realized she was drunk, and had to return home immediately…to Chuck. But more on that later.

Georgina certainly has a bag of tricks up her sleeve—staging anaccidental meeting with Dan at Central Park wasgenius—but slipping a drop of GHB into Serena’s diet coke? Really? What exactly was she trying to accomplish? Either way, a crumpled Serena woke upthe next morning too woozy to remember the previous night’s antics, and justminutes too late to make it to her SAT exam. (The anxiety surrounding the latter incident felt realistically handled.) Nate’sdonation of SAT hand-me-downs, however, was not, especially if you were like meand you scribbled all of your answers into the book. And given Nate’s behavior on the show, I’m guessing that most of those filled-out bubbles were wrong. Sly sabotage? Don’t they both want to go to Dartmouth?

Speaking of rivalries, B. spent her time finding a weak spot in impenetrable Asian nerd Nelly Yuki’s armor.Completely randomly, she discovered Yuki’s soft spot for a certain hip-hop song and an ex-boyfriend, who B. casually bribed with god-only-knows-what. Likely sex, given her off-handed comment to one of thehangers-on, and said hanger-on’s defiant response: “What? I’m notsleeping with him!” (Very Cruel Intentions in terms of silly-evil, no?) Still, I couldn’t help think that all this energy might’ve been better spent, say, studying, instead of getting spa facials and plotting rivals’ downfalls. But maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Perhaps because everyone else on the show was preoccupied, theproducers threw us a curve ball with Nate and Vanessa’s buddingrelationship. I, for one, was thrilled to see Nate bring somethingto the table aside from his typical beautiful-but-blank stare, although Vanessa’sI-don’t-need-to-go-to-college-but-I’ll-study-for-the-SATs shtick gottired, really fast. Really, who does that for fun, and especially foranother person? Please.

All right, PopWatchers, now it’s time to tell me what you think. Is Jenny’spotential romance destined to implode? (How will she react when she discovers he’s not from money, that the maid with the gaggle of dogs is his mother?) Who else enjoyed Chuck’s turn as thedo-gooder, bailing out Serena not once, but twice inthe course of two days (although having someone else take your SAT exam is the perfect example of his twisted moral code). I finallyunderstand Chuck’s appeal—he’s the go-to-guy for all embarrassing situations because he’s resourceful and never runs out of shadyconnections—but who wants to acknowledge his actions in the harsh light of day? And finally, who else is ready for a full-on fight between Serena andDan?

Episode Recaps

Gossip Girl

Spotted: Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Vanessa, and Nate — hooking up, breaking up, and freaking out. You know you love it! XOXO!

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