From Nate and Serena to Blair and the new guy, fake relationships are all the rage as the Upper East Siders finish their summer of sex and tears with a Hamptons white party, but somehow the real couples still find each other
Credit: Giovanni Rufino

It’s been such a long, hot summer without the cool, bitchy breeze we’ve come to know (and love) as Gossip Girl. And I can’t think of a better way to spend a national holiday than to indulge in a little Hampton sunnin’ and lovin’ with these teens. The lovin’ came fast and furious with the hot opening scene between Nate and Couga…I mean Catherine. (Mädchen Amick, who I still love from the hilariously bad 1992 flick Sleepwalkers, in which she stabbed her boyfriend in the eye with a corkscrew. He was trying to suck the life out of her. Don’t ask. And let’s not forget a little gem called Central Park West.) So apparently these two have been gettin’ it on for much of the summer while Nate and Serena have been pretending to be dating as a cover. I’m a little bummed that they didn’t pursue the Nate/Serena romance hinted at in last year’s season finale. I liked the idea of those two. But, since this show is like musical love interests, I have a feeling at some point they’ll get paired up. And any story line that requires Chace Crawford to lose clothing is a bonus in my book.

Meanwhile, Chuck (Ed Westwick) has also been enjoying the presence of ladies, although I have to say I don’t really think those three girls he was at the beach with would just take off their tops — it’s a Hampton beach, for God’s sake. But I do love that Chuck enjoys a nice pinot grigio on the beach. That’s a man after my own heart! Mr. Bass did kind of remind me of Ed Grimley, with his checkered shirt and side part when he met Blair at the Jitney. But other than that, his fashions were one of the highlights of the episode, whether it was his jaunty argyle sweater and knee-socks croquet wear or — my personal fave — the white-with-black-piping tuxedo he wore to the White Party.

I’ve always been more a Blair lover than a Serena one, and my stance was firmly cemented with this episode. Leighton Meester has clearly found her groove and is relishing playing this girl. To me Chuck and Blair are becoming the Seth and Summer of this New York version of The O.C. And her lines do not disappoint: “Please don’t tell me you just sat around watching The Closer and eating takeout from Nick and Toni’s.” Still, it’s the chemistry between Meester and Westwick that really pops in this episode. That scene between them at Grandma CeCe’s house, standing underneath rows of arched trees, could not have looked more beautiful or have been better played. It’s nice to see GG get a little more emotional and romantic. Also, big points for Chuck’s paisley bow tie in that scene.

When we first saw Serena again she was, not surprisingly, pouting…but pouting in an amazing silver satin cover-up. How can you be upset when your hair is so bountiful? Or when your closet is like paying a visit to Intermix? I don’t understand. But her girl-talking scenes with Blair were among the more entertaining moments of the show. And wow, did she pull out the stops for her white party ensemble. That hairdo was a thing of beauty.

NEXT: Never can say goodbye

Her paramour Dan, on the other hand, has not so much been mourning as macking. Dan’s ditched Serena and his cardigans for some summer hook-ups while shadowing author Jeremiah Harris (Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney). You gotta love the moment when MacInerney checked out Dan’s hookup as she walked away.

The other Humphrey, Jenny, has been working sweatshop style for Eleanor Waldorf’s crazy-haired assistant, Laurel (Michelle Hurd). Love this woman. Executive producer Stephanie Savage told me earlier this summer that Laurel is GG‘s Kelly Cutrone character, a nod to the furious fashion pr company head on MTV’s The Hills. Although Laurel, unlike Cutrone, wears makeup and tends to her hair. At least Jenny made up with Eric, who is rocking some seriously bad hair lately. Hello! Can’t the little guy go to Serena’s stylist? His hair is looking way more Jersey Shore than Hamptons. But I kinda want to start calling those two Little J and Little Gay.

Everyone eventually convened at the white party, which should have been called the Egregious Vitamin Water Product Placement Party. Good Lord. Awkward. I’m surprised that there wasn’t a Vitamin blimp flying overhead. Still, everyone looked impeccable. Special shout-out must go to the series’ costume designer, Eric Daman, for his styling and to whoever crafted that adorable dress that Jenny wore (and Laurel hated). Speaking of which, I love that Little Gay not only knows NYC socialite Tinsley Mortimer but also uses her to make Laurel jealous. Mortimer, though, might want to take a few acting classes at the Learning Annex before another TV gig. It was as if to her Jenny was a puppy wearing a dress: “That is sewwwww sweeeet!”

Elsewhere in the crowd, Serena and Nate had a helluva kiss set to Lady GaGa’s “Paparazzi,” which I am now officially obsessed with. The look on Catherine’s face was fabulous. That cougar was ready to pounce! But, of course, Dan Humphrey showed up, thanks to the now-kindly CeCe having a plus one to the party and, apparently, a tailored men’s suit in the closet (Um, there’s no way that Gramps van der Woodsen and Dan are the same size.) Also, Dan Humphrey needs to lighten up. True, Serena did kill someone, and that’s definitely a barrier to any relationship, but kissing Nate at the White Party is hardly manslaughter. And was Dan rocking the wifebeater a nod to Ryan from The O.C.? I’m onto you, Josh Schwartz!

And, while I suspected there was something up with “James,” I had no idea that he was going to reveal that he was British and a lord. I just thought he was another closeted gay guy. But I enjoyed this little twist. (In all fairness, I’ve seen the first three episodes and know that this twist will become a big old knot very quickly and tons of fun.)

For me, the best scene of the entire episode was the goodbye between Chuck and Blair outside the White Party. From the cinematography to the acting, everything was just fantastic. The capper was Blair holding back the tears and putting on a brave face as Marcus drove up — just heartbreaking.

The adults didn’t get much love on this episode. Rufus had pretty lame scenes on his tour bus. Thankfully, there was no impromptu “Tiny Dancer” with the Lincoln Hawk members. And Lily was nowhere to be found. Apparently she and Bart are having one of those summer-long honeymoons.

What did you think of last night’s premiere of Gossip Girl? Are you all in already or reserving judgment?

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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