"First of all, you look amazing!" Blair is well aware. Serena offers to give her a little tip, and Blair's like, "Here we fuckin' go." Serena sweetly bypasses that one and begs her to chill out. B notices Laurel and the photographer watching, and whispers, "Help me." She looks into Serena's eyes. "Help. Me." So now everybody's on the same page. S jumps around, all, "Act like a tiger! More tiger! More tiger! You're a savage!" Blair starts giggling and getting more into it, and the whole time Terry the photographer is snapping away at both of them. "Let's do a prettier one this time, okay? You're Venus on the Half Shell, right? So just look up..." It's so awesome, this part. Serena is totally, utterly focused on Blair, and it's like you can see her trying to vibe all this confidence and oblivion into her, and it's not happening, because they are at the very center of the thing that makes them opposites and they can't get across the bridge: Serena is beautiful because she doesn't care about anybody but Blair, and Blair is beautiful because she is so completely self-conscious that Blair is the last thing on her list. (Guess which one wins?)
So Serena's getting more and more into it, trying to muscle Blair into unselfconsciousness, all, "Let's do something crazy like Britney with the umbrella! Rawr! At the car! Posh Spice in America. Ready? Go! Hand on the hip! Strike it and pop! Give me more, give me more!" She calls her a sexy beast. Blair finally starts fully getting into it, giggling and laughing, and I kind of teared up, I'll be honest: "Oh, it looks so good! You're doing so good! You got it! Look how good you are!" I mean, that's love. Blair deserves Serena 24/7 just telling her she's wonderful, and Serena wants to be there 24/7, telling Blair she's wonderful. Like if she says it enough times, she'll fix her. And if you think about that, then the whole lost year thing is like ten times worse, because that means for a whole year, Blair didn't know she was wonderful, and she got less and less wonderful. But now Serena's back, and she's saying, "You're doing so good! You got it! Look how good you are!" So of course Dan calls.
S picks up and B's like, "The fuck you are. I can't let my mother down." Serena looks guilty and finally tells Dan she's "stuck" at the photo shoot, and I will tell you that no matter how much I hate Dan from time to time, dude looks so great all the time, it's nearly forgivable. He's standing in line at the movie theatre in a perfectly charming vest and a very long, pouty face. "It sounds really superficial, I know, but it's important to her and...she's important to me." END OF STORY. Do not apologize for your life! Ever! It only sounds "superficial" because Serena's buying into Dan's gross Humphrey concept of what's acceptable and real and what is not, and I get it: Serena has to, because he represents the kind of purity she's after, so really she's turning him into just as much of a blow-up doll as he's doing to her. It's not so much that he's putting her into a position of having to beg for his approval as that she desperately needs the approval of a Dan figure in order to prove that she's changed. So turning it into a "controlling boyfriend," boy/girl thing is really disrespectful to Serena, so I'll stop bitching about Dan. Even though, really, it's being disrespectful to Serena's own sense of finding herself appalling, which I totally don't respect, because Serena is fantastic.
But so is Dan, and if you look at them as both culpable for the creepy thing Serena always does with him, and the creepy thing he always does with her, they're at least on an equal plane. And it's dumb to say "always" with this show anyway, because I guarantee that in a month these allegiances, B/S/D and N/C and whatever, are going to be a distant memory anyway, because that's how Schwartz and Savage rock it. Anyhow, Serena promises to make it up to him, or unpromises, or will anti-make it up to him, or whatever happens in the negative space of their love. And then he stares at the ticket guy for a long time, pouts, whines, and wanders off in his little vest.