They let the genie out of the bottle a long time ago, which means there actually are consequences, but they're so addicted to their images of themselves, alone and together, that they will both fall into the trap of thinking they're stronger than they are. Which is a neat reversal of the usual Jack MO, which is making Chuck think he's weaker than he really is, but leads to the same place: Reiteration of the essential unlovability of Chuck. Which, along with all the weird sex stuff between Jack and Chuck and the continual bringing-up of Bart and the weird claims that Chuck is somehow illegitimate in his filial sensibility, that makes me think for real that Jack is either Chuck's dad or his brother. More likely, after this week, the latter. Which will do, again, hella to redeem the Evelyn/Elizabeth storyline, because you have to do something to reestablish Bart's weird love slash resentment of Chuck that's still one of the tentpoles of the character, and honestly, the series.
Eric's looking at Facebook and all the friends he made in Japan while Jenny (who is fantastic in this scene) and Rufus (who is Rufus in this scene) crack lovingly unrealistic -- but very good, I think, for the world and teens watching this show -- post-millennial PFLAG jokes about his whorish ways. Eric, troubled by something onscreen, frets about unfriending Ryuichi, while Rufus is concerned: Wasn't the boy he met named Hideo? Jenny and Eric explain that Hideo was a man-friend, while Ryuichi was just a boy. A boy who, like Hideo and their friends, has "a fondness for bathhouses and group photos." Eric, you are your sister's brother.
Jenny about gags at the bathhouse orgy pics, and we say Sayonara to Ryuichi-san. "Hideo was supposed to be my rebound from Jonathan. Now I need a rebound from Hideo. It's a vicious cycle!" Rufus, who should really be wearing an apron right now but instead is looking fetching in a gray v-neck sweater, assures Eric that there are "tons" of boys who'd "love" to go out with him. And as silly as that is, there's an uncomfortability to this scene that's, like, extradiagetic -- the scene supplies the weirdness to this situation that the characters do not -- that actually makes it work.
But again, heightened reality, and Eric van der Woodsen is one of the five kids on TV whose sexuality is brilliantly not an issue, and this is an amazing way to make the point. Especially after all the gorgeously partisan sniping over the last few episodes about the basic brainless inhumanity of current conservatism. Which, don't get me wrong, but in real life I'm aching for a William F. Buckley figure to fix the Right, so much so that I was honestly hoping that trashface girl Nate dated would be a conservative voice -- take it where you can get it -- and I think maybe the best way to bring the Right's brains into alignment, rather than sticking with the Palin-style/Frank Luntz/marketing genius/emotional appeal/racism/proud+stupid platform we're working now, is to get as nasty as them. Just for a little while.