Whew. Anyway, so Dan's like, "Now that you are flirting with me and being self-effacing, I find that you are a dear little thing. You should mention Theodore Geisel, the man to whom the intellectually ungifted refer as 'Dr. Seuss.' He went to Dartmouth, like you will, because you are a worthless piece of gentry trash. Furthermore, The Petting Zoo was inspired by Geisel's The Lorax." Which is hilarious, because, like, I was picturing something like Freakonomics or The Tipping Point, something financial, and now you've got petting zoos and the Lorax, which makes me think it's environmental in some way, but it all mixes together and I can just see like some Furry-Faced Flurmwit going, "I will not borrow stock and sell at a lower price! I won't short-sell flax, or wheat, or rice!" or whatever. So Nate doesn't recognize Dr. Seuss or The Lorax. The latter I can see, because that's like reading Harry Potter to Falwell's kids; Nate Sr. would bust a gut. But Dr. Seuss? That's stretching the joke a bit far. Not as far as the next bit, though; crestfallen with all this ignorance, Dan tries again: "Just mention how his prose style is influenced by early Faulkner." But what he really means is, "Just mention how his prose style is influenced by smart-sounding adjective pretentious-sounding author," which is intended to either make him look super-smart -- if this is one of those infrequent dialogue times where this show rocks less than utterly -- or super-toolish, depending. And I cannot for the life of me get a grip on what the show is trying for with him at all, because people as beautiful and funny-looking as Penn Badgley usually end up playing the good guy, you know, but then why is he such a douche? I mean doooouche. Unless he's comparing himself here to "Ad Astra," which frankly I wouldn't put past him, and that would be hilarious. Nate's like, "Actually, since I've got you looking into my dewy eyes with Lorax-tinted longing, do you want to take him these drinks so I can go get real stoned?" Dan agrees, and then they...make love.
What?! I don't know what else to call it! They totally did! It was awesome! Anyway, Nate makes Dan some eggs and ruffles his hair and leaves the refreshment area promising to call him soon, just as his dad grabs the hell out of him and swings his son around like he's Cheryl Burke, forcing him finally to come out of the closet about not wanting to go to Dartmouth, and how annoying his dad's willful blindness to this fact truly is. "There, I said it! Now back off!" If I could end every conversation by screeching about my first-choice college and then mincing away in a three-thousand-dollar suit, I would definitely think about doing so. "You thought I ordered venti when I did this with my fingers, but really I was saying triple shot. There! I said it!" Swoosh, baby. Nothin' but net.
Meanwhile, Eric's explaining to the only minorly bored Jenny Humphrey that living alone with his mother at the Palace Hotel was so very lonely that he tried to kill himself. She's like, "I feel you." Lily says the Ostroff Center has the best counselors, "but what they really get paid for is to keep their mouths shut." Can't they do both? Can't somebody at the Ostroff Center counsel that we move this show to a less punishing timeslot? Like early on Saturday, when you're still pre-pre-partying at home? Or disco naptime on Friday, like Sabrina The Teenage Witch used to? The only reason I even ever saw that show was because of college, drinking box Chardonnay and changing clothes sixteen thousand times. TGIeffing save my show! Jenny promises she won't say anything, she's a no-Gossip Girl, and even offers to help him make up Florida Factoids. "I have a grandma who lives in Fort Myers!" she says excitedly. Oh, honey. You're not helping your case.