So this episode is Great because you can follow both Serena's story and Jenny's story all the way through, and they totally make sense, because they're both being strongly written characters whose stories happen to intersect with everybody else's. And so even Poppy, and I really like this, is just being herself, and acting like a person would if she were real, and it just happens to spiral into everything else that happens, which is exactly how this show works when it's working best: everybody's a pinball on their own vector, careening madly into everybody else's shit, and you just watch them go.
Dan and Rufus fall all over themselves being gracious guests at chez Lily, while Jenny continues to perseverate on the jam issue. Eric sweetly congratulates his mother on her commitment to making the family work -- "I'm proud of you, Mom," he says in that no-nonsense voice he has -- and Chuck comes breezing through, snatching bacon off the plate Lily's offering, the not-even-stepchild orphan part of the family they have to all accommodate. Dan asks where he's off to at eight in the morning, considering he clearly does not work out, and Lily barely rolls her eyes as he claims he gets his cardio in the evenings. "Morning is for business. For which I am late." Eric compares their lives to a sitcom, blended family-style, and Dan says it's more like a reality show. (Although less so since Bart died and stopped secretly taping their entire lives.) Chuck growls that he's happy about that, since he can vote Dan off, and Dan returns the serve: "It would almost be scary if it wasn't wearing plaid." Jenny laughs; this is how families happen.
Serena comes in yelling with the pastries, and Lily indulges her with a funny squeal: they have a secret to share, namely their extravagant Sweet Sixteen at the house of PRADA that Poppy wouldn't be caught dead attending. Caterers, flowers, DJ -- "the perfect guest list," Serena points out, which is important -- and we revisit what I hope will become a perennial theme, which is the Buffy Summers-level suckiness of Jenny's birthday. (Last year, remember, her cake had her face on it, and it was totally embarrassing, and the Plastics were there talking about how hot Rufus was, and Jenny got caught smuggling Hazel's mother's Valentino, having stolen it twice in one day.) Of course, it's a nice way to bookend Jenny's wild journey over the last year of her life, since that's when she decided to stand up to the Plastics in the first place, which has echoed through every episode since it happened, from playing house with Gay Asher to the raccoon eyes, to her current thing of being totally awesome.