Gossip Girl
The Sixteen-Year-Old Virgin

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
When Concubine Met Catamite

Rufus drags Jenny to the Historical Society so he can blame Lily for some things -- Which, isn't so much of parenting just learning to multitask? -- and what's going on there is a bunch of crazy Christians with signs picketing, yelling the funniest most unlikely chant of all time: "Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!" Like some unit director was like, "You're supposed to be yelling something, I dunno," and the extras were like, "Well, my sign says BOYCOTT?" And he was like, "Knock yourselves out."

Inside, Blair gives one of her speeches where it has the spirit but not the form of Things Blair Says: "Pathetic! Suburban moralists in mom jeans. I'd pity them, if I wasn't scared they'd spill orange soda on my Christian Louboutins." Which is fine, except for how that makes no sense and it really sticks out when her lines don't make sense or contain things like "sexual innuendo" that make no sense in context. To write a genius you must be a genius, even if only for a few minutes.

But then she notices that Chuck is busily and carefully bagging a stemless glass used by Elizabeth, and immediately figures out that he's doing a DNA test on his mother. "I should have thought of it weeks ago," he says, which he should have, which is an example of the writing pointing out where it falters instead of just playing through. "A friend of mine at the NYPD says he can have it done in a few hours," he says, which is an example of the writing being bad for no reason at all, because no you don't and no he didn't and no you can't. To this hash of a scene, Blair adds, "You know who she really is. You can see it in her eyes... In your eyes!"

Which, we've talked about this before: Chuck has a flavor, Gothic, which is all whores walking around with candles in abandoned manses and ladies showing up graveside. And yes, it's harder to write that than is Serena's Austen issues or Blair's French farces or Lily's Russian tragedies or Jenny's freakout moderne, or whatever Kyra Sedgwick dyslexic heart movie is always going on with Dan and Vanessa and Rufus. Hard.

But it's not that hard. And if you're not selling it -- which happened there with Elle and the Mystery of the Wide-Shut Eyes, and keeps happening here with Rooster and Lily St. James -- then the people who aren't attuned to the many colors of Western Lit 101 are going to see it for what it is, which is: Preposterous. Bad, silly, stupid dialogue in service of a story that can never, ever afford to seem cheap, because it's already so bizarre. Heightened reality and suspension of disbelief are the hallmarks of this show, and when done well they are magical, but when you've taken it out of the real world completely and made smart people act this stupid and speak this dumbly -- which happens a lot with Blair, honestly -- then you've sorta failed, no?

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Gossip Girl




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