There are a nearly inconceivable number of ways for someone to hurt you, even if you don’t sleep with them – that was the the twee little lesson that our Upper East Siders tried to teach us this week on Gossip Girl, and they did so by getting insulted, tricked, and rejected in a whole host of ways for our narrative benefit, and we all better appreciate it. Jenny even managed to protect her delicate ladyflower on our behalf.
In stark contrast to the “OMFG,” parent-scaring marketing that this show uses, Monday night was all about sex that wasn’t sex – it was soft, squishy feelings. Virginity, cheating, sexual harassing, friends-with-benefitsing, reputed skanking: it was all there, in all of its awkward glory, with a heaping helping of dead-parent corporate takeover on the side. Everyone could have used some of the Ativan that Tandrew was throwing around a few weeks ago on Kell on Earth. Well, except Elizabeth. She would have just injected it directly into her forehead, which is already not moving.
Let’s start with Little J, since it’s her precious virginity on which this episode is predicated. Rufus has tried to put the kibosh on her and Damian by grounding her and only letting her go to school and come straight home, and I seem to remember him doing that previously with similar results – once she gets out of the apartment, she goes wherever she feels like going. Rufus, listen to me – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Little J has figured out your system. Time to step up your daddy game.
Until he does, however, Jenny is off to the Smith Hotel to make sexytime with Damian, except Jenny is a 16-year-old virgin, so she’s nervous and she keeps bolting before his P gets anywhere near her V. She keeps using school as an excuse, and he sees through it and asks if she’s a virgin. She denies it on the way out the door, of course, and promises to come back that night for a proper schtupping.
Meanwhile, Rufus has realized that Jenny has ditched out on school and texts (of course he texts, he would want to look like one of the cool kids, he’s that kind of dad) Dan and Serena for their help, and they’re both in bed with their respective, uh, sexual partners…what are Dan and Vanessa again? Apparently, they’re friends in half of Manhattan and friends with benefits in the other half, with the subway as a neutral zone, and they both drag themselves out of bed to head to Brooklyn to comfort Rufus and act awkward about their romantic situation.
Serena, however, jumps out of bed and into action! Now that Blair is indisposed with Chuck’s dead mommy issues, she’s bucking to replace her as the scheming teenage queen of the Upper East Side, and it’s not going very well so far. She invites Jenny over for midmorning ice cream to talk about her impending de-virgination (which my Mac seems to think is an actual word, hilarious!), and she waxes supportive over Jenny’s choice but tells her that she wishes that her first time had been with a knight in shining armor or something (BS. Serena wouldn’t be so soppy over it).
It’s not what it looks like, however – The Ice Cream Summit is a clever(?) ruse that Serena has concocted to set the stage for her dastardly plan – Nate will take Jenny out to lunch, Serena will invite Damian over and seduce him, and Jenny and Nate will come back to catch him red-handed, trying to bang an old friend while he waits for Jenny to give up her V-card. In the realm of Gossip Girl schemes, this one actually isn’t bad – it’s not dependent on the actions eight different people and it’s not going to require involvement from police or the hired help.
The only problems are Nate, Damian, and their pesky consciences. Nate takes Jenny out to lunch as planned, but he keeps her busy eating desserts until long after Damian, in a fit of respectability, has rejected Serena’s advances, told her he really likes Jenny, and left. To add insult to Little J’s injury, Nate also calls Rufus, who makes the trip into Manhattan from DUMBO to collect his delinquent offspring.
And then what does everyone do? They all head to one of those big events that they all attend so that the cast can all be filmed together. This time, it’s some memorial or dedication or something for Chuck’s dead dad (who, at last check, is still dead), and we should probably discuss Chuck’s drama before we discuss the party. You see, he’s been slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit by members of the housekeeping staff at his hotel, which would have been a no-brainer two seasons ago when he was constantly cavorting with Thai hookers, but now he’s a family man with a girlfriend and an undead mommy to think about.
Of course, the allegations are false, and of course, his dastardly uncle Jack (who is played, plus a bad combover and beard, by the same guy who plays Quinn on Dexter, which I hadn’t noticed before and it absolutely blew my mind) shows up right when the lawsuit is announced and the protestors start gathering outside of the Empire Hotel.
Can we talk candidly about the lawsuit, protestors, and religious boycott of the hotel for a moment? That whole scenario would never happen in real life. Employers are slapped with lawsuits of all kinds, including of the sexual harassment variety, every day. Chuck is rich and powerful, no one in Manhattan’s elite circles would care in the least, and people coming in from out of town to stay at the hotel wouldn’t have any idea that the lawsuit was going on. It’s not like he was murdering prostitutes in the service elevators or something.
In the parallel universe of this show, however, people care and there are Christian conservatives in Manhattan, and Chuck’s lawyer advises him to temporarily sign over the hotel to a trusted family member or associate in order to distance the hotel from the scandal and save the business (which wouldn’t need saving in real life, because no one would base their swanky hotel choice on a maid’s complaints. The people that stay there aren’t concerned with the help). Since his dad’s dead and his girlfriend is 19, Chuck decides to sign it over to his mom, who is fresh off of a positive DNA test and whom he has known for all of a week. Brilliant. Now he just has to get her to sign the papers.
In the meantime, everyone’s at that party that I mentioned and no one is having a good time. Serena is mad at Nate for calling her a slut on speakerphone with Blair, and she harnesses her sexual rage to put Nate firmly in his place over his judgey-wudgey complaining about her sexual past. It was a score for girls with reputations everywhere, and she looked great doing it. Also looking nice was Vanessa, who apparently showed up to make Dan uncomfortable with his designation that she’s “just a friend.” She didn’t look as good as Serena, but who ever does?
Nate was also upset, but not with Serena – no, he was upset that Damian punched him in the face in front of everyone and ran off to deflower Jenny, but his anger didn’t help him find Jenny and stop her from losing her virginity. Luckily, she didn’t lose it anyway – she told Damian that she was a virgin and he said it was “no big deal,” and she said that it was, it was totally a big deal! And then he stormed out because he suddenly decided that 16-year-olds are too immature for him.
Yep, that’s right. He didn’t try to finesse his way into her panties, he just…gave up. I found myself calling BS on a lot of the things in this episode (the fact that Chuck hadn’t already DNA tested his mom and that Blair didn’t support it – WTF?), but nothing more than that event right there. A slightly older guy that’s trying to have sex with a 16-year-old virgin is going to at least pretend to care about her delicate ladyflower long enough to sleep with her. Damian is skeezy, he’s not stupid. Also, he’s a 19-year-old boy, he’d be willing to pay her some lip service to have sex.
After he stormed out, Jenny moped her way back to Brooklyn, where everyone was waiting for her and her dad reconfirmed her grounding. Privately, she claimed to Serena that she had sex with Damian, and that rang so true that it almost hurt – of course she would lie about it. In a lot of ways, there’s no greater social pressure in high school than being a virgin, and she might as well take the opportunity to relieve a bit of it. She wants to feel like a grown up, and if she can’t actually have sex, she might as well create the illusion that she did.
With Little J safely tucked into bed, listening to the hits of the 80s, Nate apologized to Serena for more or less calling her a skank and Dan apologized to Vanessa for refusing to acknowledge that they’re dating. All was right in the Gossip Girl universe.
Well, all was right except for Chuck’s problems. Mommy Dearest and her unmoving forehead signed the papers for the hotel and Chuck was elated that the scandal would soon be behind him, but after he left, Uncle Jack showed up to congratulate her on their new acquisition, Chuck’s two-timing lawyer in tow. Elizabeth, the lawsuit, everything – it had all been an elaborate setup by Jack to get his hands on Chuck’s precious hotel. I’m not sure exactly how contract law works, but wouldn’t Chuck have made sure that Elizabeth’s contract was for a specific period of time? Isn’t it dangerous to give your business away, no matter who you give it to? Wouldn’t Chuck’s company have a vice president of some sort that would have taken the reins? There are so many questions. Hopefully, one or two of them will be answered next week.