It wouldn’t be Gossip Girl if everyone wasn’t betraying everyone else, and Monday night’s episode was a full-on fit of hotel-stealing, whore-hiring, pill-popping dirty trickery. There was also a side of future boyfriend-stealing at the end, but that’ll mostly have to wait for next week.
For an hour of television that included all of those things, however, startlingly little actually happened. There was a fashion show with a rogue model (been there, done that), an embarrassing run in with a prostitute (that too), an accidentally wasted blond with a lot of fake hair (also that, but this time it wasn’t Serena). Jenny went back to work with Eleanor Waldorf, that annoying model chick came back, and Chuck and Blair are going to have to start scheming again (I’m ok with that part). Gossip Girl was back to its old tricks, and when I say that, I really mean old: I feel like we had seen half of this episode already.
Let’s begin with the issue of Little Jenny Humphrey and the fashion show. Eleanor Waldorf is looking to launch a diffusion line with a Salt Lake City-based department store, and Rufus somehow manages to wedge Jenny back into the operation, despite the fact that Jenny ran away from home the last time that she insinuated herself into the fashion crowd. Rufus apparently doesn’t remember that, and now that he has married in to money, Eleanor Waldorf takes his calls and does favors for him, like giving his delinquent daughter a temporary job.
Similarly, that terrible model Agnes that barely anyone even remembers is back and pretending to be sober, so Eleanor casts her in the show that she’s putting together to impress the head of Cronwell’s department store and Jenny apologizes for what she did to her last season (I can’t even remember what it was. I really didn’t foresee the show wanting to revisit that plot line, it wasn’t even good the first time around) while fitting her for a dress. Agnes pretends to make nice when she finds out that Jenny knows a dealer, and she cons Jenny in to bringing the remaining drugs to the show to pull a prank on Damian, who’s trying to get them back post-breakup.
Pardon me, for a moment, while we talk about how preposterous all of this is. Agnes has been out of the game for a year, she’s too old and girl-next-door beautiful to be hired as a model for a runway show. The fashion industry likes odd-looking Eastern European teenagers, and if you don’t like it, take it up with Miuccia Prada. Second of all, no one would care if she was sober. They likely wouldn’t care if she was actually drunk and/or high during the fitting, as long as she stood still, fit into the samples and didn’t puke on anyone.
The fashion industry does not care about the health or well-being of models, unless one happens to be the face of multiple brands and and is subsequently photographed taking illegal drugs (and even then, Kate Moss still gets more work that almost anyone). Eleanor Waldorf would not be on a one-woman crusade against junkie models, I think her character on the show has made that clear already.
Speaking of things that Eleanor wouldn’t actually do: while all of the Jenny/Agnes drama is going on in the background, Eleanor is talking to Blair about who should attend the show, and she asserts that the normal crowd of snobs just won’t cut it – the CEO of Cronwell’s wants to see regular girls there! College students, even!
I’ve got to call shenanigans on this part, too. The whole point of doing a cheap diffusion line is to give people in Middle America that shop at low-end department stores the feeling that they’re buying a little bit of big-city snobbery at a reasonable price. Having a bunch of socialites and fashion people show up to see the cheap clothes is exactly what the CEO of a JC Penney-esque store would want because it helps drum up media interest in the line and lends credibility to the clothes. That is how you get people to line up in anticipation on the day that the collection debuts in stores. Take a lesson from Target.
Anyway, because Blair doesn’t have any friends, she hires Brandeis (remember her?) and 30 of her closest prostitute friends to act like fresh-faced NYU freshman at the fashion show. However, a problem arises because Middle American CEOs from conservative states love prostitutes. And not just the heterosexual variety! Blair really should have seen this coming, but the Cronwell’s CEO sees a rentboy that he always “parties” with at the show and gets all huffy and holier-than-thou about the inclusion of prostitutes in the audience, and Brandeis tips off Blair as to which prostitute he might be famililar – surprise, it’s a dude!
Obviously, Blair uses this information to blackmail the CEO into buying her mother’s line, but then he gets all indignant about not wanting to use Eleanor Waldorf’s name on the clothes. Again, shenanigans! It’s the high-end designer’s name that creates the excitement over the cheap clothes; if they don’t put her name on it, then it’s just another nameless house brand that no one cares about. Not to mention that they wouldn’t have had a fashion show until the deal was already signed anyway; the entire thing was utterly groan-worthy, except for the CEO being a secret lover of The Gays.
What went on backstage was slightly more interesting (but only slightly). Agnes the Bad Model gets a friend of hers to plunk a few pills into Jenny’s post-show celebratory champaign, and since Jenny looks like she weighs approximately 86 lbs (and four or five of those pounds are yellow hair extensions), she’s stumbling and slurring in no time.
They throw her into a taxi and take her to a club to try to find a guy to date-rape her, and sure enough, they find several that are willing. Nate sees her leave the show, however, and uses the powers of uber-creepy social networking tool Foursquare to find her and save the day just as she is about to be dragged home with some douchey-looking finance guy. Afterward, Jenny suddenly remembers that she used to have a crush on Nate, and she begins plotting malignantly to break up his relationship with Serena.
On to things that we care about even less: wasn’t it Chris Rock that said that all there is to a relationship is finding someone with which you enjoy eating and having sex? That’s apparently all that Dan and Vanessa are doing together, and they like it just fine until Serena makes Vanessa feel like a prude in a relationship rut. Nevermind that it’s impossible to be in a rut after two weeks (and thankfully, Dan mentioned this point) – Serena undermines Vanessa into a full-on panic that causes her to dress up as Grace Kelly from Rear Window and serve Dan some kind of elaborate, ill-conceived dinner.
Dan doesn’t like the dinner and Rufus interrupts and stays for flan, making the whole thing awkward to watch, not to mention unentertaining. I don’t care what Dan and Vanessa do on their own, and when they’re together? Even less so. This relationship strife was so obviously manufactured that I wish that they had been left out of the episode entirely. In fact, I’d trade the both of them to get Eric back. Where did he even go?
Now, finally, to the real story. Chuck is sitting around his penthouse, daintily sipping espresso when the hotel’s security staff comes to oust him from his apartment for good. Elizabeth comes marching in soon afterward, expressing her regrets, and then Uncle Jack and his terrible hairpiece show up to rub a little salt in the wound. Chuck storms out and meets with his mother several times (once outside of a commandeered SUV, once down by the waterfront, once at night in a place that I can’t remember.) She claims to love Jack and to not be Chuck’s mother after all – the first part is pathetic and the second part is a lie, but Chuck believes her because, hey, it sounds like the truth, given the circumstances.
I’m not entirely sure that I’m clear on all the machinations that went in to the hotel heist, but Elizabeth tries her best to make her face move and claims that she didn’t do it for money. She appears to mean it because she apparently asked Jack to pick her or the hotel and he picked the hotel, which she then signs over to him and then buys a plane ticket to Switzerland. He tries to pay her off to get her to stay, presumably to further Chuck’s torture and force him to make his pained catfish face some more, but she takes what little of a high road she has left, refuses the money and leaves town.
Blair and Chuck vow to give Jack a war (side note – why is the guy that plays Jack such a bad actor on this show? He’s great as Quinn on Dexter. Is the dialog really that bad on Gossip Girl?), which is absolutely what I’ve been waiting to hear. The duo had lost some of their malignant spark, and I’m anxious to see them take someone down. Unfortunately, it appears that Blair is going to try to do that by secretly sleeping with Jack, and that’s such a terrible plan that I’m having a hard time even conceptualizing what would make her think that it’s a good idea.
Chuck complained that a lawsuit to get the hotel back would take months, but I don’t think that that’s a compelling reason to try to get it back in other ways. What’s a few months of corporate litigation in Chuck’s world? He can work on other business ventures in the meantime, and I can’t imagine that the papers Chuck signed would hold up in court since his lawyer was one of the people that was in on the swindle. Come on, Chuck and Blair. You guys are smarter than this.