It’s been a long summer, but finally — Gossip Girl is back!
Nate serving his one and only purpose.
After a quick rehashing of the awesomeness of last season — ending with the tease that Serena and Nate might hook up — we dive right back in, with Gossip Girl telling us that sex and scandal don’t take a break in the summer — they merely move to the Hamptons. Cut directly to Nate with a mysterious blonde straddling his lap. While at first glance it looks like Serena, the cameras finally pull away to reveal that Nate has found himself a nice little cougar! They chit-chat as they go at it, and we learn that Nate and the cougar want to keep their romps a secret, and Serena’s been covering for Nate while she nurses her broken heart and adjusts to the absence of constant judgmental comments.
Chuck Bass (how I missed you!), meanwhile, is apparently up to his old tricks — wearing a hilariously ugly ensemble and charming a bunch of butterfaced whores. As he lounges on the beach, holding his white wine carefully by the stem of the glass and ogling the naked breasts of his companions, he gets a Gossip Girl update — Blair’s on her way back from France early, for unknown reasons. As he ponders that, Serena walks by, shoots him a disgusted look, and plops down dejectedly on a beach towel a few yards down. GG tells us that for someone who’s supposedly getting hot-and-heavy with Nate, Serena’s by herself an awful lot. Looks like Serena is as bad of an actress as the actress who plays Serena.
But look who’s not alone — Mr. holier-than-thou himself, Dan Humphrey. He’s making out with some random chick in the middle of a book reading! If anyone else did something like that, he’d have a lot of unsolicited judgments to hand out. When they finally break apart, she gives him her phone number. So he just met this girl and started making out with her in the self-help aisle? How does that even happen? “Hey baby, you looking to feel good? Why spend $12.99 on Chicken Soup for the Soul when I can jam my tongue down your throat for free?” And isn’t Dan supposed to be a dork when it comes to the ladies? Seth Cohen was never meant to get a lot of ass, and neither are you, Humphrey.
When the bookstore slut leaves, the gentleman doing the book reading approaches Dan and we learn Dan’s been working for this dude all summer as an intern. Way to impress the boss, Dan. Next time, why don’t you just urinate on his manuscript. The boss harasses Dan about a required story Dan has yet to turn in, and Dan claims it’s almost finished and he will turn it in tomorrow. Ten bucks he hasn’t started it and it’s about Serena — and how right Dan was about everything. After the boss orders Dan to go home and finish, another random chick approaches Dan and we see he’s been screwing around with multiple girls at once! What the hell happened — with all the cute, rich boys in the Hamptons, is Dan the best thing available in the city? Ladies, get a vibrator for a few months and hold out.
“Want to pinch my nipples in the travel section?”
Time to check in with Little J, who’s been interning for Blair’s mother the entire summer. You know, since sophomores in high school usually intern for major fashion designers. Jenny’s immediate supervisor, Laurel, approaches and mocks her completing so much work by taking it home at night and not having a social life. I can see where Laurel is coming from — dedicated, proactive employees who do extra work off the clock are such a pain in the ass. Shrugging it off, Jenny then shows Laurel a dress she’s made for an upcoming White Party in the Hamptons. It looks a bit tacky from what I can tell, not to mention not white! Laurel verbally rips it pieces — especially the fact that it won’t fit Jenny because it’s HUGE and it’s not like Jenny’s invited to the party. Jenny giggles awkwardly and explains the dress is actually for Laurel to wear at the party — since there’s a chance in hell that would ever happen. Flustered and annoyed she just got tricked into calling herself a heifer, Laurel scoffs at the notion and flounces away.
Back in the Hamptons, Serena drops in on Chuck and catches him getting all gussied up, with slicked back hair and a bouquet of roses. She accurately calls him out on eavesdropping on her off-camera phone conversation with Blair, and warns him that if he goes near Blair now, she’ll strangle him with his scarf (which surprisingly has yet to make a Hamptons appearance, despite being a common visitor in the bedroom). Undaunted, Chuck acidly informs Serena that he doesn’t take relationship advice from someone in a fake relationship, and heads off to intercept Blair as she arrives in the Hamptons. And Blair does arrive — but she’s not alone. Stepping off the bus with Blair is a cute boy, whom she kisses passionately before giving the Chuckster the smug “fuck you” eyebrows.
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, Blair likes me.”
After some location-establishing shots that make the Hamptons look a lot dumpier than I’d imagined, we catch up with Blair and Serena the next day as they sunbathe and look out upon a gorgeous lawn. Blair is very disappointed to hear about Serena’s boring summer as Nate’s beard (oddly having no trouble at all with a possible Serena-Nate romantic pairing), especially when Serena admits she turned down a hot lifeguard who asked her out because she’s still upset about Dan. Leighton Meester’s got a lot of great lines in this scene, my favorite of which is: “The only thing lamer than dating Dan Humphrey is mourning Dan Humphrey.” Word, sister.
As Blair continues to lecture Serena on the benefits of meaningless one night stands and the morning-after pill, Chuck strolls out on the patio looking surprisingly hot. Blair freezes, then begins transparently babbling about James’ attributes while Chuck smirks knowingly. Adding insult to injury, Serena says “who’s James?” before catching on and trying to help Blair make Chuck jealous. Hope all that coke was worth the lasting brain damage, S. The efforts are useless, however, as Chuck calmly states Blair’s lying and that James is merely a prop designed to hurt him. Blair snaps back that Chuck will just have to join them at dinner to see that whats-his-face is her one true love.
Next we get to suffer through an annoying conversation between Jenny and Rufus that will put me to sleep if I try to recap it. Basically, Jenny whines about Laurel refusing to wear her ugly not-white dress to the White Party, and Rufus suggests Jenny use Eric to get an invitation to the party herself. Great parenting, Dad! Jenny tells him that Eric basically thinks she’s a stupid bitch (she let her gay boyfriend publicly call Eric a f—t when Eric was selflessly trying to help her), but Jenny’s a user so I know she’s going to call Eric anyway.
“I also suggest sleeping with boys to make them like you. It works for Lily.”
Dan arrives at a bar to meet his boss about that story that’s due today. His boss snidely tells Dan “something tells me you’re here empty-handed” — while staring at Dan’s empty hands and lack of bag. Wow, I hope the bossman doesn’t write suspense novels. Dan cockily asks for an extra day to finish, completely confident that his every wish will be granted. But while the bossman may moonlight as Captain Obvious, he’s also pretty fucking awesome as he tells Dan he’s sick of his excuses and fires his ass! Smell ya later, douche.
Well the doucheiness runs in the family, as Jenny is now calling Eric as predicted, apologizing and asking for favors immediately. Eric, who is still sporting an awful haircut but has gotten cuter over the summer, gives her a hard time at first but winds up bending over and taking it, which is probably good practice. I’m disappointed. That was way too easy for Jenny, and somewhat silly of the writers to remind us of their tension (of which we never really saw) and then dissolve it within seconds. Didn’t they learn anything from the “I killed someone” plot?
Returning to the Hamptons once again, Serena’s given in to Blair and decided to go on that date with the disposable hot lifeguard after all. As she’s putting the finishing touches on her makeup, the lifeguard arrives, blaring his car horn instead of coming to the door. This allows Leighton Meester to deliver another fantastic line: “A honk instead of a knock,” she smirks, without looking. “Did someone order a townie?” Serena’s more horrified about the fact the lifeguard’s got a Camaro, in a not-ironic kind of way. Honey, you’re lucky it’s not a bicycle.
“Hey sweet thang. I thought we’d grab a bite at the Dairy Queen then catch ‘Tropic Thunder’ and make out in the back row.”
With Serena trying to fend off townie cooties, Blair, James, Chuck and Eric sit down for dinner with Grandma CeCe VDW, who we last saw telling Dan to keep his low-class schlong away from Serena while secretly battling cancer. Chuck begins quizzing James on Blair Waldorf trivia, which Blair lets him get away with until Chuck asks if James is aware of Blair’s fondness for limos. Haha. Interrupting, she sweetly asks James to pass her the S&P, and that’s when Chuck sees it — Blair’s heart pin attached to James’ sleeve, signifying she’s in love with him. Chuck turns as green as his mint julep suit, and excuses himself from the table.
Blair follows him to a grove, and he sadly says he knows the significance of the pin and asks if she really feels about James the same way she did about Nate — the pin’s first recipient. Unconvincingly. she says she does, but instead of challenging her this time, Chuck merely breathes “I’ll see you at school” and walks away, allowing Blair to show the tears she was hiding. Returning to the dinner table by herself, Blair pounces on James and rips the pin from his sleeve, exclaiming that it must have accidentally got caught there. Oblivious, James says he didn’t feel anything, and Blair lies neither did she. Beautiful acting in this scene by both Leighton and Ed.
On to more fun stuff, as we see Nate and his cougar are together again — this time in her bed, post-coitus. Only her pudgy, old fart husband has arrived home in his midlifecrisis-mobile, and Nate needs to get the fuck out now. Not like Father Time could catch him though without having a heart attack. Faced with either hiding and risking listening in on sweaty old golddigger sex or jumping out the window, Nate wisely picks window. Cougar Catherine throws his clothes out after him, and Nate scoops them up and starts running down the street half-naked — only to be nearly run over by Serena and her townie. As everyone gapes at each other, Serena notices the cougar come outside and embrace Father Time, careful not to crush his hip. Looks like the gig is up, Nate.
“Serena?! What the fuck are you doing in a Camaro???”
The next afternoon, Blair and Serena are strolling around downtown, with Blair dropping gems like “motherchucker” and “bass-tard” while complaining about Chuck. Our Queen B’s pissed because she doesn’t even like James, and is all put out because she has to keep pretending for Chuck’s benefit. But on the bright side, it won’t be for much longer as Chuck’s about to get the hell out of dodge after the nasty pin trick she pulled on him. Total girly note: anyone else catch Serena’s absolutely to-die-for blue Chanel bag in this scene? Maybe Catherine the Cougar has the right idea…
Meanwhile, Nate and the bass-tard himself are also meandering downtown, with Chuck confirming he plans to return to NYC immediately unless the upcoming White Party turns into the poshest wet t-shirt contest ever held. But before Chuck can make good on his escape, the two pairs bump into each other. Serena snags Nate and begins harassing him about Catherine being married, leaving Blair and Chuck to fight over whether James goes to Princeton or Georgetown. Scintillating stuff, but it does seem to suggest that James is lying to one of them, if not both. Nate admits Catherine dumped him, and Blair drags Serena away while Chuck calls Eric and orders him to check out James’ back story more carefully.
Returning to the ghetto, we have to suffer through another Rufus parenting talk, this time with Dan. Rufus manages to convince Dan to stop running from his feelings and resolve things with Serena, once and for all. Zzzzz.
Thankfully that is short lived, and we catch up with Chuck, Nate, and Eric playing croquet and Eric giving his report. Turns out James didn’t go to Princeton, Georgetown, or any of the big schools. Suspicious from his argyle sweater down to his argyle socks that James is a fraud preying on a lonely rich girl, Chuck calls the private dick he’s got on speed dial to order a full background check. As he steps away, Serena storms outside, bellowing Nate’s name. “I know that face, that face is not your friend!” Eric says quickly before scurrying away. Haha. Serena’s all pissed that Nate’s planning on using her as a beard yet again, this time for the White Party, just to see Catherine and Father Time interact together. But Serena’s a softy, so after a few puppy dog looks from Nate (well actually, closer to blank stares since we’re talking about Nate here), she gives in and agrees to be his date.
“Take back what you said about Judy Garland RIGHT NOW!”
Elsewhere in the Hamptons, Blair and James are hanging out while B tries to figure out how to dump his ass. Before she can give him the ol’ heave-ho however, Chuck texts and informs her he’s not leaving town afterall, and in fact will be manning the sprinklers at the White Party. Predictably, Blair changes her tune and instead of dumping James, asks him to the party.
Speaking of, the party has finally arrived! Jenny and Eric show up first, Jenny wearing her tacky not-white dress and giving haughty looks to Laurel in a way that would so earn her a pink slip were this real life. Okay, there’s a path I don’t want to go down. If I start comparing each scenario of this show to what really would happen, my head will explode. So moving on! Serena looks like a gorgeous Grecian goddess, while Nate looks like he’s puttering around the house in his old bathrobe. It’s enough to piss off the cougar though, as she hisses at him that he’s going to ruin her marriage if he keeps showing up. Last time I checked, he wasn’t forcing you to spread your legs, slut. Shut up.
Meanwhile, Dan’s bitchass has finally arrived in the Hamptons after his pep talk with Rufus. He goes to Serena’s, and encounters none other than Grandma CeCe. Oh I am very excited about her telling him to go fuck himself once again! She’s rather pleasant at first, merely telling him Serena’s at the party, and asking his to fasten her gigantic pearl necklace (baaaaad mental image there, folks). He calls her out on not being a bitchy old hag, and she says that along with her cancer, her old awesome self is in remission as well. Yay to the cancer remission, BOOOO to the rest! So instead of throwing him out, she tells him that Serena still loves him and helps him get an outfit together for the White Party! WTF? Damn you, cancer, you ruin everything!
“Hag, do you have Alzheimer’s? If so, that’s…. awesome for me.”
At the party, James is trying to have a heart-to-heart with Blair about his feelings while she mentally calculates how long it’s been since she got her roots done. However, catching a glimpse of Chuck’s black-piped tuxedo from the corner of her eye, Blair quickly jumps into James’ arms with a fake laugh and adoring eyes. Chuck glares and watches, while some random dude stands next to him and grins at thin air. Confused, James looks around and finally realizes what Blair’s game is when he sees Chuck watching closely. Upset, he storms away.
Seriously, what’s with this dude?
Laurel finally manages to corner Jenny to find out how the hell Jenny got invited to the party. She makes a couple bitchy comments about how there’s no way Jenny could know anyone important well enough to be their date — just as Eric strolls up with Tinsley Mortimer. I had to Google this bitch, and am stupider for doing so. She’s NYC’s Paris Hilton, only richer and dare I say it — even worse of an actress. Anyway, Eric introduces Tinsely, who squeals that she’s thrilled to meet Jenny and utterly ignores Laurel. I’m sure Tinsley regularly pals around with kids half her age and begs to buy their home-sewn fashion designs with her Black Card. Then again, she seems pretty damn stupid. It’s possible.
Blair catches up with James and innocently asks what’s wrong. He accuses her of using him to make Chuck jealous, and she admits it, explaining Chuck is an awful person who uses people and totally deserves this. When James points out that Blair’s a fat ol’ hypocrite, and she probably doesn’t like him at all, she admits that he’s even more boring than Nate, and that’s really saying something. Fed up, James accuses her of being bored because she doesn’t bother to listen to him and walks away again. Chuck immediately comes over and takes his place. Blair quickly whirls on him, and blames this whole mess on Chuck, since he “made her” use James. He disagrees and urges her to admit they’re the same, which she tearfully denies before running away.
Nate and Serena are still strolling around, while Cougar Catherine makes snide comments everytime they pass her. Nate complains to Serena that he wishes he could make Catherine feel as bad as he feels right now, watching her with Father Time. Hmm, he’s standing there with a hot chick who’s 20 years younger and not fighting the effects of gravity… hmm. Luckily, Serena’s a bit quicker on her feet and grabs Nate for a major makeout session while Catherine looks on. But it turns out it’s not just Catherine watching — it’s also a disappointed CeCe and that means…. Mr. Judgmental himself!
Now seeing as though Dan dumped Serena AND has been a complete man whore all summer, he’s got no right to be pissed about this, right? WRONG. Dan is pissed as hell, and immediately launches into snide comments and his bullshit holier-than-thou attitude while Serena chases after him and begs him to listen to her explanation. Oh vomit. Seriously, these two bring out the worst in each other. He gives her a gigantic steaming crapload of his shit, and turns to walk away, cloaked in his self-righteousness. But before he can get very far, the two book signing sluts show up together, call him out on his shit (GOOD FOR THEM), and pour their conveniently brightly colored martinis down the front of his borrowed suit — right in front of Serena.
“Whatever. I’m still somehow right here.”
Meanwhile, Catherine has tracked down Nate to bitch him out as well for the makeout with Serena. Unrepentant, Nate asks her if his attempt to make her jealous worked, and she growls “completely!” before dragging him into a side room.
Serena and Dan head inside to try to clean off his jacket and talk things through. He admits this is not the first time two different chicks have busted him, and that he can’t get Serena out of his head. Flustered, Serena is all giggles and tells him to shush — before finally kissing him and making plans to meet up later at the beach. Really? That’s it? They’re back together? Okay not only do I not want these two back together because they suck at life as a couple, but easy resolution of plot threads on this show is really starting to piss me off.
Outside, Blair tracks down James again to admit he was right and apologize for her behavior. As she’s doing this, Chuck’s private dick calls with his report — although we can’t hear what he’s saying. James admits to Blair that they have something in common, as he’s been hiding something too… his name is actually Marcus, and he’s a British noble with a really terrible fake British accent! Blair is gushily stunned as we see from his expression that Chuck has just received the same news from his PI. Don’t worry, Chuck, this kid’s still a douche. Blair begins simpering immediately — even throwing in a m’lord like she’s his fucking parlor maid — while mildly lecturing him that she expects nothing but honesty from this point forward. Wow, a hypocrite and a title hunter. Not your best attributes, Blair-bear. After too many years of inbreeding, James/Marcus doesn’t seem to notice her drastic change of tune.
“Are you related to Prince William, by any chance?!”
Still licking her wounds after her encounter with Tinsely Mortimer’s staggeringly bad acting, Laurel approaches Jenny one last time to confirm the rumor that Tinsley offered to help Jenny get some great internship. Jenny confirms it — and Tinsley’s stupidity — but reveals that she’s turned Tinsley down and will continue working for Eleanor Waldorf instead. Pleased and kissing a bit of ass, Laurel smiles, wishes her a great weekend, and leaves. So now Laurel’s going to respect Jenny as a serious designer rather than the teenage twit she is? Useless wench.
Blair’s standing outside the party, waiting for James/ Marcus to come around with his car, when Chuck silently approaches her. She gives him shit, which he ignores by plainly stating he made a mistake, and realized it the second her plane took off without him on it. He admits he was scared that if they spent the whole summer together, she’d see. “See what?” Blair asks quietly. “Me,” he replies. God this could be cheesy as hell, but with Leighton and Ed it’s fucking incredible. He asks her not to leave with James/ Marcus, and she demands he give her a reason (“and ‘I’m Chuck Bass’ doesn’t count”, LOL). When he doesn’t give her the answer she wants, she begins to break down and begs him: “three words… eight letters… say it and I’m yours.” Knowing exactly what she means, Chuck whispers “I” twice before Blair tearfully thanks him for telling her what she needed to hear — to set her free to go to James/Marcus, who pulls up at that moment.
After that heart-wrenching scene, we wrap up this week with scenes showing Nate and Cougar Catherine making plans for more secret rendezvous, Serena and Dan reconciling way too easily at the beach, and Chuck drinking himself into a stupor. Gossip Girl tells us that while summer is ending, everything else is just beginning…
So that’s our season 2 premiere everyone! What did you think? I thought it was really good but not perfect… perhaps a 7/10. Every scene between Blair and Chuck was absolutely perfect — from the writing, to the acting, to even the lush visuals of the Hamptons. I also loved the Blair-Serena interactions (especially Blairs one-liners), as well as Eric getting some screen time. And we all know the less Rufus and Vanessa in each episode, the better it is! Weak parts for me include the Jenny-Eric “feud” resolution, CeCe’s lobotomy or whatever the hell happened there, and Serena and Dan’s way-too-easy reconciliation.
So what do you think the future has in store for our favorite teens? I’m hoping Dan and Serena break up again quickly, because I enjoyed Nate and Serena’s scenes in this episode a hell of a lot more than hers with Dan. I’d also like to see Nate ditch the cougar soon, because I don’t see where that can go that isn’t a cliche. When Pacey did it in the first season of Dawson’s Creek, it was shocking and totally awesome. Now it’s… meh. And as much as I want Blair and Chuck together, if they keep delivering scenes as powerful as the ones in this episode, I’ll settle for the writers stretching that out for a while!
As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments! In the future, I’m going to try to get these GG recaps posted by Tuesday night — sorry about the delay this week!