Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sex, Lies, and Scandal: The Not-So-Triumphant Return of Gossip Girl

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 4:30 PM

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Every Tuesday, over the glorious channels of iChat, Mike and Sharon will attempt to parse the prior evening's episode of Gossip Girl. Here is our first attempt, in which we rhapsodize about our disappointments with the Season 2 premiere, why Chuck Bass reminds us of Raymond Carver in a poorly selected shirt-blazer combo, and whatever happened to the "Dan and Serena show."

Sharon: I was very disappointed, overall, but it was still a huge relief to see it again.

Mike: It was more than a relief. I was immediately transported to 1988, when the feeling I'd have during the first week of school returned. It was terrible, but at the very least, I was happy to have my favorite shows back. Not a good episode, though. Like a non-episode, meant only to welcome new viewers who got hooked during the off-season. I was insulted, frankly.

Sharon: I didn't even think it was all that welcoming to non-watchers...Aside from Blair's choice-y one liners ("Damn that MotherChucker," etc) I was just kind of like...if I had never seen this before, would I care?

Sharon: Did it seem like they made the Dan and S. reunion WAY too easy?

Mike: Well, it was easy and also about six episodes too soon. And I didn't quite understand what was gonna happen when she spotted him writing in his notebook by the fire. The look on her face seemed like she was about to say she still wasn't ready to get back together. Then she just... was? I don't know.

Sharon: It was like this cursory need to present him as Hemingway-esque, writing in his MOLESKIN by the FIRE. It hurt my eyes.

Sharon: Everyone seemed TOO TAN. I know the Hamptons crew is sunning up a storm, but why were Dan and Jenny Humphrey: Brooklynites so damn orange?

Mike: I do not know, good question. I'd like to talk about Chuck's outfit when he went to meet Blair.

Sharon: LET'S TALK ABOUT CHUCK'S OUTFIT.

Mike: I think it was a pretty big misstep. I refuse to believe that Chuck would have worn that plaid Ben Sherman shirt. It was nice and all, and I might even own it, but it doesn't belong under that pink-ish, salmon-ish blazer.

Sharon: You should forward that missive to the Gossip Girl wardrobe department in a STRONGLY worded letter.

Mike: I already have. Though I will say that the long hair is working for him.

Sharon: I don't enjoy him with the long hair, I must say.

Mike: NO?!?!

Sharon: Non.

Mike: Incorrect.

Mike: Nate and the old lady: Were we supposed to think it was Serena in the opening scene? Because I did.

Sharon: I think we were, yes.

Mike: Good. Question: How did Gossip Girl spot Blair IN PARIS??? Are we supposed to believe that even people in Paris care enough about rich people in New York to send tips to a retardo website? Because I do not.

Sharon: This is where it comes down to faith. Believing in GG's all-knowing, omniscient powers... it's a RELIGION, for gosh sakes. You just have to TRUST.

Mike: But I'm not sure I do, or even that I should be expected to. Because really, the show's appeal has always been that this shit somehow doesn't seem too far-fetched. I don't know. I'm splitting hairs, obviously, and there's no use complaining about a show whose writers came up with the line, "Eggshell gives me a migraine."

Mike: I don't think I was prepared for Blair and Chuck to become such big parts of the plot. Because of my personal preferences, I guess, I still just think it's the Serena and Dan show.

Sharon: The fandom seems to be really into Blair and Chuck. I love Dan and Serena together, although they're stereotypes. But I love Vanessa and Nate together more. Blair and Chuck are just cartoon characters.

Mike: Yeah, that's true. I just don't really get it. I'm a sucker, obviously, but I genuinely like both Serena and Dan, and the others just seem silly. I appreciate the one-liners, but I wouldn't really care if either of them died in a horrible jitney accident.

Mike: No, you're right, Dan and Serena ARE stereotypes, but they're more relevant to my life.

Sharon: But B. and Chuck Bass are loveable, don't you think? Where would we get our weekly headband fix? Or see how to match manly neck scarves with seersucker blazers? I don't know why I defend them.

Mike: Fair enough. But I do think that one scene was too much of a stretch -- the one with the fucking stupid "3 words, 8 letters" line. I wonder if the writers are missing the mark with them -- like, do fans want them to continue being super mean assholes who are occasionally likeable? Or do they want them to share scenes that would have gotten cut from Dawson's Creek for being too earnest?
But, in fairness, Blair's "And ‘Because I'm Chuck Bass' does not count." Line was awesome.

Sharon: What you're saying is ringing true -- I wonder if it's too soon to say, but they could be headed toward a serious sophomore slump.

Sharon: You know what I found LAUGHABLE? Grandma. Fucking uptight Grams and her happy, shining eyes and her "Oh, let me help you win back my baby granddaughter!"

Mike: Don't call her Grams. That's Michelle Williams' grandmother's name on Dawson's., Sharon. It's officially off-limits, as far as I'm concerned. But yeah, the turnaround was too extreme.

Mike: For a brief moment, I thought those two girls Dan was sleeping with were the vaguely ethnic Blair sidekicks from last season. Mark and I loved them.

Sharon: Those bitches got the boot, you know.

Mike: Alright, what else? The fucking British dude? Too much? Maybe.

Sharon: Absolutely WTF. He wasn't even that HANDSOME.

Mike: Interesting that you'd say that. I kinda didn't think so either, but I didn't have anyone to ask, 'cause my wife was in another room catching up on DVDs of the first season.

Sharon: Oh, to be in first season innocence again.

Sharon: I was upset that we didn't see the supposedly new Dan love interest... you know, the one who's making Blake Lively into a jealous harpy on set?

Mike: Right right. I hadn't heard too much about it. I was actually really confused during that scene with Chuck and the topless girls – I guess iId seen it online somewhere and thought it was from real life. Which also didn't seem too far-fetched.

Sharon: I love it when they have those little asides of Chuck drinking. It's so Carver-esque. Like, here he is with his TUMBLER of LIQUOR.

Mike: And his stupid mis-matched shirt/blazer combo. (Still furious about this)

Sharon: Did the wardrobe department write you back yet?

Mike: What do we think of Nate and old lady? I didn't even think she was that hot.

Sharon: Old cougar was pretty hot, I thought.

Mike: Meh. Not Nate-hot.

Sharon: Her husband is a clueless sad bastard, though. And Nobody is Nate-hot.

Mike: True story.

Sharon: Chace Crawford sometimes looks like he was scientifically engineered to look that way. I have a crush on him. OKAY I ADMITTED IT. THERE.

Mike: I mean, that's like admitting you like candy.

Sharon: Oh. When you're right, you're right.

Sharon: What did you think of S.'s hair during the white party?

Mike: It looked like was fucking bedazzled.

Sharon: Too pompadour-ish?

Mike: Too much stuff going on. I was distracted.

Sharon: Well, I loved her sparkly headband that sort of doubled as a necklace. A+ wardrobe.

Mike: Also, Dan's jacket was mega tan and inappropriate.

Sharon: I hated Dan in the white wifebeater. That's so anti-Dan. Dan should be sickly and pale.

Mike: Oh, god, I know. I was thinking that too.

Sharon: Dan should be neurotic and nervous. He should be the fucking male Diane Keaton in Manhattan... and instead he's this muscled, tan, burly hunk and I'm just like NO NO NO.

Mike: Well, to the extent that Dan is sort of presented as the luckiest, most idealized version of that kind of guy, it maybe makes sense.

Mike: Thoughts on the Tinsley cameo? Tinsley vs. Jay: go.

Sharon: Jay was just insufferable. Tinsley was eh.

Mike: "This is my friend Tinsley Mortimer" was maybe my favorite line.

Sharon: I loved that.

Sharon: They're really setting Eric up to be a Chuck-In-Training.

Mike: Yeah, the Chuck / Jenny parallels are coming into play nicely, but I can't say I care about either of them.

Sharon: I agree. Jenny really shocked the shit out of me last season, though...
Now she's all Daddy's girl again.

Mike: Yes, but last season is long gone. This has been made abundantly clear.

Sharon: Do you WANT me to cry?

Mike: Favorite line of the night?

Sharon: Either "Chuck you," or "It's no wonder you hate Charade. It hits too close to home."

Mike: For me, it's a toss up. I was fond of the Jack Johnson line, I really liked Chuck's "What's a Jitney" line, and Gossip Girl herself had a classic with "Ain't Karma a bitch? We know Blair Waldorf is." But I'm not sure any of them can really top "I'm British and a Lord."

Sharon: Mike, did you take notes?

Mike: I'm looking at my notes, and here they are:
How was Blair spotted in Paris?

Paris Review, New Yorker

Eggshell gives me a migraine

Mike: Then I stopped and when I decided that I would not allow this job to ruin the one thing I take pleasure in.

Sharon: I felt like they were trying to hard to explain what had gone on in the past two months, instead of letting the characters do it. Classic creative writing workshop faux pas. Future advice: SHOW DON'T TELL, Josh Schwartz.

Mike: I'm willing to forget about last night, I think. I remain hopeful that they'll get back on track once they're back in the city.

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