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Gossip Girl – “Juliet Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” Recap

I have no shame about the fact that I love Gossip Girl. The first season of the show – much like the first season of The O.C. – excelled at taking soap opera conventions, and both heightening and playing against them. However, the problem with all soap operas, even neo-soap operas, is that they eventually become soap operas themselves.

Gossip Girl had a harder time than most, and other than a few bright spots, hasn’t managed to recover for the “Serena killed a man” revelation from the end of season one… There’s not much bigger you can go than that, and at that point, Josh Schwartz should have dropped the mic and walked out of the room. That is, up until this season, which I would argue is the best the show has been since the first.

It’s not that it’s a good show right now. It’s just that it’s worked through so many iterations of couplings that (Dan’s with Serena! Now Serena is with Nate! Now Nate is with Dan [Note: will never happen but should]!) they’ve run out of things to do. So they threw in a bunch of silly, mysterious characters who want to destroy all of our main characters… But are hilariously ineffective at it. In fact, the thing that makes this season good is that the writers have managed to embrace the soap and cheese that they tried to excuse for the past two seasons, and instead, tried to make it work.

That is, up until this episode.

I’m not going to damn the whole season because of one bunk episode, but this week’s clunker was… A clunker. A really have to work on this “writing” thing, I think.

The problem with this week is a little hard to pinpoint, but I’m going to put it squarely on Chuck being played for laughs, and Juliet being played for anything at all, ever. In the B-plot, Chuck and Blair are having revenge-y hate sex, until they reach a boiling point: Blair thinks they need to go cold turkey, Chuck thinks they need to fuck until they get a metaphorical ice cream headache. And I have to say: I miss them fighting. This show is all about bitter cattyness, and if the main schemers, Chuck and Blair, are out of the picture, someone else needs to fill that vacuum.

Last episode, we got the ineffective team of Dan and Eric (which is only second to Eric and that girl who was shorter than Eric teaming up to destroy Little J last season in terms of ineffectiveness). This week, it’s Vanessa and Juliet, which is just freaking stupid. I understand the whole “absolute Upper East Side corrupts absolutely” thing that’s going on, but Vanessa? Vanessa hasn’t been able to stay in a committed relationship with her best friend, or wear any clothing that wasn’t fitted for a monster for three freaking seasons.

At least the writers realize that, but the whole plot to destroy Serena, which involves Juliet taking pictures of her cousin Colin kissing her, because she’s a student, and he’s a teacher was flawed from the start. Because A), involving Vanessa. And B), he quits his job for the love of Serena (which is a level of stupid we won’t even get into). So the incriminating pictures aren’t even incriminating. Except they are, because we need to have a cliffhanger!

It’s crazy, because they could have easily saved the info that Colin quit his teaching job until after Vanessa and Juliet confront the Dean with the pictures. Instead, the chronology was:

  • Colin tells Serena he quit.
  • Vanessa and Juliet tell the Dean they have shocking pictures.
  • Commercial
  • Dean does not care about pictures, tells them to leave her alone.
  • Colin explains further why pictures do not matter.
  • Dean comes up with ridiculous roundabout excuse for why they may matter.
  • Blair drops flash key into champagne, which is definitely a thing that instantly destroys flash keys.

Zero suspense, zero interest.

Conversely, I am spectacularly interested in the episodes cliffhanger, where Juliet enlists a mysterious entity to help her destroy everyone… It’s Little J! And not only that, they’ll be working with… Vanessa! This is like the axis of ineffective evil. Or at least, it’ll amount to Little J wreaking havoc, and Vanessa and Juliet standing behind her going, “Yeah, now what? NOW what?” Which I can’t wait to watch.

Oh, and there was some stuff with Dan/Serena/Nate, too, but who cares? I don’t.

Notes:

  • Ah, the old “guy having sex with the female lead under the covers while another lead talks to her” trick from Friends.
  • Also, it’s nice to know that Chuck leaves his shirt on when he’s going down on someone. That’s classy.
  • Wait! Eric might end up at Wesleyan? But then he won’t be around as much anymore and oh wait never mind.
  • Music was particularly ridiculous this episode.
  • “Sex in a limo. We’ve really come full circle.”
  • Vanessa thinks 126th St. is a bad neighborhood? She HAS changed.
  • The amount of events these people ruin on a weekly basis is ridiculous. They should be banned from everything, ever.
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