Gossip Girl – “Poison Ivy”

“Poison Ivy”

October 2nd, 2007

Ivy Week, as presented by Gossip Girl, is the time when plans about the future take center stage. This is not an uncommon theme in teen dramas: heck, High School Musical was a post-secondary anxiety film at its core. However, for Gossip Girl, it’s a wakeup call from the joys of living the high life when interviews and socials essentially define their future…and they all have extremely preset futures ahead of them despite the turmoil in their lives.

Dan is dreaming of Dartmouth, hoping for his scholarship in lieu of actual funds. Nate, meanwhile, has a father pushing him to Dartmouth while he dreams of heading out West. As they compete for an ushership (I don’t know what this means), we start to gain a better understanding of Dan’s place in this world, and what little clout the Humphrey name has in this world.

However, it also allowed the two to actually share some common ground for a change, and allow for Dan to be somewhat less of an outcast. This is a positive development, and finally brings new pairings of characters outside of the rather rigid pairings we were earlier provided. The more the show extends its characters and has them interact with other people, the more three-dimensional they become.

On the Blair and Serena feud part of things, it was a field hockey throwdown and a detective job for Blair and Chuck into discovering some dirt on Serena’s sudden return. Serena, meanwhile, is not going down without a fight this time around, as she battles back by ditching the Seth Cohen Brown route in favour of an anti-Blair Yale route at the Ivy League party.

Blair forcing Serena to play the part of Lindsay Lohan might have seemed cruel to her future, but only amongst the petty and the jealous. In an attempt to ruin her future, did she really do anything more than lose the pre-determined life set before her? In breaking that definition, Serena actually bettered her reputation in the eyes of the non-judgmental. Blair’s shallowness got called out by Eric in the end, and we saw some actual character depth and growth. Simultaneously. It was magical.

On the relationship front, Dan and Serena (for two people who didn’t really know one another before the premiere) sure seem to be running into one another a lot, and Dan spent much of the episode being passive aggressive while secretly wanting to jump her right then and there. After Serena’s selfless act, Dan no longer had an illogical holdup, and finally got around to reengaging the situation. Nate and Blair took the week off, pretty much, but we have Eric and Jenny to fill in the gaps. Who are adorable, I’m just sayin’.

And to be honest, I think this episode was enough to convince me that the show is able and willing to expand beyond its basic premise. We saw a better view of the daily lives of these characters, and both the bad and the good were fleshed out beyond the archetypes presented. We got a better idea of Blair and Serena’s history and future, the other characters who live in this world, and only time will tell how things go from here.

But I’m impressed by the depth: and look forward to seeing how it develops further.

Cultural Observations:

  • Was there any better sport than field hockey with which to extend Serena and Blair’s conflict? I personally don’t think so.
  • Feist’s selling out continues, as her fairly great “Feel it All” was featured midway through the episode. What else can she do at this point?
  • I wasn’t aware at how short Eric (Serene’s brother) was. It’s kind of alarming.
  • Is there going to be a party in every episode? Seriously? I’m hoping that the series grows out of these contrived situations, because as of now it’s getting a wee bit repetitive.
  • Meanwhile, Eric and Jenny are officially the cutest 14-year old crushees in the history of television. I heart them. Greatly. Adorableness is not dead.
  • So, why is Nate sleeping on Chuck’s couch? Does he not have a home of his own? I would assume he has a room of some sort that might be more comfortable than a couch, even if he went out on the town.

3 Comments

Filed under Gossip Girl, Television

3 responses to “Gossip Girl – “Poison Ivy”

  1. Yes the party at the ‘end of’ is getting very tired. I have not read the books but me thinks that Josh Schwartz did not get to go to many parties at school so therefore is living out his dreams through his shows. Still at least we are spared the ritual of Ryan from The OC (as you didn’t know) getting into a punch up in every episode. I am liking this show very much. I agree, Eric and Jenny are just the sweetest. Do you think they will end up together?

  2. No no no! Eric and Jenny might be cute (in a painfully saccharine wide-eyed sort of way) but who wants cute in a show that included dope smoking, martini drinking, bar-top sex, and an attempted rape in its first episode?!

    I say, stick to the smut. I’ll get my dose of more deeply realized character development during another time slot.

  3. Actually I think cute in a ‘dope smoking. martini drinking, bar top sex and two attempted rapes all in the first episod would be a breath of fresh air.

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