Gossip Girl – “Blair Waldorf Must Pie!”

“Blair Waldorf Must Pie!”

November 27th, 2007

You know that Gossip Girl is going to get really serious when its titular blogger takes a vacation (quite literally) and is only present over the episode’s introduction. Kristen Bell gets a break this week, which means that we’re left to sort through the drama without her deft analysis of the action at hand. To be honest, I didn’t really miss it – the show doesn’t really need to rely on that particular conceit, as its has established its characters and its scenarios well enough to this stage.

However, I shouldn’t speak in generalities – while some of the show’s storylines seem fairly on track, “Blair Waldorf Must Pie” most certainly presents a case for those which do work and those which most certainly do not.

On the working side, I find that the show’s young cast has proven itself capable of interacting within itself. There was some nice time spent with “the gang,” an important concept in a show that obviously relies on that camaraderie on a regular basis. Whether in flashbacks (With Drunk Serena, Blair and Nate) or in the present (Dan, Serena, Jenny, Eric, Blair), they seemed  largely comfortable and interactive – the show has earned the ability to start having these people interact without really needing to explain itself. I’m especially happy to see Eric return – it’s odd, but he humanizes Serena and breathes life into Jenny really without doing anything except being young and innocent. Sometimes, the show needs a dose of that: the teen sexuality can only go so far.

It really shouldn’t be surprising that the Thanksgiving episode jettisoned Chuck Bass from the episode entirely (Although his sexcapades with Blair resulted in an early flare-up between the show’s central Serena/Blair tension), but did it really need to counteract with Nate’s heartfelt “My Father OD’d on Thanksgiving and all I got was this lousy Hospital coffee?” Chace Crawford tries his darndest, but the material is doing nothing to help the fact that he just can’t express enough emotion to make me buy this. While there was certainly plenty of drama elsewhere in the episode, this particular story was almost wholly isolated and, as a result, stood out like a sore thumb – there just isn’t anything entertaining about it.

There are, however, entertaining elements to our other parental stories of the week. First off, Blair’s mother continues to be a royal tyrant, keeping her estranged husband away from Thanksgiving and thus breaking her daughter’s heart and sends her into a relapse of an eating disorder. While I thought that they strangely glossed over the last point (For a show so open about being raunchy, is an eating disorder just not cool? Or perhaps the network was uncomfortable seeing it portrayed so soon after the preceding episode of a certain reality series), Blair’s mother was humanized by episode’s end and the storyline felt like a good one for Blair at this stage in her journey.

I just wish that I could say the same of the tiring Allison Humphrey story – I’m sorry, but she’s just boring. You can put the Humphreys in a football match all you want, but the reality is that she just doesn’t have a personality at this stage. The contrivance of Rufus and Lily’s relationship being outed to the family was handled about as well as it could have been, and was certainly inevitable, but I really wish that we could have been doing this storyline where Rufus’ decision wasn’t so doomed. Allison isn’t a regular cast member, and the character is far too one-dimensional for that to change: to keep stringing it along is just going to get repetitive, and feels like a poor justification for the parental side to keep rearing its not quite as pretty head.

Next week, however, things are back to normal: it’s a Josh Schwartz Cotillion, which means that somebody is getting punched. And, I’m sure Gossip Girl will be finished stuffing her face with Thanksgiving, and will certainly make an appearance yet again.

Cultural Observations

  • The show was occasionally interspersed with flashbacks, which were oddly placed. They tried to address all four storylines: drunk Serena and Dan have a brief altercation which leaves him starstruck during his own thanksgiving dinner, Blair enjoys her father’s company, and Nate witnesses his parents acting strangely. Only Blair’s storyline really felt worthwhile: the Serena parallel (Drunk Being Dragged Home by her mother and brother vs. Happy Serena eating happily with her family) was just too simple, and Serena didn’t really have a storyline in the episode.
  • Also not present in the episode: Vanessa, certainly making for a curious scenario. I dislike this, only because it further proves her character (thus far) only exists when they need to knock a few screws loose in Dan and Serena’s relationship.
  • While I love that the show brought back Eric, we needed to see what he and Jenny were doing in the bedroom all that time. And no, I’m not assuming it was something dirty, but rather something endearing – the show needs to allow these two, their most innocent characters, enjoy the lighter side of life on occasion. They’re still kids, after all.

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