TV Recap: Gossip Girl - Summer Kind Of Wonderful

It’s the start of the fall season! Can I get a “hell yeah?” We’re kicking it off with Gossip Girl’s second season. It’s a new recap here at Blend Television, but I’ve been watching it from the beginning. I’m not proud of this, but what the hell. It’s a fun show and I’m not ashamed to love Serena and the gang, so let’s get started.

We pick up at the end of the summer, with the kids in the Hamptons. Nate is making out not with Serena, but with an unidentified older, married lady in a car. Chuck is wearing very short shorts and drinking Chardonnay on the beach, while surrounded by topless girls. Serena, meanwhile, enjoys walking alone on the beach in a silver dress and really heavy makeup, while Dan awkwardly makes out with a girl in the middle of a Jay McInerney reading (although McInerney isn’t playing himself). While Dan is swapping spit in libraries, somebody has sent poor Little J to work in a sweatshop! I hope she can make me a nice Coach purse. Blair spent the summer in France, but has come to the Hamptons on the Jitney, where poor Chuck decided to greet her with a dozen roses, only to be greeted by the new guy she brought home with her.

So, yeah. These people obviously had a better summer than I did. Except for poor Serena, who just moped around and “didn’t do anything.” Blair asks her if she just sat around all summer “watching The Closer and eating takeout,” which is exactly how I spent my summer. I can only take this to mean that I am a de facto Gossip Girl. Score!

“The only thing lamer than dating Dan Humphrey--is mourning Dan Humphrey.”

Blair is thoroughly unimpressed with the fact that Serena has spent her entire summer in the Hamptons mooning over Dan and not having fun with either Nate or the hot lifeguard who asked her out. She convinces Serena that even though she’s been pretending to be hot and heavy with Nate, that she should accept the date with the lifeguard, since “lifeguards are like Kleenexes: use once and throw away.”

Serena bows to her pressure, but the date goes about as well to be expected, as the lifeguard pulls up to Serena’s house in a Camaro. Even if he had driven up in a ride more befitting the Hamptons than the Jersey Shore, since his name wasn’t Dan Humphrey, Serena probably wouldn’t have been interested.

“Amid all the fireworks on Bastille Day, all I could see was that Chuck Bass-tard!”

So, she may have given Serena crap for being sad about her breakup with Dan, but Blair let her entire summer be ruined by Chuck freakin’ Bass. Come on, now. She even admits to Serena that she just hooked up with James a week ago because she couldn’t bear to get on the plane alone.

Her attempts at using James to make Chuck jealous are so transparent that Chuck quickly catches on and calls her out on it. She refuses to give up the ghost, however, and even makes Chuck believe that she gave James the same pin she gave to Nate when she told him she loved him for the first time. Chuck, knowing how much that pin means to her, is actually hurt. Of course, he turns his pain into manipulation, in a true Chuck Bass kind of way.

“He’s got a PI on speed dial.”

Chuck is about to head back to the city with his tail tucked between his legs, when he finds out a tantalizing bit of information: James told Blair that he went to Georgetown but told him that he went to Princeton. Chuck realizes that something’s fishy and calls a PI to do a background check on James.

Meanwhile, Blair, thinking Chuck’s on his way home, gets ready to dump James, who she thinks is dreadfully boring (mainly because she never actually listened to anything he had to say). Chuck, however, decides to stick around for the White Party to see how James’ deceit plays out, so Blair continues the charade.

Unfortunately for Chuck, James’ big secret isn’t that he’s a grifter, but that he’s an English Lord, pretending to be a common American so he can find a woman who is interested in him for him. This twist in the storyline is unbearably cheesy, but it leads to a nice scene with Chuck and Blair.

Blair’s about to leave the party with her Lord, when Chuck comes to apologize for ditching her in Tuscany. He tells her that he made a mistake and he wants her to stay with him. She basically says that the only way she’ll do that is if he can tell her he loves her. But of course, even a Chuck Bass who shows feelings is still Chuck Bass, so he can’t and Blair leaves.

“Drop my spare key in the mail; that I’m sure you have time to do.”

Not everybody gets to spend the summer in the Hamptons. Some, like the Humphreys, have internships. Dan’s apparently requires him to write a story that he’s supposed to turn in at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, he’s been busy with a different girl every week and has been unable to finish it. His mentor is quite disappointed in him and basically tells Dan to take a hike. He does—all the way to the Hamptons to get Serena back.

After finding Serena’s newly friendly grandmother and borrowing her late husband’s suit from the 70s, Dan goes to the White Party just in time to see Serena mauling Nate with her tongue. He’s angry at first, but kind of doesn’t have a leg to stand on when the two girls he was making out with the other day find him and dump very highly-pigmented cocktails onto his suit.

While they’re trying to get the stains out, Dan and Serena admit that they’ve both been miserable and make googly eyes at each other. They end up at the beach, where Dan is able to write the ending to his story and he and Serena are able to hold hands and watch fireworks.

“You’re the only person who was friends with me for me, and I treated you worse than anyone else.”

Little J is figuring out that interning at a sweatshop really isn’t very fun at all. Her boss doesn’t give a crap about a fifteen-year-old’s designs, and laughs at her when she tries to get her to wear one of her dresses to the White Party. I find it kind of hilarious that Jenny Humphrey, who’s one of the “common people,” has no idea how the world actually works.

Luckily for her, she has high-class friends like Eric Van der Woodsen, who’s willing to still be her friend after she was a total bitch to him last year. He gets her into the White Party as his plus one, where she meets Manhattan socialite Tinsley Mortimer, who offers her an internship and makes Jenny’s boss respect her more. This whole thing is funny, because it would never happen.

“Well Nathaniel, you have a choice: under the bed or out the window.”

Serena has been Nate’s fake girlfriend all summer because he’s going out with an older woman. While Serena thought that “older” meant college-aged, she quickly finds out that it actually means “married forty-year-old,” after she sees Nate fleeing from his paramour’s home when her husband returns early from a trip.

Apparently their relationship is about more than just sex though, as he convinces Serena to be his date to the White Party to “check out the competition,” meaning Catherine’s husband. The terribly awkward kiss between Serena and Nate at that party was meant to make Catherine jealous, and it worked. She drops him a note to meet her back in the city on Friday.

“Tans fade, highlights go dark, and we all get sick of sand in our shoes.”

The summer is over, and it’s the beginning of a new season. Next week, everybody is back in New York and back in school, where the real fun will begin.

All in all, this was a pretty strong premiere. I like the fact that they seem to be going back to “good Jenny.” The whole “overthrowing Blair” storyline from last season became pretty tedious toward the end. I also enjoy the new multidimensional Chuck, and I’m sure that his aborted “I love you” won’t mean the end of him and Blair. They’re both fantastically evil and should have devil babies together.