The Wife:

On Monday’s Gossip Girl, Chuck Bass made a comment about how he knew Gabriel (Armie Hammer) was up to no good because “his suits never did fit right.” Clearly, Chuck somehow has access to the Reaperverse, because Gossip Girl is the show where Mr. Hammer’s clothes actually do fit him correctly. Reaper took care of that problem for me this week by a.) keeping Mr. Hammer out of said clothes all together and b.) finally, gloriously, unexpectedly killing him. Dude, I can’t wait till his arc of GG is done so I am rid of the man and his mouth full of gleaming white teeth.

And how did Morgan, Son of Satan meet his end? At the fangs and claws of Nina and her “prayer group” of Steventologists, demons formerly of the Rebellion who gather together at Tony’s house to worship the way his dead lover Steve lived his life. After all, Steven was a demon who ascended into heaven (and it’s better than Cancun), so if they live their lives doing good deeds like he did, perhaps they, too, can achieve that paradise. But before Morgan meets his end there, Nina moves in to the house with Sam et al (yay!), and so does Morgan, when he attacks his half-brother for taking his “birthright,” who then turns the other cheek and invites Morgan to live with them until he gets back on his feet. Making no secret of her still-there attraction to bad boys, Nina flirts with Morgan, which worries Ben significantly.



Rather than giving Sam a soul to catch this week, The Devil gives him a soul to take. Sam gets to deliver the greedy soul a sports car and have him sign for it, which will actually be the act that signs his soul over to Satan. But the soul is wise to The Devil’s games and won’t sign. Even when Sam sends Ben and Sock to get him to sign, he signs with a fake name, thus negating the act. Sam warns him that living in greedy excess will get him sent to Hell anyway, even if he doesn’t directly sign his soul over to The Devil, but Gary the DoucheSoul informs the boys that he plans to repent in the 11th hour and get a one-way ticket to Cancun Paradise Heavenville. Because Gary is such a douche, Sam wants to take his soul and damn him to hell, but Tony warns against it, fearing that if Sam takes Gary’s soul, he’ll become truly evil. So Tony invites Sam to his Steventologists meeting, which he eventually takes Gary the DoucheSoul to after The Devil informs Sam that repenting in the 11th hour can’t work for Gary if The Devil decides to kill him while he’s still in his heyday of sinning.

At the Steventologists meeting, Steve speaks to Gary the DoucheSoul through a karaoke DVD to get Sam to watch his back, which is timely because Nina has succeeded in her plan to nearly seduce Morgan and then drag him to a prayer meeting where he would prove he’s not a bad boy. Only, he is, and he uses his brief time there to pull a gun on Sam, revealing his plan to get back on his father’s good side by offing Sam. This does not go over well with the demon crowd and suddenly Nina and her friends shed their human forms and eviscerate Morgan. Hooray! Now he’s almost entirely out of my life!

Back at home, Ben is waiting for Nina’s return, suspicious that she may have cheated on him with Morgan (especially since she hid the fact that she was a Steventologist from him for so long), but she confesses that she was simply doing her duty to lure Morgan to his death as part of the rebellion, sworn to kill the spawns of Satan. The Devil is not happy that Sam lost the soul, but he is pleased as punch that Sam got his brother killed, which The Devil takes as a sign that Sam is headed down the right, evil path, even though he insists he didn’t do it.

All of this plotting was good, exciting and forward-moving. Plus, anything involving a prophetic karaoke DVD of Michael Ian Black is cool with me. Not as good? The totally contrived plot where Ted gets engaged (but not really) and Sock and Ben decide to throw him a bachelor party with terrifying stripper clowns (“the Reese’s Cup of party entertainment”) at the Work Bench, which ends up being a ploy Ted uses to get Andi demoted when he calls the home office to drop by the party and bust the manager who violated store policy by throwing it. Thus, Andi becomes just another Work Bench low-life, and Ted regains his authority. First of all, stripper clowns are the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen and I never want to see them again but can’t get the image of their horrible painted visages out of my head. Secondly, even when Ted was the manager, there was never really a threat that the guys would get caught shirking their work responsibilities. Chuck has always been better at reminding us the cost of leading a double life than this show has, mostly because the Work Bench seems to be so horribly mismanaged that there’s actually no cost to leading a double life at all. But I like Ted. So perhaps it’s better to have him back in the manager’s apron just because he’s funny, rather than Andi, who will maybe get to be a character again. Just seemed like a pretty contrived way to achieve that goal.

Other things:

  • Yes, it is supergay to bang a clone of yourself. And super narcissistic.
  • Jenny Wade looked so fucking skinny in that black crepe turtleneck tunic, and I can only applaud her for that. Bitch looked fierce.
  • Nina really hates wearing synthetic fabrics.
  • And apparently, Armie Hammer hates wearing clothes. Is he a Ken doll? Why hasn’t the CW shown me nearly-nude Armie Hammer before? I might have appreciated him more this way.
  • Lil Stevi’s pink beret? So fetch.
  • Barry Manilow is a polar bear.
  • “Morgan, you do not touch another man’s DVR. You might as well hump my grandma.” – Sock
  • “Look how happy I make them, injecting them with botulism!” – The Devil
  • “You know, I’ve got a guy who’d literally kill for Madonna tickets.” – The Devil

The Wife:

And so Poppy and Gabriel’s Serena-ruining scheme deepens. Serena is not pleased that her new beau works so much, as she’s grown up a socialite so she actually has no idea what work is. Blair suggests that they spy on him to see what he’s up to, but Serena doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Naturally, Blair does it anyway and catches him in Poppy’s embrace. When Serena confronts him with this information, he tells her that he’s only pretending to be with Poppy because she invested a grip of money in his company and he’ll lose all of his other investors if he loses her. For some reason, Serena is okay with this. Naturally, Blair isn’t, so she calls Chuck to help her hunt down and expose Gabriel once and for all. Blair and Chuck work on getting Poppy and Gabriel to the co-op party Serena’s mom is hosting and, when the love-triangle meets, Poppy forces Gabriel to choose between his investors and the girl he loves. He chooses Serena, and she instantly is so thrilled that he has done so that she helps him hustle her mother and her mother’s friends for investments in his internet company that wants to bring wireless access to Africa. Seriously, he’s this close to sounding like a Nigerian prince who needs them to wire money to his account so he can access his father’s trust fund and then he’ll repay their investment threefold, but, for some reason, this whole “bringing wireless Internet to Africa” thing sounds like a great idea to the rich and bored and Lily decides to invest. Rufus, too, after finding out that the gallery may not sell for what he thought it would (nor would his back up plan of selling the Lincoln Hawk catalog reach quite the sum he could have gotten last year when he was touring) decides to pony up for Gabriel’s investment, despite the smarmy tobacco heir’s protestations that Rufus should instead put his money in mutual funds and the like. (You see, Gabriel only wants to steal money from people who won’t be hurt by it, like the very, very idle rich, rather than the upper upper middle class represented by Rufus Humphrey. He’s a con man with a conscience.) But Rufus is insistent, and so Gabriel agrees to let him invest.

Meanwhile, Serena starts to turn to Blair’s suspicions when Gabriel tells her that they met at Butter, which was closed on the night he claimed because Blair had purchased their bartender for the Ruin Nelly Yuki’s Future scheme, and even more so when he claims he doesn’t remember Georgina’s flaming red hair. This whole time, Nate has been trying to secure Blair’s affections by purchasing them a swank apartment in Murray Hill so they could live together between Columbia and NYU, and, feeling that the time she spends with Chuck is a threat to their relationship, tries to bar Chuck from even speaking to Blair. But Blair cannot resist the need to help Serena by taking a limo ride with Bass up to the Jesus Camp Georgina Sparks has been hiding out in somewhere in Connecticut, and so she ditches Nate when he needs/wants/strangely tries to possess her most. But as Chuck heads into Jesus Camp alone, Blair realizes that he didn’t need her to come along at all, and he was just playing her in his war against Nate, and so she steals his limo and heads back to her boyfriend and her apartment, saddened by Nate’s admission that he only asked her to move in because of Chuck. Chuck gets the confirmation he needs that Gabriel is lying from Georgina and brings her back to the city to testify. That might not matter, at all, though, because by the time Serena shows up to confront Gabriel about his lies, he has already taken Rufus’s money and fled his hotel room, with Poppy popping in at just the right time to make herself look more innocent by also wondering where Gabriel has run off to with her half a million dollars.

I love that the Jesus Camp shirts read OMJC, as in, Oh My Jesus Christ.

I love that the Jesus Camp shirts read OMJC, as in, Oh My Jesus Christ.

I honestly don’t give a shit about Serena and her feelings and inability to read or understand people, but I feel so badly for Rufus to be caught up in this situation. Dude is just trying to send both his kids to college and maybe, just maybe, buy an antique ring for the love of his life. I really love that Dan and Jenny went ahead and bought Rufus the ring he wanted to give to Lily, because that’s probably one of the kindest, most selfless things anyone has ever done for anyone else on this show. The Humphrey clan really doesn’t need to lose everything in an investment scheme, so here’s hoping Gabriel’s conscience gets the best of him and he returns Rufus’ money or Rufus finds out in time to void that big ol’ check. I really don’t need Rufus to hang himself with that chunky orange cable knit scarf he was sporting. That would be très sad.

The Husband:

Really, Blair? You can’t deal with the 10.3 miles between New York University and Columbia? That you have such a pathetic concept of what one would be willing to do for the person they love that he would choose, instead, to buy an apartment halfway between the two universities? I lived 90 miles away from my wife when we were both in college and only engaged at the time, and that seemed to work out pretty well. But 10.3 miles? Nooooooooooo…too much time in traffic! And the subway is soooo grooooooooooooss…

Blargh. I’m fine with the rich mentality on this show, but that’s just ridiculous.

The Wife:

I just couldn’t escape Armie Hammer this week, having seen him on Monday night’s Gossip Girl as Serena’s not-husband Gabriel, but hopefully his tenure on Reaper is over as of tonight, since Sam was able to successfully (if unintentionally) win the contest that The Devil set up for the two half-brothers to determine who would rightfully serve as Satan’s right hand. The terms were clearly set for Morgan to win, as he had more to lose. The loser, The Devil said, would have his clothes, car and condo taken away and be forced to live out his days on Earth as The Devil’s minion . . . which is pretty much what Sam already does, thus giving him nothing to lose. Sam made a pact with Morgan that he would help the shiny-toothed sycophant win, only Morgan had a hard time believing that Sam really wanted him to win, switching out his vessel with a real fire extinguisher, thus pissing off the soul and giving him time to set up a Hell portal to bring through his other little Hell-demon buddies. In the ensuing battle between the now three escaped souls and two reapers, Sam and Morgan managed to send each of the new escapees back through the portal (which I guess you can only go through once). But, in his battle with the original escaped soul, Morgan accidentally sends the vessel back through the Hell portal, leading Sam to win the contest when, in an effort to get the soul off of Morgan, he pushed him back through the Hell portal, which closes and collapses. Sam still tries to give Morgan all the credit, but The Devil knows better, and strips Morgan of all his worldly goods, for which Morgan swears he will kill Sam. I hope he just lets it go, because Armie Hammer’s fucking teeth drive me nuts on this show. And I really don’t want to see him again, especially in ill-fitting suits.

Ugh. Actually, the worst Armie Hammer related incident was when, in a moment of smittenness with Morgan, Sock admits that he thinks Morgan has a body for clothes and likes the way his suits hang on him. I realize Sock is the kind of guy who doesn’t get near a suit often, but dude wore a suit in this episode in his fake mourner sub-plot and he wore it way better than the stuff the wardrobe dept puts Mr. Hammer in.

In addition to the contest between Morgan and Sam, Andi spurs Sam to action about getting back on the Alan Thompson trail, because if Sam gets out of his contract with The Devil, she’ll totally date him again. Thus the gang decides to crash a funeral so they can gang up on Alan and find out his secret for beating The Devil. Sock takes up the role of the moirologist (a professional mourner, which is a great word to use whenever you possibly can) and starts making googly eyes at one of the mourners, following her even to the private memorial service for the deceased in the hopes that he can score with her afterward.

Therell be no saving of last dances now, sir! Not at all!

There'll be no saving of last dances now, sir! Not at all!

Meanwhile, the rest of the gang tackles Alan at the funeral and drives him to a racetrack to try and entice him into spilling the beans or else be tempted back to Hell by succumbing to his gambling habit. Alan agrees to tell the gang his secret, if they can help get him to a larger consecrated ground, you know, like Vatican City. Sock and Ben put together a wonderfully funny little promotional video spoofing old Club Med ads to pique Alan’s interest, and he agrees to go along with the plan . . . only, after a while, he starts coming up with more and more demands like living expenses and a whole row of seats to himself so that he won’t be tempted by the other folks on the plane. Stuff like that.

Fortunately, through pure plot contrivance, Sock and Ben have just lucked into $10K, as the deceased at the funeral Sock was crashing planned to give that amount to each of her beloved students . . . which, despite the fact that Sock’s target female mourner had a boyfriend, was enough to lure him to stay and keep up the rouse that he was a student of this deceased teacher who loved bowling. In order to get the money, though, Sock had to pretend he was going to donate it to charity, so he roped Ben into posing as a charity executive director. Ben’s angle was to get start-up capital to invent an automated straw so that people with limited jaw usage could still suck things. Kind of genius, actually, and exactly the kind of thing that gets venture capital money, so why not charity money, too? Needless to say, Ben hands over this money to Sam when he hears that his friend needs it, regardless of whatever discussion he was just having with Sock about keeping the cash to actually invent the Straw-tomatic.

Before he boards his plane to Rome, Alan tells the gang that he beat The Devil with a plot straight out of a Charlie Daniels Band song. In “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” The Devil gets into a fiddlin’ contest with a young boy who bets his soul that he’s better than The Devil. Should Johnny win, he gets a golden fiddle, but should The Devil win, he gets Johnny’s soul. In that contest, Johnny won, and that’s exactly how Alan got out of Hell, by betting he could beat The Devil in a poker game. He suggests that Sam challenge The Devil to a contest, because Satan is such a narcissistic douchebag that he will never say no to a challenge, especially if a soul is on the line. Whenever I think of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” I think of my favorite Futurama episode, in which Fry makes a Faustian deal to trade his hands for a pair of robot hands so that he can play a beautiful opera, Leela: Orphan of the Stars, to win Leela’s heart. You can watch it at Milk and Cookies, but here’s my my favorite line:

“Destiny has cheated me, by
forcing me to decide upon
the woman that I idolize
or the hands of an automaton”

The bit on Futurama is a bit more like Faust (hence why I described it as Faustian) in terms of making a pact with The Devil rather than having a contest with him, but the stakes are high in both. I just like that on Futurama the Robot Devil really wants human hands, rather than human souls. Opposable thumbs are where it’s at, yo.

(Husband Note: Wife, no mention of the earlier Robot Devil episode, “Hell Is Other Robots,” where Leela and the Robot Devil literally get into a fiddling contest to save Bender from his fate? And no, the Robot Devil hates having Fry’s hands, because they keep touching him in…places. He just put his name on the Wheel of Robots as a sign of good faith.) (I bow to a skill far greater than my own at remembering everything that happens on Futurama.)

Anyway, as far as Sam’s eventual contest with The Devil is concerned, I think it sets us up for a really cool series/season finale. I can’t imagine what thing Sam is that good at, because I presume he works at The Work Bench precisely because he’s not all that good at anything. Maybe there could be a cool contest involving product stacking or a timber yard obstacle course, just to make it kind of silly. But we should also consider that Alan isn’t telling us the truth about how he escaped Hell, especially because he refuses to tell the whole story to the gang until he is safely in Italy, and that shortly thereafter The Devil commandeers Alan’s plane and redirects it to land in Vegas, full of casinos and $100 in free poker chips to spend while the plane is grounded for maintenance. In fact, The Devil pops right up along side Alan, just to rub it in that he will never really be free. If Alan had won a contest with The Devil fair and square, I don’t think he’d be nearly as worried as he is about being caught again. I understand not wanting to go back to Hell, but I’m starting to get the feeling that Alan is just making shit up, pulling lyrics from Charlie Daniels Band as if they were gospel. The Devil may want to get a soul he lost back, but why should he go through all that trouble when he could just as easily corrupt hundreds more? I dunno. Maybe it is important for The Devil to save face by gaining back a soul he foolishly lost. Reaper‘s not really a show full of misdirection and thick plots, but I would really, really like it if we were moving toward a season/series finale that would explore ways in which Sam might try to beat The Devil if Alan was lying.

One final element of this episode was a subplot featuring Ben’s evil-seeing grandma and Nina. Afraid of what his grandmother may think of his demon girlfriend, Ben goes out of his way to keep her from his Abuela, but Nina isn’t about to let Ben be bossed around by an old lady and sets out to make things right with Abuela after she first shuns Nina. Nina reminds the old woman that she’s just a fallen angel, and while she may know what Hell is like, she has also seen Heaven and its glory. Impressed and subdued, the women share a conversation about St. Peter and how awesome he is, until Ben runs out with his Abuela’s little chihuahua, who startles Nina and makes her transform into her demon form, which gives Ben’s grandma a [non-fatal] heart attack. Nina feels awful and wants to apologize, but Ben won’t let her, instead telling Nina that he told his grandma they had broken up. She asks him to have some backbone, and so he breaks up with her. Nina walks away, warning him that she forgave him when he broke her heart once, but she won’t do it again. In fact, this time he’ll wish they’d never met. Knowing Ben, I find it hard to believe that he would actually break up with Nina to demonstrate that he had a backbone, because he totally doesn’t, but clearly, Nina has some sort of role to play on either Sam’s side or The Devil’s side in this contest/finale, and at this point, it’s looking like she’ll be chillin’ with The Devil. As long as she’s around, though, I don’t care whose side she’s on.

Funny things:

  • The Devil takes global warming very seriously, because if the Earth is destroyed, all the souls who die will be considered innocents, which mean God gets them. And the Devil is really not about that. “So, yeah, man. I’m going green.”
  • “You going somewhere? You’ve got a going-out chain.” – Nina, on Ben’s choice of accessories
  • “Our relationship is in the ICU!” – Nina, funny because of Jenny Wade’s delivery

The Husband:

I know, I found Observe and Report to be very upsetting, too.

I know, I found Observe and Report to be very upsetting, too.

Special mention must be made of Collette Wolfe, who played the mourning student Sock had his eye on, simply for reminding me to call out the movie Observe and Report for being a piece of shit, and how Ms. Wolfe was the only good thing about the Seth Rogen misfire that mistakes pathetic for funny, just like she’s the only real good thing (other than the final “dick-shit” monologue) in director Jody Hill’s earlier film The Foot Fist Way. BAM!

The Wife:

You know, for someone whose mother has been married four times, you would think Serena would know the ins and outs of the marriage process, but in this episode, I learned that she’s really stupid. Too stupid to get into Yale on her own merits and certainly too stupid to get into Brown. As funny as this comedy of errors Seder was, it was never really dramatic because the tension upon which it was built was actually non-existent. And I knew it, and I can only hope that other viewers knew it, too. Just because you get drunk in a foreign country and wake up a priest and ask to be married doesn’t mean you’re married. You have to get a license for that, and the signed license makes it real and legal, not whatever some dude says in a church or synagogue or whatever. And because Serena is too dumb to figure out simple process analysis (having been at, like, at least one of her mom’s marriages), she ruins Cyrus and Eleanor’s first Seder though a series of lies and entanglements.

1. Thinking she’s married, she calls Cyrus for legal advice on a quickie annulment.

2. Dan, taking a catering job to help pay for college without his dad’s knowledge, overhears, as he is playing cater waiter at this very Seder.

3. When Lily and Rufus show up for Seder, Serena pretends she came because Blair invited her, which Eleanor thinks is really weird because Blair made it absolutely clear she’d be off doing her own Blair shit. (Which was an actual plot, and thus will be discussed later.)

4. Gabriel shows up unannounced at the Seder, and Serena pretends that Dan is her boyfriend and the reason she left Spain unexpectedly. She has really got to stop using Dan as a relationship crutch. It’s just confusing and, actually, kind of mean to Dan. Serena and Dan spend the rest of the dinner pretending their together, leading Eleanor to think that Dan is officially the worst cater waiter in the world, and also making Rufus and Lily question their children’s involvement. My favorite bit about this ridiculous detail was that Gossip Girl announced Gabriel’s arrival with a rallying cry of “Baruch ha ta ai dios mio!” If my husband ever decides to become more Jewish than he is and I ever have to host a Seder, I’m totally starting it by saying that. Best. Thing. Ever.

Dan! Look cool! I might be married to this guy, but am probably not.

Dan! Look cool! I might be married to this guy, but am probably not.

5. After much confusion at what was either the best or worst Seder ever, Serena tells everyone that she was pretending to be Dan’s girlfriend so that Rufus wouldn’t find out he was playing cater waiter.

6. Lily calls Serena on her shit for ruining the Seder: “You could have thrown in a couple of boys from the lacrosse team and it would have been the Constance mother-daughter luncheon all over again.” And then tells Serena she got into Brown. Surrrre she did.

7. Rufus makes an art sale during Seder dinner and then announces that he’s going to sell the gallery, thus Dan doesn’t have to be a cater waiter anymore. You know, unless Dan wants to work and earn his own money and have honest life experiences that he can write about. Because those totally aren’t useful, like, at all.

8. After dinner, Gabriel tells Serena they’re not married. Which was totally moot at this point because there was no way they could have been. Thus, nothing actually happened except Serena totally ruining Passover. (Although, gentile Eleanor helped, too, by continually seating guests in the empty chair left for Elijah, which is, for the record, inconceivable! Haha! Yes! Wallace Shawn is back and I can make Princess Bride jokes!)

In Blair Land, she’s continuing to have major anxieties and actual real problems by losing her spot at Yale. I love that these anxieties express themselves as dreams about Eliza Doolittle, because they’re supremely entertaining to me. She is instead spending all of her time fawning over Nate, who asks her to meet him at Cousin Tripp’s rehearsal dinner because he has a surprise for her. She believes that the surprise will be her admission to the Jr. Committee at the Whitney, as her new non-collegiate avenue of choice is to become a professional socialite, doing charity work and other such things that make the rich and bored feel good about themselves. But when she arrives, Nate’s surprise is his admission to Columbia, which is only made worse when Tripp’s bride-to-be tells Blair that she was rejected from the Whitney committee. Grandpa Vanderbildt sidles up to Blair and convinces her to get Nate’s ear by offering her a position on the Whitney committee, as well as a bridesmaid’s position in Tripp’s wedding if she can get him to stay Yale-bound.

That Gramps Vanderbildt is smoove!

That Gramps Vanderbildt is smoove!

But Blair ultimately fails at this endeavor, as Nate stands up to toast at Tripp’s rehearsal dinner to announce that Gramps Vanderbildt was the man who had the Captain investigated. Gramps Vanderbildt tells Nate after his outburst that he only turned the Captain in after personally confronting him and giving him a chance to change, in the interest of preserving Nate’s family. But the Captain refused, thus sealing his fate. Nate, however, is tired of lying, and he wonders aloud why Gramps never mentioned this before. Seeing how tired Nate is of lies, Gramps tells his prodigal grandson about what’s been going on with Blair. Nate then turns on her and refuses to hear any explanation she may have. This right here is probably Nate’s best line ever, so revel in it:

“You sold me out for a picture in the style section.”

Post confrontation, Blair finds her way back to Serena for some much-needed girl bonding time, while Nate makes his way back to his best friend Chuck, who was having a strange feud with Jenny during this episode as well as repeat sex with a Russian ballerina (and as Chuck Bass does not repeat sexual partners, this was a very disappointing revelation for him). Chuck tells Nate that he’s a fool to want Blair to be anything other than she is, and so he shows up at Chez Waldorf. Blair heads downstairs to apologize to Cyrus for missing the Seder and to accept his offer to help her get into NYU. How much do I love Wallace Shawn? This much:

Blair: Can you forgive me?
Cyrus: That’s why God invented Yom Kippur.

Word. From around the corner, Nate muses that it looks like he and Blair will both be in NYC next year, and the two share apologies for being dicks toward each other. Hugs and kisses all around. As usual, I’d much rather have Blair with Chuck, but that time will come. I know it will. And when it does, it will be glorious.

Also, Gabriel is still with Poppy and they may be playing some mean dirty trick on Serena. And I don’t care.

Other funny:

  • I may have hated the genesis (Husband Note: or “exodus,” nyuk nyuk nyuk…) for that comedy of errors at the Seder table, but I was pretty amused by it. I just really hate Serena and her problems that aren’t actually problems ever at all. (Remember when she killed that guy, but actually didn’t kill him at all? Yeah, like that.)
  • “Last night’s entertainment. She’s a synchronized swimmer. She can hold her breath for 5 minutes.” – Chuck
  • “No, I’m furious. First, you trash the apartment. Then you run away to Spain.” – Lily, who should be thankful that her daughter runs away to places with such culture! And not to some trashy model’s apartment like where Jenny ran away to!
  • “You’re the wife of the landed gentry and I’m a cater waiter at a Seder.” – Dan, who should become a children’s book author if all else fails, because although he clearly didn’t think about the obviously legality issue of Serena’s marriage, either, he sure can rhyme good! I am poetry!

The Husband:

To be fair, the show doesn’t expect us to know anything about how marriage is done in Spain, or if it’s done differently in different regions of the country. A tiny bit of research would show that, yes, you need to do a whole lot more than say “Si” to a priest, and it’s along the same lines as the marriage process in any Western first world country.

Hell, maybe she did, in fact, sign something, but was too drunk to remember. I can find no info in regards to marriage under-the-influence rules in Spain, but if my recent viewing of the film Donkey Punch is any indication, laws are kind of screwy in that thar España.

But since the show is pretending that we know nothing about Spanish marriage laws, it’s not a mean trick Gabriel and Poppy are playing on Serena – they are, as I proclaimed way before the final scene, trying to embezzle a fuckload of money out of Serena and her ridiculously rich divorcée/widow of a mother, which would indicate that Serena and Gabriel are, in fact, married. And as the season is coming to a close, and the creators were talking about doing a Anne Hathaway-inspired story about a boyfriend embezzling money for the end of the season, which would in turn bring back Michelle Trachtenberg’s Georgina to take care of the mess (after, you know, trying to ruin 17 Again), then I think we’re going to have to stay in the GG fantasy world of unlawful-but-lawful marriages. (Wife’s Note: By the way, embezzlement is definitely a mean trick in my book.)

Fuckin’ Armie Hammer.

The last few episodes have been a blast to watch as far as entertainment quotient is concerned, but I’m starting to drift away from these characters emotionally. Why? I think that, right now, the stakes aren’t high enough, and right now we’re mostly watching rich people having minor problems that could be easily fixed. The show works best, in my opinion, when it really backs its characters up against the wall until they do something either extremely cunning or terribly…terrible. Even Chuck is just kind of dicking around being all mopey and lovestruck. (And goddamn it, Jenny, don’t end your episode’s story by making googly-eyes at the man who tried to rape you when you were 14. I’m not sure if I’m interested in you and Blair competing for the same man.)

And yeah. What were Jenny and her lab partner doing at the Hump Der Woodsen home?

The Wife:

Sadly, Armie Hammer was back on Reaper this week, but Morgan was utilized so well that I wasn’t totally in hate with Monsieur Hammer’s typical scenery-chewing. (I don’t mean that in the Pacino way that he acts big; I mean his teeth are so white and gleaming that whenever he talks it looks like he’s eating the world around him.) He pops up to pay little brother Sam to catch a soul for him so that he’ll look good for daddy, something Sam ultimately screws up because he, Sock and Ben taking a shining to the soul, a young kid like themselves who, sadly, died a virgin. Poor Billy was hit by a truck whilst being “covetous” of an older woman, and that was enough to damn him to hell. His entire mission post-escape is simply to be with the woman he’d died while coveting, now a divorcée. And so the boys agree to let him lose his virginity before they send him back to hell, helping him meet and hook up with the girl of his dreams.

But once Sam sees how happy Billy is with his older girlfriend, Sam talks the whole situation over with his Corpsicle Dad (who is totally happy to hang out in a freezer in the garage and appear to give fatherly advice where needed) and is inspired to try and capture another part of Billy and send that back to hell in his place. The gang heads out to dig up Billy’s corpse and peg it with the vessel (a very enticing red rubber dodgeball), which seems to work . . . only to find out that it doesn’t at all when the vessel gets rejected at the DMV. Morgan is furious with Sam for trying to pull the wool over his eyes and warns his little, less evil brother never to fleece him again. You know who else is furious? The Devil, who shows his displeasure with Sam by mentally hurling boxes from the Work Bench warehouse at him. Dodgebox, by the way, is way harder than dodgeball.

The Devil sends something called The Ender out to capture Billy, which will destroy his soul in a terrible and excruciating way. When Sam comes to warn Billy of this, he learns that Billy hasn’t actually had sex yet, and so Sam et al try to ward off The Ender for a little bit so Billy can achieve his goal before he dies. But as The Ender, a Death Eather-like figure, rises from the ground and zaps his way through doors and tables, he suddenly stops outside of Billy’s room and leaves. Ben’s theory? When Billy and his girlfriend consummated their relationship, because they were truly in love, their two souls became one, thus turning The Ender off Billy’s scent and saving his post-life . . . until Morgan comes around and beans Billy with another dodgeball, sending the newly devirginized soul straight back where it came from. Thus endeth another round of “Sam Tries to Beat The Devil and Fails.”

Thatll teach you to fuck with me and my giant suits!

That'll teach you to fuck with me and my giant suits!

That ending, btw, was a surprise, even though I should have known that The Devil always wins. Also a surprise? The fact that this show is actually getting rid of Kristen, thus ending the worst subplot ever! I had thought they weren’t going to when I noted at the beginning of the episode that the parents of Sock and Kristen had decided to move out of the house and get their own place (because that’s what one does when Washington State has a budget crisis; buy a second home and allow your son, daughter and their friends, rabbits and Corpsicle dads to live in your old home for free), thus allowing Sock to bring Kristen shower coffee and so on, only to have her resist again because, well, their parents could come visit anytime, thus making shower coffee no longer okay. Sock made an attempt during family portrait day to ingratiate himself to his stepdad, in the hopes that he’d officially let Sock date his stepsister . . . all of which goes horribly, horribly wrong when Sock grows so angry with his stepdad’s assertion that he is clownlike and not good enough for Kristen on their flyfishing trip that he decides, in no uncertain language, to admit that he’s been fucking his sister. Cue beating with fishing rods and Sock swimming away in the very cold waters of what I assume is Lake Washington. And after all this, Kristen is done with hotel and restaurant management school, so she’s going back to Japan, anyway, and has apparently learned things about herself from fucking her stepbrother. I’m just glad this plot is over, because it was excruciating and horrible to watch. And here this whole episode, I thought I was going to have to endure more of it. Thank you, surprise, contrived-as-hell ending!

As always this season, Ben and Nina are my favorite part of the show and to celebrate their very special two month anniversary (Nina: “Wow, two months ago I kidnapped you and forced you to be my boyfriend!”), Nina wants to share with Ben something very special to her – flying, which is very different than reverse cowgirl. I know my husband was surprised to hear a joke about a sexual position in an 8 p.m. primetime timeslot, but I think that joke was totally necessary to set up this very cheeky subversion of paradigms. There’s something truly great about Ben expecting that Nina wants to try a new sexual position, but actually proposing something far more extreme, something, in fact, that sensitive Ben is actually kind of afraid to do. I mean, it’s not like she asked him to eat a live llama with him, but there needed to be some resistance on Ben’s part to Nina’s demonness, and flying is that thing. While playing wingman for Billy, Ben meets a psychotherapist who helps him overcome his fear (and hits on him quite a bit), and so he returns to Nina ready to fully love himself and thus receive love (as if flying were the ultimate form of intimacy between a man and a demon). He comes to her with a “vision board” to remind him of why he’s awesome (my favorite bit of this is that he thinks he has great hair), and tells her he’s ready to fly with her, but when the time comes, he chickens out a little bit because he is, actually, just really afraid of flying. So, just like she did two months prior, she kidnaps him and forces him to work through his fear by actually flying with her. Pretty sweet, if you ask me, especially because he ends up totally loving it.

Next week, I look forward to getting back into the mytharc of this season as Sam and Andi chase down Allen Townsend, whom they encountered watching over Billy’s grave at episode’s end. I will take more of that over Kristen any day.

Other funny:

  • “I’m too upset for clothes, man.” – Sock
  • By the way, what the fuck are Tyler Labine’s tattoos? That one on his arm is crazy-looking!
  • “You know, in the old days, I used to get the souls who ate shrimp. You can imagine how unsatisfying that was.” – The Devil
  • “Eternity is such a long time for no pie.” – Billy, best double entendre ever
  • “This time there is no covet. There’s only love-it.” – Billy
  • The actor who played Billy, by the way, is Jake Sandvig, who has done some time on Veronica Mars, even though I, as usual, don’t remember him. (At least it wasn’t in that football episode I really don’t remember!) I liked him a lot in this role, and I will definitely remember him now. He was cute!
  • “I decorated with human furniture!” – Nina
  • Ben: Tomorrow night, for our special anniversary, you and me, we’re flying to the moon.
    Nina: Oh, baby . . . you would suffocate and freeze before we got there.

The Husband:

Perhaps you might know actor Jake Sandvig better from his role in Sky High as Lash, the bully with the Mr. Fantastic/Stretch Armstrong abilities. He was paired up with Speed, the large speedster played by young Will Harris, an actor who just happened to be in the USC production of Bat Boy: The Musical directed by my sister in the fall of 2005.


The Wife:

There is only one word for this episode of Reaper: delightful. From the tip-of-the-hat-to-Joss-Whedon wire work in the scenes with the vampire to the mélange of shots reminiscent of Steve Guttenberg’s tour de force Three Men & a Baby to the return of Ken Marino, everything about this episode was delightful. So delightful, in fact, that I’m going to just pretend that Sock’s continued lusting after his sister as she sang karaoke (for no reason other than that she’s Asian and has a pretty voice, I guess) didn’t happen. (Although the end of that plot where he takes her to play racquetball to get out his aggression was pretty worth it.)

When the guys get saddled with a baby after killing its mom (who escaped hell to she could have an IBO – an intentional birth out of hell – because, let’s face it, the schools are better here), Tony shows up and is all about adopting the child, the child he and Steve never got to adopt.

“After Steve I’m gonna call her Stevi!”

“Uh, I already named her Magnum P.I.”

Now, this makes that baby super cool because we share a name. In fact, my coworker also expressed his delight at tiny versions of myself with the following text message:

“Hehe! Lil’ Stevi!”

However, I will point out that when you’re a girl with a somewhat unusual name, it is really weird to hear your name said and have it be referring to someone else. I can only think of two real-life female Stevies who are famous (ruiner of Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks and suicidal poet Stevie Smith), and two other fictional female Stevies (Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character in The Machinist, who is a prostitute, and the lead female character in Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which is a really inappropriate play to see on your anniversary, by the way). So to hear my name is always rather striking.

The Devil, however, is not nearly as amused by Lil’ Stevi’s existence in the human world as I am and he demands that Sam send her back to Hell. Let me tell you something, kids. No parent ever wants to come home and find three dudes hovering over your adorable little baby with a stake. It definitely brings out the demon in Tony, and I’m sure it would turn any non-demon parent into a screaming banshee. Ben comes up with an excellent solution to the sending-Stevi-to-Hell problem: if she’s baptized, The Devil won’t want her.

But in order to baptize Lil’ Stevi, Sam and Andi need to stand in as her parents (because Tony will burst into flames if he sets foot on consecrated ground). Andi, however, is not so keen to do this after Armie Hammer showed up to ruin her relationship by telling her that Sam is the son of The Devil. But Andi goes along with it, with some urging from Tony to realize that even though he’s the son of The Devil, Sam is a good guy. The Devil is not about to let the guys go through with this plan, though, and he wheels that baby carriage out of the church like it’s Baby’s Day Out and nearly dumps poor Lil’ Stevi into a hell portal, but Sam gets there just in time to pull her out and tries to convince The Devil that if Stevi is destined for evil, he should let her stay on Earth where her corrupting influence can help bring Satan thousands of other souls. I mean, just imagine how many people she could screw up if she became a therapist. Or even a teacher! Reluctantly, The Devil agrees, but only to prove Sam wrong about himself, because if Stevi doesn’t deny her evil nature, Sam will have to give into his, as well.

There was also some good stuff with Sam’s dad in this episode, from the reactions to introducing Zombie Dad to Sock and Ben, to Sam questioning his true parentage (which, if it is The Devil, Zombie Dad is not allowed to confirm or deny) and a nice parallel between Sam’s care and concern for Lil’ Stevi and his dad’s reintroduction to the world. Because of his involvement with The Devil, Sam’s dad accuses him of shirking his family responsibilities, which eventually leads Sam to letting his dad live in a freezer in their garage. I’m glad Zombie Dad is back, and now I’m really curious as to how he’ll fit into the dynamic of everyone living at Sock’s house. It’s really only a matter of time before Kristen wanders into the garage . . .

Other good stuff:

  • “Looking sharp, Buffy, looking sharp!” – The Devil, in re: Sam’s stake
  • “Nobody’s gonna wanna breastfeed a fang baby!” – Sock
  • “You mustn’t allow yourself to be fooled by its pudgy cuteness, the kid is a bad seed.” – The Devil

Also, let me just say that Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of my favorite songs ever written, but I never, ever want to hear it sung karaoke, not even if it’s by someone as cute as Kristen. And especially not if it’s sung by Jason Castro.

The Wife:

Of all the things that happened in tonight’s episode, the most shocking for me is the following: Gossip Girl is going away until nearly the end of April? What? Why? Granted, it frees up my Monday TV schedule a little bit, but this show just came back. CW, I do not understand your programming decisions. First you cancel Veronica Mars, now this? (Why no, I am not at all bitter about the lack of VMars in my life. Not at all.)

Like every good episode of Gossip Girl (or, I should say, like every Gossip Girl-y episode of Gossip Girl), the plot culminates in a party. Jenny’s super sweet 16 to be exact. After running into Poppy Lipton, who has suddenly transformed into a 45-year-old artist since last we saw her if that haircut is to be believed, Serena realizes she needs to get back into the social scene and uses Jenny’s birthday as a way to do it. But Jenny isn’t a monster anymore and doesn’t want to have a birthday party that will be featured on Page Six or any MTV docuseries that might be called My Super Sweet 16. All Jenny wants is to hang out with her extended family, play boardgames and eat her dad’s chili. But make no mistake: she will wear a fabulous dress while doing all of that. So Lily and Serena cancel the party, only for Serena to put the party back on when she finds out that Penelope is having a party the same day. An unseen war-of-the-parties rages, with every posh face from Constance putting in their requisite appearance at Jenny’s birthday party. Jenny is less than thrilled, especially because no one at the party seems to know it’s thrown in her honor for her birthday, as it appears more like the Serena-and-Poppy show. Jenny resorts to doing the only thing she knows how to do and posts the party on Gossip Girl, ruining Serena’s tasteful society affair with passed hors d’oeuvres by filling it full of drunken teenage party crashers, two of whom have sex in Serena’s bed. The party then gets broken up by the cops, which, by Isla Vista standards, is how you know it’s a good party!

I am rolling my eyes at all of you right now.

I am rolling my eyes at all of you right now.

Also ruining the party? The strange tension between the warring Chuck/Vanessa and Blair/Nate factions as each half of the fractured couples set out to make the other jealous. Although Blair is dismayed that Nate only wants to be friends with her, she still parades her possession of him around like a prize, which angers her ex-lover Chuck and confuses the hell out of Vanessa, who technically wasn’t broken up with Nate until halfway through this episode. And how does Blair know that Nate doesn’t love her in the same way he used to, despite all of her attempts to convince herself that he is now her destiny?:

“He kissed me. On the forehead. Like Chevalier kissed Gigi. Like he was a man and I was a little girl.”

I’ve got to say that Blair really creeped me out in this episode, mooning over someone who wasn’t at all right for her just because she desperately needs to feel whole in her downward, awkward spiral. I don’t like a Blair so pathetic that she delivers all of her lines as though she’s Leslie Caron (who is a great dancer, but, let’s face it, not much of an actress). Though Blair compares herself to Gigi in this episode and does deliver her lines like a young girl, I’d go a step further and compare her to another Leslie Caron character, Lili in Bob Merrill’s Carnival (or, as you might know it, the movie Lili). Lili is a young girl orphaned and brought to the circus, where she evidently doesn’t know puppets aren’t real. As she grows closer to the puppets, she doesn’t even begin to realize that the cruel Mr. Paul the Puppeteer is the man behind them who makes her feel so loved. You see, Mr. Paul is mean to her when he isn’t a puppet. He’s a mean man in general, but he secretly loves Lili, which is creepy because I’m pretty sure she’s 13 and slightly retarded. Look, kids, I’ve been in that show and I know that script and it just doesn’t make sense if Lili isn’t slightly mentally deficient. I mean, in Gigi, Caron’s character is largely just naïve about becoming a whore and needs to be groomed in womanly ways by her Aunt Alicia (Agnes Moorehead’s role, which I’ve played). There was a blankness of expression and thought in these line readings that totally reminded me of the way Lili is written. It’s different than Gigi’s naïveté, which is what I think Leighton Meester was trying to convey; it really came across as mildly delusional. More Lili than Gigi. It was a good character choice, but it caught me very, very off-guard. I want my old Blair back. And maybe I’ll get her back once she learns that Vanessa totally bedded down with Chuck Bass.

Less integral to the party-plots is the plight of the Humphrey family. Dan is all ready to head off to Yale and, what’s more, he’s received a fan letter in regards to a story he’s had published. Daddy Rufus encourages Dan to write back to his fan and give him some writerly guidance, but he’s secretly concerned with the financial aid information Dan has just received from Yale: with colleges so impacted during these tough economic times, less financial aid is available and so young Humphrey gets none. In discussing this with Lily, she suggests that, barring acceptance of actual Bass Der Woodsen funds to fund Dan’s collegiate journey, Rufus should sell his sweetles Brooklyn loft and move in with her. Unbeknownst to his children, he takes the initial steps to do this and a confrontation in regards to the matter arises in the aftermath of Jenny’s party, where Dan reveals he took a call from the realtor.

I absolutely believe that Rufus selling the loft would be in his children’s best interest as far as providing college funds for Yale-bound Dan and Parsons-bound Jenny, but there are definitely less dramatic ways to get financial aid. First of all, FAFSA deadline is June 1st so there’s plenty of time to fill that out. Dan could also apply for work-study. Dan could also apply for one of the hundreds of thousands of privately-funded scholarships available in the New York City area and nationwide. Speaking of which, wouldn’t creating a scholarship in the name of her deceased husband and encouraging Dan to apply for it be a great way for Lily to help her boyfriend’s son AND get a giant tax write-off? It could be the Bart and Lily Bass Foundation Scholarship for Young Artists or something, and they could give funds to artists who work in different mediums (playwrights, poets, novelists, sculptors, painters, photographers, dance, acting, etc.). What the fuck is Lily doing these days, anyway? I’m sure she could take some time to do some fundraising so that artistically minded kids can go to college. Just a thought, Gossip Girl writers. I mean, if the recession is hitting Gossip Girl so hard that Dan Humphrey can’t get an ounce of financial aid from Yale, shouldn’t its wealthier denizens do something to alleviate that problem?

Oh, and that fan letter? That’s from Dan’s half-brother, the missing Bass Der Woodsen. “Andrew” is “dead,” but Scott is definitely alive. On encouragement from Rufus, Dan gives his fan a call, and the minute Scott’s parents see his cell phone light up with a Brooklyn number, they go into panic mode, asking one of the best questions I’ve heard on TV in a long time:

“How do you delete an incoming call?”

This scene was hilarious, perhaps unintentionally, especially with the actress playing Scott’s mom screeching out a shocked, “HE KNOWS!” when she sees the Brooklyn number. As though that was the only Brooklyn number that would have called Scott. Not like it could have been a wrong number or anything or a telemarketer. Nope. A number from Brooklyn automatically means it’s the son of the person you stole a son from. Tres dramatic!

And, in a final note, Armie Hammer showed up this week to accompany Serena and Poppy on their impromptu trip to Spain, which is how Serena deals with getting blamed for Jenny’s party becoming such a clusterfuck. Apparently, he’s been on the show before as one of the businessmen that Georgina and Serena swindled at a bar last season, but I’m willing to bet we’ve never actually seen his face. I think Mr. Hammer really sucks on Reaper, but in his few lines on Gossip Girl I feel like he’s better cast here. The intrinsic smarminess works a bit better. And he’s got gigolo hair, which is way better than his Wall Street hair on Reaper. We’ll see how he does on the Spanish adventure when Gossip Girl decides to return in April.

Some other random things:

  • I’m kind of in love with Blair’s purple cloche.
  • I am also kind of in love with her periwinkle sweater and pink tweed skirt.

  • Kelly Rutherford has the shiniest, prettiest maternity tops I’ve ever seen on TV. Her best pregnancy cover-up in this episode? A strategically placed knee.

  • Eric also got a bad haircut, but nothing is as bad as giving Poppy Eve Ensler’s hair, which doesn’t even look good on Eve Ensler.

  • I’m sorry, Gossip Girl universe, but NO ONE takes clothes off the mannequins. If someone from corporate walked by, that store would be screwed.

  • Poppy’s party shirt just contributed to her reincarnation as a middle-aged woman. Beige? With bobbles? Ugh. Hideous.
    Truly, this is the worst article of clothing Ive ever seen on this show.

    Truly, this is the worst article of clothing I've ever seen on this show.

  • The Humphrey family crockpot looks like a trashcan. As a result, I was really concerned as to why Dan would bring board games AND trash to his sister’s Sweet 16.

  • Pretty sure Vanessa’s purple party dress is the cheapest-looking thing I’ve ever seen on this show. Did they rustle that shit up at Forever 21?