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 Husband:

My Name Is Earl 4.17 “Friends With Benefits”

Now that Darnell and Joy are in the Witness Protection Program, Earl and Randy move back into their old trailer, where they are joyous to discover that Mr. Turtle has returned after being lost so many episodes ago. But where did he go? According to the narration, he escaped “from pet-loving nudists, participated in a marathon, got into a little trouble with drugs and alcohol, then he saw some things he shouldn’t have seen, and even took a lover for a few days.”

Earl wants to send Mr. Turtle to wherever Darnell is now, but his plans to simply ship him over is blocked by Catalina.

“You can’t just ship a turtle, Earl. It’s not like a vase or a person.”

But soon Earl notices that, inside Mr. Turtle’s food canister, is a special note in case they ever found Mr. Turtle, a note to call Darnell on his secret hair phone. Making contact, Earl decides to visit the newly minted Cristals (I didn’t catch what Darnell’s new first name was), only to be surprised to find them in a very sunny, very rich place.

But Joy, with all of her trailer park-ness ingrained in her, cannot seem to fit in amongst the rich trophy wife neighbors (Morgan Fairchild, Andrea Parker, Joan Van Ark), and especially cannot relate to their problems. It seems that they feel their lives are empty, and that is forming into terrible insomnia for each and every one of the women.

Joy, afraid that having Earl around will blow her cover and expose her “white trash” nature, she tries to get him out of town, but as he turns on his car, the backfire exhaust temporarily blinds Morgan Fairchild’s dog, but instead of getting blamed for it, Fairchild takes her tiny dog back from Earl (the dog’s name, of course, is Gucci) and becomes fascinated with his seemingly New Age way of dealing with life – karma and something intriguing called “The List.”

Earl, as a result, pretends to be Joy’s former spiritual guide, and imparts his “do good things for others” on the trophy wives, who find their lives slowly becoming better. This includes apologizing to all those who they did wrong, including their maids.

“The boys kept crying for brown mommy.” – Morgan Fairchild

Earl begins to freak out when he accidentally promises them that all their good karma will bring them all their wishes (including a private jet and new fake breasts), but all that changes when the women, conscious cleared, finally get the good night’s sleep they had been craving.

Meanwhile, with Earl gone, Randy is befriended by a burly guy (Eric Allan Kramer, Little John from one of my favorite 90s comedies, Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights) who mistakes Randy’s Earl-longing as a broken heart over an ex-lover, and that Randy is gay. Randy agrees to have sleepovers with the man, unaware of the guy’s true intentions, leading to some silly sitcom nonsense, until Earl comes back and Randy ignorantly shuns his “lover.”

While the Randy plot was pretty unfunny and predictable, I really liked seeing Earl out of his element once again amongst the trophy wives, and thought Joy showed some marvelous depth this week as she tried to work through her childhood issues of being poor amongst the rich kids at school. The Witness Protection Program is really softening this woman, and while I would have loved to see her kids appear simply to discover how the new location has affected them, I feel as if I was rewarded well enough.

The Office 5.14 “Lecture Circuit Part 2”

Starting with what I believe is The Office’s first “Previously On” cold opening, we pick up where we left off last week, with Michael and Pam on a Dunder Mifflin lecture circuit, canceling one appearance so they can go to Nashua, NH in order for Michael go to see his former lover Holly. Arriving there, Michael learns three things, one disappointing and two horrible:

1.) Holly is gone for the next three days on an HR retreat

2.) She has a new boyfriend

3.) Her boyfriend, Rob Huebel, is a coworker

Michael attempts to do his presentation – with a very bizarre opening joke that references that priest in The Princess Bride who had the speech impediment – but he overtakes it with several inappropriate questions aimed directly at Huebel, finally leading to him completely losing it and leaving the room. Pam, trying to save face, takes over the presentation, which is both easy and humiliating as Michael actually writes down all the stupid impersonations he will use (i.e. Forrest Gump) on flashcards.

Pam gives a good first impression.

Pam gives a good first impression.

While Pam finishes the presentation, Michael goes to Holly’s desk, cuts a sleeve off of the sweater she left, and when he accidentally bumps into her computer and smiles as he sees her Ed Grimley wallpaper, he notices a document titled “Dear Michael,” which he quickly puts on his flash drive.

At a nearby diner, Michael tells Pam of his theft, and she tells him that while him reading the unsent document would be an invasion of Holly’s privacy, she tries to make him feel better by offering that she read it instead. A few minutes later, all Pam tells Michael is that…dun dun duuuuun…Holly isn’t completely over Michael. Whether or not Pam is being honest or not to Michael isn’t revealed (not that I can tell, anyway), but it’s intriguing nonetheless. It’s a downer ending to an episode, though, and while I’m quite aware this show deals with very sad and relatable ideas, I’m always taken aback by a story so depressing and humiliating. It’s a rough show, to say the least.

Back in Scranton, Dwight and Jim continue to try to throw Kelly the best birthday party ever, but as usual their polar opposite personalities get in the way of any progress. An example would be all the ideas Dwight had for a birthday party, which are as follows:

  • Beer
  • Fights to the death
  • Cupcakes
  • Blood pudding
  • Blood
  • Touch football
  • Mating
  • Charades
  • Horse hunting

Under intense pressure (and a very sad Kelly), they finally do something creative and present her, finally, with a cake that actually has her name on it (while they misspell it as “Kelley,” at least it has writing on it this time) and a tiny chiclet on it, which apparently represents a choice for her special birthday present: either she can watch TV at work for one hour, or take a one-hour nap. She chooses the latter, and is very happy that they worked so hard to please her.

In a rare C-story, Angela has bought a new cat for $7000 (its mother was in Meet The Parents), and sets up a webcam at her house connected to her work computer to monitor its interaction with her other cats.

Cats make everything funnier.

Cats make everything funnier.

“[$7000] for a cat? I could get you a kid for that.” – Creed

But Oscar and Kevin notice some strange sounds coming from Angela’s computer and find that her new cat is getting all kinds of raped by her other cats. Aghast, Angela goes home (forgetting to turn off the streaming video), and as Oscar and Kevin look on, she starts cleaning her cats with her tongue all over (stranger parts implied, too). Oscar is forever scarred, wondering what kind of psychological damage was inflicted upon Angela at such a young age to make her such a bizarre cat-lover and person-hater.

Other bits from the episode:

  • We learn that Kelly was in juvie from age 14-15 for stealing a boat
  • “Stop. Forever stop that story.” – Jim to Dwight re: the story of his birth (complete with his mother biting his umbilical cord)

The Wife:

Kath & Kim 1.14 “Celebrity”

For once in its entire run, Kath & Kim managed to create a memorable episode highlighting the absolute absurdity that this show should have always been striving to achieve. Kath moonlights as a makeup artist and hair/wig stylist for the local community theatre organization, which is apparently the closest she’s ever gotten to achieving her dream of performing on “the American stage.” The theatre troupe’s resident diva, Lenore, played by guest star Jennifer Coolidge, who is never bad in anything ever, scores every choice role, from Lady Macbeth (she later performs an impromptu rendition of the “Out, damned spot!” scene at Sandwich Island, which is hilarious because its truly, truly terrible) to Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Speaking of Cats, the tackiest musical ever made, that’s what the next play will be and Kath is desperate to play Grizabella and sing that one obnoxious Andrew Lloyd Weber song admired by every first grader in Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl and notably ruined by American Idol‘s Jason Castro who, to wit, “didn’t even know that song was sung by a cat.” Lenore informs Kath that she also plans to “audition” for Grizabella, which means she will get the role.

Phil encourages Kath to audition, despite Lenore’s threat, sending her once again to Athena Scooberman (Maya Rudolph) for advice on how to prepare for her audition. Not only is Athena a certified life coach, but she’s also a vocal and acting coach and she sets Kath on the proper path to scoring the role of Grizabella. And how does Athena help her prepare for the role? By having an entire conversation as a cat. Like, full-on hisses and meows and claw swiping and snarls. You want to know how to win my heart? Have two grown women do nothing for a full 60 seconds but make cat noises. So weird, and so transcendently funny. I mean, who hasn’t done this? Right? Right?

Because of Kath’s rigorous training schedule, she has no time to deal with Kim and her desire to buy expensive kitchen gadgets (like an ice cream maker which, she rationalizes, will actually end up saving them money because then Kath won’t have to buy Kim ice cream all the time), and tells Kim to buy it herself. Kim scoffs at this because, feh, like, she doesn’t have a job and Phil, sensing an opportunity to win points with his soon-to-be-step-daughter offers Kim a position at Sandwich Island. Phil and Kath are dubious about how this will turn out, considering Kim’s natural predilection for laziness, but on the job, her natural bitchery wins out over her laziness and she becomes extremely proficient at getting the other Sandwich Island employees to do their jobs better and more efficiently. (Technically, this means she’s still not doing much, but hey, doesn’t that just mean she was born to be in management?)

Seeing Kim at work and in uniform really turns Craig on, as he harbors a pretty intense fantasy about women in uniform, and eventually, he coerces his estranged wife to fool around with him behind a dumpster in the parking lot . . . which just happens to be on Sandwich Island’s dumpster cam. Catching Kim wrapped around Craig is too much for Phil to bear, and he forces her to turn in her sullied apron.

At Kath’s Cats audition, she can barely make it through “I Enjoy Being a Girl” because Lenore keeps giving her a death glare from the front row. Athena and Phil tag along for moral support and after watching Kath falter a few times, Athena stands up and lends her voice to boost Kath’s, eventually joining her on stage, which also encourages Phil to join in, ending with the trio performing the song as the lighting guy puts the spot on them and the pyrotechnics go off. Again, a foray into the ridiculous that totally served this episode well, especially because of Athena’s extreme showboating when she makes her way to the stage.

As a result of this rousing audition, Athena, Kath and Phil all get roles in the chorus of Cats leading to yet another sublime scene in which they discuss being in the play whilst in cat costumes, and even Phil offering Kim her job back . . . while still in his costume and makeup. Truly, truly sublime. I mean like SNL‘s Bobby Moynihan as Snagglepuss sublime. I wish every episode of Kath & Kim were as awesomely ludicrous and neatly structured as this one.

Jellicle songs for jellicle cats!

Jellicle songs for jellicle cats!

I’m going to go ahead and say it: everything bad can be improved by the addition of cat costumes.

30 Rock 3.11 “St. Valentine’s Day”

In case you were unaware, this Saturday is Valentine’s Day, a holiday Jack Donaghy would approve of in that it has no value other than to make people buy expensive gifts, fill restaurants to capacity and substitute a commodified idea of “love” for actual love. Or is it? Elisa doesn’t seem to think so, insisting that she and Jack to go church for Saint Valentine’s Day before they do any of the things he wants to do, like going to Plunder, New York’s most opulent restaurant, and having a fine meal, capped off with the most expensive dessert in the world (all I remember is that its topped with edible 24 karat gold) and then to go home and have naughty playtime with Elisa’s giant breasts.

“You’re not one of those convenient Catholics that only goes to church every Sunday?” –Elisa

Meanwhile, Liz inadvertently makes Valentine’s Day her first date with Dr. Drew Baird. (He would have liked to take her out on Friday the 13th, but, you know, she’s got that stupid show . . . thing.) When she brings this up with Jack, he suggests that she avoid the V-Day awkwardness of restaurants filled with couples in love and rings hidden in pastries by having a nice dinner at home. (“Nice . . . you mean, like stew?”) Likewise, Liz suggests that Jack go to church with Elisa and then go out to Plunder so that they can both have their idea of a good Valentine’s Day.

At Liz’s house, she makes a nice stew for Jon Hamm (her secret? replace all the water with cheddar cheese), but then things start to go horribly awry as Liz’s boob falls out of her shirt and a loose door hinge combined with an open window cause him to accidentally see her peeing. Ever the gentlemen, Drew assures Liz that these things are fine with him, as he is a doctor, after all, but she starts to freak out because these are things that shouldn’t happen until the fourth date, or, like, ever, in the case of peeing. Drew suggests that they embrace this accelerated relationship and take it as a sign that if they get through all of these things in one night, then they can definitely make it as a couple. And it’s a good thing he made that call, actually, considering that his ex-wife decided to drop his adolescent daughter, Bethany, off at his place without any warning and he gets a call from his sister about his ailing mother, who is so unwell that she’s to the point where she could go at any moment. Liz is a trouper through all of this, taking the fall for Bethany’s drinking and escorting Drew to the hospital to see his mother. Liz even gets pulled further into the madness when Drew’s mom takes her aside and tells her that she doesn’t want to die without telling someone that she’s actually Drew’s grandmother and that his sister is actually his mother – you know, a total Bobby Darin situation. And then she dies. All of this has been a lot of Drew to bear, but he thanks Liz for being there throughout it, which bodes well for at least one more Jon Hamm-iriffic episode.

Even will everything that happened, Liz’s plot was pretty tame, though sweet, and all the craziness I’ve come to love about this show pour itself into Jack and Elisa’s church date. Throughout the mass, Jack can’t take his mind off eating that expensive and opulent dessert, secretly making a call to Jonathan while uttering the Lord’s prayer, which was hilarious to me, but irritating to Elisa. By the time the priest starts blessing all the pregnant women at the mass (the first three of which are all named Alvarez), Jack begs Elisa to leave so they won’t be late for their very-hard-to-get reservation. She agrees, but insists that Jack goes to confession first. He obliges, but asks the priest to merely keep him in the confessional for three minutes, after which time he will be set free and will go on to eat the most expensive dessert in the world and fondle Elisa’s breasts, but then the priest convinces Jack to discuss why capitalism is his god, launching Jack headfirst into a screed of his misdeeds, not the least of which was running his mother over with a car, maybe on purpose. The priest is terrified by Jack and flees the confessional. Elisa sees this and is enraged, thinking Jack purposely tormented the priest because he’s a godless asshole. She takes it as a sign from God that they shouldn’t be together and storms away, telling Jack that he will never again touch her breasts or get to see the crazy “underwears” she has on.

Jack goes on to eat his expensive dessert alone, which is sad because it just doesn’t taste as good without Elisa around. Heartbroken, he heads over to McDonald’s and orders himself a McFlurry, only to hear her pop up in line behind him and order the same thing. She found another sign while praying at church: a sign that told her she and Jack should be together, eating McFlurries, the world’s greatest dessert.

Elisa: Someone’s trying to bring us together. Maybe it’s God.
Jack: Maybe it’s Ray Kroch.
Elisa: Maybe it’s the Hamburglar.

And there’s a third romance, even, in this very sweet episode: Kenneth suddenly becomes smitten with the hot blind girl who now works at TGS, but he can’t seem to find the ability to talk to her (maybe he shouldn’t have had that mouth on his back sewn up?). Seeing how sexy “Ms. Magoo” is, Tracy steps in and plays Magical Negro Cyrano De Bergerac for Kenneth, speaking in an oddly high voice and helping him woo Jennifer by taking her for a “limo ride” around Manhattan and setting up dinner at the most exclusive restaurant in New York . . . in other words, Grizz and DotCom making the 30 Rock soundstage into a restaurant through clever use of auditory props. I really loved this tongue-in-cheek version of a “blind date” (it works on two levels!) and Tracy’s performance throughout. At the date’s end, though, Kenneth confesses that Tracy has been helping him the whole time and Jennifer is suddenly put off by the fact that Kenneth now sounds white. She still thinks, though, that they might have a chance at love, and so she asks to feel Kenneth’s face . . . after which she realizes that she’s way too hot for him and leaves.

Not the funniest episode, but very sweet and just madcap enough.

Some good quotes:

  • “This just feels right, and my instincts have never let me down. Except for looking at that eclipse.” – Jennifer “Sexy Ms. Magoo” Rogers
  • “How dare you say that in front of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of all judgmental statues!” – Elisa

The Wife:

It’s a new year on the Upper East Side and there’s a lot going on for Chuck, Blair, Little J, Serena, Dan and their respective parents. Completely absent from this episode are the obscenely boring Nate and outsider Vanessa, as well as Eleanor Waldorf and Cyrus Rose. I’m sure they’re off on an extended honeymoon somewhere, but I missed Cyrus a little bit this week. Now I can’t write an “inconceivable” joke in this post, and that makes me really sad.

When we last left off, Chuck had gone missing and Blair has spent the holiday season trying to find him – finally getting word that Chuck’s suave and apple-cheeked Uncle Jack (Desmond Harrington) has located the sole Bass heir smoking opium with Thai prostitutes in a Bass hotel in Bangkok. It’s good to know that Chuck is the kind of guy that goes to find himself and dull the pain by hanging out in opium dens. How very . . . Byronic of him. Chuck’s return, while quieting Blair’s fears that she’s lost Chuck forever, dishevels Miss Waldorf so much that she no longer cares for high school pursuits, completely blowing off Penelope and her mean girls in their petty judgments of Little J and Nelly Yuki. Worse, though, is that Chuck’s return interrupts Blair’s preparations for her impending meeting with New York’s (and, consequently, the world’s) most exclusive social club that never takes girls of high school age, the Colony Club. Blair tries to save Chuck from expulsion when he flagrantly smokes weed on campus by sitting in as his guardian, until apple-cheeked Uncle Jack sweeps in to save the day, stealing Blair’s caretaker role and making her very suspicious of his intentions. Now, I decided immediately that I love Uncle Jack because he looks great in a grey suit with a lavender tie and I kind of want to bite his cheeks of his face. But he is a Bass, and Blair has every right to be suspicious, especially because Jack seems to be very good at letting Chuck wander off when he’s supposed to be taking care of him.

Chuck disappears again immediately after his disciplinary meeting with Headmistress Queller, and Blair later finds him at Victrola, which he purchased back with his mighty Bass inheritance just the other day. I think the only thing I love more than Opium Zombie Chuck is Opium Zombie Chuck + Burlesque Dancers. She tries to convince Chuck to come home with her, but he refuses, insulting her for admitting she loved him before he disappeared to Thailand. He invites her to the party he intends to throw at Victrola that night, hoping to further devalue her affections by asking her to grace him with a dance. She returns home for her Colony Club meeting visibly upset after briefly stopping to talk to Serena and beg her to help with Chuck. Ever the social climber, Blair manages to compose herself smartly in a beret and a vintage-inspired rhinestone collared LBD for her Colony Club meeting – a combination that I couldn’t decide if it was more reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn or Ava Gardner, but amazing either way. She meets with the prepped out UES matrons who immediately begin to try her patience by insulting Blair’s dearest friends: Serena and Chuck. Rather than give in to these wicked biddies who never grew out of being high school mean girls, Blair defends her friends and storms out to find the person she loves most in the world: Chuck Bass.

With the grey shawl, I think its a little more Ava than Audrey. Its fucking awesome, whatever the inspiration was.

With the grey shawl, I think its a little more Ava than Audrey. It's fucking awesome, whatever the inspiration was.

Meanwhile, Little J has returned to Constance full time, apparently forgetting entirely her multi-episode crazy person bender in which she was virtually expelled and couldn’t figure out how to not have her dresses burned. (Step 1: Take your dresses out of the trashcan before a crazy model lights them on fire. Step 2: Take your dresses out of the trashcan. Step 3: Punch crazy model in the face.) While hanging out at a Pinkberry with Eric, Little J notices how badly Penelope, Iz and Hazel are treating Nelly Yuki, seeing an echo of how she used to be treated. She tries to save Nelly Yuki from Penelope and the girls by stealing Nelly away from the degradation of having to wipe down Penelope’s yogurt-covered shoes, and then trying to show the girls how stupid their “Girls of the Steps” clique is by sitting at their Pinkberry table and inviting the entire sophomore class to hang out at Pinkberry with them, leaving no table at all for Penelope and her lackeys.

So, look, I have an irrational attachment to certain seats as well. I get feeling a little venomous towards those who take your seat. But you quietly fume about that, like George Costanza would. You do not call your parents and insist that someone who sits at your table and invites a bunch of people to “your” yogurt shop is bullying you. Headmistress Queller tells Little J to work out the issue herself, and then finds out that the best way to show Penelope that she means business is to blackmail her with the information Nelly Yuki knows about Penelope (she’s having an affair with someone at her dad’s company), Hazel (likes to get drunk and make out with her cousin) and Iz (whose secret is apparently very fearsome and unmentionable). By the time Jenny confronts them with this information outside Victrola, she has managed to cover up her roots (good for you, honey) and finds out that Nelly Yuki was only playing her to get on the good side of Constance’s new “queen bee,” which everyone just assumed slightly-less-crazy Jenny wanted to be upon her return. But new, not-so-crazy, best-friends-with-Eric doesn’t care about any of that. So Nelly abandons her after all of her good deeds and returns to her abusers.

Serena returns from Argentina, thankfully, without Aaron Rose. She broke up with him three hours into their flight to Buenos Aires, which I say is a goddamned Christmas miracle. Free of Aaron and fully aware of the waning affections between Rufus and Lily, she immediately gets back together with Dan, much to Blair’s disgust. But Serena and Dan’s happiness hinges entirely on the secret that Daddy Rufus is keeping from the kiddies, and Dan, apparently having the heart of an investigative journalist, will stop at nothing to find out why his father was in Boston for two weeks. He and Serena rifles through Rufus’ things and, after Serena sneaks out to see Blair, having been instructed by Rufus that she is not to be with Dan at the house if Rufus is not at home, finds that his father had been calling orphanages in and around Boston. I couldn’t tell if Dan immediately thought this meant that he was adopted or if he knew he had a missing brother or sister out there, but, either way, the hint of an answer drove him to find Opium Zombie Chuck at Victrola and pump him for the secret. (Only after Rufus accidentally lets slip that he thought Dan may have found out from Chuck already.)

Welcome to my den of debauchery.

Welcome to my den of debauchery.

At the club, Chuck willingly tells Dan the information about his secret brother, noting that the good deed of killing the Bart Bass story deserves another good deed (as good a deed as Opium Zombie Chuck can provide). While Dan waits for Serena to tell her about their mutual sibling (kind of incestuous to continue he relationship, according to Chuck), Rufus pays a visit to Lily, informing her that Dan knows and that it’s only a matter of time before Serena and Eric know, too. She tries to apologize to Rufus for giving up their child – an act he says he’s fine with, he’s merely upset that Lily didn’t feel he had a right to know about the child at all. Unlike Lily, Rufus hasn’t had twenty years to process the information. He somehow convinces her to go looking for their son with him, calling Dan just moments before he’s about to tell Lily’s secret to Serena, insisting that Lily give the news to her children when they return, leaving Dan in a really awkward position.

Eric, meanwhile, reaches out to Chuck at the Victrola party, and Chuck refuses to come back to the Bass Der Woodsen apartment, telling Eric that he’s been glad to have him as a little brother, heading instead to participate in his favorite activity of drinking and contemplating suicide on the roof. (As Blair notes, he has a thing for roofs.) Blair and apple-cheeked Uncle Jack arrive just in time to keep Chuck from accidentally-intentionally slipping over the edge like his poor bottle of scotch. Jack almost sends Chuck over the edge himself by calling out his name and startling him so much he nearly loses his footing. (Does Jack stand to get a shit-ton of money if his dear nephew bites the dust? Absofuckinglutely.) Blair heads straight to Chuck’s side and extends her hand, reiterating what she told him when he ran away from her profession of love at the Bart Bass wake: she’ll always be there for him. She isn’t going anywhere. After screaming a Brando-esque cry to the gods that he is, indeed, Chuck Bass, a subdued Chuck takes Blair’s hand and comes down from the ledge. She unwillingly hands Chuck over to Jack’s custody, telling the man flat out that she doesn’t trust him and delivering the mysterious ultimatum that Chuck Bass can not know what happened on New Year’s. I’ll tell you what, gang, I can’t wait to find out.

Im going to eat this mans cheeks.

I'm going to eat this man's cheeks.

Some costuming notes:

  • Other than Blair’s chic black Colony Club ensemble, I also loved her steely blue tweed overcoat from this episode.
  • Iz’s white wool coat with the amazingly intricate black frogs down the front is stunning.
  • Little J needs to get over her lemur eye fetish.
  • There is never enough Sweater Rufus Humphrey. Sweater Rufus is the best Rufus, always and forever.

(Husband Note: I vote for Drunk Suicidal Robert Pattinson Hair Chuck.)

The Husband:

I should really stop underestimating the show, which I seem to keep doing despite my utter respect for pretty much everything in the world of GG. When Nelly Yuki seemed in this episode to revert back to her nice s1 self (pre-Blair fucking with her life in order to mess up her SAT scores), I just chalked it up to the writers feeling that they needed to restart her character, that enough time had passed between the last episode of GG and now, and that Nelly Yuki had so little screen time so far this season that we wouldn’t really notice that she stopped being a bitchy “Girl of the Steps.” In other words, I’m fine in accepting sudden changes for distant supporting characters, because that, in essence, is their job.

But when she reveals her true intentions at the end of the episode regarding all of her “nice” actions, I realized…goddamn it…that I had done it again. I had underestimated the writers. She was still a brainiac-turned-shallow bitch. Aside from the fact that the show insists that Serena killed somebody, which she didn’t, and that Lily’s mother could go from psycho bitch in s1 to the nice woman we met in the Hamptons at the beginning of s2, the writers and showrunners of GG don’t play fast and loose with their characters’ motivations, and that they treat the audience as if they are intelligent and savvy.

And I’m glad that Zap2It’s TV Gal had both her wishes granted – for Serena to ditch Aaron in South America (done!) and for Chuck to stop with the wild histrionics (Opium Zombie Chuck is a complete 180 from Drunk Funeral Chuck). I hope that the lack of Aaron doesn’t lead to less screentime for Cyrus Rose, not because I want to write references to The Princess Bride (as my wife is wont to do), but because I really really like the Cyrus and Eleanor stuff.

And I want to reference A Goofy Movie and The Incredibles. “I’m not happy, Bob. Not. Happy.”

As far as episode titles go, my wife pointed out that “In The Realm Of The Basses” doesn’t work nearly as well as far as cleverness is concerned as, say, “The Dark Night” or “Desperately Seeking Serena” or “Chuck In Real Life,” but I have a bigger problem in the reference itself. The film In The Realm Of The Senses, to which it refers, is a crazy Japanese movie that is pretty much two hours of explicit simulated sex (and one very illuminating egg trick) and then a graphic and bloody murder/castration sequence. What kind of message is Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage promoting to young, impressionable teenage girls?