Blair has a bad dream based on All About Eve. Sure she does. It’s 2009, it just makes sense that a college freshman would have a dream in which she is the Bette Davis character in a 60 year old movie about the price of fame and vanity. She wakes up in a panic and is relieved to find that the world is still in color, but then goes on and on about how awful this dream was because of how she only dreams about being Audrey Hepburn. Huh? Come on, Gossip Girl writers. You have one of the cheesiest, trashiest shows on television. No need to drag film history down into the Chanel scented mud with you. Audrey Hepburn. P’SHAW! The real Blair Waldorf dreams that she is at a sample sale with Peaches Geldof and gets into a tug-of-war over a pair of Manolo Blahniks with a stylist for Wallpaper magazine. The real Blair Waldorf dreams that there is salmon roe instead of beluga caviar on her blinis at tea time, and that complaining about the mistake is going to make her late for a screening of The September Issue at Stephen Dorff’s daughter’s loft. Anyway, the All About Eve dream is a manifestation of her anxiety over who is going to give “the toast” at this year’s “freshman dinner.”
You know, just for one episode it would be funny if everyone lived their lives and didn’t go to a hackneyed cocktail party that doesn’t even make sense. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM.
Blair is so mad! She wants to give the “toast” at the “parents dinner”! But Vanessa is going to do it! Or possibly a third girl who we don’t know about! But probably Vanessa! But Blair wants to do it! What is it, even? I don’t know! Rufus tells Vanessa that she should invite her parents to the dinner because of how proud they would be to see her give the speech. But Vanessa is sure that her parents would hate it because “they don’t believe in private universities.” Oh boy, here we go. If you thought that Vanessa’s lame-brained caricature of a politically active young woman was mostly a two-dimensional joke, wait until you see just how not far the make believe apple falls from the horrible make believe tree. Vanessa decides that she will invite her parents, though, because Rufus seems to think it’s a really good idea. Meanwhile, Dan invites Hilary Duff to come with him to the “parents dinner” because he would really like her to meet his parents. So Hilary Duff calls Mr. Ellis, WHOEVER THAT IS, and says that she would love to give the toast. Uh oh! Vanessa, you just got SNAKED.
When Blair finds out about all of this, she tells Vanessa that if it was her, she wouldn’t just sit there and take it, she would make sure that she got what rightfully belonged to her (the way that toasts at fictional events belong to huh?), and that brings us to this:
Why doesn’t anyone on this show ever have any personal agency?
Like, as soon as Blair tells Vanessa that she would do whatever it took to get the toast, Vanessa immediately enacts a plan to lie to her best friend? And to lie to her roommate? She lies to literally everyone immediately no questions asked. And she’s supposed to be the morally grounded character on this show? Not to mention last week when she was instantaneously blackmailed by Georgina into covering up the truth about Scott even though in the end it a) didn’t matter and b) it wasn’t her truth to cover up. But, just, without thinking, instantly, she does whatever anyone tells her.
And she’s not the only one! They all do this, constantly. Even in this very same episode, Vanessa tells Dan that he should disinvite Hilary Duff from the “parents dinner” and cook something for her at home, and without thinking about it very hard, or talking to Hilary Duff about it at all, Dan follows Vanessa’s stupid, lying advice. Meanwhile, Nate has devised a plan to help Serena pay off Carter Biazen’s debt, which involves a high-stakes poker game. Has Serena ever played poker before? Who knows. Does this seem like a reasonable way to deal with a complicated situation? Probably not. Does Serena go along with it immediately and without further consideration. Absolutely.
Time and again these morons do the first thing that comes out of anyone’s mouth. Whenever someone says “don’t worry, I have a plan,” it means “you are about to do something without giving it a moment’s thought, just because I said so.” It is insane! I know that these people are all supposed to be 18 years old, which is how old babies are, and that they haven’t fully developed their capacity for adult decision-making, but YIKES. What a bunch of fucking idiots!
Anyway, Vanessa lies to everyone that she knows just to get this stupid “toast” at this stupid “parents dinner,” but that was Blair’s plan all along! And then Chuck Bass kisses a dude! Because Blair said to, kind of! This show should be called No Personal Agency Girl!
Wait, WHAT? So, a campus events planner from New York University trades in political favors in order to complete a homo-erotic TRIBECA SCAVENGER HUNT? My head is literally falling off of my body, and I am holding it upright with a Louis XIV head-holder. THIS SHOW MAKES NO SENSE, BUT IS ALSO HILARIOUS. So now Blair is giving the speech.
Vanessa’s mom shows up because even though she hates that her daughter is going to college when she could be teaching the fundamentals of Marxist revolutionary politics on a kibbutz somewhere, she still wants to support her, but also doesn’t want to support her? Perfect. Vanessa’s mom is supposed to be the worst, and it turns out that she is. Goals: ACHIEVED!
Oh God, I almost forgot: Serena’s high stakes poker game against PJ Buckley to save Carter Baizen! Nate fronts her the $25,000 buy-in fee, which she promptly loses (this is a great plan so far already!) and then fronts her the money to buy in a second time, but now they want to raise the stakes! If they win, Carter’s debt will be absolved. If they lose, Nate will give PJ a photo of his cousin Tripp smoking a bong. Oh, btw, Tripp is suddenly running for congress out of absolutely nowhere. Good luck, Tripp! Of course, PJ will probably never get that photo because Brie once told Nate all of her cousin’s poker tells? YOU KNOW, PILLOWTALK. Oh man, this show! It really outdid itself this week. Anyway, now that they know all of the Buckley cousins’ poker tells, all they have to do, Nate reminds Serena, is watch for the tells and then bet big. Oh, there’s one!
But Serena loses. Uh oh! Now Tripp’s campaign that we just heard about for the first time two minutes ago is ruined! Except that it was all a scheme! Nate lied to her and also used her and also used Carter. Kind of. I mean, not really, but that is what Serena says when she finds out. As if Serena ever knows what the fuck she is talking about. Anyway, the real photo is just Tripp enjoying a cool, refreshing, politically harmless glass of scotch. When the Buckleys leak the bong photo to the press, the Archibalds will provide the real photo, and everyone will know that the Buckleys are meanies.
Huh. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works at all. I’m pretty sure that the damage that would be done by the leaked bong photo would not be immediately undone by just proving that the photo was a fake. There’s no off-switch on dirty politics. But OK, Nate. You’re the new Karl Rove, I’m sure. But now we’ll never know if this plan would have worked perfectly (it would not have worked perfectly) because Serena foils the whole thing by telling PJ the photo was a fake. And that somehow saves Carter Baizen? Even trade? Whatever. Except that Carter Baizen doesn’t want to be saved, and now he is going to have to go work on AN OIL RIG IN TEXAS to pay off his debt. I will tell you this about this week’s episode: they got all of the details exactly right.
Back at the parents dinner: Vanessa plays the old “hide the microphone in the Dooney and Burke bag” trick on Blair, and now everyone knows that Blair lied and cheated to get the toast, and Chuck knows that he kissed a dude for the wrong reasons! In an instant reversal, Blair is not doing the speech. So Vanessa is doing the speech, right? No, Hilary Duff, once again, is doing the speech. FINE. Except the worst part is: we never even get to hear the speech! After all of that, you would really think that they could show us this magical speech that turned our whole world upside down. Nope. Hilary Duff just goes “Hi, I’m Hilary Duff.” Lame.
Afterward, Vanessa explains to Dan and Hilary Duff that she is so sorry she lied to them, but that she really wanted to GET THAT SPEECH. We know, Vanessa, we know. She also explains that she wishes Dan’s parents were her parents RIGHT WHEN HER MOM WALKS IN. Haha. Classic! Vanessa’s mom is like “you should really think about what this Private University is turning you into.” Uh, sorry, mom, but Vanessa was always horrible. I would say it’s a wash on the whole University thing.
Vanessa feels bad about insulting her mom, so she makes plans (I guess) with her to have croissants the next day. Nothing heals old wounds like croissants! But when she calls her mom to tell her that she already bought the croissants, and to just come meet her at the croissant store, but not to bother buying more croissants because they have enough croissants, her mom is like “Oh, honey, I’m already in the car heading home.” WHO DOES THAT? What mom just stands up their own child for a pre-planned croissant date without even saying anything? She probably had to hurry home to type her manifesto in her own blood on recycled paper she made herself using pulp and manure from her compost heap. Will no one share a croissant with Vanessa?
Oh, Blair will. Blair’s a total croissant-head. You know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies CROISSANT.