Welcome back, Upper East Siders — I’m figuring out what you did last summer. “Gossip Girl” came roaring back tonight with everything you could want — a loose rumination on gaining independence and becoming your own person, tabloids, paparazzi, daddy issues, kinky role playing, family warfare, sports cars, and insanely hot celebrity spawn. Oh, it’s on.
These spoilers are ripped from the tabloid headlines…
While Lily’s off caring for her very ill mother, CeCe (i.e., Kelly Rutherford’s real-life maternity leave), the Humphrey Gang plus Eric is living la dolce vita in South Hampton. And Jenny and Eric have been plotting to keep Serena’s exploits unknown to Dan and Rufus — until Dan gets a look at a tabloid when they all head back to the city to start feathering the communal nest at Lily’s apartment. And Serena’s limo pulls up and is immediately swarmed by paparazzi. God bless clueless Rufus, who only gets more clueless, though well-meaning, throughout the hour.
It doesn’t take long to become obvious that Serena’s “I was in an ashram, taking a vow of silence” story is bull, though Serena claims to have no idea why the paps are following her (the too-short, ill-fitting shorts can’t help). But Blair calls her bluff about her wild ways all over Europe — including with Paris Hilton cast-off Cristiano Ronaldo (I too hope Serena’s gotten her shots).
For her part, Serena tries to warn Blair about the creepy/hot role-playing habit that she and Chuck have gotten into. She picks the mark, Chuck sets up a situation ripe for cheating, Blair breaks up the scene as the scorned woman, and all is the opposite of boring, at least in Blair’s mind. I know Chuck and Blair are both over the top, but it feels goofy and contrived, and I’m glad when they bag it.
Then there’s Nate, who’s exercising his rebellion muscles upon returning from Europe and hooking up with his female counterpart from his family’s political enemies, the Buckleys. Egged on by Chuck, he takes young Bree to his family’s charity polo match to introduce her to his grandfather, return the generously proffered Ferrari, and stick it to the family. It feels a little like a Pops-engineered set-up to me, but I’ve gotten paranoid. We’ll see how it plays out.
Meanwhile, in between her trip to Europe with Nate and letting her hair extensions get seriously skanky, Vanessa hangs out at the coffee shop with Scott, a.k.a. Rufus and Lily’s long-lost (and thought dead) child — but no one knows that yet. She’s eager to introduce him to Dan, and finagles a couple of tickets to the polo match to do so. Scott ends up semi-bonding with Rufus, which will either help or hurt the final unveiling.
After Jenny, Dan, and Eric finally clue Rufus in on what Serena’s been up to, she swears up and down that she hasn’t fallen back on her old ways. Yet something’s clearly haywire, because at the polo match where she promised to be on her best behavior, Serena sets Carter up by telling Blair he’s been stalking her, then grabs one of the polo ponies and makes a dash for the woods. Carter follows in hot pursuit and confronts Serena, telling her (quite correctly) that all of her attempts to get attention won’t make up for the fact that her father didn’t come to meet her when she tracked him down in Europe. She softens, they enjoy a proverbial roll in the grass, and we move on.
In the end, Rufus’ cluelessness about both Serena’s activities and motives is almost sweet, as he throws a little bit of Lily’s money around and buys up most of the paparazzi photos of Serena. But of course there’s one snapper he hasn’t reached — and Serena’s working with him to make sure the pics are published in Europe and Asia, so her father can’t help but see her. What are the odds this will work?
A couple of odds and ends:
- The bit with the stunning Alexandra Richards (daughter of model Patti Hansen and Rolling Stone Keith Richards) at the polo match was hilarious.
- Not only was I mystified by the condition of Vanessa’s weave, but I couldn’t figure out what that was crawling up Chuck’s lapel during his scene with Nate. A dandified poppy of remembrance? A compact squirting flower left over from his stint at clown college? A “Wrath of Khan” earwig slithering its way up to make his head explode? It was distracting.
- Hi Dan. This is a belt. And it’s what you wear with a supposedly $3,000 suit at the polo grounds.
- It can’t be that hard to put the lovely Blake Lively in a pair of shorts that fit, can it?
What did you think? Do you think Serena’s desperate efforts to get her father’s attention will work? Did you buy the Blair/Chuck Playhouse? Isn’t Nate’s hookup with the daughter of his family’s mortal enemy just ring a little too “Romeo & Juliet” to be plausible?