Gossip Girl recap: Salon of the Dead

Serena Van der Woodsen is many things – sister; friend; brother-lover; walking blonde-joke punchline; advert for how not to wear appropriate attire, ever – but she’s not known for being malicious. Or at least, she never has been during Gossip Girl’s colourful history.

But there she was, this week, doing her best to torpedo new it-girl Lola’s burgeoning showbiz career, not to mention ruin a party hosted by her supposed BFF in the whole wide world.

And then she had the nerve to get mad at Lola, for outing the fact the La Fembot is actually Mommy Dearest (and Nate’s former bedroom buddy). And to ask Lola to keep shtum about her Gossiping ways, to avoid her reputation (Ha, as if Serena still has one of those) being tarnished forever.

The problem with Gossip Girl this season is that it has lost sight of who the characters are. Serena works best when she is inadvertently – but never intentionally – stupid and hurtful, when she is caught up in her emotions and blind to the idiocy of her behaviour.

I’d believe it (in the sense that one should never accept anything on Gossip Girl as remotely plausible) if any one of the other girls on this show had opted to wield the laptop of power and hold it hostage from the real Gossip Girl – but not Serena. Blair, Little J, Vanessa all have it in them – they’ve all had a taste of power and enjoyed it. Serena, not so much.

It’s not just Serena, though. The writers seem to have reinvented their characters this year, and while I’m all for the gang growing up (hello, these crazy kids have now reached the grand old milestone of being above the legal drinking age – major maturity!), it’s too much.

Gossip Girl needs to get back to its roots. Blair is a schemer – as an adult her schemes should be more complicated and intricate, and the consequences should be worse – but after months of her kowtowing to Prince not-so-Charming, it’s time for her to regain her place on the steps. So instead of feuding with Dan about Brooklyn’s merits, she should have conspired to have him turn up at the hottest party of the year, trussed up like the escort she wants him to be.

And Nate? It was never plausible to have him in a seat of power, but while it was all part of Grandpa Archibald’s plan, it sorta worked. But why is he still being portrayed as a media mogul? Nate is at his best when having inappropriate flings with older women, getting high while the world around him erupts into crisis or flashing his dimples to get him out of any awkward fix. He should be in a fraternity house right now, engaged in hi-jinks to steal the rival house’s pet hedgehog, or something, not playing Murdoch to La Hurley’s Rebekah.

As for Dan; I never thought I’d say this, but bring back Little J and Vanessa. At least they have identifiable personalities, and at least their hair has the decency to be fake. Without them as a buffer, and a reminder that life is gosh darn tough when you hail from the wrong side of the Brooklyn Bridge, Dan is just another suited and booted piece of arm candy. Let’s have him working as the ice cool undercover reporter he thinks he is and getting into scrapes with devious drug dealers and dastardly crime kingpins, not fawning over a girl who made his life miserable for years and still doesn’t feel bad about it. He’s no longer a rebel and he no longer has a cause – even house-trained Rufus has apparently worked out that that’s not OK.

In fact, the only character who keeps it interesting anymore is Chuck, who delivered one of the greatest lines in Gossip Girl history this week as he slammed his newfound mother for her general awfulness. If he can find a way to publicly humiliate her and seize control of her media empire, all the while wearing an awesome cravat or somesuch, I might forgive some of the crud that has passed for storylines this series.

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