‘Gossip Girl’: ’80s flashback, on prom night
Source: Zap2it.com Recaps
What do you get when you cross “Gossip Girl” with “Pretty in Pink,” throw in a dash of “Mean Girls” and “Never Been Kissed,” a touch of “Less Than Zero,” a pinch of “Almost Famous,” and a smidgen of all of our collective bad memories of ’80s fashion? Yep — tonight’s episode. I’m just thankful there wasn’t any “Carrie” in the mix.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very fine place to start: Malibu in 1983 isn’t exactly the Golden Age for Lily. She’s been expelled from her boarding school in Santa Barbara, she’s been uprooted from New York to L.A., her parents have gone through a hideous divorce, and she practically has to stand on her head to get her father’s attention. She meets Daddy (Andrew McCarthy!! Who is looking good, by the way) and basically begs to move in with him, but he’s not terribly interested. which leaves her fleeing her insolent mother’s clutches in her shiny white Porsche, off to find her rebellious sister Carol, who’s bolted the family to live her own life.
Lily and one of Carol’s work pals find Carol at a bar, where No Doubt (who were all about 11 or so in 1983, but I know we’re suspending disbelief) is playing. Carol and her merry band of boys in her band are determined to get back their video from the feckless, skinny tie-wearing, blond, rich, creep who “directed” it for them. His name’s van der Woodsen, by the way. And the soiree at his house — where giddy partygoers are doing both the robot and the Safety Dance — turns into a brawl that Lily finds herself in the middle of. She surprises even herself with her scrappiness, and though she’s kind of mortified by how Carol defines “success” — I mean, she did sell the Beemer that mom and dad got her and invested it with a guy who’s making fanny packs — she also admires the fact that she’s independent.
Which is a bit of a change from the “I’m fine with the path you guys have laid out for me” line she laid on her father in a plea to let her live with him. But when you find yourself in the slammer, it’s not like you have a choice but to grab your inner pugnacity and hang on tight. Her one phone call interrupts her mother’s Jane Fonda workout, and Ceci is by turns mortified and highly irritated that Lily’s antics are messing with her plans for the future. Carol takes the phone as Lily begins to lose her nerve, and tells their mother to sit tight; Lily’s staying with her for a while. Then Lily learns that Carol sold her car to get the bail money, and is introduced to the joys of public transportation.
Caged bird pouting: As Blair & Co. wait for Serena to get sprung from the police station, Blair quite rightly notes that with four hours behind bars, Serena’s done more jail time than either Nicole Richie or Lindsay Lohan. Lily shows up to drop the charges and take Serena home, making some ridiculous argument about how having her daughter arrested was the right thing to do when trying to spare the family from scandal. Like Page Six never reads the police blotter. Then Serena drops her own bomb — Lily wasn’t her one call from jail; grandmother Ceci was. Dum dum dum…
Lily, royally mad at her mother for spilling the beans to Rufus about the son she had and gave away, basically orders her mother out of her house and out of her life. Serena, following in her mother’s footsteps, asserts her independence by deciding to stay in jail until her mother acknowledges that she can run her own life. Oh, brother. Lily goes back to the police station to find Serena gone — Dan’s sprung her and is taking her to the prom.
Lily goes to apologize to Rufus, and more or less acknowledges (with Lily it’s not always easy to tell) that she blew the proposal. He suggests she get over her mother stuff so she can actually be a mother to Serena. But he hasn’t quite forgiven and forgotten enough to mend their relationship just yet. He will, though. Wuss. Lily catches her mother as she’s departing and tries to mend fences, or at least to tolerate her mother and give her a hug. I’d like to throw back a couple of gimlets with Ceci, but amen she’s not my mom.
Prom Night: One thing after another seems to be going wrong with Nate and Blair’s Perfect Night — their hotel reservation canceled, all the limos have been rented (Say what? The economic crash has surely freed up several dozen downtown.), Blair’s dress is ruined, and the florist has sold out of peonies. It really is tragic. Nate suspects Chuck of sabotaging their night, which Chuck of course denies. Nate and Blair finally get there, the very vision of the prom she dreamed of — and sketched — in her pre-adolescent scrapbook. The Mean Girls decide to fix the Prom Queen election so Nelly Yuki would win, but Chuck comes to Blair’s aid, grabs the extra ballots and stuffs the box with votes for Blair — who catches him partway through and accuses him of ruining her night.
Of course Blair wins, and aside from the fact that none of them can dance worth a damn, the only other true reality comes when Blair realizes that her adolescent fantasy about going to prom with her high school boyfriend isn’t really the be-all that she thought it would be — in fact, the whole night already feels like a memory she should move on from. In the end, she kicks big, dumb, wooden-faced Nate to the curb, and realizes that Serena is really the Louise to her Thelma. Or maybe the other way around.