Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gossip Girl Review: The King & Queen of Overthinking

I'll admit I'm a little gobsmacked, both by how entirely Gossip Girl has convinced me to buy into the Dan/Blair relationship and by how obvious it all seems in retrospect. But first, about the events of last night's "Con-Heir:" Of course after planning for weeks and thinking about it for weeks/months/years and making it into this big huge Thing, of course the sex was going to be bad the first time. And of course Blair would go to Dorota, because she literally has no one else she can be honest with, and of course Dan would go to Nate, and see it as a plus for this conversation that Nate had also slept with Blair. (Random: This scene made me wonder if Dan knows Blair actually slept with Chuck first, not Nate.) But the real issue is just that they're overthinking things, as they both always do. Blair's always trying to make her life into the movie in her head, and Dan literally makes his life into novels, and it makes perfect sense that they'd have to get drunk to get out of their own heads enough to actually enjoy each other. This tendency to overthink is one of the reasons why they're so compatible, but also will be one of their big challenges in making their relationship work.

I know everything's always screwball comedies and old movies with them, but what I kept actually thinking last night was that they were both awfully proud and awfully prejudiced and had to get over that to realize they loved each other. But once they did, it's just so obvious that they work. They're the most bookish characters on the show, and certainly have a lot more to talk about to each other than pretty much anyone else. For Dan, Blair is basically a combination of the best parts of Serena and Vanessa - she has Serena's mystique and worldliness but actually shares his intellectual interests the way Vanessa did. (Without, you know, being the worst the way Vanessa was.)

And for Blair . . . oh, Blair. She's supposed to be the big schemer, but at least some of that is a response to the way she's been used as property and as a pawn her whole life. When she was sixteen, her boyfriend was ready to propose because his father wanted her mother's business. A few years later, another boyfriend traded her to his uncle for a hotel. A few years after that, her husband announced at their wedding that he would either use her as breeding stock or ruin her family. Of course what she needs is Dan, the man who has an unquestioned place in her social world but who makes a big show of wanting nothing to do with it. Blair may claim to hate his Brooklyn loft, but knowing that he's not using her as a tool in the unending econo-social power struggle of the Upper East Side must be a relief. Dan claims to hate the UES and Blair claims to love it, but underneath that they both have love/hate relationships with that world, and it should be interesting to see how that plays out.

(There's also the fact that Blair keeps dating Lily's stepsons; as she was growing up as Serena's best friend, Blair must have had Lily as the model of a mother both [somewhat] more involved and [much] less demanding than her own.)

Other observations:
1) I love Businessman Nate, and the way the show has handled his evolution into a really decent adult.
2) Jack Bass is one of those delightful love-to-hate-him villains, and I wish he'd be around more.
3) I can barely bring myself to follow, never mind care about, the Lola/Ivy/inheritance/whatever plotline, but at least it's not as horrifically annoying as some of the show's past distractions. If we can't just alternate between Nate having business meetings and Dan and Blair bantering/having sex in elevators, then fine, Lola/Ivy it is.
4) They remembered Chuck has a mother! Good job, show!

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