On deck tonight (with commentary to follow / be updated as I watch and snark)...
Gossip Girl: CW advertising (blech, btw) has promoted these final two produced episodes as The. Best. Yet. Remains to be seen. One thing is certain: CW in HD has just been added to my cable line-up, so this will be the visually crispest episode to date.
We open on a late-night shindig (would the kiddies on the show use that word? Maybe for its retro-pastiche value?) at a pool, which features a return of Gossip Girl's oh-so-fabulous "Upper East Sider teenagers drink a lot of alcohol and also do drugs" parties. Chuck is amusingly lifeguard attired (Ed Westwick's wardrobe line/closet is the best on television, I'm convinced). Dan and Dead Fish Eye Vanessa join the party (seriously, who cast that girl, and why haven't they written her off?) just as some Red Shirt gets wanged on the head by a pole (seriously, who put that there) and falls into the pool. And starts bleeding. Yay? Oh, the pool's on school grounds (that was PROBABLY a bad idea, and it looks like it's outdoors and I'm confused because I'm from near NYC and it was rarely pool weather AT NIGHT IN JANUARY)... which will probably not be a good thing. But, hey, Chace Crawford is diving into the water shirtless (which I decry as a former lifeguard, but applaud as a surveyor of mancandy). Leighton Meester is not given nearly enough credit for how hot she is. So begins a Very Special Episode (VSE) of Gossip Girl.
Someone left a cell phone at the scene... which, given this show's world view of cell-phone-as-life-line, is insane. More insane: the school blows up pictures taken on the phone on an LCD HD TV... and they're crystal clear. Suuuuure. But wait! The kid is apparently okay, but the school needs to make with the punishment. This VSE is veering towards lame... especially with the inclusion of a new headmistress (who REEKS of "Dean of Discipline" from The OC's third season, but without being male or hot like Eric Mabius) who has the audacity to ask our empowered youths "what the hell is wrong with [them]". And, basically, this episode has become a Prisoner's Dilemma. I wonder why Dan was involved with the group getting lecture-threaten, since he'd only just arrived when the event happened. Surely there was no picture of him (I mean, he's Lonely Boy, no one takes his picture). And SURELY the real Blair Waldorf would've told him that he wasn't given permission to speak when he asked the small conspirator group if their plan would work. You know, when I first watched the pilot back in May, I thought that the show needed to be centered around Dan because he was the everyman eyes into the rich kids' world. But as they've fleshed the story out... he's boring. So very boring. And the rich kids are interesting and fun. I guess that's why you can't judge a series based on its pilot. Morals and conscience have no place in this world. But I digress...
Ooh, a scene with the Adults. That was such an afterthought. Again, I find it insane that in this show's world, Lily Van Der Woodsen does not listen to the messages on her cell phone before getting on a plane (since the message was left before there were even plans to board a plane). But whatever, the adults can have their minor plotline.
Who let Vanessa into Blair's house? And how do they not think that FILMED EVIDENCE OF THEIR CONSPIRACY PAPER WRITING SHIT is something to be apathetic about? Anyway, Chuck just told Dan what I thought Blair should've told him (and added "Humphrey-Dumpty" to the list of names I want to refer to him as). Nate and Blair crap... hm, I wonder if he's going to use the discovery of the key in her desk drawer as blackmail to make her pay attention to him (which, of course, competes with Chuck's blackmail forcing her to do the opposite). These games are fun! Meanwhile, Dan and Serena get into their episodic fight about the class-struggle. And... Gossip Girl referred to Dead Fish Eyes as "V". This saddens me. V does not belong on Gossip Girl (the in-show website, that is). However, this was one time that the voiceover made sense (someone could actually be watching/reporting what Kristen Bell so expertly narrates! A Gossip Girl first?)
Hm, Nate does a chivalrous, but not well thought out, thing instead of blackmail. Zzzz. A thought, re Blair's talk with "V" (ugh)... money is no object to most of the people on this show. "V" (ugh) needs money. So, Blair... just give her the money? Oh, look, once again the thing that I thought Blair should do is being done by Chuck. I know he's a rapist, but gods help me if he's not the best character on this occasionally brilliant, generally mediocre show. But, poor "V" (ugh)... she doesn't come from money and so, naturally, has morals (though not enough to not take Chuck's money... and you KNOW that wasn't the tape with the incriminating footage).
Wait... so, with Nate's suspension (the stakes of which were previously stated as being akin to expulsion), Gossip Girl is saying that being chivalrous yet stupid is a bad thing? This is totally the only show EVER to make self-sacrifice NOT the holiest virtue to which a protagonist can aspire (even placing self-sacrifice below honesty in the World of Gossip Girl... a world in which NEITHER belong). It's nice how the show has to clearly and repeatedly laid out the moral grounds which is attempts to tread (i.e. the "damned if you do, screwed if you don't" of Dan and Serena's situation).
And here's where the brilliance kicks in... Serena talks with her mother about the ick factor of Lily dating Rufus (which... really? do people even name DOGS Rufus anymore?) while she's dating Dan, makes a valid point about knowing that teenage love isn't permanent (which totally echoes the Lily/Rufus romance anyway) but that it feels like it. Burn. Lily is totally going to stand Rufus up now (but not tell him the reason she's doing it, because logic doesn't exist when it comes to television romance).
Ugh, "V" (ugh) continues to worm her way into interactions with characters. When she showed up and gave the tape to Blair I thought she was going to ask for more money (which would've been hilarious). And then she has the audacity to comment on Blair not talking to Nate... boo. Although I was a bit surprised that the revelation of the motivation behind Nate's "chivalrous yet stupid" act wasn't enough to melt Blair's icy, black(mailed) heart.
How did Serena "cut more classes than she attended" in Sophomore year, considering that, in the show, she was GONE FOR A YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL and is currently a Junior? Just asking. Whatever. I am interested how the Headmistress (who I will now refer to as Umbridge... because) will balance Nate's "chivalrous yet stupid lie" against Dan's "chivalrous yet stupid lie" (should it come out that he knew Serena was responsible and lied).
"Blair Waldorf is not indebted to anyone." Love it. Also surprised to enjoy "V" (ugh?) creating a "grant for teens with genital herpes" in Chuck Bass's name. And, good lord, when is the other shoe of Blair's blackseat-of-a-limo fling with Chuck going to drop? Because it totally could've during their make up scene. SAD NOW.
And look, the Adult storyline intersects with the Teenage storyline! Just as Serena is gaping about how she inexplicably got off easy and expecting an upstairs-downstairs comment from Dan, we find out that Bart Bass made a call on her behalf (interesting because she's responsible for Lily and Bart winding up together, complicated by Chuck telling his father to help get Serena off trouble-free, and worsened by Bart's lack of respect for Serena's newfound non-trouble-maker persona)... and, yes, the problem was SOLVED BY MONEY.
And a final, juicy twist. Serena goes to Rufus and tells him that she's the one who stopped him from consummating his love of Lily this time around (it was her grandmother the last time). Oh, wait, no, she doesn't. But it's still juicy.
Next Week: The Blair Waldorf pregnancy scare (and premature season-finale). Nice.
Project Runway: It's been so long since the last episode aired... I barely remember who the contestants are! Wow, was it really only last episode that Super Jack left?
OMG. The challenge is to create an outfit out of CANDY/CHOCOLATE. That's great. Best challenge this season, in wild concept.
How do these people avoid killing Christian on a daily basis?
Based on the safe versus risky elements... I'd say Kevin is screwed. But that's not the chief element here, so whatevs! Based on aesthetic, I'm worried about resident screwball sprite Elisa (especially after they took time out of the episode to go over her Tragic Back Story) because that thing totally missed the mark (it's not completely "safe", but it's also not that striking other than the silver arm/shoulder/things). Rami's is pretty cool. Sweet P's is nothing but "eh". Naturally, Jillian, the designer who was Most Worried Going Into The Runway Show has nothing to worry about in my eyes because da-yum. I totally want to eat that dress. Victorya's model was STIFF and apparently she TOLD the model to walk that way. Bad call, IMHO.
Kinda disappointed for Jillian that she didn't win, considering the extra effort of using real food. With Elisa and Sweet P in the bottom two, it's almost impossible for Elisa to stay, given the Tragic Back Story insertion in the episode and the lack of focus on Sweet P. So... g'bye, screwball sprite! I think she was sent home more for the underwhelming... thing... she made given how the challenge ought to have worked in her crazy favor.
Ricky Cry Count: 0...? (but he was red-eyed in the next on, so here's hoping! CRY, DAMN YOU!)
Side note. Top Chef 4: Chicago is not "Coming Soon/2008", but now "Coming in Spring". I'll be eager for it, but I have to ask... already? The last edition (which started and ended a tad later than it ought to have) just ended in October. But... given the lack on things on the air I'll be excited about, TC4 can't be a bad thing, whenever it comes. It just feels like such a great summer series (i.e. begin it after Memorial Day, end it right around Labor Day).
CBS Late Night (Letterman/Ferguson): I normally only watch Stewart/Colbert at late night, but since Worldwide Pants made a deal with the WGA, I'm switching over to these two until the strike is resolved. So, yes, they've gained me as a viewer through the stroke of a pen. Kudos, WWP.
Letterman opens with a taped "joke" from Hillary '08. It was passable. Now if only she'd fire the AMPTP's PR firm (which is also her PR firm). HAH! Rockettes with picket signs! Oh, man, I need a screencap of that shiz. "Questions about the Writers Strike" was a weird segment... all the people asking questions were his writers, right? No? Because weird questions if not planted. I wish this was slightly more subtle. But... hey, media awareness is media awareness and Big Media has been doing a pretty good job of keeping the strike out of the main press and news so... whatevs!
The Top Ten (demands from striking writers) list's best, IMHO, was number 5: "I'd like a date with a woman." Damn, they got Nora Ephron on? Nice.
Ferguson's opening sheep sketch was kinda amusing. But his monologue is crackling. Craig Ferguson is not a pretty man...