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Gossip Girl: “The Serena Also Rises”

October 8, 2008

Warning: The following entry contains spoilers for Gossip Girl S2 E5!Blaire.Serena.sitting

First of all, this was like a totally important character-building episode for everyone on the show—most importantly for Blair and Serena. (Sorry, I can not help but revert to Clueless style speaking patterns whenever I even think about this show, but it’s my blog, so whatever!) Everything that Poppy told Serena about Blair keeping her down, and preventing her from letting her light shine is absolutely true. When Serena finally confronted Blair after the fashion show, she told her that she had spent her entire life trying to protect Blair’s feelings, trying not to outshine her. This is really the crux of the problem between Serena and Blair.

Blair is, and always has been, irrationally jealous of Serena, and has thus taken it out on Serena by treating her pretty poorly. Serena has always been resentful of this, and has felt like she had to walk on eggshells around Blair. Serena has always kept these feelings to herself (until this episode), and I think that these pent-up emotions have led her to subconsciously want to hurt her best friend in return (e.g. sleeping with Nate—no way Serena was actually in love with that loser). The root of jealousy for Blair is that Serena is naturally beautiful, thin, blond, popular, and smart—she gets everything effortlessly. This quality of Serena coasting through life was much more blatant in the books, and I hope that viewers who haven’t read the books also see this as an authentic characterization. Blair, on the other hand, has had to work at it—blood, sweat, and tears (and a little bulimia) go into every moment of triumph for Blair. I think this is what keeps readers and viewers (or at least me) continually sympathetic to Blair, despite her atrocious behavior. Just in this one episode, she did one cringe-worthy evil deed after another. Just when I thought she could do no more harm, Blair proved me wrong. But the motivation for the character is always there, and Leighton Meester just rocks the part, so I find myself crushed when Blair is crushed, and loving her despite, and often because of, her flaws. That said, Serena is definitely the one with the righteous anger in this episode, and I don’t fault her one bit for her actions.

Moving on, additional interesting character development in the episode involved Chuck and Dan. How fun were their scenes?!?! Ed Westwick and Penn Badgley had awesome chemistry together! Usually I’m bored whenever Dan is on screen, so I’m glad that the writers figured out a way to pair him with Chuck. Their characters could not be more different, so it was really great to see how they interacted one-on-one, and to see a real moment of connection, however temporary.

I also enjoyed the Lilly storyline. She and Serena had a nice little bonding moment about the picture she posed for, and I really enjoyed that. I think that it speaks volumes about her marriage that something that her daughter really admired turned out to be something her new husband was determined to sweep under the rug.  Since the beginning of the show, we’ve been hammered over the head with the fact that Bart Bass is a jerk, and this episode just continued to add fuel to the fire.  He’s definitely not the right guy for Lilly. However, Lilly is also way too good for Rufus—so writers, please don’t go there again.

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