It’s All “Relative” – A Recap of Gossip Girl’s “The Kids Are Not All Right”

Welcome Back, GGers!  I’ve MISSED you!  Heck, I’ve missed ALL my favorite Upper East Siders!  It’s definitely been a long and dark December, without a hint of gossip, a dollop of scandal, or a heaping helping of Limosine Sex, to keep me warm . . .

And, honestly, I think it’s BECAUSE I missed this show, and these characters, so much, that I had such a great deal of trouble sitting down to write this recap.  You see, I really, REALLY wanted to kick off the second half of the fourth season of Gossip Girl, by writing an energetic, fun, and, above all, extremely positive, recap, of which I could truly be proud.  But then, I watched this episode . . . and . . . well . . .

 . . . Suffice it to say, I had some “less than positive” things to say about it.

OK . . . I know what you’re thinking!  I can practically feel you rolling your eyes at me from your computer screen . . .

Your thinking to yourself, of course SHE didn’t like the episode!  SHE is a crazed, unapologetically biased, Chair Fan.  And “The Kids Are Not All Right,” not only featured virtually NO interaction between Chuck and Blair whatsoever, it also depicted both characters getting “friendly” with other members of the opposite sex, from OTHER “Ships.”

Good point!  But it’s not ALL about that!  REALLY!  I mean, surely, I’ve enjoyed at least SOME GG episodes that didn’t feature solid Chuck and Blair scenes in them. 

I mean . . . I can’t really think of any right now.  But I’m willing to bet they exist! 🙂

In all seriousness, it was the STORYLINES of “The Kids Are Not All Right” that really bugged me:  Another “Battle for Bass Industries” . . . 

 

 . . . another situation, where Blair schemes to get some “prestigious” internship with some fancy One-Week-Wonder Guest Star, only to have it ultimately blow up in her face . . .

 .  .  another storyline where Dan fumbles a “great” opportunity, because he’s too busy following Serena around like a puppy dog to care about his own life . . .  

 . . . another Nate’s Deadbeat Dad storyline . . . COME ON, Gossip Girl!  These aren’t the fun, sexy, and uniquely scandalous storylines that have kept us coming back, week after week, for FOUR YEARS NOW!

That being said . . . I thought a lot about how I could write this recap, and keep it “positive.”  I explored a lot of options.  I even considered MAKING UP STUFF, and pretending that it happened in the episode — thereby, turning this “recap” into what would essentially be a glorified Chair fanfiction . . .

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

And that’s when it hit me .  . .

I don’t NEED to insert any fake Chair scenes into this episode, because this episode is ALREADY ALL about Chair . . . and (unfortunately, for me, because I’m a Serenate fan) Derena.  Specifically, “The Kids Are All Right” is about how these two seemingly volatile couples are both essentially DESTINED to be the “Endgame” in Gossip Girl world! 

(Suddenly, I’m liking this episode a WHOLE lot better . . .)

Confused?  Allow me to help you examine “The Kids Are Not All Right” from what I’d like to call the “Chair Perspective.”  (Oh, and for those of you who aren’t Chair fans, you may want to skip down to the words THE END at the bottom of this VERY Chair-full recap section.  I don’t want to make you any madder at me, than you probably already are. ;))

The Chair Perspective – Blair’s Path to Greatness

Remember “The Witches of Bushwick” episode?  If so, then you probably recall how Chuck and Blair FINALLY mutually confessed their love for one another, only to break up outside the Empire Hotel, moments later, so that Blair could try and “find herself.”  Here are some of the “highlights” of that heartbreaking scene:

BLAIR:  “I followed my heart all last year, and it got me no where.  Now I need to follow my head . . . I have to be Blair Waldorf, before I can be Chuck Bass’ Girlfriend.

CHUCK:  “I love you.”

BLAIR:  “I love you too . . . I don’t expect you to wait.”

CHUCK: “If two people are meant to be together, eventually they will find their way back.”

A pointless breakup of two soulmates, you say?  ABSOLUTELY!  🙂  And yet, the above scene is very meaningful, in terms of this episode!  You see, Blair always knew she didn’t want to simply follow in her mother’s footsteps, or live off her family’s wealth. 

Blair wants to chart her own path, and be a successful, powerful woman, in her own right.  But, up until this point, she had NO CLUE what that path was!  That’s why she always got her ideas for internships and extracurriculars activity ideas out of Forbes Magazine, as opposed to by picking her own brain.  Yet, this week, with the help of her new buddy, Dan (Yes, I said Dan . . . and “buddy,” of course) as well as the support of her mother, Blair, for lack of a better term, finally figured out what she “wants to be when she grows up.” 

Chair Fans, Blair Waldorf is destined to be the next Anna Wintour!   

She’s the editor of Vogue, in case you were wondering.

And once Blair is confident that she can successfully achieve that goal, she will be ready to begin the lifelong relationship with Chuck that we all know she is destined to have.  In real life, “finding yourself” can take years, maybe even a lifetime!  But in TV land, it takes approximately “four episodes” . . . 

“If two people are meant to be together, they will find their way back [to eachother],” says Chuck Bass. 

And, if my predictions are correct, Blair should be “back” to Chuck in four-to-six episodes . . .  Sound good?

But What About Chuck?

Chuck may not have been as adamant about it as Blair was, but he also needs to find himself, before he can enter into a livelong relationship with Blair.  Unlike his soulmate, who has spent her whole life striving for success, Chuck merely allowed it to be handed to him.  The Chuck Bass we met during Seasons 1 and 2, cared little about academics, and only slightly more about his father’s business and finances.  He was much more interested in booze and sex. 

Chuck inherited Bass Industries.  He never had to work for it.  And in the first few months of his ownership of the company, he squandered his wealth and the company’s good name.  So, his stepmother, Lily had to step in, and take the reigns for him. 

Now Chuck is at risk to lose Bass Industries once again.  And this time, Lily can’t help him.  This time, Chuck must prove to himself, (and to rest of New York City) that HE is not just the slacker son of a Real Estate Magnate, but a force to be reckoned with — an adult, who is capable of running a successful Empire (and Empire Hotel, of course).  Only when Chuck has accomplished this, will he feel truly worthy of Blair, or at least, of the strong powerful business woman that she is destined to become.

This is why this whole (admittedly snoozy) Bass Industries storyline, is essential to the Chair Endgame.  It is forcing Chuck to prove himself, in a professional way, and on his own merits, without his parents, step-parents, or his slimy older brother to lift him up, if he falls.

So what’s the deal with Dair?  (And why are Chuck and Serena getting so pal-y all the sudden?  Because, that’s just creepy!)

Watching Dan interact with Serena this week, proved to me that he and Blair are in effectively the same place, in terms of their respective relationships.  Both Dan and Blair are more studious, and hardworking than their counterparts.  And yet, they also tend to sacrifice more of their own success and happiness for that of their significant others, due to their generally giving (albeit, slightly judgmental) natures.  Blair mentioned in “The Witches of Bushwick” that she followed her heart for a year, and it got her nowhere.  Dan might have said the same thing, if he had more lines, during that episode . . .

No less than THREE times, during this episode, Dan gave up his own plans, and even a JOB INTERVIEW, to cater to Serena’s whim.  And each time, she DITCHED HIS ass!  To echo Blair’s now-iconic words, Dan REALLY needs to become Dan Humphrey, before he can become Serena van der Woodsen’s boyfriend!  And who better to help him chart that path (platonically, I hope!), than the one woman who wants to achieve the exact same thing, for herself?

We know that Dan helped Blair out this week, by letting her know that she was a “Dictator of Taste,” someone who let people know, in no uncertain terms, that “tights are NOT pants” (Nice Season 1 reference, Humphrey!)  This, of course, helped Blair to figure out that she wanted to one day become the Editor (Editrix?) of a Fashion Magazine

But Blair helped Dan too!   She told Serena, that she couldn’t keep stringing her poor dopey dog of a boyfriend on such a short leash, and just expect him to roll over and play dead for her, forever.  And it was this conversation between the two besties, that ultimately allowed Serena to see the sh*tty way she was treating Dan.  Basically, it convinced her to break things off with him now, so the pair could get back together, later.  (Sound familiar?)

In essence, Serena’s breakup with Dan this week, almost perfectly mirrored Chuck’s with Blair, in “The Witches of Bushwick,” in that both pairs needed to find themselves, individually, in the short term, to salvage their relationships, in the long term.  “We either sink or swim.  We won’t get another chance,” Serena tells Dan.  “So, when we try again, we better be ready.”

This brings us to Serena and Chuck.  (YES!  They are related . . . in more ways than one. :))

Like Chuck, Serena has never been exactly what you would call, “ambitious.”  Both Upper East Siders have reputations for being hard partiers, and more than a bit slutty . . . *cough the Raccoon Zombie Sex Incident cough*  Up to this point, both Chuck and Serena have gotten where they are in life, through a mix of good luck, and unadulterated nepotism. 

So, while Chuck needs to break free from Lily, to prove to himself he can run Bass Industries on his own, Serena needs to break free from her mother too, to prove to herself that she’s more than just the van der Woodsen heiress getting wasted on page 6 of the Post, she’s her own Slutty  Person!  So, Chuck and Serena can help one another achieve their goals, in the same way that Dan and Blair can help one another achieve their’s.

And when that’s all said and done (hopefully, in approximately four episodes), . . .

 .  . . everything will be exactly how it’s supposed to be.  (Well, unless you prefer Serena with Nate, like I do.  But we can’t have EVERYTHING we want, can we?)

THE END(GAME)!

And now, for those other storylines I mentioned earlier. . .

Nate’s Dad is The Captain (of a Sinking Ship)

This question is specifically directed to those of you who have spent time in prison.  (Don’t worry, I won’t ask for names!)  Remember when Nate’s dad, “The Captain” looked like THIS?

Well, what the heck HAPPENED to him in the pokey, that he now looks like Uncle Fester, from the Addams Family?

You might have just assumed that the ACTOR (Sam Robards) who plays “The Captain” has merely lost his hair, and put on a few pounds, since we last saw him.  But, really, FOUR YEARS is NOT THAT LONG!  I think the costume department suggested this “new look” for Howard Archibald.  My question is, “Why?” 

I always thought folks in TOUGH High Security Prisons (where “wrongly accused” teachers got other inmates to beat the crap out of you, just to “teach their baby sister a lesson)” did nothing all day, but lift weights, do push ups, run laps around the track, and try not to drop the soap in the communal shower.  But apparently, I was mistaken.  Is prison food really THAT good?  Just saying . . .

So, anyway, The Captain is living with Nate, and has basically become a total leech, and waste of life.  Rather than abide by the conditions of his parole, and get a job, “The Captain” prefers instead to boink the help (who are helpfully clad in French Maid Halloween costumes, just in case we couldn’t figure out what they did for a living), and play Nate’s Wii in his hotel apartment. 

The Captain later tells Nate that this is because he’s “too good” for janitor work.  Nate, understandably doesn’t buy it.

 

And yet, “The Captain” seems to catch a TOTALLY undeserved career break, when the EEEEEVVVILL Russell Thorpe hires him to do . . . well . . .  heck if I KNOW!  Whatever it is, I strongly suspect that “The Captain’s” undoubtedly job description will end up making janitors look like Mother Theresa, by comparison . . .  (I don’t buy for a second, that Russell didn’t know about The Captain’s incarceration, just because he used to live in Chicago, instead of NYC.  Do you?)

Speaking of Bass Industries (and Russell Thorpe) . . .

Upon learning that Lily has designs on selling his company out from under Chuck’s nose, Chuck seeks out the help of a man who used to be business associates with his father, a Chicago Tycoon, named Russell Thorpe.

What Chuck doesn’t know, at least, until the end of the episode, is that Lily was actually selling the business to a benevolent third party, who would keep the Bass name in tact, and prevent the now-financially destitute company from going up on the auction block.  Oh, and that “friend” of Bart Bass, Russell Thorpe?  He actually HATED Chuck’s dad with a passion!  (Who didn’t, right?)  So, of course, upon learning from Chuck that Bass Industries is being sold, Thorpe blocks the sale, so that HE can buy the company at auction price, and sell it for parts, as a form of revenge against the dearly departed (Debarted?) Bart.

How does Chuck respond to this total threat to his financial health, and good name, you ask?  Well, by SCREWING Russell’s daughter, Raina, of course! 

Screwing people, after all, IS what Chuck Bass does best!  (Just ask Blair!)

But Chuck Bass isn’t the only one, who has seemingly misread Lily van der Woodsen’s intentions.   Serena screwed up as well.  With Chuck’s help (and armed with Lily’s Glamour Shots-looking passport) . . .

(Seriously, who’s passport photo actually LOOKS like this?  Mine is so scary looking, it actually breaks MIRRORS, when I leave it to close to them!)

  . . . Serena somehow convinces a clearly BLIND bank manager that she is her 40-something year old mother, and that Chuck is her SON!

Way to keep the storylines plausible, Writers!

This allows Serena and Chuck to go digging through Lily’s safety deposit box at the bank.   And, lo and behold, in there they find the fake affidavit that Lily signed on Serena’s behalf,  to put Juliet’s brother Professor Ben away for a sex act he didn’t commit.  (Actually, Professor Ben may be the ONLY man on the East coast who HASN’T slept with Serena . . .)

Chuck and Serena plan to show this affidavit to the judge who originally signed off on it, and prove to him that it’s a fraud, thereby ensuring Ben’s release.  And yet, the Judge seems to have flown the coop .  . . or has he?  With Little Eric van der Woodsen’s help, Serena learns that the Judge had been staying at the Empire at Lily’s behest, but has now left town.  Could Lily have been paying the judge off, to stay hidden, so that her daughter couldn’t FIND HIM?

THE HORROR!

When Serena confronts Lily with the incriminating affidavit, at the episode’s Fancy Party of the Week, Lily balks at the idea that she has done anything wrong.  And yet the argument, causes a stir among the partygoers, illustrating publicly the unrest that exists between the Bass-van der Woodsen families.  And it is this unrest that Russell Thorpe is ultimately able to capitalize on, when he is making a play for Bass Industries . . .

And yet, as it turns out, Lily ends up not being as BIG of an A**HOLE as we once thought she was!  Because, at the end of the episode, when Serena goes back to the jail to visit Ben, she learns that Judge in question has already released him from jail, thanks to the presumably well-intentioned efforts of Lily, herself.

But, you know, Serena!  This girl is absolutely incapable of ending an episode, without doing something self-destructive and stupid.  And so, she meets up with former-convict Ben (who is creepily waiting for her outside the jail, even though he was released HOURS ago), and invites him for sex coffee.  Need I remind you that this is the same guy who “hired” his baby sister to ruin Serena’s life, not to mention, the same guy who had The Captain ground to a pulp, by his fellow inmates, just to keep that same baby sister in line, when she started to develop a conscience?

Oh, Serena!  You SURE know how to pick ’em! 

Until next time, folks . . . XOXO!

[www.juliekushner.com]

2 Comments

Filed under Gossip Girl

2 responses to “It’s All “Relative” – A Recap of Gossip Girl’s “The Kids Are Not All Right”

  1. i totally agree with your first assessment of the ep… but i totally admire your effort to salvage it! now that’s a loyal gg fan! Hope the next ep is better though!

    • Thanks so much, diplomaticwife! I suspect a lot of people feel the same way that we both felt about this episode. It was definitely lackluster, to say the least.

      To be honest, I was a bit worried that I would get some flack from readers for taking a few “creative liberties” 😉 with this recap. I’m glad to see that at least one person out there understands that I only did it out of love for the series and its characters. 🙂 So, thank you for your kind words and support

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