The Undergraduates felt to me like an old-school episode of Gossip Girl (Blair and Serena hanging out in lingerie!), but without being tired or re-hashy. While the old frenemy jealousy between Blair and Serena reared its head, the girls actually joined forces to take down Juliet. Except, well, she didn’t actually suffer anything other than the loss of some minions and a Hamilton House membership. It’s hilarious to me that Nate is so used to girls pulling absurdly crazy schemes that he takes it as a compliment that Juliet would lie and manipulate and cheat Serena out of a key. Sigh. Oh Nate, you haven’t changed as much as you may think you have.
With three new couples shacking up — Eva and Chuck, Dan and Vanessa, and Blair and Serena — it’ll be interesting to see who lasts and who drives each other crazy. While I wasn’t keen on the idea of Dan spending season 4 taking care of an infant, my heart broke when Georgina took Milo away from him. Poor Dan. And poor cute little Milo, raised by Georgina and (even worse?) the parents that raised Georgina…
How incredibly uncomfortable was that conversation between Chuck and Rufus? While that felt appropriately awful, what I’m not entirely behind is how Eric’s alliance keeps shifting. He and Chuck were really close in past seasons — long after the Jenny incident from the pilot. Remember Eric turning to Chuck after Georgina outed him at the dinner table? It seems like the writers always make Eric the one who’s pissy at someone — Lily, his father, Jenny, Chuck — whenever they need someone to create some conflict. I’d rather Eric get some character consistency and maybe a plot line that involves more than passing references to his boyfriend.
My heart also broke for Blair, watching Chuck light up at Eva’s return at the end of the episode. He was so right about how she only throws insults she knows will land — and how those insults are thrown out because of her own insecurity. So many of our GGers are seriously insecure: Chuck hiding his past from Eva, Blair about Eva and Chuck, even Serena being rejected by her ex-boyfriends, Hamilton House, and Blair (albeit temporarily on those last two).
Onward to some choice moments, lines, references, and other observations:
- The new background music for the opening “Gossip Girl here…” sounds like a mellow porn soundtrack to me. (Not that I’m a mellow porn expert or anything…)
- Dorota continues to have excellent taste in TV: last season it was the Vampire Diaries, this season Law & Order: SVU.
- LOVED seeing Penelope return. Hope we see more of her this season.
- Classic —
Serena: “And I thought college was going to be different than high school.”
Blair: “Who would want that?”
- It felt very refreshing to see Serena not get all the attention and everything she wants for once. Humble that girl a bit.
- Dan Humphrey is SO the modern-day Steve Guttenberg. I think it’s time for a remake of Three Men and a Baby…
- Very cool that they actually shot footage at Fashion’s Night Out and merged it with the rest of the scenes. (Watch Stephanie Savage and Josh Safran talk about the ep here.)
- That caviar/catfish line? Just, no. Not working.
- I adore the bird wall in Serena’s new bedroom and earnestly wish that B was my best friend so I could be her new roomie and live in that gorgeous room.
episode title inspired by The Graduate (dir. Mike Nichols, 1967): Dustin Hoffman plays a directionless, listless college grad, Benjamin, in this classic American film about a younger man and his dalliance with Mrs. Robinson and his romance with her daughter Elaine. If you haven’t seen this film, you should. Even if it’s just so you can catch all the millions of references made to it in other movies and on TV shows.
choice look: OK, last Blair outfit in a row, I promise. As bold as Serena’s Fashion’s Night Out dress was, it was just too much for much for me. Blair’s Valentino sequined tunic dress on the other hand? It was far enough out of her usual color palette and style to feel like a fashion’s finest choice for B. Plus: it shimmers.
What is Juliet’s deal — first the serial killer wall with Serena’s photo as the focus and now a prison visit. Who the heck was that guy? What did he do to land in minimum security prison? Does he have anything to do with Nate’s dad? Or Pete Fairman? I love a plot line that keeps its secret from the audience, and finally finally finally Gossip Girl is holding onto one.
Next up: “Touch of Eva” (BTW, I feel like a total tool every time I have to say “Eva” out loud.)