Gossip Girl: “The Undergraduates” (ep 403)

Sisterhood, alive and well on the Upper East Side.

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.)


One thought on “Gossip Girl: “The Undergraduates” (ep 403)

  1. I second that (about B’s dress). I also agree with that part about Eric, how convenient was it that he just happened to tell Rufus about the Kiss on the Lips incident JUST when Chuck and Eva were sort of getting super comfortable with each other? Also, that was Blair at her bitchy worst. That file move? So not the funny-bitchy Blair that we know and love. God, I hate her sometimes.

    Nate is adorable, and always will be. But still, he needs a non-manipulative woman (and maybe not a woman that likes him but is also using him as a pawn in her diabolical scheme against S) in his life. First Blair (endless bitchiness, frenemy situations, causing a divide between him and Chuck, encouraging him to break up with V), then Vanessa (stealing his letter to Jenny…I still despise her for that JENNY+NATE 4EVS), then Jenny (blahblah retaliation against Vanessa that V somewhat deserved but you still feel bad for her blahblahblah, coming between him and Serena, sleeping with Chuck even though it had nothing to do with Nate), then Bree (Carter Baizen scheme, enuff said), then Juliet! Jeeze, Nate…the least manipulative person you’ve dated was S and even I hated her towards the end of Season Three! I like her again, BTW.

    FNO footage was much-appreciated and made the whole ep more realistic. Penelope was much-missed along with the rest of Blair’s minions. Speaking of minions: Blair finally has minions again! Her lack of minions in Season Three was seriously not okay.

    Serena, man. WTF is up with her wardrobe choices since Season Three??? She used to be Glam/Boho/Chic and now she dresses like Lindsay Lohan’s BFF! Even in Paris! That sparkly jacket/blue pants/sky-high heels combo was not daywear at AWWLLL. Also, B’s hair needs to be vamped up. Since the last five eps of Season Three her hair has been down the toilet. It makes her face look wide and it’s just matronly looking. Just some suggestions.

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