Gossip Girl "It's Really Complicated" Review: Thanksgiving Leftovers

By Cory Barker

Dec 04, 2012

Gossip Girl S6E08: “It’s Really Complicated”

Counting this one, there are only three episodes of Gossip Girl left. And apparently, the producers are dead set on making the series finale one of the most miserable conclusions in recent television history. “It’s Really Complicated” answered some questions, posed some others, and generally made a mess of things in an almost indescribable fashion. I guess if they wanted everyone to be in the dark about what the heck was going on as the show came to close, they’ve nailed it. Let’s run it back.


1. Okay, yeah, Dan’s the world’s biggest tool

Last week, I imagined a world where Dan was reconnecting with Serena so that he could gain just a little more dirt on her for his web serial. As with all things Gossip Girl-related, this actually turned out to be true, and yet was still executed pretty terribly. It turns out that Dan was indeed back with Serena for “research,” (as if he needed to learn more or that Serena’s problems were that unnoticeable from the outside) but he's somehow also meant everything he's said to her in recent weeks, sort of. That doesn’t make much sense. He thinks she’s an empty shell of a human being, but he still loves her? That says a lot about you, Lonely Boy.

What’s worse is that "It's Really Complicated" tried to get mileage out of which Serena chapter Dan will actually turn into Vanity Fair, as if it matters. The fact that Dan wrote two Serena chapters proves how stupidly conflicted he is about her, which is I guess sort of the point, but the show hasn’t really justified the two of them getting back together in the first place, so making me fearful that Dan might actually be the douche everyone says he isn’t necessarily fit for good television.

Then somehow, the situation was made EVEN WORSE by Dan’s weird attempts to be “inside” if you will. So much of the show has been about Dan, an outsider, and while I get that he might have a complex about being looked down upon, that complex is mostly a figment of his own imagination. He wanted to be the outsider, even when all these people let him into their twisted, terrible world. And now, he’s suddenly talking about gaining respect and being one of them solely because he did a terrible thing? Uh, Dan, you’ve been doing terrible things to these people since 2008. You are one of them. They say they hate you and then come to your Thanksgiving. You’ve always been what you hated. Get over it.

And by the end of the episode, Dan revealed that he actually had a “plan.” That is “working.” This plan involves his FINAL CHAPTER, which at this point, could be about anything. Dorota. How he secretly loves Georgina. Or Vanessa. Or Both. But because I know how this show works, I assume that the chapter is about himself, and how he’s a fraud, and will always be an outsider, and something about peacoats. I like Penn Badgley quite a bit and Dan’s probably still my favorite character on Gossip Girl, but good lord is he exhausting to root for.


2. This show’s moral universe has completely folded onto itself

Seriously. It’s bad enough that Dan has to act the way that he does, but the show added insult to injury by making him the villainous pariah who got thrown out of his own Thanksgiving party and punched by Nate, basically for telling the truth. A truth, mind you, he'd already told about most of the people at the party, and they all got over it and went about their lives. But when Serena was the focus, they took a moral stand.

Let’s just take a step back and think about this for a second. Dan was punched by the show’s de-facto moral center Nate, who is currently trying to figure out how to weasel his way out of some serious accounting fraud. Also leading the anti-Dan charge was Blair, a young woman who has, over time, made thousands of people miserable with her scheming, back-stabbing, and selfishness. She spent this episode purposefully trying to submarine the reconciliation of two of her best friends, one of whom she'd just reconciled with herself not a few days prior. By her side was Chuck, whose rap-sheet of illegal activities, shady business dealings, and human rights violations we don’t need to rehash here. That leaves us with Serena, a person who needs real help, yet who can’t stop manipulating everyone around her with a smile on her face.

As I’ve said before: All of these people are horrible. They don’t deserve what they have and they certainly deserve a lot worse than being put on blast in Vanity Fair. And just because one of them decided to publicly out everyone for their miserable actions, he got shamed, punched, and discarded. I’m not saying Dan’s a hero, because he’s not. He’s a tool. And he’s gone about all of this in the wrong way. But I really think the show wants to lump Dan in with the Georginas and the Barts of the world so that it can celebrate whatever qualities it thinks are valuable about Serena, Blair, Chuck, and Nate. That’s bullshit, and if the show ends with Dan A.) Apologizing or B.) Getting some grand comeuppance, this all will literally be for naught. So good job, writers.


3. By this point, Chuck will defeat his father by the time the CW reboots this show

Seriously, this story. I really like the idea of Chuck having to “defeat” his father as some final test—even though it reinforces that Chuck is somehow a heroic character who deserves such a test to pass—because it makes sense for the character. Despite all the dreadful things Chuck has done, his actions have been partly consistently dreadful, and most of that stems from his piss-poor relationship with his father. Thus, outsmarting his father, regaining the company that he recklessly mishandled at times, it all makes sense.

Unfortunately, watching the story unfold in this episode, when it was supposed to be building toward a powerful moment, was pretty difficult. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t especially trust Blair and Nate to break open an international conspiracy with just a single chat on a park bench, nor do I imagine that Bart will go down swinging just because Lily doesn’t trust him anymore. If anything, he’s proven that he’ll just kill her and be done with it.

And again, the scene with Blair in the Native American outfit, trying to seduce Chuck, further cemented how dumb their “pact” is. So all it takes is Blaire strutting in and calling herself a stripper to get him to drop the agreed-upon terms, if even for a night? If they’re so hot and heavy for one another, why wouldn’t this have happened sooner? Also: Why am I thinking this through?


4. One random thing

I don’t know if you folks noticed this, but Gossip Girl’s voiceover mentioned a few times that she was going to have a big impact on Thanksgiving. I can’t recall the exact phrasing, but she definitely suggested that she would play a role in the episode’s events, and yet, there were no actual alerts from Gossip Girl in this episode. It could be an error, or I could be overthinking it, but that caught my attention. There’s no way that any of the characters prominently featured in "It's Really Complicated" could be Gossip Girl, right?


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  • darcicomplex Dec 07, 2012

    Well, the end is almost in sight and this is kind of bittersweet. I'm happy because I'm glad they're ending it before it starts going way down hill, but I'm also mad because I think the last few episodes have been some of the best yet...hopefully this is leading up to a great ending.

    Things I loved about this episode are Dan, Dan, and well, Dan. He's awesome, and his character is stepping things up lately, and I loved how evil he was in this. Besides that, I also really liked a new song I discovered called "For You" by Wolf Rider - silly wtf band name but the song is great...it's the song that plays over the establishing shots for the Thanksgiving activities as Nate notices chuck’s dog monkey up to some suspicious behavior, Chuck skips scotch and then Rufus eats breakfast while looking at a flier for a concert. Totally reminds me of Fleet Foxes and The Shins.

  • apc_zg Dec 07, 2012

    you should ask for some other show to review, ggirl is a waste of time

  • LusMarquesdeA Dec 06, 2012

    I don't think that Dan is Gossip Girl, I mean, when Blair didn't sign the divorce papers he still got a blast about Chuck visiting Blair. And the thing you've notice is correct, but misplaced, which leaves me to conclude that Dorota is Gossip Girl.
    One other thing, why the heck did Dan said "There's no winning without Serena", I mean, she wasn't listening, he could've said whatever he wanted to Georgina.

  • CoryBarker1 Dec 06, 2012

    I've assumed for years that Dorota would be GG. I'm fine with that.

  • jtgreat_20 Dec 05, 2012

    so Blair and Dan will never have the chance?they were good for each other. Serena and Nate on the other hand.is a great couple too. with Chuck will be like his dad.a succesful bussiness man with lots of girls by her side.Georgina will be okey for him.but with a heart. a philantropist. gossip girl will be vanessa?

  • angrodpallanen Dec 05, 2012

    At this point I fully trust the writer's to turn things around properly by series end. I mean, this is overseen by the folk who made The O.C. so I'm not worried. I even think people are too hard on this show. Gossip Girl has always been about this world and its own standards, how faulty and ridiculous they may look in real life. So in that regard, Dan betrayed every single one of them by hurting Serena. That's how their pack works. We saw it with Juliette, Vanessa, Jenny and now finally Dan. Personally I hate Dan with every viber of my being. He and Lily should consider jumping of the Empire, THAT would satisfy me. However, I really like how they brought him and Serena back. Serena has not changed a bit and she needs someone who just accepts her and thinks the self-destructing socialite thing is adorable. That's Dan for ya. I thought this episode was terrific. It put Dan in a place that felt logical and earned. He basically spend six year getting into a group and the only way he knew how to be accepted was to destroy it. That's drama right there. Do you really, after everything, after watching this show for six seasons, start about morals and what is right compared to the normal world? NO! THIS IS GOSSIP GIRL. There is no such thing as rational grown up decissions.

  • CoryBarker1 Dec 06, 2012

    Yeah, but those people oversaw The OC aren't really working on GG now. They're barely involved.

  • angrodpallanen Dec 08, 2012

    Unfortunately, yes, but Schwartz (as far as I know, and I don't know much) is still an exec who wrote this year's premiere, he'll at least have a say on the story arcs and presumably the series finale? I trust that will at least be worth the ride.

  • Vamps Dec 05, 2012

    anyone else think the final chapter is a bart chapter

  • CoryBarker1 Dec 06, 2012

    I hope not.

  • Alastor7800 Dec 05, 2012

    I agree with most of what you say except for the fact that Dan is conflicted about Serena and can't love her if he thinks she's shallow. I think he knows exactly who she is and still loves her with her flaws. I don't see any problem about that but with tv we're so used to see guys loving girls because they're perfect and nice that it became an habbit and we forget that it's not love, it's rom-com fantaisies. I don't mind Dan and Serena (and the rest of the characters in GG for that matter) being horrible people, what does disturb me is when suddently the show is trying to depict them as good people so the people who watch the show can reflect on the characters. Gossip girl only works when it embraces its satiric vibe which unfortunatly he does not do very often.

    Idea for the finale: I hope they kill Nate in some dumb accident and then everybody forget to go to his funeral so they can realize how useless this guy had been this whole time.

  • MirandaPartri Dec 04, 2012

    Bahaha! I love your reviews. Gossip Girl is so addictively terrible.

  • daizy87 Dec 04, 2012

    Anyone else who noticed Blair mentioning to Serena that she must be "in 7th heaven" when Steven wanted to get back together with her? haha, kinda funny :) Oh well, that was the only highlight of this episode......

  • CoryBarker1 Dec 06, 2012

    Dammit, I forgot to mention that. It was fun.

  • angrypasta Dec 04, 2012

    Hello, upper east siders,
    The good thing about hate-watching a show is that it can't really let you down and then make you feel bad about hating it, because you already do by definition. Think about one of your favorite shows that you genuinely enjoyed watching that at some point took a turn for the bad (Prison Break, anyone?). I know I for one always feel guilty about trashing that show when that happens, and I make up excuses and pretend it's all good, when deep down I know it's over. No such awkwardness when it comes to Gossip Girl. It's all out in the open.

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