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Gossip Girl "High Infidelity" Review: We're Not in High School Anymore, Right?

Gossip Girl S6E02: “High Infidelity”

Well, after a fairly solid season premiere, Gossip Girl settled back into its typical (read: pretty miserable) rhythms in “High Infidelity.” Let’s run through the big points, shall we?


1. Everyone alone, at a party

Last week, I praised the premiere for pulling all the characters together in one big story. That was the primary reason why the episode worked for me. But that was a premiere, and premieres are special. So it’s no surprise that in this episode, the show returned to the annoying “multiple mediocre storylines converging unrelatedly at a party or event” formula that it has beaten 100 feet into the ground.

Look, I understand that the show can’t write episodes with everyone working together on some goal every week. But the way that Gossip Girl usually moves through its episodes rubs me the wrong way. Not only is it tough to care about many of the stories that happen each week, but said stories often come together in a stupid fashion. For example, Chuck being called to the event, only to realize four seconds in that he'd been tricked and didn’t actually need to be there at all. It lacked all purpose and just filled time.


2. LOL Nate

If it were possible for me to feel sympathy for a very attractive and likely fairly wealthy white man, there would probably be a twinge in my heart for Chace Crawford. The dude’s character has, for years, had nothing to do on this show other than sleep with random female guest stars and then get duped by them somehow.

So I guess it’s only fitting that Gossip Girl has kicked off its final season by trapping Nate in that exact same plot, only one that is—at least as of now—less nefarious and just simply humiliating. It turned out (of course), that Sage was not who she said she was. The episode tried to make us think that she was actually dating Barry Watson's Steven, but hopefully you knew better. Instead, it was revealed that Sage is Steven’s 17-year-old daughter! Nate’s getting it in with a high school lady. I guess it’s only fair after last season’s tryst with a much older woman.

I appreciate the show’s attempts to self-referentially discuss Nate’s stupidity and porous love life. Crawford is pretty good at being barely exasperated by his silly but charmed life. However, at a certain point, you can’t just keep making fun of your terrible writing. You should fix it.


3. High School > College

By my unofficial count, “High Infidelity” referred to high school 490 times. My guess is that Gossip Girl’s writers are using it as a way to thematically circle back to the show’s origins, particularly with all the discussion of (finally) growing up. In that regard, it makes some sense with regard to why characters kept talking about how they weren’t in high school anymore.

BUT, uh, college? I’ve been willing to accept the show’s decision to stop writing stories about the characters expanding their minds in higher education. Few shows in this genre have made that work. But the combination of most of the characters becoming highly powerful titans of industry, the lack of references to college, and the returning mentions of high school pushed too far. Gossip Girl has its own warped reality, but it wouldn’t kill them to mention class every once and a while, especially when beating the “time to grow up!” thematic drum. College is where you really grow up. Not post-high school scheming.


4. Dueling Divas, sort of

Yet again, Gossip Girl was half-assed in giving me what I want from Serena and Blair’s mostly lifeless feud. As I said in my pre-season wishlist, the show always wants to pit its two leading ladies against one another but never actually wants to make their tension matter, or allow either character to be truly villainous. Blair’s almost been there before, and it seemed like Serena was on a warpath at the end of last season, only for the show to hit eject.

In just two episodes this season, the show has both complicated and simplified the 98th iteration of S and B not liking one another. On one hand, the short scenes they have shared in both episodes have been pretty great. Serena’s actually trying to move on with her life, which means ditching the drama and history with Blair. Last week's “break-up” was nicely followed with Blair being not being invited to tonight's event, and ultimately being tossed from it. But although those scenes were good on an individual level, the story itself lacks teeth because both ladies are trying so hard to avoid one another, a move that more or less enforces that they still like each other more than they do not. That’s lame and suggests that a reconciliation is closer than a legitimate throwdown.


5. Dan is no sell-out, except for when he is

Dan writing the sequel to Inside (working title: Inside-er: This Time With Last Names!) feels like a dead-end story to me. The show wants us to believe that Dan is actually, finally fed up with the elitism that he thinks he’s not a part of, which isn’t really true, and even if it was, the publishing of his version of the truth seems like one of those larger Gossip Girl stories that results in little more than Dan being given the cold shoulder for a few episodes before everyone gets over it and the show just glibly and offhandedly refers to it at random points.

Knowing what we know about the show and how it operates, what does Dan publishing these chapters in The Spectator accomplish? This might be Gossip Girl's final season, but things so rarely really change on this show that it is tough to imagine it resulting in Dan leaving New York City for good. And even if it does, that won’t be until the finale, when the impact wouldn’t be substantial. I don’t mind this story but I hate it when the show pretends that certain events are going to CHANGE EVERYTHING.

Gossip Girl "High Infidelity" Photos



What did we think, people? Much worse than the premiere, right?




Comments (25)
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It annoys me how sanctimonious Serena is being. She's 'growing up' and 'moving on' and thus her friendship with Blair is over. She acts like Blair wronged her in some way and so Serena is ditching her. Except that Serena stole and then released Blair's diary online, and then slept with her boyfriend. Serena should be apologizing to Blair, not having her kicked out of parties. And I know that in the end Serena will deign to be Blair's friend again. Ugh this show. Can't wait until it's over and I can stop watching the trainwreck is has become.
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Oh my God, THIS. I've hated Serena with a passion throughout Gossip Girl's tenure and this season she is as insufferable as ever, probably more if that's possible! I was actually really happy with last season and the finale, which finally noted how awful and life ruining and useless she really was. But she's back to doing what she does best- sleeping with a new man, acting like she's a good human being and acting self righteous towards Blair. UGH. I wish someone would literally tell her what we all think, instead of everyone just seeming not to notice it on the show.
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"The show wants us to believe that Dan is actually, finally fed up with the elitism that he thinks he's not a part of, which isn't really true,"



I think you're right and I think it always has been GG's major issue.



In the beginning the show was really about that (probably because schwartz wanted to do the same thing he did in The O.C but this time in N.Y) but they droped the idea of a sarcastic / critical show very early or, at least, didn't focus on that.

And so Dan, just like his sister, became a strange character who didn't really belong in a show about "cool rich kids". And now when the girl compared Dan to Fitzgerald it felt wrong and sad in the same time to me.



Wrong because we haven't seen Dan that way, at least not all the time.

Sad because both the character and the show would have been better and smarter if they have developed this idea of a modern Fitzgerald from the very beginning and stick to it for the next six years... I mean after six season I'm still not sure if GG is a show about "how cool being rich is!" or a satiric show about rich kids and I have the feeling people who write Gossip Girl's episodes don't actually know it neither.
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What's wrong with Nate's upper lip?

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It amazes me how Supernatural can get over 2 million viewers despite it being an older show and how Gossip Girl barely manages to get 1 million viewers despite it being the final season!
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I think Sage is Gossip Girl......I think it was kinda hinted at the end of the episode....
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Hmm interesting. She'd have to be pretty young to have been GG back in season one?
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This show keeps on becoming more boring by the minute.
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Dan is gossip girl! lol

Sorry, couldn't help myself... :)
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i feel like this show cheaply manipulated me with the merging of dan and blair, a coupling that felt so fun and fresh and not entirely contrived that i watched the whole series again from start to fourth season finale, re-watching some episodes and watching others for the first time.



i've only read recaps and reviews for the fifth season because i just don't know if i can handle watching it, to be honest. i keep reading these pieces and think: this show isn't fun anymore!



and then i think: was it ever really that fun?



and then i think: what the hell, i am a person with a master's degree who needs to grade papers why am i spending this much time on gossip girl?



BUT THESE ARE THE GREAT ISSUES OF OUR TIME.



also, "LOL Nate" <3
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I don't know but I feel like the show is at least trying to end on some sort of a respectable note, I mean previously it would take like 3 episodes for Serena to find out that Steven a) has a relationship with a young girl, b)come up with some lame way to expose it, c)pout about it and finally talk about it. Here it all happened in one episode and I am thankful for that. I am actually liking what they are doing to Serena and how she is trying to mature.



Blair on the other hand was such a whiny and insecure little brat that even the gorgeous couture didn;t save her. And if I have to hear AGAIN how something that she is doing now is soooo important for her an her future with Chuck , I am going to barf because to me that the pact with God 2.0 story line from last season.



Dan was being a total douche as usual. His speech on not gaining anything from his friends was just so lame, at least because he made it sound like Jenny was exiled from NY as an innocent lamb and now with this book he is going all Emily Thorne on us. Pff whatever.



Also, where was Ivy this episode? Is she still in bed with Rufus?
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Uh lol, Serena maturing and Blair being an immature brat? Serena acted like Steven was the love of her life and she's barely known him a few months, he didn't even think their relationship serious enough to tell her he had a 17 year old DAUGHTER. She is, as usual, doing nothing productive with her life except being with a new man.

Blair is at least running her own company and doing SOMETHING. Everyone on this show does something (i.e. HAS A JOB) other than freakin Serena who just flits about at galas and events showing off her twin assets.
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So it's cycling through crap faster? I can agree with that. But yow. Still bad.
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Oh, dear Cory Barker, it must be hard to be a rookie at tv.com if you have to review Gossip Girl, a show that doesn't look like you at all. I feel your pain. I don't watch the show so I can't say anything about the contents of the review, and I won't bash I show I don't watch or like because I respect other people's tastes as much I want them to respect mine. But I can say this combination of show + reviewer sounds quite odd.
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The good news is that TV.com is very consistent about this. I mean, after all, I look nothing like Stephen Amell.
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What are you talking about? You made Emily Thorne look like Oliver Queen!
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I feel like I look enough like Penn B. that this is fine.
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Maybe "look like you" wasn't my best choice of words. English is not my first language (it's the second among five), and occasionally (very rarely ) I slip. Maybe I should've said Gossip Girl is a show that doesn't "befit" you. Better?
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Thanks? Sorry?
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You have nothing to be sorry for. I've been following your work, and I think you're doing great. It's just strange to see you here after reading your articles about Newsroom and Dexter, that's all. But maybe you have a high sense of fashion and a kinship for gossip I was completely unaware of,
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What is UP with Dans hair???
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Been trying to figure that one out for the last couple seasons. Maybe it will finally be solved in the finale when we also learn that the writing staff was replaced with robot pumpkins after the second season.
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so how do you watch something .???
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With my eyes and ears?
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i agree, if chace crawford wasn;t gorgeous and probably gets as many girls as nate archibald, i;d feel bad he hasn;t had anything to do on this show since about the end of season 3. remember when nate actually had storylines? he slept with his first cougar to help his family, he convinced his dad to turn himself in, he punched his icky cousin and dated serena? i actually liked him and serena as a couple and the fact that he;s the only member of the gang she still appears to like gives me hope that they might might might get it together at the end of these seven episodes. but it;s like how we see more of chuck;s supposedly dead father than we do of nate;s parents, and that serena;s brother got better storylines than nate when he was still on the show. but i agree, the blair and chuck and dan storylines this week were annoying. if nothing else, gossip girl proves the more things change the more they stay the same.
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