Gossip Girl "Portrait of a Lady Alexander" Review: Blair Gets a New Roommate

Gossip Girl S6E04: “Portrait of a Lady Alexander”

Maybe it was the week off due to Hurricane Sandy, or maybe it was the unhealthy amount of half-price Halloween candy in my stomach, but this week’s episode of Gossip Girl seemed... okay. It wasn’t as joyous as the season premiere, but it was certainly much better than the last two episodes. Two out of four ain’t bad! Let’s hit the “highlights,” shall we?


1. It isn’t so stuffy in here after all

This show is rarely very good, but it’s often much worse when it treats its stupidity with an intense level of seriousness that I just cannot manage. A couple of weeks ago when it was revealed that Sage was Steven’s daughter and the punching and yelling began? That was bad, too-earnest Gossip Girl. Last night, when we found out that Steven actually slept with Lily years ago—and then subsequently forgot about it, apparently, which wasn’t good for Lily’s rep—the show was having a lot more fun with its inherent stupidity.

On a related note, Chuck and Blair’s attempts to subvert Lily’s overactive and clingy motherly behavior allowed the two damaged characters to loosen up quite a bit. Interestingly, the common element is Kelly Rutherford’s Lily, who is almost always relegated to straight-faced nonsense. It was nice to be reminded that she can be funny when asked to be. She occasionally brings a silly aloofness to Lily that the show should have taken more advantage of over the years.

And even outside of the scenes with Lily, this episode just had a little more pep in its step. The show often works well when characters go on half-cocked quests, so Chuck and Blair were about as bearable as they can be as a duo. I don’t actually care about Bart probably illegally involving himself in foreign oil deals, but that’s a better development then him being some other character’s illegitimate father or something. Meanwhile, Georgina’s orchestrated search to find Dan a media-friendly gal-pal felt like a classic, Gossip Girl-y thing to do.


2. Nate Archibald, Titan of Stupidity

In my last review, I noted that Nate is probably the only person in Gossip Girl's lead cast who isn’t out-and-out horrible—and while I stand by that statement, this episode went far to remind us that he’s unbelievably dumb (or at least regularly used to fit whatever the plot needs). Nate decided that the best way to save his always-dying news publication was to ape Gossip Girl and publish rumors about Lily (provided to him by Ivy, because that’s the best she can do). It wasn’t the worst plan in the history of Nate Archibald's Terrible Plans.

However, instead of actually looking at the information he was given about Lily, he just passed it off to “his editor”—who is probably just a chimp that Chuck bought him for his birthday or something—so he could spend time with his teenage girlfriend. And, shockingly, Nate's lack of dedication to his sinking ship of a business led him to submarine his relationship with Lily, Serena, Sage, and Steven (temporarily, but still). How long would have it taken to scan the list of Lily’s sexual partners? Despite her reputation, it couldn’t have required more than 25 minutes, right? 45? C’mon Nate, you’re better than that.

If Gossip Girl wants us to find any value in Nate’s foibles, it should, every once and a while, convince us that he can actually be competent. But at this point, the character is defined almost solely by his stupidity, so there’s that.



3. For the love of targeted marketing

This isn’t a major point, but I always love it when Gossip Girl dedicates itself to offering detailed, random factoids, presumably in place of actually coming up with a compelling narrative. Filling that void this week was the discussion about Gossip Girl and The Spectator's differing audiences. Apparently, people who care about Lily’s sexual history don’t actually read GG—though I can almost guarantee she’s been on there before, suggesting there is an audience for content focused on her, but whatever—and they instead read The Spectator. Demographics! Targeted marketing! I was hoping the writers would use those lines as a way to set up a wink toward the show’s small, loyal audience but then I remembered that it isn’t 2008 anymore and “no one but me” is not specific enough of a niche to joke about.


4. No one is safe

Although I think that most of the characters on this show have grown into legitimately awful people, I'm okay with that as long as they're consistently written as the selfish, close-minded, childish brats they really are. But what really bothers me is when the writers decide to change a character’s motivation like they are flipping a light-switch. It happens with Nate on the reg, but he’s a harmless, mushy-brained pretty boy.

More egregious is what happened this week with Dan, who has spent the last handful of episodes fully embracing his pretentious tool destiny, and absolutely enjoying himself while doing so. At the beginning of the episode, Dan gloated to Georgina about the women he’d been getting it in with since his “serialized chapters” (LOL) started trickling out. That makes Dan a shallow sell-out, but you know what? It makes him something definable. And then at the end of the episode, he was suddenly finished with sexually bulldozing his way through Brooklyn because, I don’t know, it was time for the show to randomly pretend it was interested in Dan having a relationship with Blair again? How in the hell does that make sense? There wasn’t even a scene with him truly questioning his choices. That’s just terrible writing.


5. Still trollin’

With all that being said, that last scene. I hate Gossip Girl for roping me and my weak shipper heart in with more Blair and Dan stories. There’s less than a 10 percent chance that anything worthwhile comes out of him moving into the spare bedroom formerly occupied by Serena, and it likely happened just so the writers had something for Blair to do in the middle episodes of the season before she runs back into Chuck’s arms like the insane person she is. I can already see the two of them growing closer before the sex tape with Dan and Serena goes public. But I guess I’m going to remain in denial and pretend that the show sees the chemistry between these two characters that I see, and that their relationship is going to be treated with the respect it deserves. Blair and Dan don’t have to be a couple, but their friendship—or whatever is—is one of the few remaining things this show knows how to get right on a consistent basis. Make it count, Gossip Girl.

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Nov 11, 2012
Am so glad that you see all this chemistry b/w Blair and Dan!



From the very beginning of their relationships I want them to be together. Maybe it was because I was tired from her interactions with Chuck (btw, thanks, writers, I was Chair shipper beforehand), maybe because I finally saw what the REAL chemistry was!



So I'm also very dissapointed that exects do it only to tease us (Dair shippers) because I'm sure that eventually B. & C. will be together(((
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Nov 10, 2012
I really don't think the writers of Gossip Girl know anything about horses. That girls horse was not a Thoroughbred. And that course she was riding with all of 2 jumps was just pathetic.
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Nov 08, 2012
I honestly just couldn't get past the fact we were meant to believe Lily included a list of all her past sexual partners in Rufus's boxes. Also, if Blair gets mad at Dan for making that sex tape when she was leaving him for Chuck at that very moment, then for the first time I will truly dislike her. She's lucky Dan's even speaking to her.
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Nov 07, 2012
Worst episode ever...like even the season 5 finale wasn't THAT bad...It honestly felt like a bunch of monkies getting together and writing an episode that resembled more an SNL parody of Gossip Girl, than an actual GG episode:



1. Nate was always a cute dumb labrador but outing Lily like that was too stupid even for Nate & how quickly she forgave him and how she was completely not embarrased about the Spectator blast......facepalm



2. I have no idea how there can still be Chair fans because these two have become soooooooo lame, like s1 and s2 Chuck and Blair would be like who are you people! Chuck's lines are cliche and badly writen. What is going on with Blair is a complete mystery because one episode she is all I am a grown woman and I can take on the world and the next she a scared little girl affraid of her mother....



3. Serena and Steven are at least tolerable, at least trying to act like grown-ups. I mean, for the first time ever I think I was surprisingly impressed by Serena when she found it ridiculous that Steven needed to know straight away all the men she has been with. "And when was i supposed to bring this up" was probably the only smart thing S has said in the past 3 years.



4. Dan is such douchebag....I support Serena in the whole "I can't believe I ever loved someone who..." E-FUCKIN-XACTLY! Dan used to be an awesome guy, moral compass of this show with great one lines - "Google 'revenge' and you get blairwaldorf.com" was just epic



5. I don't want to even talk about Dair being hinted at the end of that episode because I honestly don't care with whom who ends up because we all know it will Chuck.
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Nov 07, 2012
just DAIR
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Nov 07, 2012
does it count as watching the show if, for the first part of the show, i watch it on mute and, for the second part of the show, i listen to it and kind of watch as i cover my very embarrassed face? does this question at least make as much sense as this season's story lines?
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Staff
Nov 07, 2012
Of course it counts.
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Nov 07, 2012
Okay I totally agree with you on everything but I will ship Chuck and Blair until I die! I did enjoy that Dan said he needed Blair but they were best as friends, and not to start something but them together just made no sense and lacked any spark
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Staff
Nov 07, 2012
At least Chuck and Blair seemed like human beings this week. I can deal with that.
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Nov 07, 2012
"However, instead of actually looking at the information he was given about Lily, he just passed it off to "his editor"who is probably just a chimp that Chuck bought him for his birthday or something", LOL!!
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Nov 07, 2012
I am probably the only one who thought about this and I don't know if it was intentional but in S1 Chuck compared Blair to a horse "rode hard and put away wet", Bart horse. All I could think about during their storyline in which Blair was inadvertantly asking to pose as Barts horse is that scene, so I don't even know if the writers realized it but kind of icky consdering they have Blair acting like a lunatic to help save the hotel Chuck pimped her for. This show...



As for Dair, they already discredited so much of their arc, why I don't know? We still haven't heard Blairs POV at all, and probably never will. Its crazy that of all the guys in Blairs life, Dan will be the one she didn't love or truly care about. Granted he is being douchy at the moment but he was so good to her. *sigh* Will never get what the point was, maybe it stepped on Chair too much but then why write it how they did. Romance aside why do they have to ruin the friendship too, the last real one with heart that was left. They are the worst!



Anyway, I don't expect them to give the Dair arc the respect it deserves. This show writes their stores purely from a shipping standpoint and they decided long ago only Chair fans matter. I have never in my life seen a show do so much fan service as they do with Chair, it ruined the show bc nothing can play out if the end of every storyline they have individually always has to go back to them as a couple. Like would a break in the middle seasons been that big a deal. Lol
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Nov 07, 2012
Chuck didn't compare Blair to a horse-he compared her to his father's prostitutes!Yeah,true love material right there!
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Staff
Nov 07, 2012
I actually kind of agree with that. I wonder if they've just decided that the audience is so small that they might as well pander to them.
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Nov 07, 2012
As professional writers they should know better than to listen to the loudest, they rarely speak for the majority. Most viewers just want a good story, numerous shows have survived splitting the main couple as long as quality stayed the same. They never took a break from Chair and it limited every story that could have been told for Chuck and Blair as individuals bc they always had to stay in love and all their actions had to prop the relationship. I don't count the 4 episodes Blair supposdly was not in love with Chuck, give me a break. I hope with the amount they have bled viewers they learn their lesson, no one stuck around to see the ~epic~ couple end up together bc its predictable and we knew like 3 seasons ago it would happen. I have always disliked the Chair relationship, bc its gross to me and they never even attempted to fix all their internal issues, they are not a star crossed couple writers sorry to say, but at least with a break this together not together storyline would have been fresh rather than the exact same thing they do ever season.



Seriously, worst show ever but someone should write a study about everything they did wrong, its kind of fascinating in a weird way.
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