Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gossip Girl: An American In Paris.

First off, sorry you have been neglected my little blog.  I got a real life job [huzzah!], had to move and then my laptop bit the dust so now I am using my old skool desktop which somehow has managed to stay alive for going on 7 years now.  It's basically magic

Second off, Gossip Girl is back!!! That means babies of questionable paternity, princes, stalkers, and one seriously Don Draper-esque move by Chuck Bass.  God bless your little trashy heart GG.

So Serena and Blair are in Paris, wearing ridiculous high waisted pink pants and gazing at Manets, respectively.  Serena just wants to bang every cute waiter she sees, while Blair is going for quality over quantity, waiting to lock lovesick gazes with someone across the Musee de Orsay.  Blair of course complains that Serena's exploits have been blowing up Gossip Girl, while her shopping trips have been anything but blog worthy.

Regardless, both girls have been living in the lap of luxury all summer - of course - staying in some super swank looking townhouse with dope black and white cushy chairs.  Let's compare this to that time I backpacked through Paris and stayed in a hotel room with 3 other girls, which meant we took turns sleeping on the pull out bed.  Also, I'm super glad your dates took you to a restaurant with crystal chandeliers girls.  That pretty much happened to me in Paris too - I mean, this one night at like 1 am my friend and I decided we were starving and the closest thing to us that was still open was McDonald's because in Europe they are all 24 hours it seems [Also, they serve beer, so its cool] so we went there. Obviously.  And two guys offered to buy us Chicken McNuggets and then drive us home.  Since we realized that was probably an invitation to end up kidnapped and in the North African sex trade or something, we politely declined and paid for our own Chicken McNuggets and went back to our hotel room and watched a French movie about a guy with a removable mustache. So you know, exact same situation.      

But unlike my encounter with some French skeezes, while she stares at her favorite Manet for the 400th time, Blair meets a prince. A prince! For the second time!  Or was that British guy a count or a duke or something? And didn't he turn out to be fake? Whatever, its not important.   But when he shows up for their now double date it turns out Prince Louis is....a driver. The horror! The horror!  But as Serena helpfully points out, he's handsome, he's French, and he likes Manet.  Suck it up Blair, that's a pretty good deal.  You could have just met some dudes whose idea of chivalry was to buy some Chicken McNuggets.

But then it turns out that Louis really is a royal, he was just running the old game on Blair to see if she really liked him for him and not his title [groan].  I am disappointed in you Blair.  I thought you were an Audrey fan! Have you never seen Roman Holiday?!   

The consequence is that Blair pushes Serena into a fountain - because what other logical conclusion is there? - angered that her blond friend once again stole the spotlight from her, and got into Columbia as well, to boot.  [Side note: If the world's standards really are that Serena, Blair and Nate all got into Columbia I should be graduating with a PhD in Astrophysics from MIT right about now.]   But the girls talked it out like responsible adults and agreed that such petty jealousies were straight up high school, which, bitchez plz.  They'll be ripping each others' hair extensions out again it about 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, back in Dan's Batcave, him and Georgina have been raising a baby named Milo, who Georgina claims Dan is the father of.  Since it's Georgina there's a like 97% chance this is a lie.  And since it's Dan, he was gullible and rolled with it.  Rufus and Lily, who now are old pros when it comes to getting scammed by bastard children, press Dan into taking a paternity test before he signs the birth certificate.

Georgina, being Georgina, claims she has already had one conducted [Um, how?] and let's Dan talk to the doctor over the phone.  Bad move Dan!  That doctor is totally one of her Russian cronies!  But since Dan will never stop being noble, he signs the birth certificate, which means Georgina is free to skip town and stick him with adorable little Milo.  Poor little Milo, your life is going to be so messed up.  Somewhere out there, in the reality of the fictional universe, there is a little girl named Sally Draper.  You two could be good friends.

Speaking of Drapers, Chuck Bass is so the new Dick Whitman.  No one else besides Chuck Bass would get shot in a Prague alley and then magically wake up being tended to by a hot Eastern European blond.  Making a hazy decision he tells said random girl that his name is actually Henry, and disappears off the grid, not even bothering to make payments on the Empire Hotel.

This new identity isn't going to make it far I don't think, considering "Henry" and his blond friend just showed up in Paris, where, surprise surprise, Blair is still.  A chance reunion at the Gare Du Nord perhaps?  That's where he was limping towards, right? I forget.  Oh and PS, once Chuck gets back to rocking his signature suits - because he will - they are going to look amazing with his new cane.  I hope he gets one with like, a crystal top or something, and he walks around looking like Oscar Wilde all the time.

And finally, Nate. Ahahahahahahahahaha Nate. He has a stalker!  The producers must be punishing Chace Crawford for that time he got arrested in some random Texas town for pot possession this summer, right?  Because he always gets stuck with the most ridiculous story lines, and this is one of the choicer ones for sure. 

Of course, it doesn't have to be ridiculous - in fact, it actually makes total sense.  Gossip Girl is always publishing every breath they make and every move they take of these kids, so much so that said stalker probably didn't even have to work too hard.  This storyline could be a comment on how far we are willing to push the boundaries of a culture that encourages us to share every single thing we do with the world without a second thought, a culture that Gossip Girl with its blog framework and text speak helped foment and popularize.  It could be a comment not just on our current Facebook/Twitter/Whatever obsessed culture, but also the show itself.

But that's too meta for GG isn't it? Thank god. My life has been missing all this shiny, meaningless veneer all summer.
So let's just think about how sparkly Blair's date dress was instead.             

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gossip Girl: Let's Get Married.

So last week, I had my GG blog 3/4 done and then Blogger decided it was going to delete it. And then real life [I have one of those occasionally] happened, and I never rewrote it. Oh well. But this week was better anyway, because it was about Dorota! Kocham Cię Dorota!!!!

Everyone knows that Dorota is the best character on Gossip Girl [and that there's a good chance she actually is Gossip Girl], but before we can get to her we have to slough through talking about everyone else. Just kidding! I love them all! But not as much as Dorota!

The only person I love on almost the same level as Dorota is Chuck, and he solidified my love by throwing a Polish wedding and pulling a flask out of his pajamas. As a Polish girl myself, I can say that the quickest way to our heart is with some booze, so you're on the right track Mr. Chuck.

Okay,  fine - Chuck is a pretty hardcore jerk, as evidenced by the fact that his dreams look like some Humphrey Bogart noir movie. But you have to admit  managing to sell out Blair and then make her feel guilty for breaking up with him was some pretty suave shit.  Considering that Blair has struggled with an eating disorder [Yeah, do any of the writers remember that?] it's clear that she's had some self image issues, so the fact that she left Chuck because she realized that he made her feel like the worst version of herself instead of the best, is understandable.

You know what else wouldn't help Blair's self image? That hideous bridesmaid dress that looked like it came from that long ago Project Runway challenge where the designers had to make a skating outfit for Sasha Cohen [Santino! Chloe! Andre! Oh how I miss you!].

Anyway, when Blair saw how adorable Vanya and Dorota were she decided she was over the games with Chuck - they weren't fun and exciting anymore, just tiresome and humiliating if you end up on the wrong end of them.  But as Serena so sagely pointed out, Chuck and Blair love games so its only a matter of time until they fall back into their old ways. Or, in the immortal words of Fleetwood Mac: "Thunder only happens when its raining/ players only love you when they're playing."  Ever since Blair and Chuck have hooked up they've lost some of their zing, mainly because part of their charm was watching them circle each other like protagonists in, well, a Humphrey Bogart noir movie.  So while its beyond obvious that these two ultimately belong together, for the sake of plot, I am looking forward to them finding their way back to each other.

And in the meantime, Blair is totally going to hook up with Dan, since he was the one who was there to tell her she wasn't a horrible person when she was feeling all sad and depressed. Plus, I am pretty sure Blair's had a minor crush on him ever since he threw her headband down a stairwell, so mark my words. This will happen.

But do you know who thinks they're Chuck and Blair? Nate and Serena!  FALSE. They will never take their places in our hearts, even if they attempt their own stupid head games.  Serena lied to Nate to go see Carter Bazen because he is the ONLY person on the Upper East Side who has a P.I. [again, false] since apparently she is still searching for her father.  And Serena couldn't tell Nate about it because.....? Well whatever excuse she gave Nate made no sense, and because he has no sense himself he kind of bought it for the time being.  Until she ran off with Carter in the middle of a wedding and Jenny acted like a little bitch who I am starting to love and snooped in her purse and found incriminating evidence.

So Jenny is getting her claws into Nate, which is surprising considering that hideous ensemble she was wearing consisting of a nude dress that looked like a Band-Aid across the bust, hooker tights and garish lipstick.  But since Nate is dating Serena, I guess he's into that look.  And now that Serena is in Palm Springs distracted and dealing with family dramz, Jenny can really go in for the kill. Team Jenny! But not Team What Jenny Was Wearing At The Wedding!

Jenny wasn't the only one looking for love at the wedding - Eric's  new mancrush appeared, rather inexplicably but whatevs, with his oh noes! girlfriend.  But hey, he's bi, so its totally cool that he strung this girl along by bringing her as his date to a wedding just so he could stalk this boy who bumped into him in the lobby of his building and then subsequently found out who he was by knocking on every door in the place.  Class!

Now speaking of real class, don't you just want to give Dorota and Vanya a hug!? And as has just been confirmed by my dear friend K Fig, yes, it was perfectly acceptable to think that out of his doorman uniform Vanya was kind of hot.  I think these two crazy kids might make it work guys!

As for the actual wedding, I cannot speak for the Russians, but that reception was way too classy to actually be Polish style.  There was no guy playing bad Euro techno in the background [instead they played Leighton Meester's track, which, no.] and everyone seemed way too sober.  Vodka needs to flow like rain! The priest who just married you is supposed to be drunk and trying to polka! [Though, I guess Dorota and Vanya were married Orthodox rite, so those clergy may roll differently than the good old Polish Catholic ones I am used to.] And most importantly, no one does stupid shit with balloons!

But on a more sober note, it was eerily prescient of GG to air an episode of Polish Dorota and Russian Vanya getting married just as Poland and Russia put aside their differences and shared a moment of grief over the death of President Kaczynski. So let  Dorota and Vanya be a model to us all. Sto lat kids, sto lat.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gossip Girl: Jagged Little Pill.

Oh my beloved little GG, there were a few episodes this season I was worried about you. You know, when you tried to convince us that Serena was actually interested in politics. But with this episode, oh this glorious episode - which was, dare I say, probably the best of the season - you have redeemed yourself.

This year we've essentially gotten two seasons of GG, the fall series which focused on Serena and Nate and this spring series which is focusing on Chuck and Jenny [And if this show was on cable, each of those halves actually would be its own season]. And honestly, that massive break between the two was the best thing that could have happened. It gave the show a chance to course correct itself before it veered off a bridge and crashed into some wolves - oh wait, in the reality of the fictional universe that occurred! - and get back to Chuck Bass, who is the only person worth caring about.

Of course, everything isn't completely fixed - Dan and Vanessa are zzzZZZzzZZZzzz, Rufus is clueless, Serena thinks she's not a prostitute, Blair has no friends, Chuck is the richest homeless person in New York and Jenny almost got date raped [again!].

Okay, let us start our weekly discussion my dear reader with Dan and Vanessa because frankly, I just want to get it over with. So D and V have been dating for a grand total of....two weeks? Does shit move in real time on this show? Like 24? Or is the time line all collapsed and condensed like Lost? Does it matter on this show? [Answer: No, resoundingly, no.] But anyway, Vanessa is already all upset that her and Dan are in a "rut," mainly because she thinks all they do is exactly what they did as BFFs except for the you know, benefits.

Which is true, because Dan and Vanessa already did everything together so essentially they have long functioned like a couple - an old married couple at that, with all their stupid bickering - so the fact that they sit at home and eat noodles sounds about right. So Vanessa panicked and took relationship advice from Serena, which you should only do if you are indeed panicked, and decided that to spice the love life up with Dan she would dress up like a character from one of his favorite movies.

Which, okay, role playing, fun! But of all movies, in all the world, you had to pick Rear Window Vanessa?! Now I'm not dissing Rear Window, that movie is pretty awesome, but when I think of hot sexy times it's not the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, Jimmy Stewart is adorable and Grace Kelly's wardrobe is bananas [Omg, seriously, did I just type that?!] but it involves murder!!!! I don't know what kind of weird kinky shit you're into Vanessa but I generally find that death and murder kill the mood.

So things got all awkward when Rufus showed up to eat flan, and V stormed out and Dan saved the day by showing up at her dorm with pierogi. Look, I'm Polish/Slovak so showing up at my doorstep with pierogi would basically melt my heart. So be my bf, Dan?!

Side note - I couldn't concentrate on anything else in that scene where Dan and Vanessa want to tell everyone they are together [pictured above!] except for V's earrings because they looked exactly like these beaded charms that were all the rage when I was like 11 and at Girl Scout camp:

Anyhow, all of this could have been avoided if Vanessa just wised up to the fact that you shouldn't really listen to Serena about anything, let alone relationships. See Vanessa, Serena and Nate have crazy sex all the time because there is nothing else to their relationship, mainly because there isn't anything else in those beautiful blond heads of theirs. You and Dan both at least know who Hitchcock is and would go to some obscure film festive together, so be thankful for that.

Serena and Nate on the other hand are so thick that they didn't realize Blair brought a bunch of prostitutes to her mom's fashion show [stay classy!], which I mean, come on. Nate you are Chuck Bass' BFF and also, you're dating a hooker. God, I need to stop being so mean to Serena. Sisterhood! Women's rights! And stuff! But buy a skirt that actually covers your lady parts and then we'll talk Serena.

But Blair had to bring her pay by the hour friends to Eleanor's fashionz show because she has no real friends in real life, since everyone finds her annoying at NYU. Which is true, I probably wouldn't be friends with Blair if I knew her in real life, but man is she awesome to watch on TV!

So next year Blair will probably transfer to Columbia, now that she's free of all that "Oops I blackmailed a teacher so now its hard to get into college" nonsense, where she'll run wild training her headband wearing minions and probably hook up with Nate again. It's gonna be totes fun!

You know what else is going to be fun? Chuck's upcoming efforts to take down Jack Bass [which as K Fig pointed out, when said quickly does sort of sound like "jackass." I see what you did there writers!]. Chuck's mother kicked him out of Hotel Empire, then claimed she wasn't his mother, even though she is, then told Jack she didn't love him, even though she does, or something. God seriously if this is the last we see of her, what a pointless character. But at least we finally figured out where her kind of accent is from! She's from Switzerland! Now can I have some Lindt please?

And lastly, let us talk about our dear Little J. Oh Jenny, you left a bag of drugs alone with a bunch of models?! And you thought nothing bad would come of that?! And you want to work in fashion!? Get it together girl!

So Agnes drugged Jenny to get her back for all that drama that went down last year between them that I don't fully recall except that someone burned someone else's dresses. Wait, didn't someone want to be emancipated from their parents? Or some such nonsense? Whatever, it doesn't matter because Agnes fakely welcomed Jenny back into her life with a hug and an "I love you bitch!" That's really all you need to know.

Agnes then threw Jenny's drugged ass at some drunk, horny bachelor party attendees and left her to fend for herself. You're such a nice friend, bitch! Of course Nate saw her being kidnapped and being the knight in shining armor that he is used some crazy creeper stalker smartphone app that I discovered ACTUALLY EXISTS IRL to locate her.

Even though Jenny was on the verge of death she managed to sober up in 2.3 seconds to fool Rufus and it was, for lack of a better term, ridiculous. I love when Rufus grounds Jenny because she always gets into more trouble than when she's not, and as a general rule, Rufus remains oblivious to the fact. Father of the year award!

But I have to say I kind of love Hot Mess Jenny, because she's a lot more interesting to watch than Annoying Brat Wannabe Queen Jenny. And now she has a crush on Nate -again! -and her fighting with her step sister over a boy is going to be stupid fun.

So in closing, I realized Monday night that there actually is a 13th Way to Make A Ke$ha:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Week's Playlist.

1. Ring Ring - Sleigh Bells

2. Map of the World - Monsters of Folk [thanks

3. Run Through The Jungle - Creedence Clearwater Revival [thanks

4. Shine A Light - The Rolling Stones

5. Tightrope - Janelle Mon

6. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National

7. Forced to Love/All to All - Broken Social Scene

8. Check On It - Beyonce

9. Storms - Fleetwood Mac

10. Motor City Is Burning - MC5

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gossip Girl: Like a Virgin.

I laughed so hard through this entire episode of Gossip Girl, and I am not entirely sure I was supposed to. But, come on, when Blair uses the word "haberdashery" within the first 2 minutes you know its going to be a ridiculous hour [more so than usual anyway].

The gist of the episode? Jenny's a virgin, Serena's a slut, Chuck's a sexual harasser, Dan and Vanessa are friends with benefits [in certain zones] and it only appeared that Rufus had hot scarf sex with his neighbor.

So let's talk about sex, shall we?

Oh Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. There's this part in An Education after Carey Mulligan has been duped by a scheming older man [sound familiar?!] and she comes all repentant back to her school's headmistress Emma Thompson about basically being a "ruined woman" and Emma's all like "You're not a woman." Emma's right of course, because she's Emma freakin' Thompson.

I'd actually recommend this movie for you more than Dirty Dancing Jenny, but then how could you listen to "The Time Of My Life" on your VCast phone and pick up some product placement ca$h?!

Anyway, the point is, when we're 16 we think we're older than we actually are and its usually not until we actually are older do we realize our mistake. Sure, parents, older siblings and friends, etc., can all tell us we're being stupid but golly gee, they just don't understand what being young was like anymore! Oh the angst!

So poor Jenny, skipping school to be with Damien, who, let's be real, is just a horny drug pedaling douchebag. Also since he went to boarding school with Serena, isn't this situation sort of...statutory?! He's definitely no Johnny Castle! [And you don't get that reference Jenny, because you don't even know what Dirty Dancing is you heathen. Kids these days. When I was younger my mom was like, "You should watch Dirty Dancing. I think you're old enough for that now." Then we bought the VHS at a garage sale and I think that was her version of "the talk." Hi mom! Love you!]

But Jenny, when even Serena Van der Slutsen tells you not to sleep with a guy because he's probably bad news, you probably shouldn't sleep with him. Because Serena will sleep with basically anyone. Was that mean? Too bad it's true! Yet Jenny, wise and sage 16 year old that she is, decides its a spectacular idea to lose her virginity to a Belgian drug dealer. Sigh. Though, to be fair, Damien does have some pretty great hair.

Of course in the end she doesn't, because Damien is all callous and jerky about it, which, bravo Jenny way to have a spine. But then, she lies to Serena -of all people! - and lets her know that Little J's V card has been swiped. Because its cool to be a slut? Or something? Ugggghhh Jenny!

Serena meanwhile is all sad and remorseful that she didn't lose her virginity to someone special, a moral crisis she already went through in the first season when Dan made her paper snowflakes or some shit. So that was boring. Because it already happened.

And Nate was all mopey because he lost his virginity to Serena at a wedding on a bar when he was still dating Blair [Ahahahahhaahahaha God these people. Stay classy!] and the next day Serena packed up for boarding school leaving him sad and lonely. But now they're together! And they bang all the time! But they love each now! So its totally awesome! Actually I don't think Serena and Nate love each other as much as they love banging each other, but its cool guys. You'll have to get broken up for sweeps anyway.

Meanwhile across town, unlike Jenny, Chuck was getting into trouble for having too much sexytime. Or some of his employees were suing him for sexual harassment. Or something. You can never really tell with this show. Hey while you're at it ladies, remember those times Chuck almost raped his now step-sisters?! Creepy, huh?

But that's all behind us, because Chuck has reformed himself and he apologized to Jenny [but never to Serena!], so we're supposed to know now that all these accusations are false. We also know that Uncle Jack is behind it, because he showed up out of the blue sporting a creeper beard! Also when Uncle Jack tried to rape Lily at the Opera, Chuck came to her defense! So Chuck's the good guy now! [SERIOUSLY THESE PEOPLE.]

In Uncle Jack's defense though, he gave Lily what might be the best apology in the history of well, ever: " I was drinking. Took some over-the-counter pills they started keeping behind the counter. And some meth." Glad that's cleared up!

Speaking of meth, I'm probably going to have to take some if I'm going to have to keep dealing with Dan and Vanessa together. It just skeeves me out. And now I know why thanks to Rufus, who pointed out that Vanessa practically lives with the Humphreys and is therefore practically Dan's sister. Gah! Again with the dating of you sister[ish] person Dan!

Meet some new people Dan! Join a book club! Volunteer at a soup kitchen! Go to someplace in New York that isn't Brooklyn or the Upper East Side! Freaking talk to some other people in your college classes! I would even advise you to join match.com but one summer afternoon I was kind of bored and an ad popped up for it on my Facebook so I decided I would see what the heck it was like, so I made a stupid profile and everything and then I realized it was basically just a creepy/sleazy Facebook that you have to pay for [!!!!!] so after that roughly 15 minutes I was done with it. But in an attempt to hook me in they emailed me my first "matches" for free, and do know who my best match was? Some guy I already knew in real life! So don't go to match.com Dan, you'll probably end up finding some long lost sister you never knew you had. There is after all already one long lost Humphrey sibling, so why can't there be two!?

Lastly, I suppose we should discuss Rufus and Lily but, just.....
I am pretty over those two at this point. The writers spent so much time in the first two seasons keeping them apart that now that they're together it's like all the show knows how to do is continue finding ludicrous reasons to still keep them apart. How long have they been married? And of that short time, how much time have they actually spent together?! These non "fights" are just getting taxing and annoying now, and in all honesty I care more about the kids on this show than their parents.

At least Billy Baldwin is coming! And next week! Next week looks spectacular:

1. The episode name is "The Empire Strikes Jack" - I love your pun-y episode names GG, especially when they are about something dear to my heart, like Star Wars.
2. Brandeis the call girl is back!
3. Agnes is back! And she brings drugs!
4. Jenny gets drugged! After she breaks up with a drug dealer! Oh, sweet irony.
5. Blair saying "Prostitutes are people too."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gossip Girl: It's a Hard Knock Life.

Gossip Girl has returned my friends! And Serena is still slutty, Blair is still scheming, Dan is still lovesick, Nate is still a pretty-boy airhead, Chuck is still rocking purple Willy Wonka suits, Jenny is still sewing ugly clothing, and Rufus and Lily are still arguing about something dumb. In other words, even though the earth is basically shaking itself apart with earthquakes, some things are still right in the world.

It was indeed comforting to hear the dulcet tones of Gossip Girl herself again after what seemed like a far too long hiatus, and she welcomed us back into the fold with some of her classiest narration yet, opening the episode by quoting Dickens [this is a lot classier than that time she opened an episode by quoting James Frey].

It was an appropriate beginning of course, because Chuck Bass' life has suddenly been transformed into every Victorian novel ever: Rich orphans! Lockets! Long lost mothers! Long lost mothers who are whores! Paging Oliver Twist/ David Cooperfield/ Cosette/ Jane Eyre/ Eliza Doolittle/ the Slumdog Millionaire!

The difference obviously is that in the Victorian trope, the orphans usually come into a vast fortune as a reward for their virtue and innocence, but Chuck Bass is well...Chuck Bass. Though he's been strangely good lately, hasn't he? Well I mean he does have a gf who is willing to dress like a slutty Anna Karenina for him [Whoa, weirdly literary episode, huh?], but he's not scamming anyone, calling up hookers or doing blow anymore, so we'll say he's shaping up.

And of course Elizabeth is actually Chuck's mother, and of course she's lying about it, and of course Blair can see through that noise, and of course we know she's lying because she has the other half of the locket!! Obviously, the whole "A locket is all I have left from my dead parents!" plotline is the basically the plot of Annie, so I am holding out hope that by the end of this season Chuck will break into a Glee style rendition of Tomorrow. I would settle for him actually saying "Leapin' Lizards!" too.

But in the meantime, Chuck is going to go off and sulk about the fact that he feels like he lost his mother twice even though he you know, never actually lost her once. And Blair is going to whine about getting into secret French societies that don't sound nearly as cool as the Skull & Bones, and no one will care.

Speaking of whiny people, Jenny was in the episode! A whole lot! And now that she's an international drug dealer, she's suddenly strangely not annoying. I think that's because Jenny was most irritating when she was a little brat trying to be Queen of Constance, and that whole storyline was pretty played out, but GG has essentially decided as of late that to make things easier its just going to dispense with the idea that these people actually go to any kind of school at all.

Which makes sense, because come on, there was no way Nate could get into Columbia in real life.

And now that Jenny is a high roller selling drugs with Damien to the elite of New York [and French ambassadors' daughters], she won't need school either because if she keeps it up she'll make enough cash to be richer than Lily in about 3 weeks. But there is a 400% chance the gig will be up soon, because Jenny is stupid, as made obvious by the fact that she decided to smuggle drugs into a state dinner by sewing them into some hideous sweater which she made overnight. Did she knit the sweater herself? Or just buy a sweater shrug from the thrift store and glue the drug buttons on herself? How did pills fit into those little bedazzler do-hickeys?! And wouldn't Serena notice her sweater was heavy because it was filled with pills?! So many unimportant questions about an unimportant TV show.

Normally I also would have said that the idea of foppish Little J and Second Coming of Nate Damien smuggling drugs into a state dinner would be completely ludicrous, but then this happened:

So obviously Jenny and Damien are going to hook up next week and I want to smack some sense into that girl, because with a name like Damien he has to be bad. I mean, have you seen any horror movies Little J?! Maybe, I don't know, The Omen?!

Since Damien is a bad boy himself it was only a matter of time before it was revealed that he knew Serena from her bad girl days at boarding school, even though Serena claims she's "changed. And that's a good thing." Ahahahahahaha that's funny Serena because you totally did it with Nate on Eleanor Waldorf's floor!

Like...I don't even understand. Why was Serena at Eleanor's? Why was Nate there? Why wasn't Blair there? Would it kill you to keep it in your pants for once Serena? At least until you get to a more appropriate place, like say, a coat check room? And where, oh where is Dorota so she can reign these people in again?!

I don't really have much to say about this Serena/Nate romance except that its already nauseating, and I can't wait for its inevitable end. Serena and Nate are the most vacuous and vapid purrrrtty people on this show, so putting them together is sort of like saying "Hey viewer! Tonight's Gossip Girl has been replaced by footage of a Barbie doll and GI Joe doll sitting there in their boxes! Enjoy!"

Actually do they make Zac Efron High School Musical dolls? Because that really would be the better choice to play Nate.

I KNEW IT. They do! Thanks Google Images:

Whatever, Nate is still better than Aaron Rose.

Anyway, the only thing more nauseating than Serena/Nate is going to be Dan and Vanessa and considering both of them were conspicuously absent this episode, we'll probably get a heavy dose of them next week. Even though Dan was only in this episode for a hot second, he had the audacity to tell Rufus to make his own waffles, which is the bitchiest thing to ever cross his lips. And it was awesome. Someone has been taking lessons from Blair!

Lastly, I suppose I should discuss Rufus and Lily but....their argument is so stupid I don't even have the energy. Lily kissed her ex husband so Rufus is going to bang their neighbor? Yeah, that will help the situation!

The Baldwin that isn't Alec or Stephen is supposed to be appearing soon as said ex, so at least that should be entertaining. And I hope then more is revealed about Lily's "secret" because this is just lame. Once you already have a secret love child plot line, its sort of hard to top that, so I am not even really sure what the writers are trying to accomplish with this story.

But that's the hard knock life, right? Instead of getting treated you get tricked! Like into thinking that this show might actually make sense every once in a while!

Friday, March 5, 2010

This week's playlist.

1. World Sick - Broken Social Scene

2. Ephemeral Artery - Neon Indian

3. U.R.A.Q.T. - M.I.A

4. Hanging On The Telephone - Blondie

5. Haven't Met You Yet - Michael Buble

6. Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Joan Baez

7. No Diggity - Blackstreet

8. Forever - Drake ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem

9. Collide - Howie Day

10. No Air - Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Obviously my Monday nights have no meaning without Gossip Girl, so this stretch of "Stop All Programming Because the Olympics Are On!" has been excruciating [Even if watching the Olympics means I discovered that Evan Lysacek is kinda attractive. But it also means I hate Sidney Crosby even more, so you know, trade offs. I may hate Sidney Crosby but I love love love this video of a crowd in Vancouver celebrating their hockey win. The guy in the maple leaf turban who goes CRAZY, starts dancing and runs smack into a dude who is now shirtless makes my heart glow with so much happiness:]

But this Monday night Chuck Bass comes back into our lives! And in honor of our favorite well dressed teenage cad returning, here's this video I found of Chuck Bass, Sr. [aka Don Draper] talking about his love of Gossip Girl!! Okay, actually its an interview of Jon Hamm talking about working with Blake Lively in the upcoming movie The Town, but whatever. Gossip Girl and Mad Men are like my two favorite things ever so just give me this one, okay?

1. "I'm a huge Gossip Girl fan, I can't tell you! My TiVo is stuffed with the adventures of Serena!"
2. "Serena VanDerHootenFourthThird."
3. ILoveYouJonHammLet'sGetMarried.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"The same dead thing alive": Death, Time, And How I Came To Understand "Lost."

After spending time in the jungles of Vietnam [a place not unlike the stomping grounds of our favorite castaways], war correspondent Michael Herr wrote in his book Dispatches about the horrors he witnessed there, and in particular of a day when he saw the burned corpses of prisoners waste away in the rain. "It was on one of those days," Herr said, "that I realized that the only corpse I couldn't bear to look at would be the one I would never have to see."

Herr was blessed then that he was not John Locke - or perhaps we should say the New Locke - who not only marched past the corpse which was in his spitting image, but also spoke of the man whose body he now inhabited in the past tense. How then could there be two Lockes [or if we count the Locke who appears to still be in his wheelchair as another entity entirely, three Lockes]? If the only similarity between all the Lockes is that they merely look the same, can we then assume that ultimately, the body is inconsequential? In other words, as your mother would say, it’s what's inside that counts - the soul of a paraplegic, the soul of the man of faith, the soul of an evil smoke monster. But what then, to make of the fact that Jack had instructions to bring the dead body of Locke back to the island in the place of his father's corpse to recreate the circumstances of the original Oceanic Flight 815? Can one death be substituted for another? And what about Christian's body going missing? And most importantly, the big wrench in the whole situation: are these realities separate? Do they intermingle? Should one Locke even come to bear on the other? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

After Lost's mind melting 6th season premiere I was pondering all this, and like a bolt of lightning, an epiphany came to me. I was washing my hands, the water reminding me what implications Sayid's "baptism" in that Temple pool might have on his "rebirth" at the end of the episode. But this thought about rebirth suddenly reminded me of a paper I had written in my undergraduate days, about death and resurrection in Shakespeare's play Cymbeline, and Jacques Derrida's book The Gift Of Death. The trope of resurrection runs rampant in Cymbeline, just as it does in Lost - so why not use one to illuminate the other? [Or at least use that as a jumping off point anyway]

But of course the resurrection story is nearly as old as time - it reaches from Osiris in ancient Egypt through the Bible and everywhere beyond and in between- Cymbeline and Lost are merely two retellings. They are however two retellings that I think have a lot in common, but then, that's probably just my personal biases speaking. But I've happily let Lost boggle my mind for going on six seasons now, and this is the first time I've seen the whole mess with lucidity so I think it's worth a hashing out. Let's begin shall we?

And if you're going to talk about resurrection there is only one place to begin: with death. You can't have one without the other. And no one on Lost has died or should have died as many times as Locke - he was pushed out a window, crashed in a plane, and was strangled by Ben. But for all those times he's also been reborn, whether it was not allowing his injury to keep him from going on a "walkabout" in Australia, landing on the Island with control again of his legs, or appearing back on the Island seemingly alive. Locke has been through this cycle many times, but the most fascinating is the most recent - mainly because it’s also the most insane. How did Ben strangle Locke to death, yet there is a walking/talking New Locke on the Island? I don't necessarily know how - that is a mystery season 6 will hopefully reveal - but the resurrection allegory [with possibly sinister overtones] is quite clear.

The question then becomes which Locke is the real Locke, insomuch as we can believe anything in the Lost universe is actually "real" at all. Death has a way of stripping us of all pretense - it is hard to conceal who you really are when all the trappings of the material world are rendered meaningless. "Modern individualism, as it has developed since the Renaissance," Derrida writes in The Gift of Death, "concerns itself with the role that is played rather than with this unique person whose secret remains hidden under the social mask." These "social masks" take a variety of forms, but with death they become useless: a corpse doesn't need to lie about going to an Ivy League school to get a job, because well, a corpse doesn't need a job.

As such, death becomes a moment in which our true Selves are defined, as in Derrida's words, death truly is "less an imposition than a liberator." This is because of all things, no one can die our death for us; other people can do a lot of things for us, they can run to the store to buy us bread, they can pick our dog up from the vet, but they cannot die our death for us. More than anything else death is the one unavoidable moment we must undertake on our own, and therefore the moment in which we are most truly ourselves. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote that "The world in its present form is passing away," and what's left is usually the truth: a major subplot of Cymbeline involves King Cymbeline’s daughter Imogen, who in typical Shakespearean fashion spends part of the play disguised as a boy to avoid some trial or another, and her alter ego Fidele is drugged and thought dead. After she is left for dead, Imogen awakes and returns to court free of pretense and as herself. She is in effect, reborn. Similarly, in that most well known of resurrection stories, after his Resurrection Jesus is revealed as divine, and in Lost’s version of this trope New John Locke can reveal himself as...an evil smoke monster?

So then was this evil Man In Black/Smokie always a part of the Locke we knew, just not revealed? Or are they really two different entities? [I don't know, that's what Season 6 is for] But for the purposes of this discussion, it seems to make sense that the Man In Black aligned himself with John Locke for a particular reason and purpose- even if we don't necessarily know what they are just yet. But what about that corpse of Locke that Illana and company have been carrying about in a box? It was supposed to be a substitute for the corpse of Christian Shepherd on the Ajira flight - Jack even went so far as to put his father's shoes on it - but can one corpse even be substituted for another? Derrida seems to think not, he writes:

I can die for the other in a situation where my death gives him a little longer to live, I can save someone by throwing myself in the water or fire in order to temporarily snatch him from the jaws of death, I can give her my heart in the literal or figurative sense in order to assure her of a certain longevity. But I cannot die in her place. I cannot give my life in exchange for her death.

This all seems to make more sense with the revelation that Christian's body might not have been on the original Oceanic flight at all, meaning that Locke's body turned out to not be a substitute for anything. Instead, perhaps it is as Paul writes in First Corinthians, "If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one." We have [at least] two bodies of Locke: the natural one being carried by Illana, but also the spiritual one, capable of transforming [Or as I’ll discuss later, perhaps the proper word to use here is “transfiguring”] into a smoke monster.

Indeed it seems that none of the castaways can be substituted - all the Oceanic 6 needs to be present on the Ajira flight for it to make it back to the Island. And in the 6th season premiere Juliet implores Sawyer to let her go because she "has to die someday," and it becomes clear that no matter how many times Sawyer drop kicks Jack to the face it will not bring her back. Conversely, Juliet claims she detonated the bomb because she wanted to essentially give Sawyer a new life off the Island, but if you cannot give a life in exchange for a death, it seems that the plan did not work and everyone is still stranded. Of course when Miles "spoke" to Juliet after her death he said her message was that "it worked," which seems to somehow be related to the weird "flashsideways" which were also occurring this episode. But then again, Juliet isn't so far present in this separate reality, lending credence to the idea again that at least in her case, death is not to be exchanged. Just as discussed earlier then, death is the moment of revelation of the true Self, it is as Heidegger wrote, "By its very essence, death is in every case mine, insofar as it 'is' at all." Death is able to create the Self in that one's death is one's own - no one can die for another, and all must die eventually. Or as Michael Herr duly noted, all corpses are the same except one: yours.

The wrinkle in this whole idea of course is that if death/resurrection creates the ultimate Self - and it does this for everyone - does one just become a Self amongst Selves? It’s the age old problem: if we all tell our kids they're special, does the fact that everyone is special make "special" less, well, special? If death takes away all our material distinctions revealing the true Self behind them in doing so it levels us as well; earthly titles and attachments are incapable of keeping us from death. In what is perhaps Cymbeline's most well known scene, Imogen's half brothers perform a funeral for her, even though she is disguised and they think she is the boy Fidele [Oh Shakespeare you crazy old fool. I love you.]. They sing a song for her, famously saying "Golden lads and girls all must/ as chimney sweepers, come to dust."

[Oh, for fun here is Loreena McKennitt's version of Shakespeare's song:]

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This could also go a long way in explaining the seeming contradiction in the idea of multiple Lockes floating about the Island, in that it’s not a contradiction so much as in the end it doesn't matter at all. Death renders a body nothing more than a body, as "The scepter, learning, physic must/ All follow this and come to dust." As such death comes to both hero and villain, or as Shakespeare writes, "Thersites' body is as good as Ajax'/ when neither are alive." And for all intents and purposes, I don't really think Locke is "alive" right now, at least not in the traditional biological sense.

Likewise, when the castaways arrive on the Island many of their skills and social statuses from back in the "real world" are made moot and useless. Eventually, Sawyer the con man becomes a leader of the Dharma Initiative while Jack the doctor is forced to become a lowly janitor. And it’s not like Hurley's massive lottery winnings from back home ever did him any good against a smoke monster and polar bears. I don't really think being on the Island means you're dead, just figuratively dead to the outside world. I know the whole “The Island is purgatory! Or the Island is hell! Etc” interpretations are out there still even though the show’s producers have tried to discourage them, but hey, they’re out there. But still I think it’s a perspective worth noting, especially when you consider it in the context of this line of Shakespeare’s made pertinent to Jack, who thinks he can save everyone: "By med'cine life may be prolonged, yet death/ will seize the doctor too." Watch your back Jack!

So after all that rambling, suffice it to say that death as its represented in Lost can be distilled as this: it creates the Self as it destroys the Self, and in doing so essentially creates the ultimate paradox. The magic of the paradox is that each half negates the other, leaving us with essentially...nothing. But what is more impossible, more Other, than nothing? As Lear famously says, nothing can come of nothing, and the Other is that which is so different we cannot grasp it. And if we put our hands in front of us in the air and close them it becomes quite obvious that we literally cannot firmly grasp at "nothing." The supreme Other is clearly that which is divine, the possibility of the impossible [Like being able to actually grasp at nothing]. In being such a paradox then, death becomes a pathway to the divine. All this is just a stupidly convoluted and nonsensical way of saying what most people already believe: to get on the stairway to heaven, you have to die first.

This is perhaps a childish way to think about all this – but remember in the Harry Potter series how JK Rowling sets strict rules for magic in her world? One of them is that you just can’t create what you want out of thin air, you have to start with something first; you change a muffin into a steak, but you can’t just wave your wand and have a steak appear. Ostensibly this is so wizards don’t do things like running around creating all the money they want, and when they do it ends up disappearing or being cursed [Ahahahaha Fred and George]. Clearly, even if you’re a wizard nothing can come of nothing, but you can change something old into something new. Harry and crew spend years at Hogwarts practicing this, trying to change birds into teacups or whatever in Transfiguration class – a choice of words which I am sure was no accident on Rowling’s part.

In the Bible, Jesus' Resurrection is foreshadowed by the Transfiguration, when he led Peter, James and John to a mountain top and was transformed to something else entirely in front of their eyes. According to Matthew, "he was transformed before them; his face shone like the sun and

his clothes became white as light." Jesus warns his disciples to "not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead," because like Elijah, John the Baptist and the other prophets before him "they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands." Locke too is a prophet before his time that went unrecognized; he was ranting and raving about faith and miracles and the Island's healing powers long before Jack was ranting and raving about faith and destiny and nuclear bombs.

After the Resurrection Jesus finds himself similarly transformed; though he is supposedly himself, he often goes unrecognized by his followers. Most famous perhaps is the story of his appearance on the Road to Emmaus, as Luke writes about two disciples who on the day of the Resurrection were walking and talking and "Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him." John too, writes of Jesus' appearances after his Resurrection, such as when he appeared to a group of disciples out fishing. But, as John continues, "Jesus was standing on shore; but the disciples did not realize it was Jesus." Likewise, when Locke returns to the Island nearly everyone - Sun, Ben, Richard, etc - [rightly] expresses incredulity that the man before them is the Locke they knew.

A similar subplot courses through Cymbeline; after Imogen returns to her father’s court as herself instead of Fidele many do not recognize her in her new state. It is as though she too has undergone some sort of figurative transfiguration and is proclaimed by one of the lords as "The same dead thing alive." To be resurrected in effect then is to be the same...but also undeniably different. To be in other words, John Locke, but John Locke with some surprising new intentions, like leading an insurrection against Jacob.

The challenge which clearly this New Locke faces is how then does one reenter the earthly world when the miracle of resurrection has already come? Much as Paul preaches, one must continue to live in this world, while being attuned to the next. Paul chastises the Corinthians by telling them that they must not behave in “an ordinary human way” – they must transcend the flesh. Resurrection is of course the ultimate transcendence and ultimate impossibility [To continue the lame comparisons, Rowling makes it abundantly clear that the other thing even magic cannot do it bring people back from the dead]. If we stick with the idea that the impossible is just another word for the divine, we can begin to see what Derrida means when he says that what matters is “the possibility of such an event but not the event itself.” Not to get all Don Draper quoting Sal Romano quoting Balzac, but that’s just Derrida’s fancy pants deconstructionist way of saying that “Our greatest fears lie in anticipation.” And based on all our 2012 fears, Y2K fears and the like we’re living in anticipation of one thing – the end. In religious terms, we’re living in messianic time, the remnant of time left over before the Resurrection repeats itself in the Second Coming.

In messianic time, time – at least how we generally think of it, chronologically – ceases to matter, as the Truth has already been discovered in the first Resurrection miracle, and as a consequence it is time collapsed in on itself, time that does not move in a strict linear fashion. Chronological time is for those who are still bound by the material world, who still live by the turning of the globe, the rising and setting of the sun; messianic time is time after resurrection has found a way to shatter such material boundaries. In his book The Time That Remains, Giorgio Agamben defines messianic time as “the time that time takes to come to an end.” That which occurs in the meantime – what Walter Benjamin called the Jetztzeit, or here-and-now - is actually in Agamben's words "a time within time." Agamben claims we only string time along chronologically because we need a neat way to represent it to ourselves, but in actuality time is more compressed, as things only make sense in the context of what has already already happened before. Benjamin explains it by saying the French Revolution only makes sense if we consider it an attempt to make a new Rome, or that a new fashion only makes sense because we know that compared to what fashion has already occurred it is "new."

It goes without saying that the idea of "a time within time" is paramount to Lost. We've seen many variations of it on the show, whether it be the sigh, now seemingly simple flashbacks of early seasons, to actual time travel, to now in the new season a "flashsideways." The idea of messianic time then is that time is like a coil or spring rolled tight, and as we watch it unravel behind us things begin to make sense, but because time is wound so tightly the past is always in present and vice versa. As Benjamin writes:

Are we not touched by the same breath of air which was among that which came before? is there not an echo of those who have been silenced in the voices to which we lend our ears today? have not the women, who we court, sisters who they do not recognize anymore? If so, then there is a secret protocol [Verabredung: also appointment] between the generations of the past and that of our own. For we have been expected upon this earth.

In this context all that time traveling that literally made some people’s brains bleed isn’t necessarily travel, because the past and present are sort of like matryoshka dolls, one nestled inside the other.

There is of course one moment that will crystallize all this murkiness – the repeat of the Resurrection, the return of the Messiah, the Last Judgment. Because if we want to quote Jacob, “It only ends once.” Think of it this way: When you read a book does the whole thing really make sense until you finish it? Or as Benjamin says, “Indeed, the past would fully befall only a resurrected humanity. Said another way: only for a resurrected humanity would its past, in each of its moments, be citable. Each of its lived moments becomes a citation a l'ordre du jour [order of the day] – whose day is precisely that of the Last Judgment.”

Until that time, moments just keep piling up, creating the mish-mash we think of as history. Once again, Benjamin has this to say:

There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and hiswings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment so fair [verweilen: a reference to Goethe’s Faust], to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.

Of course, to complete Jacob’s now infamous line, “It only ends once, everything that comes before is just progress.” But his definition of progress seems to fit Benjamin’s – not a chain of events, but a single catastrophe, an ill fated loop our castaways are stuck in during which the Oceanic 815 crash seems to repeat and relive itself in numerous and uncounted ways.

A pretty obvious interpretation of the whole Jacob/Man In Black standoff is that they are about to engage in an epic battle of good vs. evil, like the one that is supposed to occur on the Judgment Day. So it would make sense if the point of Locke’s “resurrection” is that it really is a Second Coming of sorts, and that after this moment, in retrospect all the ridiculous time jumps we’ve endured will finally make sense. Though since New Locke admitted to being Smokie, for the time being it seems like he’s on the evil side of this rumble.

So all this stuff which sort of aligns Locke with Jesus is probably wrong, as he’s probably the devil. So ahahahahaha everything I just wrote is probably moot. Whatever.