Rebuilding after a disappointing season is one of the most difficult tasks a television series can face. The premiere of ‘Gossip Girl‘ showed that TV’s smartest guilty pleasure is back. The show wisely refocused on what has always been its strongest hook: Serena and Blair’s friendship. It also set up new storylines that seem a lot more promising than last year’s college freshman woes. Plus, Jenny Humphrey is gone!
Sending Serena and Blair to Paris was a great idea. Seeing them wander the city’s gorgeous streets, shops and museums was like a one hour vacation. They were written in character. Serena spent the summer dating waiters with Vespa’s, while Blair visited museums. Blair did manage to score a date with a hot guy named Louis who she believed was a member of Monaco’s royal family. It turned out he was the chauffeur, and the prince was Serena’s date. Of course, in classic TV fashion after Blair blew him off, the chauffeur revealed he was really the prince who was disguising himself to see if Blair really liked him. Oops. The meatiest part of their story concerned Blair’s fears that she will be overshadowed when Serena joins her at Columbia. After pushing her BFF into a fountain, they had a mature conversation and vowed to stay friends instead of competitors. Putting these two back into the same orbit will restore the dynamic that was lacking last season.
It turns out that saddling Dan with Georgina’s baby makes the pretentious, self-righteous wannabe writer a thousand times more interesting. He is the perfect foil to her hilarious bitchniness. Rufus is as skeptical of the baby’s paternity as the audience but stupid Dan signed the birth certificate when she produced a possibly forged paternity test. Based on the phone calls she’s getting from Russians, she’s in financial trouble and no doubt sees her baby as a chance to get her hands on some of the Bass/Humphrey money.
If Nate is going to be remotely interesting, Chace Crawford needs to be paired with a charismatic actress. Fortunately the show cast Katie Cassidy, the best thing about the canceled ‘Melrose Place,‘ as Juliet, a woman he meets in a restaurant. It turns out she is volunteering at Fashion Night Out with Lily. In a great reveal, she turns out to be a schemer who shoplifts fancy clothes, reads Gossip Girl, and has a stalker wall of newspaper clippings about Nate. This is going to be fun.
Chuck, the show’s best male character, was MIA though most of the episode. His story turned out to be the least compelling. After he was shot last season, he was rescued by a beautiful blonde who for some reason nursed him back to health instead of taking him to the hospital. When she asks him his name, he takes the opportunity to shed his Chuck Bass persona and calls himself Henry Prince. Lame. At the end of the episode, they traveled to Paris where he undoubtedly will run into Blair and Serena and get a decent storyline.