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'Gossip Girl': All politics is local

November 3, 2009 |  7:50 am
Gossipgirl_SerenaBlair Timed nicely to coincide with New York City's local elections, Monday night's "Gossip Girl" centered on politics, whether it was between a congressional candidate and his opponent or two BFFs who just couldn't find a middle ground. Hard ball was played, and the game got a little dirty. Only one winner emerged, neither of whom was named Serena or Blair.

Nate's do-gooder cousin Tripp Vanderbilt was the congressional candidate poised to continue the family legacy. Determined to win fairly, Tripp resisted his grandfather's offers of sabotage, leaving Nate as Grandfather Vanderbilt's point man for deception. Finally, Nate is given some purpose and edge! For most of the season, he's either been taken for a fool by girls in miniskirts or served as the boring bud to Chuck and Dan. It's about time the show further explored his dark side (or any side for that matter) or at least provide more reasons for him to stare intensely into the distance.

With Tripp and his opponent neck-and-neck in the polls, a plot was hatched to plant a "drowning" man in the Hudson River for Tripp to heroically save. The plan worked -- Tripp dove in headfirst to save the man and therefore jumped ahead in the polls. That is until budding auteur Vanessa, who has been filming the campaign for a documentary, discovered her footage of the man willingly jumping into the river. At this point, we don't know who's behind the scheme, but all arrows seemed to point to Grandfather Vanderbilt. Wrong! The mastermind was actually Tripp's wife, Maureen, the true victor and the real politician of the two.

Despite his efforts to thwart Vanessa as she attempted to sell the tape to a local TV station, Nate took one for the team and confessed to a plot he didn't plan. Politics is clearly not in his future if he has V constantly lurking around with her camera. Every teen drama needs that moral compass to balance the good with the bad (i.e. Andrea Zuckerman in "Beverly Hills, 90210," Joey Potter in "Dawson's Creek), but does Vanessa have to always be such a wet blanket? We know she's far from perfect, and she's not winning any fans by playing the good cop at every opportunity she gets.

Maybe Vanessa should play referee to Serena's and Blair's latest game of one-upmanship. With both refusing to apologize for last week's mutual betrayals, they enter Tripp's election party with their own agendas. Serena's job was to help her client/faux-boyfriend Patrick soak in the political landscape for a potential movie role. Unfortunately, Patrick is a total sleaze who only cared to schmooze with Jack Daniels. This was perfect ammo for Blair, whose sole reason for attending was to shoot Serena down and prove she didn't need her friendship. S would have been B's for the taking if not for her own misstep. Her new friend Brandeis, whom she had brought to make Serena jealous, turned out to be a high-class call girl, a secret S was happy to expose.

I've always enjoyed when Blair and Serena were on the outs, but this time, the game was a little sad. To have their friendship, no matter how tumultuous, end over a cake in the face and below-the-belt name calling was pitiful, but it does make a point. Competition has played such a vital role in their friendship that it's the only way they know to reach out. As Chuck wisely said, it's time to grow up.

On the slightly humorous side, Dan was dubbed "Bathroom Boy" after Olivia told the story of their first date on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." I was bracing for something truly mortifying, but the real story was disappointing (Dan had gone to the bathroom on their date and emerged with his shirt inside out. He told her a spider had fallen in his shirt when he was actually sweating profusely from nervousness). "Gossip Girl," how dare you threaten the Dan and Olivia love-fest with a lame story!

What were your thoughts on the episode, readers? Do you think Nate should have confessed to a crime he didn't commit? What do you think of Serena's and Blair's latest feud?

xoxo

-- Enid Portuguez

Photo: Blake Lively as Serena Van der Woodsen and Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf in "Gossip Girl." Credit: the CW

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