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‘The City’: Olivia Palermo versus Blair Waldorf

January 6, 2009 |  8:07 am

OliviablairI know, I know. It’s too easy to compare “The City” to “Gossip Girl.”

The beautiful people, the Uptown/Downtown divide, the snippy girls and the oversexed boys, the gossip. So after today, I’ll try to concentrate on Whitney Port’s Manhattan fairy tale as a semi-plausible reality show separate and apart from the soapy goodness that is “Gossip Girl.”

But for now, I’d be remiss not to stack up Whitney’s faux friend Olivia Palermo, not a socialite but a “social,“ against her “Gossip Girl” counterpart Blair Waldorf. Both are all imperial looks, frustrated pouts and perfectly coiffed locks. Name-dropping and social climbing is their game, and if you get in their way, those fake-lash, black- eyeliner-shaped peepers will bore a hole through you.

But who’d get the best of whom? Would fashion house heiress Blair out-scheme and out-text Olivia? Or would Olivia, daughter of a real estate mogul, out-advise Blair? Who better manages their profile and social graces? Let’s stack 'em up and find out:

The lackeys: Olivia’s cousin, Nevan, has got nothing on Blair’s maid, Doroda. Doroda plans parties, maintains Blair’s schedule and is her primary confidant. (And here you thought it was Serena.) Nevan spits on subway platforms, attends prissy dinner parties thrown by Olivia and indulges her bland stories about trying to keep Whitney away from the Downtown crowd. Point: Blair.

The agenda: Speaking of which, why is Olivia hellbent on adopting Whitney? Blair doesn’t adopt her enemies -- she vanquishes them. Look at what happened to Little J! So suspend disbelief for a sec and pretend that Olivia is not trying to glean as much camera time on “The City” as possible -- there is no other reason for her to impart her neighborhood tips and dating advice to Whitney. (When Whitney shares that non-boyfriend Jay is going to help move heavy boxes into her new apartment, Olivia nearly has a coronary explaining why that’s a bad idea. “You need to be independent!”) What’s more awkward is that Whitney can’t even feign interest, rolling her eyes behind Olivia’s back and doing the exact opposite of whatever she says. Olivia needs to focus on crushing Whitney, not supporting her. Point: Blair.

The day job: Blair is a high school senior with admittance to Yale. And she still lives with Mom. Olivia didn’t finish college, but is working for Diane Von Furstenberg. Whether or not that’s all for show -- as most of the jobs featured on “The Hills” have been -- it’s a high-profile gig she can keep on her resume (should she ever need one) forever. She’s also got a sweet Tribeca living space. Point: Olivia.

The profile: True, Whitney’s man, Jay, and former boss Kelly Cutrone did know Olivia when Whitney brought up her name in separate conversations. Olivia is, after all, kind of famous. But being known by Jay and Kelly Cutrone do not a social climber make. Olivia boasted to Whitney that Mr. Manolo Blahnik, shoemaker extraordinaire made even more famous by the ladies of “Sex and the City,” was a family friend. But was it just me or did he have absolutely no clue who she was when she arrived to get her new shoes signed. And that dinner party? Zero fabulousness. Blair, on the other hand, is Queen B within her own demographic but has shown little prowess or profile within adult circles. Point: Neither.

The entourage: Olivia has none to speak of -- so far. Whether she actually has friends that aren’t related to her is unclear. On a typical day, when she’s not chasing after Chuck, Blair has got at least four prim and posh flankers holding her cappuccino, her purse and making sure her style stands out from the rest of them. Point: Blair.

The boys: It may be too early to tell, but Olivia may as well be a snow queen. She doesn’t seem to have any potential prospects. She’s not warm, flirty, and I’m not sure she’s even interested in anything unrelated to being Velcroed to Whitney’s side. Blair’s better balanced. Nate was a bust, and Chuck is the delicious devil she can’t resist. Point: Blair.

Looks like Olivia’s playing catch-up. The good thing is she’s got a whole season ahead of her on “The City” to try to even out the score.

-- Denise Martin

Complete coverage of “The City.”
Complete coverage of “The Hills.”

Left photo: Olivia Palermo. Credit: Getty Images.

Right photo: Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf. Credit: The CW.