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Gossip Girl Season 3 Episode 11: Treasure of the Serena Madre

GOSSIP GIRLIt’s Thanksgiving at the Van der Humphrey house and everyone’s attempting to patch together their holiday traditions.  What initially starts off as a small, intimate get-together turns into a multi-party Charlie Foxtrot – which can also apply to this episode. 

The crux of the episode hinges on Serena and Tripp’s attempt to play JFK and Marilyn.  The twist this time is that Tripp is planning on dumping his wife, Maureen.  He tells Serena that the real reason why he wants a divorce are trust issues stemming from Maureen’s involvement in orchestrating Hudson-gate… not because he wants to boink his new, young, blonde assistant.  Stupid Serena still wants to spend some quality time with the Tripp-ster.  Although she’s still in unconsummated territory with her boss and vows to stay that way, Serena tells Lily and the rest of the Van der Humphries a big ol’ lie that Tripp’s forcing her to work the soup kitchen with him on Thanksgiving day. Oh, and the two make out like someone slipped them both some Spanish Fly in the elevator in Chuck Bass’s building. Little do they know, Chuck’s surveillance cameras got their little tryst on film. 

Serena’s community service-themed lie comes back to bite her in the tookus when Lily runs into Maureen on the street. While she’s aware that they’re both wearing the same jacket, Lily is oblivious to the fact thatMaureen, just served with the news that she’s the soon-to-be “ex” Mrs. Congressman Van der Bilt, was bleary-eyed with tears. Lily makes mention that Serena is will be working the soup kitchen with Tripp and she’s bummed about it. Smelling that this is a crock of gravy, Maureen takes up Lily’s invitation for her and Tripp to show up at the Van Der Humphrey dinner and give Serena some “family time.” 

Things get further complicated when Serena pops by Nate’s to tell him what’s going on.  Tripp then cancels their Thanksgiving plans on Serena, telling her that Maureen was a wreck when he broke the news to her.  (Duh. Like any social-climbing, young politico wife who just staged a coup to get her hubby elected to office would be thrilled that she’s being ousted for a newer, even younger model?)

Speaking of twisted triangles, Dan is still patting himself on the back about his three-way (which is such old news already). He keeps blathering on about how Vanessa keeps saying he has developed a new facial expression (that isn’t an “o” face) that he keeps fixing her with that has never been before.  Speaking of Vanessa, she shows up at the Humphrey loft, looking for a place to crash since she didn’t have permission from her mother to stay at the dorms. And speaking of Vanessa’s holiday-hating, societal convention tirade-spouting mother, Gabriella Rufus invited her to Thanksgiving dinner, too.  (This marks the second time Gina Torres: Harbinger of Television Show Death has made an appearance on the show.  This does not bode well for Gossip Girl.)

Across town, Dorota the Maid is trying to calm the one-woman tornado known as Miss Blair while simultaneously dodging Vanya the Doorman’s phone calls.  Blair is all in a tither since her mother, Eleanor has just come back from Paris with Cyrus and has with her a large manila envelope from her lawyers regarding revisions to her will.  When Blair grills Dorota about what Eleanor may be keeping from her, she rips the bag out of Dorota’s hands she thinks is carrying the secret and it’s loaded with an empty pregnancy test.  Blair kicks into high gear attempting to pry the news that her Mom is preggers from Eleanor’s lips themselves and gets her to accompany her and Chuck to Thanksgiving dinner at the Van der Humphries.  They may as well since Dorota will be working the dinner and attending to those guests, too. (And yes, Dorota ends up being festively-clad with an orange leaf print collar, cuffs and apron on her standard black maid ensemble.)

Jenny and Eric are civil with each other at first, flip-flopping their roles as Good Step-Sibling and Bad Step-Sibling. Jenny asks Eric if he wants to invite Jonathan to dinner.  Eric informs her that he and Jonathan broke up.  Jenny sets about making reparations, texting Jonathan and calling for a Turkey Day truce so that her step-bro and his former beau can reconcile. Jonathan never contacts her back and doesn’t show up to Thanksgiving dinner.

That doesn’t stop everyone else from showing up, however. And everyone also includes Lily’s mother — that one-woman, WASP-y Axis of Evil – CeCe.  Dear, simple Rufus made the mistake of inviting her to dinner after wishing her a happy Thanksgiving during a video chat. She insists she’s well enough to travel, her illness having gone into remission back in August and is delighted to attend. Boy, will this be fun!

The fun really starts rolling when Rufus stands at the head of the table and tells this lame pilgrim/rockstar joke as obnoxiously loud, pop/techno soundtrack music blares over most of the dialogue at the table.  Amid the torrent of dramatic revelations and assorted snit fits that go down are:

  •        Eleanor isn’t pregnant… Dorota is!  And she’s not returning Vanya’s calls!  Eleanor’s secret is that she’s going to live with Cyrus in Paris.  (Which is also where Blair’s other two fabulous daddies live!).  Instead, Eleanor wants to leave Blair to “conquer New York” and make it hers.  Are you kidding?! Blair is only 19!  She hasn’t even finished a midterm yet, much less is she ready to take Manhattan! (Way to write out two entertaining minor characters, Gossip Girl.)
  •         Jenny hears from Blair that Eric was the one who sabotaged her at cotillion.  Eric retorts that Jenny’s sweet potatoes are bland.  (Really.  He did.)  Furthermore, he cops to his own dark side and tells Jenny Cakes that her time as Queen is coming to an end and he has a secret weapon to help bring her down.  (Way to play your hand, Easy-E!)
  •          Vanessa freaks out on her mother, Gabriella for being a tree-hugging, self-righteous on a Humphrey-esque level disappointment and Gabriella maintains that Vanessa is an equally self-righteous disappointment of the social-climbing variety.
  •         Vanessa and Dan quibble about the “facial expression.” (Curiously, with all the mud-slinging and revelations, no one spills the beans about Dan’s three-way.  Hell, I’m surprised he didn’t start bragging about it at the table!)
  •          CeCe went into remission in August… Lily didn’t return home until October.

The best part of all, however, occurs when Tripp shows up to dinner with Maureen.  Ever-the-considerate boss/cheating husband, Tripp informs Serena that he’s on the way and the two will weather the storm together, even though when Tripp and Maureen show up, they’re completely lovey-dovey.  Even better,  Tripp also throws in some sappy crap that Serena eats up with a spoon that he’s grateful for the time he gets to spend with her, even if he has to share it with everyone else.

Tripp gets his chance to share Serena with everyone else – or at least what kind of a kisser she is — as Nate, at Chuck and Maureen’s behest, shares the footage of Tripp and Serena’s love in an elevator tribute to Aerosmith. Nate, Blair, and Chuck do this for Serena’s own good, of course while Maureen is merely bent on revenge.  Of course, Nate has another motive, particularly since he’s still in love with Serena.

Blair and Chuck voice their disapproval towards Serena’s stupid decision to dally with a married man, much less one in public office. Blair insists that no man ever leaves his wife for his mistress and in six months, she’ll be another Hump n’ Dump for Congressman Van der Bilt. Nate also makes a last-ditch plea, reminding Serena of his feelings and urging her to choose him over his creepy, crazy-eyed Congressman cousin.

Lily, on the other hand, is much harsher on Serena.  She tells her that she knows what it’s like to have been left for someone else. Serena counters saying that her case is different, because she (naively) believes she and Tripp will stay together.  Since common sense or morality doesn’t appeal to Serena, Lily tells Serena that until she stops fooling around with a married man, she’s no longer welcome in her house and boots her from Chez Bass/Van der Humphrey. 

Serena repents to her guests and Maureen (who could care less and still hates Serena) and publicly swears off Tripp.  However, when Serena and Blair chat in Bart Bass’s old room with the ginormous safe, she comes across the letter from Papa Van der Woodsen that Lily had intercepted and kept from her.  Throwing the letter in Lily’s face, Serena tells her mother she has no right to judge her since she kept news from the father she had been trying to contact all summer.  Just to spite everyone, Serena and Tripp are back on! FTW!

Maureen leaves the apartment separately, clutching in her hands some very potent information that made her smile.  (Gossip Girl seems to really like young, smug, upper crust redheads who manage to be somewhat bland while possessing an evil streak this season, doesn’t it?)

As Serena angrily storms out of Thanksgiving dinner following Tripp in the elevator, Lily and Rufus chat about why she was M.I.A. until October when CeCe had recovered in August.  Lily makes up some story that she wanted quality time with her mother and CeCe corroborates the story.  When mother and daughter are alone, CeCe makes like a Prada-wearing Emperor Palpatine, alluding to a secret she knows will blow up in Lily’s face.

In another corner of the Van der Humphrey house, Vanessa and Gabriella make up and Gabriella has a heart-to-heart with Dan.  She warns that while Dan and Vanessa’s friendship survived the first time he broke her heart and turned her down, a second round of this could permanently damage things between them. 

While this wasn’t a bad episode, it could have used a visit from the Continuity Fairy and the Common Sense Fairy.  With everyone else and their hamster at the Van der Humphrey table, you would think Rufus and Lily’s long-lost-and-found love child would put in an appearance. Furthermore, Tripp is going to throw away his young, yet wildly successful political career and marriage for a jobless blonde without so much as a semester of college under her belt… that hasn’t even put out yet?  Please!  Get your act together, Gossip Girl!  I expect better from you than this!

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