'Gossip Girl': All politics is local -- with hoaxes and prostitutes

chacecrawford2_gossipgirl_290.jpgTonight's "Gossip Girl" had our Upper East Siders pretending they care about politics because of Tripp's campaign -- but we know better, don't we?

Tripp's big election night:
The Van Der Bilt family has rented the ballroom of Chuck's hotel for their election-night party, though in the final stretch things aren't looking great for the candidate. To his credit, though, Tripp's pretty sanguine about it, asking his grandfather and Nate to hold off on any shenanigans or last-minute efforts on his behalf.

Nate appears to have gone over to the dark side, urging Tripp to take their grandfather's help and refusing to forgive Serena for undoing his scheme with the fake photos and the Buckleys. They're out for a walk, trailed by a documentary-making Vanessa, who's interviewing voters, and Tripp ends up jumping into the Hudson River to save a drowning man. Now, even those of us who haven't seen "The Contender" can tell what's going on here a mile away. And of course, Tripp's heroics help him gain some ground in the Zogby poll (which any credible reporter or non-bush league campaign would be careful about to begin with) and with Rasmussen. It's more infuriating that the guys on the campaign are practically weeping with joy that Tripp pulled ahead by a point -- it's still within the margin of error, doofus, and therefore insignificant.

Anyway, Vanessa's psyched because she's the only one who has footage of the rescue, and she's selling it to New York 1. Then she looks at the footage and sees the "drowning man" jump into the water -- of course it was a set-up. Vanessa does the stand-up thing and tells Nate, so the campaign will know that it's coming, and Nate double-crosses her by having a decoy NY1 producer buy the video. Which Vanessa later finds out, and utterly justifiably later reams Nate for having replaced his soul with a heart that's too small. Then she outs the hoax to the station, and Tripp threatens to pull out of the race rather than win dirty. Grandfather swears he didn't do it, and Nate, looking guilty, takes the fall, saying he set up the hoax.

In the end, Tripp wins the race -- woo hoo! -- and promises Nate that he'll make things right and usher in a new Van Der Bilt dynasty that they can be proud of. And we find out that Maureen is hardly the Stepford Wife that we thought she was -- she confesses to Darth Vader, a.k.a. Grandfather, that she's the one behind it. No wonder Tripp ends up hanging out with Serena at the bar at the end of the episode -- if that's what I had to go home to, I'm not sure I'd be in the express lane either.

blakelively_gossipgirl_290.jpgSerena, Blair, and the cake: Here's what you need to know: Party, PR client, prostitute, and pfluffy pfrosting (sorry -- I couldn't quite work out all of the alliteration).

Serena and Blair are fighting over work, and friends, and whatever else they usually fight about. Blair's having a hard time finding friends at school "Please -- I'm not friends with staff," she barks at one of her minions -- and ends up approaching a girl with killer fashion sense and the Valentino 360 bag at the coffee house, inviting her to the Van Der Bilt election night party. The girl, Brandeis (I'm not making this up), ends up being a call girl a la Lisa Edelstein on the pilot episode of "The West Wing," and when Serena finds out from her drunken not-boyfriend, Patrick Roberts Robinson (Simon Roberts), she has Brandeis removed from the premises. Then Blair calls Serena a prostitute for fake dating a client, and then Serena shoves her face in a cake. High comedy ensues.

Chuck tries to talk some sense into Serena by telling her Blair misses her, and even though Serena's smarting from Blair's "I'm more grown up and getting a life so nyah nyah" speech, she seems to regret the blow-up that's ended their friendship this time. Oh, and after dealing with the annoying drunk of a fake boyfriend, Serena quits her job via hanky.

pennbadgley_gossipgirl_290.jpgBathroom Boy: Olivia and Dan are really happy and getting along, and then she goes on Jimmy Fallon's show and tells a story about her first date with Dan, when he went to the men's room and came back with his shirt on inside out. While I'm getting visions of George Costanza dancing in my head, Olivia's running around trying to keep Dan cloistered and unable to see it. She even conspires with Jenny, who seems to be home with the swine flu, to keep him away from televisions and computers. But during an unguarded moment he sees it on Jenny's computer anyway, and is reminded that their one-month anniversary is the next day. The real reason he kept taking off his shirt, he tells her later, is because he was so nervous he kept sweating, and went to dry it off on the hand dryer. Aw.

For those keeping score, that's two prime-time shows Jimmy Fallon has turned up on in the past week -- the other being last Thursday's "30 Rock."

Best line of the episode:
"Sir, I need you to put some pants on." -- Security guard to Patrick Roberts, who's drunk and pantsless on the mezzanine.


What did you think? Did you see it coming that Maureen was behind the hoax? Do you think Blair's beginning to grow up, like she says, or was she just reverting to being a vindictive child? How happy are you that you aren't part of the Van Der Bilt clan?

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