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Gossip Girl Season Premiere Review: Six Weeks Later ...

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The question heading into Season Five of Gossip Girl is whether the show will return to what made it great - humor, heart and a healthy dose of scandal - or continue on the path last season went down, with convoluted, over-the-top stories and, worse yet, our beloved characters not even acting like themselves.

So, did tonight offer fans reason for hope? Yes is most definitely the word.

Between the pregnancy reveal - so surprising I really didn't think Gossip Girl of all shows would go there - the tie-in with Daniel's novel, Nate's latest liaison and Chuck channeling his inner James Dean, "Yes, Then Zero" was a resounding success. We can only hope future episodes build on this and don't fizzle out.

Chuck Rolls Up

"People like me don't write books, we're written about." - Chuck

When we first saw Mr. Bass tonight, adored in his ascot and roaring up to his newly-obtained yacht on his motorcycle, his change in attitude was apparent (even as his taste for the finer things remains the same).

Part cowboy philosopher, part rebel without a cause (unless you can consider going balls to the wall and saying yes to anything a cause), he's happy for the first time in awhile. Or at least doing a good job faking it.

But, as always with Chuck, there's a darkness lurking within. Witness his reaction to the crash, and his apparent unwillingness to seek help or dial back his adrenaline meter even after sustaining a pretty severe injury.

At some point, he's bound to take it too far, but it's fun to see him leap off buildings and some knowledge on Nate and Serena right now. Just seeing those three hang out and enjoy laughs as friends again was a welcome treat.

Chuck's two-headed sidekick was a bit boring at times, but that was almost the point. Both Nate and Serena seemed to acknowledge that they'd lost their way and don't even know who they are anymore (I blame the writers).

While Marshall's ploy to get Serena fired felt lame, considering she was kind of a model employee almost trying too hard not to step on toes, it's great that S was rewarded in the end for applying herself and doing legit work.

L.A. fashion clearly works on SoCal native Blake Lively, too. Not surprising.

On a side note, how funny was it to see Patrick Roberts, Olivia's old vampire co-star, in his Hollywood element? This little creative touch wasn't essential to the plot, but was surely appreciated by many fans.

UES Meets LA

Of course, this is still Gossip Girl and in the closing moments, Serena happened to bump into non-cousin Charlie in a city of 20 million people. Ivy apparently headed west with her boyfriend after her "acting" gig last spring.

What's she planning next? Does anyone care? The jury's still out now. We'll see what Charlie/Ivy has planned next week, and whether it will connect Serena's story arc with the rest of the gang back in New York.

If you've read any Gossip Girl spoilers this summer, you know Elizabeth Hurley's character, Diana Payne, is a media mogul whose manipulations of Nate, whatever they might be, ultimately involve Gossip Girl herself.

Once Nate started taking Chuck's advice and becoming the ultimate "yes" man, another notch on his bedpost was an inevitability. Only he was also being played by Diana, who was excited to have "made contact" with him.

Much as we all enjoy his usual displays of concern for Chuck, pot expertise and skill with the ladies, hopefully Nate will play a more substantive role this fall. Clearly he's being targeted for some role by Ms. Payne.

Hurley makes a sexy and intriguing villain for the Upper East Siders, and I'm dying to know what she's up to. There's something about her that makes the stakes feel heightened ... 10 times more so than with Russell Thorpe.

Back in New York, the dueling drama of Dan's story and Blair's wedding planning - with Louis caught in the middle of each - dovetailed brilliantly, revealing just enough at all the right moments to pique your interest.

It also ended with perhaps the biggest OMFG moment since we learned Serena killed someone.

However unrealistic the circumstances of its publication, Inside by Anonymous, a.k.a. Dillon Hunter, is apparently some book! The excerpt that was to run in Vanity Fair made it abundantly clear who the focal point was, too.

Dair Picture

The future Princess of Monaco, Blair Waldorf, spent so much time fretting over typical Blair Waldorf things that by the time the wedding planner called her out - and she didn't deny it - her pregnancy secret was truly shocking.

Dorota did a great job fooling Eleanor and likely more than a few viewers, too, in covering for her BFF. But her body does not lie. I guess. Leighton Meester actually looks thinner than ever to me. But give it a few weeks!

Dan's behavior this week was truly eye-opening. His mannerisms and cryptic comments certainly made it out to seem like he and Blair did more than kiss. Like a lot more. More importantly, he's obviously IN LOVE WITH HER.

Even though he knew precisely what Louis was doing when he stood Blair up and why, Dan was prepared to let her skip town, with him, and leave her fairy tale behind. That's one whopper of a lie by omission, Lonely Boy.

You don't do that for someone you're not head over heels for. Dair is very much alive ... at least as far as the feelings on one side are concerned, and possibly an unborn child is concerned. Can you imagine if it's Dan's?

Penn Badgley is certainly looking the part of the unkempt writer, yearning for his past lover. I'm glad the writers didn't torpedo Dan's feelings for Blair altogether, which would've made so much of last season feel trite.

What happens between now and November 26 - save the date!! - will be interesting to say the least. Will Blair keep the baby? If so, will she start to show? Will Dan pursue her in earnest? Will Chuck, despite his motivational speech?

And obviously, the ten trillion dollar question: Who's the father?!

All in all, a strong beginning to Gossip Girl's fifth season, and one that should give you plenty to discuss with TV Fanatic as you hit the comments below! Come back tomorrow for news, promos and our Round Table!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (431 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I am getting really tired of those people who want Blair to have a miscarriage.
or want Dan or Chuck back together with blair.
how about we just see what happens in the future of Gossip Girl

Ninasmileface

Great episode in general. I still don't think it was as dramatic and surprising as a season premiere should be (remember the season 2 premiere?), but nonetheless it was very good. Blair's pregnancy wasn't that shocking only because it was kind of obvious, since it was in her trash can. I can't wait to find out who the father is and part of me wants it to be Dan just so I can watch Blair freak out :) I just hope that she won't keep the baby in the end because that would sort of ruin the possibilities with her character. Maybe a miscarriage or something like that. Either way, as long as Louis and his horrible (getting even worse) accent can leave ASAP I'll be happy.
As for the california scenes: they were pretty good and had some funny moments. I like that Serena is FINALLY growing up, let's just see how long that will last. Nate was kind of boring, and what is up with his hair? Bring back the full on man bangs! Speaking of hair, what is that creature growing on Dan's head. I tried to feel sorry for him when Blair was yelling at him, but I couldn't stop laughing at his hair. I am sooooo happy that Chuck found some other way than getting drunk and high to deal with his sorrow, because that was getting old. This new Chuck is refreshing to watch.
Overall I would give the episode a 4/5.

Uncle jackass

@Amandine, I always wonder about that all the time. Does trending on Tweeter/Facebook add up to a ship/fanbase that increases viewer-ship and ratings? I'm not entirely sure. I certainly agree that there's probably a 100:0.001 ratio of Chair/Dair fans on the web, but does that correlate to actual improved ratings? Many people of the lower demographic are switching to PVR, itunes, and direct-to web tv websites to watch the episodes; while contributing to the producers cash cow it does not add up to ratings. If anything, my understanding shows that it is the unemployed and Generation X and higher demographic that contribute to Free to Air viewer-ship. Gen Y, which I am considered, tend to be time deficient and are always plugged to a computer. Hence, it is hard to determine who the producers are actually catering towards?

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Please - Dan and Blair had and have enough chemistry - it all depends on how a scene is written. Both Badgley and Meester are good at this sort of thing...So if the scene required the smoldering and sighing and speaking-in-husky tones (that seem mandatory in every Chuck and Blair scene), then I'm sure Dan would have pulled it off but for reasons best known to the writers, Dan's love is being shown as limpid, devoid of passion - though his every action shows how much he aches for Blair. And at one point it was shown that Blair reciprocated. Because we've had it instilled in our minds that Blair and Chuck are end game, it does seem futile to root for Dair but I for one would love for them to be together. It has nothing to do with Chair being unhealthy - but all that one-upmanship, constant jealousies and insecurities - come on it's all fine in a teen romance or crush - but not in an adult,steady, fruitful relationship. And there is no reason to think that if Dair ever happens they'll be lacking passion or depth - I see it as a loving relationship - with friendship, trust, respect, companionship and tons of great sex and passion! They will help each other blossom and be happy - isn't that what relationships are about...But the writers will toe the Chair fan base line and we all know how this will end.Sigh! I would have loved for lonely boy and queen B to get together...

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I enjoyed the premiere overall! Loved the lighter feel. The angst in the 2nd half of last season was killing me. The LA Scenes were the best: Serena- It's ridiculous how she got the job, yea, but I love independent Serena.
Nate- Floating around as usual and then finding a bit of fun, maybe a bit of himself in LA? I liked it even if he's become merely a footnote to the real drama.
Chuck- Chuck wearing color! Chuck out of a suit! Chuck smiling! Chuck back to his hedonistic attitude but not purely because of angst! It reminded me of the C I fell in love with mid season 1. I know some angst is comin' 'round the corner but i just like seeing Ed out of a suit for a change (hot!). When C took a spill on Mullholland and then casually said he needed a scotch? Awesome. N/S/C were the highlight for me BY FAR. Dan- I really love the prospect of the book and can't wait to see what he's written about the rest of the cast! This will create some major drama but I hope it doesn't all center on Blair! The whole Louis / Dan stuff was pretty lame though. Alright don't publish the Blair chapter. Whatever. I don't care. The prospect of Dan pining over Blair could be good though. Blair- BY FAR the single most boring SL of the entire episode. Does anyone care about the royal wedding? Are those crickets I hear? I need Blair connected to the rest of the cast more and not JUST Dan! But with Serena in LA, Nate being Vanessed, B trying to get over Chuck...I'm not sure how they're going to integrate her with anyone BUT Dan. And thus she will mostly be relegated to Louis ? ZzZzZz. Dan/Blair/Louis loft scene? Just awkward. It didn't work. I agree with those who said that this ship doesn't have the emotional weight to carry a box of kleenex let alone a series. Blair and Dan have a lot in common but they differ on some fundamental levels that make them work better as frenemies. Trying to make them C/B 2.0 is a mistake and I hope the show doesn't go that route! Not thrilled about B's pregnancy. Could lead to some good scenes but I hope it ends in miscarriage or (if CW is daring...yea right) abortion.

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@crissy To preface: I hate to use the shipping buzzwords like I'm going to in a second but I can "support" Chuck/Blair only because THIS IS fiction. If this was real? No way would I support them after the hotel stuff and the "punch/was it a punch?/I don't know what it was but it was unhealthy" scene in 4.20. But what Blair said in the season 4 finale is true: Chuck/Blair have a "great love" and stories aren't written about the normal, healthy ones. I don't care to watch some watered down rom com with Dan / Blair or Louis / Blair. It also has a lot to do with (sorry another buzzword) chemistry. Ed and Leighton have it in spades...so much so that their fan base will look past all the crazy bs that's happened between C/B. I want to like Dan / Blair. I really do. I hate feeling like I'm supporting something unhealthy when I root for C/B scenes. But the DB loft scene in the premiere was just lacking. DB don't have romantic chemistry, IMO. Compare that scene to the white party scene in s2 when Chuck asked Blair not to leave with the Lord. There was electricity there and the tension palpable. Flash forward to the DB loft scene- no comparison. It just fell flat. So if you really , actually want to know why people support the toxic Chair relationship it's the actor's chemistry and the sheer drama of it all. I don't think Blair and Chuck need to get together right away or even ever again. I do agree that they need time apart so the SL doesn't grow repetitive. Throwing Dan into the mix is a good idea and I enjoy D/B as friends. I can't for the life of me picture them as lovers (though I'm open to seeing what happens). Personally I just like C/B scenes even if they don't lead to a happy ending. I do apologize to any female rights groups I may have Po'd for like a fictional pairing! lol

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I was on twitter whilst the show was on and both Chuck and Blair were trending. Not once has Dan trended on twitter. He (Pen) may be an o.k actor but as Dan he is seriously not likeable by many. The hypocrite Dan was in full force yesterday. I don't believe Nate/Serena have lost their way. I believe that they are true to their age group and searching for the path they will travel. I believe Dan is the one who doesn't know who he is and what he wants - Serena, Vanessa now Blair. What I want is for both Serena and Blair not to give him the time of day. Even his haircut severely traumatised me last night. I just can't...

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@Balaji1212: Dan is skinny and with that haircut because Penn Badgley is filming the biopic of the rocker Jeff Buckley in NYC and the guy looked liked that. As for Blair looks, the wardrobe in this episode was ok, nor good nor bad, though the dress looked pretty but I know many don't like the pattern in the dress nor Blair's haircut, which it's an attempt to not show Leighton Meester real life haircut with bangs. I personally didn' see a problem with it but many can't stand it. Based on filming picks taken by fans during these months, it seems that eventually the wardrobe department in GG is comming out with some very weird outfits to cover her pregnancy, maybe it was in part for our benefit to try to hide the pregnancy but if they make it to the screen we will see some weird outfits in the future. Dorota is also pregnant, E! online confirmed both Blair and Dorota are pregnant. There is the rumor among fans that Dan may be the one that got Chuck to get the dog, this is based on the TV guide description of episode 5x3 The Jewel of Denial, which btw is the episode in which the dog will make the first appearance as confirmed by a Tweet from the GG writers.

Balaji1212

Just some of my thoughts after watching the S5 premiere below: Gossip girl starts off S5 with a nice balance of FRESHNESS yet maintaining the core essence of what Gossip girl has stood for in the past 4 seasons. On the outside this is a new direction and feel for Gossip girl-light fun as opposed to the dark, twisted fantasy celebrating the indecent opluence of the past...yet if we look carefully all the gossip girl elements from scheming to secrets to scandals to over the top extravagance are all still very much here. All in all a very good start to the season which promises to take all the main characters in interesting directions. It's infact after a long time that i am actually somewhat engrossed in the happenings of all the main as well as the new characters all at the same time. The season begins as usual with Serena vanderwoodsen...and firstly i must say that serena looked really good in this episode...maintaining that unique serena style ( meaning the appearance of our regular stars i.e. serena's twins peek-a-booing )yet looking stylish instead of trashy. Even though blake/serena isn't my kind of beauty but she does have a good body and she looked really nice here. As far as her story arc is concerned it's alright but yet it's not as revolutionary as the producers seem to think or advertising, we have seen serena is similar jobs/situations before...so it's a tad disappointing. But where Serena shines is in the scenes with Chuck-Nate, seriously C-N-S scenes were a treat to watch and clearly one of the hightlights of the episode no doubt ( this coming from someone who mostly thinks NJBC are overrated). Still i liked Serena here which doesn't happen often. LA looked good...it was LA yet a different Gossip girlesque LA at the same time- I ENJOYED IT. Now coming to Nate-archibald...What a pleasant surprise?! Nate was awesome, LOST yet LOVABLE at the same time...i must say Chace has some easy going comedic timing going for him here-he looked good and pulled of the fun comedic scenes with aplomb...all in all Nate scenes were actually enjoyable and worth watching. Now going back to Newyork and catching up with the Humphreys...Rufus is as lame as ever ( Seriously how does matthew settle play this character, it really must be the money? ) While the life and times of Dan Humphrey on the otherhand is going is surprising and somewhat baffling directions...this whole 'Inside' novel business involving Dan is a very promising and interesting story arc and if the cards are played properly then it could lead to any number of directions with any number of characters...interesting indeed. But what's up with Penn's look? IDK? he looked small...i mean his arms, legs everything seemed small but then again it could be just me. And as far as Dan's feelings for Blair is concerned i still don't get it to be perfectly honest...and this episode wasn't kind on his feelings for Blair, he came off as selfish who doesn't have Blair's best interest in mind ( something similar from Chuck would have resulted in all sort of abuse allegations just saying ) nor was it kind on Dair's relationship-i mean their relationship is lame in some ways in the fact that they only interact or have anything to do with each other when there is no other option, this is especially true with Blair's side...she only goes the Dan way as a last resort when it's the only option left. Anyways one thing is for sure that there is no romantic feeling for Dan from Blair's side atm...so the question wrt Dair this season is whether Dan's feelings for Blair will kindle any sort of reaction in her or not?...but it's most defenitely one sided for now. And now moving to our queen or atleast our princess in waiting Blair waldorf...this was certainly not the worst version of Blair, but of all the main characters her story arc/scenes/performance were the weakest...though she is the centre piece no doubt. I really don't know but IMO the producers have lost that special something about Blair...even Leighton's performance or take on Blair atm is way off the mark. Even as far as her looks are concerned she looked alright but they are not even getting the styling right for Blair. And as far as Blair's main man atm Louis and their relationship is concerned...Louis-Blair are a really boring old faced unexciting couple and gawd! Louis accent is god damn annoying but i must admit their storyline and what Blair was going through with wanting 'her man to stand by her ' was a realistic and relatable track but one thing seems clear this time writers want to give Blair a romance with a guest star which is a force to be reckoned with alongside her main romances...no obvious doomed from the beginning relationships with guest stars anymore, i guess. Just one more thing about Blair this whole 'Waldorf women' thing is not adorable anymore...infact quite frankly i am starting to find waldorf women annoying as hell. Now coming to Chuck Bass and Ed westwick the combination of which was one of the highlights of the episode. What can i say from the twins, to the smile and the fun, to the bonding with S&N, to his casual fashion wardrobes, to his hilarious 'YES' man antics, to awesome lines like " People like me don't write books, books are written about us" ( or atleast something like that) but ofcourse still suffering underneath and going crazy due to a brunette and their great love we all know well. Chuck-Ed just killed it. I think all this 'YES' man bizness is him trying to unconciously punish himself for saying no to Blair and all this thrill seeking is just a way for him to numb the pain and turn himself away from the real issue...he still has a long way to go for sure. And i think therapy for Chuck is in the cards in the coming episodes...and IMO 'the dog' could even be a suggestion by a Psychiatrist as some sort of therapy/medicine to ease his pain for people always abandoning him or something. Anywhich way Chuck stuff seems really interesting in the coming weeks. Finally in the final moments, the moment we all know was irrefutable i.e. "Blair is the one who is pregnant"...i told you so ( i can't help it ;-)] but still it was funny how the writers tried to fool us with decoys in the form of Serena and Dorota...but we all knew the truth, didn't we? Also as a closing note...just a little something on Diana payne and Ivy...like both the characters as well as both the actors...especially Liz hurley-Sexy Cougar-perfect for Diana. All in all a good start to the season, hoping it keeps getting better and better.

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DAIR FTW!
Chuck & Blair had their chance. They just don't work as a couple for me anymore. I remember I couldn't wait for a Chair scene but I just can't stand their scenes anymore. You can say DAIR has stolen my heart! :)
Definitely won't be watching if a Chair reunion is in the works...