Gossip Girl Review: Backup Dan the Man

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With the dust nowhere near settled after last week's 100th episode event, this evening's Gossip Girl picked up right where the wedding left off with a somewhat lighter, equally confusing installment.

"The Backup Dan" featured some highly entertaining scenes thanks to Dan, Blair and Georgina, but was uneven in many respects. Chiefly, the story we were so excited for not really materializing.

Was anyone out there not loving Dan and Blair at the airport, on the run from her life? I'd watch an entire spinoff in which Dair travels the world, trying to stay one step ahead of Louis' henchmen.

Okay, Monaco totally doesn't have henchmen, but you get my point (they do have dowries, apparently, which we'll get to momentarily after we finish discussing the viewing experience that is Dair).

A Dan and Blair Photo

It's no wonder Penn Badgley and Leighton Meester, who play off of each other so brilliantly, have both made comments to the effect that Dan and Blair's relationship has become their favorite on GG.

Not only is it a hoot, frankly, it's the only one written in a way that makes sense! Will "The Backup Dan" ever become the #1 plan for B romantically? Who knows, but it's a lot of fun to watch unfold.

We know Dan harbors strong feelings for Blair, and it's starting to look like she's aware of them - she knows about the vows, after all, and come on, it's obvious - but she hasn't reciprocated. Yet.

Their scene near the end, before she inexplicably left with Louis, was heartwarming. In the same breath, Blair thanked him for being the one who's always been there for her, then bashed his hair.

That's their relationship in a nutshell. An unlikely duo bonded by their joint love of ... each other? There's not a lot these two have in common superficially, yet their personalities mesh wonderfully.

The airport sojourn was classic, with Dan dutifully assisting the runaway bride, doing a terrible job lying to S, begging his dad for help, and being dissed by a star-struck girl. He's definitely the man.

Blair, meanwhile, was desperately trying to remain in control after losing any semblance of it.

She may have a high opinion of herself, but even B isn't delusional to think the New York Post qualifies as a passport. At that moment, though, she was desperate enough that she may well have.

Add in Leighton in I Heart NY tourist garb and you had a recipe for a great episode. One you wished would've involved them successfully fleeing and keeping the banter/adventure going for a bit.

Sadly, they fled JFK and ended up at a Queens hotel, and despite one bright spot - Dan sticking up for himself and leaving with his pride intact - the night went downhill quickly from there.

Blair Post-Wedding

Serena and Chuck (and also Georgina, whose role got a lot less cool tonight despite a number of great one-liners) tracked her down, with S taking the fall for the video and C baring his soul. Again.

And he was shot down, again. Even though Blair said she loves him too, again.

Enter a contrived, confusing and unnecessary plot device: The dowry. Now Blair, and by extension Eleanor, are on the hook for millions if she defaults on her marriage to Louis within one year.

Wouldn't you know it, she's back with Louis at the end! Noticeably sad, but by his side, like nothing ever happened. The "pact" may be over, but there's an equally stupid obstacle in its place now. Terrific.

It's getting harder to take this seriously each week. How many times can Chuck be redeemed in the eyes of viewers and come thisclose to winning Blair's heart forever, only to have it stripped away?

Blair was going to flee to the Dominican Republic to annul the marriage but wouldn't leave with Chuck, who would gladly pay off the Grimaldis, because they ... wouldn't be equals if she did?

Come on, Gossip Girl. You're just jerking Chair around at this point.

They need to get on with it or let it go forever. Same goes for Dair. I'm all for a good love triangle, but not when the barriers thrown between the prospective couples are repetitive and unrealistic.

All we can do is hold out hope that there's a resolution worth waiting for down the line. I wish I had more confidence that were the case and that the actors would stop being wasted, though. Boo.

Chuck and Georgina Pic

What else did we learn this evening? Let's see ...

  • Georgina Sparks is not the Gossip Girl, but stepped up in her absence, as many theorized. While this makes more sense logistically, I'm still disappointed after last week's mega-reveal, and how amateurish she was tonight.
  • G is hilarious, to be sure, and locking Dorota in the closet was cold, but she was almost too obvious. The Georgina I know is a bit less desperate and more sociopathic. Her cover's bound to be blown.
  • Nate Archibald doesn't like girls who lie, which Lola clearly does. But he's willing to overlook that 30 seconds later as long as they're not lying about him, and wear cute catering outfits.
  • Serena loves Dan, but apparently he's all about Blair.
  • Blair's wedding DJ played Tone Loc. That's pretty cool.
  • Do not threaten Eleanor Waldorf. She will end you.
  • Do not tell Rufus Humphrey any secrets. Ever.

Overall, it's hard to feel good about tonight, especially after the wedding episode raised expectations on many fronts. The plus side? Dan maybe actually making a move in the promo for next week!

What do you think Georgina's endgame is? And is Blair really planning on going through with a giant marriage facade? Before we turn it over to your comments, here's the teaser for "Crazy, Cupid Love" ...

What did you think of Monday's Gossip Girl? Was it funny? Disappointing? Baffling? A little of each? Discuss below and share your predictions for next week's Valentine's Day-themed episode!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (973 Votes)

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

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@gg I think people like it because it's different from all of the cheesy 'I love you', 'I can't love you than I already am' that happens with Blair/Louis/Chuck because the dialogue is terrible. The Dair banter isn't perfect because of the horrible writing like the rest of the show, it's because it's much different from the rest of 'lovey-dovey' crap that we get from the other characters.

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@Anonymous I was talking about how Dan and Blair's "banter" was mediocre and disappointing, not Chuck and Blair's. Some people were raving, even called it "flawless" LOL. Only people w lukewarm IQs (Aka shippers) would find their banter "flawless". I could see them writing the script now , "well, we have to have come sort of funny interplay between Dan and Blair because the viewers looooove that but how do we do that?" So Safran and co. make some half arsed cracks up about samsonite and i don't even remember what else. But ya i agree w you about the Chuck and Blair stuff too.
@Sarah you are right! Chair and Dair have chemistry and they could've go i interesting directions w them and even Louis and instead we have this shiza. They don't care about their characters or developing them and they turn everything in clusterfugg.

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@Sarah and @gg But that's what they do when they're together, cheesy 'I love you' speeches that you would find on a Hallmark greeting card and that's repeated over and over again, while Blair makes up some stupid excuse like the dowry or that pact with God.

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B&C both love each other unquestionably and have chemistry. The problem is that their love is boring on tv , if they are together: no drama. They are meant to be and I love C fighting for B. But agree, they can't confess their love every ep, then find a reason not to be together. I, unlike others,enjoy D&B on screen. They also have chemistry. Their relationship would be more interesting because of their differences, and they haven't actually been together on the show. Louis could have been interesting if the writers would come down from the clouds. I like the twist; he snaps from how B treats him through their entire relationship. It's just a shame the extreme nature they took his switch. A passive aggressive Louis would have been much more realistic. Blair torn between her love for Louis, would be better than a dowry threat. If the writers would dig deeper into the characters. The acting for the most part is good. Explore the subtle nuances rather than making the show a circus.

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Im curious why the user rating is so high ? The 2 1/2 stars from the reviewer is better. By this seasons standards id give it a 2. Dan and Blair were alright. I read comments 1st then watched and was surprised at how mediocre their "witty banter" was. Some people are going on like Oscar Wilde penned their interactions ffs.

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@Rainny That's what Nate is there for, he's not involved in the Blair's drama mess like everyone else is. He's there to sleep with the next recurring character.

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i am a dair fan. But i want to no from a chair fan point of view why are chuck and blair meant to be together and dont tell me bcuz they are epic and love each other bcuz that's not gonna cut it give me a solid answer.

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I am a huge Chair fan but I have to agree, either get on with it or finish it. I am so done with this story with Chuck and Blair, either put them together or put it to rest.I once read that they were the end game, well if this is true,then save it for the end. And then at the same time I liked the old Chuck and Blair. So it makes me have to ask this question to myself,Is this new Chuck and Blair at the end going to be any good?? or should I let go too.I love Dan and Blair being friends, anything more I just cant. He is like her guy BFF and you mix romance into that, it will destroy that relationship as well.JMO Now lets see Blair and Nate again that causes all kinds of drama and like Nate said in the 100 ep. he thought he was going to marry her. Put Dan with S's REAL cousin, because lets face it, there both OUTSIDERS and Chuck with random women again and S with...well who knows!! I loved S and Dan key word being here LOVED, but since there parents got married, the writers ruined it.

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@Zoran It's not just the real life problems that made Serena and Dan awkward, it's also that they're step siblings on the show, even though they're trying to ignore that. Dan and Serena share a half brother and their parents are still married. Last season, Serena pretty much led both Nate and Dan on and pretty much ended up with Ben, which is probably why Dan had already moved on from Serena.

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The hundredth episode of Gossip Girl best scene is with Serena and Den, when she declares eternal love to him. But the whole problem of the fifth and fourth season is that the main actors Penn and Blake broke his private relationship at the beginning of the fourth season, and can no longer act love scenes. The producers turned the story upside down, and now Blair and Dan have a love affair instead of Serena and Dan, which questions the existence of TV series and has no common points with first, second and third season. The main problem is that Penn and Blake can no longer act out love scenes, and it shows through the end of the fourth and fifth season.