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Maybe I'm just thinking about some of the mannerisms we've never seen before from Blair? (The aforementioned facial expressions, for example.) I can't help but blame LM for these things, I guess.
I just watched the "The Debarted" sneak-peak with Blair and Chuck, and I think that her opening lines in that scene are decent -- they have the potential to be much stronger, though, if LM's delivery is bolder. I get the impression that she uses this sort of nasal-y, half-voice that I don't remember from S1. (And she really does keep her mouth open a lot more than she has in the past.)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but everything isn't the writers' fault.
I mean I know a lot didn't like SL's of blair this season ..but that has nothing to do with Leighton's portrayal !!
I actually agree with Jordan -- Leighton Meester's acting hasn't been as solid lately. It definitely has to do (A LOT) with the way her character is written, but I also feel like the actress isn't thinking about who Blair is. I think, even, that Blair has become a little Meester-esque -- at least based on what I've seen of LM through interviews and late-nights and things; she's far less serious about everything, but also not as strong. Blair in the Pilot and "The Wild Brunch" was so ferocious; now she just does a lot of eyebrow-raising and mouth-breathing (really, I've seen a lot more of LM's teeth this season, and they aren't that great).
They've given Blair's character a lot of "witty one-liners," but that doesn't make Leighton an amazing actress. She's good, but I think she was better at the beginning of the series.
I didn't really like this episode; the acting was generally poor, and I felt like so much was being repeated. (For example: how many times did they tell us that Serena was going to be working at the soup kitchen with Tripp? Too many, I think. First, Lily talks about it. Then Serena tells Tripp. Then Lily tells Maureen. Valuable minutes wasted. Then there was also the messy Lily-Cece stuff. I get that they didn't want to reveal what Lily was doing over the summer, but why keep pushing (over and over) this weak build-up? I found it a little confusing and, frankly, quite stupid.)
And, of course, Serena was wearing some sort of freakish unitard. There's a thread in the General Forum about the decline in the quality of Blair's wardrobe, too, and I agree with that original poster. I didn't like Blair's clothes (or Serena's) in this episode. Remember "Blair Waldorf Must Pie!"? And remember Blair's gorgeous, voluminous hair in that episode? The way she looked was so wonderful, as was her character. I can say the same of neither this season. I'm so tired of childish, weak Blair and her mousy hair.
I thought there were hints of Blair's bulimia with the pie thing, so I hope they explore that a little more.
Eleanor and Cyrus are moving to Paris? Does this mean they won't be on the show anymore?!
And, I'm sorry, but I'm not into Dorota's pregnancy. I love Dorota as a hilarious and minor, minor character.
But...things I liked:
"Your sweet potato is bland" (or something). I laughed.
Lovestruck Dan. I thought he was super adorable and believable (an exception among a night of so-so performances). This is the way I would have loved for Dan to be in S1, what with his supposed infatuation with Serena -- awkward, but not in a douchey way, and a little afraid.
I'm hoping for a better episode when I tune in next week!