Audrey and Aki star in Marriage Story, er, I imply, Gossip Woman.
Photograph: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max
Change is inevitable however traditions are sacred, which is why it’s heartening to see the brand new Gossip Woman carrying on one of many basic rites of the previous on this week’s episode, “She’s Having a Possibly”: throwing a swanky affair for the flimsiest of justifications (“black tie for college provides,” lol) to power all the children and adults into the identical venue, in glamorous outfits, the place battle, drama, and different assorted chicanery can ensue. We’ve got: Secrets and techniques! Kissing! Bloodshed! Breakups! AND MORE. However how did our Higher East and West Siders make out (kissing pun!) on this high-stakes area? Solely I can decide them. Onward with our second installment of the Gossip Woman Report Card.
Davis, Julien’s dad Final week: C- Whereas I actually miss his longer Lenny Bruce hair, I in any other case discover little to criticize this week. Although he begins off on a bitter be aware, with that dead-eyed “I’m very upset in you” routine at his daughter, upon one evening’s reflection he really does the right and grownup factor: He apologizes to Julien for maintaining her from her sister; he admits he did “dangerous issues” when her mom left (properly, what he says is “when Nick took your mother from me” which is an attention-grabbing erasure of her company, however let’s not dwell); he permits that Julien “related with [Zoya] for a motive and I’m guessing that it has nothing to do with me or with Nick and all the things to do along with your mother, and he or she would’ve liked that.” I’ve a sense we’re not going to be seeing a lot good parenting on this present, so let’s rejoice it whereas we are able to! A
Zoya Final week: B+I’ll simply say it was a CHOICE to make this woman 14 years previous, which could be very, very younger, when clearly the present wants her to be within the combine for pairings and trysts with the remainder of the crew. She may’ve at the least been a sophomore, and it will’ve made issues really feel an entire lot much less “isn’t she principally a glorified eighth-grader” and a bit extra “her candy 16 is developing any day now.” Zoya lives on the Higher West Aspect, which is a pleasant deep-cut callout for anybody who did the studying — Dan Humphrey lived there within the books however moved to Brooklyn for TV, presumably as a result of the concept the Higher West Aspect is so completely different from the Higher East Aspect wasn’t going to come back throughout for viewers outdoors of New York — and has a cute type of Claudia Kishi factor going with the one-strap overalls and comfortable knits. She is making an attempt very laborious to play by the principles however just isn’t compromising on the issues that matter to her, and apparently her one-act was the discuss of the English division. Good for you, Zoya. Robust break about your dad being such a ache within the ass. A
@GossipGirl Final week: B-Sure, she comes below assault (a flood of Distracted Boyfriend memes, the posts put below assessment) and is exhausting to keep up, however @GossipGirl weathers these trials and emerges from the week with greater than 10,000 followers and that coveted blue verify. I each love and hate how typically this present feels the necessity to reference how troublesome it’s to jot down within the voice of the unique Gossip Woman … I imply, she was Edith Wharton–impressed however she wasn’t really Edith Wharton. I assumed final week’s one-liner about hoping Kate/Tavi’s “Gossip Woman voice is best than your actual voice” was a joke about Kristen Bell’s narration, not a recurring factor in regards to the struggles of inventive writing. Anyway, she nonetheless scores an A-
Obie Final week: A Contemplating all the things — he’s in highschool and of the socioeconomic stripe that may recommend douchiness as a default setting — Obie doubles down on his breakup with Julien in a reasonably respectable, compassionate approach. As a result of we have no idea how previous he’s (I really feel like … 17?) I’m not but positive that I can cosign his pursuit of tender Zoya, however for now I’ll simply ignore the age hole and say that his respectful but ardent courtship is endearing in a form of “that actually would’ve labored on me in highschool even when now, with the cynical gaze of maturity, I discover all of it a bit of eyeroll-inducing.” And as somebody who nonetheless misses back-to-school purchasing, a primary date supermarket-sweep of Apple Artwork Provides actually works for me, even when it’s a little paying homage to the pharmacy-flirting scene in Promising Younger Girl, particularly with the neon signal; anyone else really feel that approach? How will we really feel about him shopping for her ticket to this fundraiser as a secret shock? Romantic or controlling? In an effort to assist this burgeoning younger love, I’m going to go together with the previous. For now. A-
Wait, the fundraiser was in Brooklyn?Final week: not gradedI may’ve missed it, however our showrunners promised us extra geographic veracity, so: May these children have gotten from the get together to Clinton Hill and again in below an hour? Somebody reassure me within the feedback whereas I give this a provisional B+
A lot of cleavage on show for an occasion the place everybody’s academics and oldsters are going to be! Final week: not graded No judgment, simply saying. B
Kate KellerLast week: CSomeone who thinks she’s an excellent particular person is properly on her approach to turning into a really dangerous particular person! Wanting ahead to it, really. Posting salacious gossip about Zoya on the @GossipGirl account whereas speaking to Zoya’s dad is actually one thing. Given the pacing on this present I doubt we must wait very lengthy to search out out why Zoya bought kicked out of her final faculty. Kate workout routines probably the most minimal of restraint in her dealings with Julien, is certainly flirting with Zoya’s dad, and is already punch-drunk on the ability of wielding her verified Instagram. Probably the most harmful type of particular person is the one that THINKS she’s a great particular person when she’s not! For now, however not for lengthy: B-
The new classics trainer whose title I didn’t catch Final week: not gradedIt’s all very Belief Train, this entire factor. I apologize for enjoying Captain Buzzkill right here, nevertheless it’s an actual letter-not-spirit-of-the-law interpretation for this grown man to think about it kosher to have intercourse along with his former college students the day they graduate. The teacher-student energy imbalance clearly doesn’t evaporate the second somebody comes of age or technically leaves an individual’s care. However … he’s highly regarded. So, C+
Max Final week: A-Max is hopelessly dedicated to fucking his trainer, which I get (see above re: hotness) but additionally is … actually one thing! I see the present is making an attempt to make us really feel marginally higher about this apparent violation by letting us know that Max is eighteen, and I’m curious if there’s some plan in place for maintaining the of-age teenagers from having intercourse with the underage teenagers, or if we’re all imagined to really feel simply superb about any number of teen matchup. He Nancy Drews his trainer’s (public? Yikes!) Instagrams to stake out his biweekly bathhouse go to, pulls a basic “let’s faux we’re collectively to make him jealous” transfer and kisses Aki, which doesn’t appear to have its desired impact, and is instructed to simply carry on edging till commencement. The one actual win for him this week, should you can depend it as a win, is that he’s fortunately hooking up with each Aki and Audrey, stirring discord and mistrust amongst two of his supposedly closest buddies. C
Ladies who grew up with out sisters pondering they know the way sisters behaveLast week: not gradedGenuinely hilarious to me that Julien thinks narcing in your sister for breaking the principles for no good motive, simply since you’re pissed at her, was unsuitable as a result of “a sister wouldn’t do what I simply did, proper?” Lot of solely youngsters in that writers’ room I assume! C
AudreyLast week: B+As I identified final week, Audrey and Aki’s relationship is very Marriage Story for a few youngsters. I simply assume should you’re telling your buddy, who claims he has already had intercourse with everybody however you, “shut your eyes and faux somebody’s new, I do it on a regular basis,” you most likely don’t wish to be in a relationship. Which is okay! Break up! Anyway, I can’t dock Audrey for this, however I feel it’s a bit of trigger-happy on the sequence’s half to attend all of two episodes earlier than having her and Max sneak round. No matter occurred to constructing stress? Chuck and Blair didn’t christen the backseat of his limo till the tip of episode seven. Should all the things transfer on the pace of TikTok? I’ll give her factors for: making an attempt very laborious along with her mother, carrying impeccable outfits all episode (liked these pants, additionally nice lipstick on the fundraiser), swearing she would “by no means” have intercourse with Max roughly ten hours earlier than (apparently, although not definitely) having intercourse with Max. Nonetheless not sufficient to get her above a C.
Kiki, Audrey’s momLast week: not gradedAlways a delight to see Laura Benanti, particularly after she was so rudely and unceremoniously ditched on Youthful! Let’s discuss Kiki. Kiki goes by means of it. Kiki does NOT wish to run into her ex (we don’t know who he’s but, will we?) and he or she doesn’t need her daughter to know that her firm goes bankrupt, and he or she doesn’t wish to get off the bed or go to a parent-teacher convention simply to listen to about how her daughter is sensible and wonderful. Kiki’s finest effort goes as follows: She will get shit-faced earlier than she even arrives on the fundraiser, the place she drinks a lot she loses her footwear and slices her hand open on a damaged martini glass. (I really like that the man whose lap she falls into is like, “I’m a physician. Actually!”) I’m rooting for her. We’re ALL rooting for her. However for now she barely skates by with a C-.
Monet & LunaLast week: AUntil these women distinguish themselves from one another, I’m simply going to maintain ranking them as a matched set. Sturdy Flotsam and Jetsam vitality with these two. I’m all the time a bit of delay by teen reveals that recommend there are minions who’re this obsessive about their queen, as in the event that they don’t notice they might simply ice her out after which like … transfer on with their very own lives? Genuinely wild to look at a few sizzling wealthy women micromanage the social media rollout of their buddy’s breakup. Additionally I feel we’re supposed to think about Audrey and Julien finest buddies, with Monet and Luna one tier down, which simply makes their slavish devotion right here much more bewildering and unhappy — and I don’t actually get or purchase the explanation we’re given, which is that Julien shedding Obie means Monet will lose a connection for an internship. Fairly positive this woman has different connections. That mentioned, I do love that Monet thinks being spontaneous is “gross.” D+
JulienLast week: CAgain I have to say that I discover her conduct type of pathetic for somebody who I’m imagined to imagine guidelines the halls of Constance Billard. She’s so insecure about Obie hanging out with Zoya that she posts an previous photograph — in a barely however clearly completely different costume — to trick her “followers” (don’t a number of them really know her?) into pondering they’re nonetheless collectively? Woman. That’s not the way you win a breakup! Don’t be the A-Rod when you already know you’re a J.Lo! I do recognize her scrambling to make issues proper with Zoya, her dad, and Obie, whilst her suits of insecurity get in the way in which. That mentioned, her emotional arc on this episode — like all the things else on this present up to now! — comes collectively VERY rapidly, to the purpose the place I used to be ready to search out out it was all a efficiency and he or she was simply pretending to be okay with Obie and Zoya to set them up for a future assault. If these teenagers rush by means of all the things of their lives the way in which we’re dashing by means of plot … no marvel Audrey was having a tough time ending with Aki final week. D
Nick, Zoya’s dad Final week: DThis man is a drag. I get grounding Zoya but additionally, I don’t; does he actually not imagine that she didn’t know in regards to the scholarship? And even when she did know, does he haven’t any compassion for why she’d wish to put herself within the path of her half-sister? It’s wild that he’s the one who can’t have grace on this state of affairs contemplating he was technically the “different man” within the matter. And does he assume she’s going to have the ability to thrive at this new faculty — which suggests being excellent 24/7, on ache of shedding the scholarship — if he doesn’t enable her to have an inexpensive social life, make buddies, or date? Ugh. I ponder if we’re imagined to assume he and Kate are going to have a factor, seeing as she offers him the you’re-not-like-all-the-other-guys therapy when she tells him most dads use her ushering as an excuse to grope her ass. I hope not. D
Aki Final week: BAki is boring, I’m sorry! I hope he will get attention-grabbing quickly. In principle he’s given a number of attention-grabbing issues to do — discover his sexuality with Max, cheat on his girlfriend with the identical particular person she can also be dishonest with — however in apply he’s the place all of the sparks and motion go to fizzle. The truth that Audrey has to inform us that his entire persona is “peacemaker” just isn’t an ideal signal, neither is her little catchphrase for him (“I didn’t e-book a session”). And why is he all the time siding with Kiki over Audrey? Is he sleeping along with her, too? As a result of that may, the truth is, be attention-grabbing. F