This Is the All-Time Best Episode of 'Gossip Girl'
s01e09: "Blair Waldorf Must Pie"
Jul 02 2021
11 mins read
When it comes to choosing the best episodes of "Gossip Girl" — of all time — I can be flexible about a lot of things. But the hill that I will die on is that the best episode, the peak-of-the-peak, is season one, episode nine, "Blair Waldorf Must Pie."
As any "Gossip Girl" fan knows, the Thanksgiving episodes are the high water mark of any season. What better ruse to gather the whole crew together in one place than a holiday dinner? What better place to unload a bunch of drama than at the table with your entire family?! What better insult to deliver than "Your sweet potatoes are bland"?! (We'll get there eventually, don't worry.) The Thanksgiving episodes are iconic, and that's largely because this first one was so incredible.
It's hard to really explain what specifically is so great about this episode. There are great lines — the delivery on "I'm adult-napping you!" kills me literally every time I watch — and the clothes are incredible. We're not quite at another drama peak but we are climbing back to one, especially after the events of "Victor, Victrola" and "Seventeen Candles." But still, there's no particular reason this episode ought to be so much better than so many others.
And yet!!! It's so good! The way that these characters are able to stand up against their parents, the way the drama between Alison, Rufus and Lily unfolds, the way that Blair is able to insult both Jenny and Dan in their own home. Chef's kiss stuff. It's possible that I've developed an attachment because in recent years, it's become a personal tradition to watch as many Thanksgiving episodes of "Gossip Girl" on the holiday itself, starting with this episode the moment the Macy's parade ends and going while I cook. (At least, that's definitely why I know almost every line.) Mostly, though, it's just great television writing.
There are two points against it: First is that there is no Chuck in this episode, which does feel like a loss. It would've been nice to see Chuck's dynamic with his father, but there is obviously already a lot happening here, so I do get why he was left out.
The second is that this is pretty much the only time the show ever seriously addresses Blair's eating disorder. When you go back and watch earlier episodes, you can see that the tension about her body/weight was there, but they don't really spell out that she has a full-blown ED until this episode, using more flashbacks from prior episodes to establish that baseline — and, after she promises to call Dr. Sherman, they never bring it up in a meaningful way again, either. There are a lot of ball in the air for this show, but it would've been great to see this be a more central part of Blair's life in the way it would be for someone suffering from an ED.
Those issues aside: Absolutely perfect television, 10/10, will watch any time, any place.
(If you want to know, the best Thanksgiving episodes are, in order: season 1, season 3, season 2, season 6, season 4. No, I didn't forget season 5, they didn't do one that year.)
Best Lines of the Episode:
Dan: "Man with a van, at your service."
Dan: "Hey. Bold choice of attire, Mrs. van der Woodsen. Unless that’s what they’re wearing on the runways these days."
Serena: "No, my mom sicked out because she didn’t want to be imposing."
Lily: "You know what, I am fine just curling up and reading a good book."
Eric: "But you’re supposed to be with family on Thanksgiving."
Dan: "Yea, and Nicholas Sparks is hardly family. I’m not taking no for an answer — in fact, I’m not even asking, you’re coming with us. I’m adult napping you."
Lily: "Fine. Just stop talking, and I’ll get ready."
Dan: "Make it snappy, I’m double parked. Thanks."
Dan: "Raise your hand if you’re over 30 and acting really weird right now."
Harold: “Serena, you look wonderful, that shirt was made for you.”
Serena: “Actually it was made for you!”
Serena: “Hey guys, I’m back and I brought…Blair.”
Serena: “Wow. Weird vibe. Okay. Where’s Dan?”
Dan: “There’s no chance we’re related, right?”
Jenny: “Oh, look at Eric’s roots!”
Eric: “What’s wrong with my roots?”
Jenny: “They’re kinda Rufus-like.”
Dan: “Serena and…Blair?”
Blair: “Yea, it’s me.”
Serena: “Explanation to follow, but first: What’s going on with our parents?”
Jenny: “Oh, our dad dated your mom.”
Dan: “Oh, we’re not related though.”
Eric: “Ignore my roots.”
Blair: “You know what’s really weird? There’s a garage door in the middle of your room! Oh, is that Cedric?!”
Dan: “Well, this day just got a lot worse.”
Blair: “When you think about it, it makes total sense that your mom was a groupie. I mean, only a woman that had completely satisfied her sexual appetite in her youth could ever marry your step dads.”
The flashback set up is so fun and a great way to further establish the background of these existing relationships we've been watching the last eight episodes.
That being said: Why is everyone in the Lower East Side? Were there no pies in Brooklyn? No open bars on the UES?
"Bye, Dave!" must've been devastating to Dan.
Everyone is very excited about this family reunion and Dan has to be a Debby Downer about it, which is very on brand for him.
Harold Waldorf took his pumpkin pie recipe from...Bobby Flay? Is Bobby Flay known for making great desserts?
I find it interesting that Serena asks Blair if she knows where Chuck is and says, "You guys are friends," as though she isn't friends with him — which, considering he assaulted her, would be understandable!
The way Blair just volunteers that she slept with Chuck twice before being absolutely sure Serena knew that is kinda reckless for her! However, it is like her to one-up Serena by lying and telling her mom that she uninvited the van der Woodsens from Thanksgiving when Serena had decided on her own they weren't coming.
Lily picks up a pumpkin because it's "festive" which is exactly how I'd expect a woman like this to think of food. Also, her line about it being okay to having Chinese on Thanksgiving because "Jews have been doing it on Christmas since forever"?! A WASP icon.
We finally meet Harold! I love Harold. Bailing on his family when his teenage daughter was not even a year out of ED recovery was kind of a dick move though, even if he did meet his model boyfriend at the family Thanksgiving dinner.
Ooooooooh, Dorota's face when she overhears Eleanor lie!
Lily, for godssake, call the damn landline. That's what they were there for!
Dorota telling Blair to call her poppa and get the "real story" about why he isn't at Thanksgiving is the first we get a sense that Dorota is very much Team Blair in that household, and while I think their dynamic can be...problematic, I do love Dorota and Blair together.
I'm sorry but there is no way Ann made that Thanksgiving dinner herself and Citerella can only do so much. Also, why is she dressed like a 70 year old headmistress?!
Dan is wearing a Lincoln Hawk shirt in the flashback and I really need one of those.
A question no one raises: If Lily had never been to the Humphrey loft, how would she know where Dan's room is to put the coats there?
So Eleanor lied to Blair about Harold coming to Thanksgiving because she's still very bitter about their divorce, which allows Blair to deliver a truly devastating line to her own mother: "He didn't leave us, he left you." And I would feel bad, but Eleanor sending Harold's pie — which Blair theoretically at least helped make! — down to the doorman is straight up ice cold.
It's a little strange to me that Dorota clears out the kitchen for Blair when she comes storming in. Shouldn't Dorota stay with her to make sure she doesn't harm herself?
Serena is awfully quick to pick up the phone and happy to hear from Blair for someone who had a blow out fight with her just hours earlier.
Oof, Rosewood Gate: How brutal to figure out that a song your husband wrote is actually about his ex-girlfriend and her beloved horse and not about you and your custom rose and sandalwood scent.
If Blair was suspicious something was happening between Nate and Serena, which the show has established that she was, why on earth would she send him to help get her showered?
This isn't relevant at the moment, but something that has troubled me: It's clear from the set up here that Blair's bathroom is a one-way in, one-way out situation into her bedroom, but in later seasons, it becomes a jack-and-jill style bathroom that leads into another bedroom. I know rich people can just renovate whenever they want, but still.
Poor Dorota is going to have to clean up this enormous mess and it bums me out!
I do think it speaks highly of Serena and their friendship that she's such a good friend the second she knows Blair is struggling with her ED again.
I get a good chuckle out of all the late '80s, early '90s references this show shoves in when framing the Alison-Rufus-Lily love triangle, like Alison's steel-toed boots.
Okay, I guess Lily let herself into Rufus and Alison's room? Which is a weird power-move, but also, I have a hard time envisioning the layout of the loft, because we really only see the main space and then Jenny and Dan's room.
On that note, though, why does no one on this show ever close a goddamn door?!
lol that in another flashback, Serena comes down the stairs and calls Dorota "Dorita" which makes Dorota glare up at her, something I only just caught watching for this newsletter.
It's a nice detail that the guests in the flashback Thanksgiving at the Waldorf residence seem much more family-oriented, versus those at the current one who are almost all Eleanor's employees.
Again, I really respect the power move of Ann telling the Captain that she'll cut him a check herself so he'll stay at Thanksgiving dinner instead of doing business with the Dutch company. Demoralizing for Howard? Sure, but I'd be happy to let someone demoralize me with money any time.
Imagine a teenager born into wealth lecturing his mom about giving too much too freely to his father. Just imagine it!!!
Lily saying that emotional affairs are necessary for marriages to work is incredible, as is Alison shooting back, "And how many times have you been divorced?"
All that fuss over what they were going to eat for Thanksgiving and they could've gone to a diner literally at any time?!
Dan putting Blair into a cab (in Dumbo but okay) is very thrilling to me, an agent of chaos who secretly loves them together.
I'm trying to understand why the Humphreys all play football together on Thanksgiving when not a one of them seems remotely athletic.
Finally, some humanity to Eleanor: She can't bring herself to sign the divorce papers because she doesn't want to admit her marriage is over. This moment proves that Eleanor and Blair are capable of having a good relationship with one another, even if it is strained.
So when Serena was out drinking on the LES and sobering up at the Waldorfs, where were Lily and Eric? I suppose it would make sense to be one of the said ex-step-fathers?
Ending the episode with all of the characters having a nice time with their family is a lovely touch. I think it makes them all seem like teenagers!
And Now, Your 'Dan Is a Psycho for This' Moment of the Episode:
As is mentioned at the top of the episode, Gossip Girl — a.k.a. DAN!!! — takes a break on Thanksgiving, leaving the mice to play. Which is very generous of him! But in the very first flashback scene, we see Dan risk his life (and, of course, his pie) to save Serena from a speeding cab, at which point he fumbles out a few words about meeting her the year before. That's.. normal-ish, except that he's already running a gossip website dedicated to taking down her and her friends.
Creepier is the line he delivers when Serena says it'll be the first Thanksgiving she actually remembers in a while: "Yea, I bet." Dude, first of all, extremely judgmental of you. Second of all, be more chill about knowing things about Serena you shouldn't! Psycho!
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