You Do Not Want to Watch 'Gossip Girl' With Me

s01e08: "Seventeen Candles"

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Tyler McCall

Jun 25 2021

10 mins read

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More than once, someone has told me that they would love to watch "Gossip Girl" with me, either someone who has already seen the show but wants to do a rewatch or someone who is tuning in for the very first time.

I promise you: You do not want to do that.

Look, I love "Gossip Girl" and I am literally always happy to have an excuse to do a rewatch, but I know myself and I know that I am an absolute nightmare to watch the show with — especially the first season. I've seen some of these episodes so often that I can, and do, quote all the lines about a half second before they happen and sometimes even start humming the music cues. The only other piece of pop culture I know so well is "Clueless," a movie I have seen so many times I could probably put it on as a one woman show. I know this is obnoxious behavior, and yet! I cannot stop myself from doing it!

There are four episodes I'm particularly awful about this — "Pilot," "The Wild Brunch," "Seventeen Candles" and "Blair Waldorf Must Pie" — because these were the ones I had downloaded onto the iPod video I got for Christmas that year. Remember how revolutionary that technology seemed at the time? I was literally so psyched to have it that I downloaded those and I think a few music videos. (I also pirated three movies but we don't have to talk about my crimes here.)

This was early early early in the streaming years, when shows would make episodes available for a nominal fee ($1.99 each, if memory serves) a few days after they aired; I remember once catching up with an episode of "Mad Men" I'd missed this way. I can't recall why I chose these four episodes, though they are all great, but I do know that I'd watch them for months and even years later to kill time loads of places: on airplanes, on campus, on long car rides. Always on that teeny, tiny little iPod screen.

Anyway, that's why now I can't help but sneer lines like, "Looks like you got a lot of yogurt left" and "I must’ve totally blanked on the part where I invited you over" a half beat in front of Blair, which I think is Fine and Normal. But my brain has also just become a steel trap for all things "Gossip Girl," so I'll also talk over the episode to tell you fun facts about filming or complain about how the external shots of the Humphrey apartment are in Dumbo, not Williamsburg. While watching "Seventeen Candles" for this issue, I told Sam for probably the dozenth time that the reason Serena plays Guitar Hero at Blair's party is because Blake Lively was good at the game in real life, so the writers worked it in for her. (It is my version of the way "Lord of the Rings" fans can't let "The Two Towers" finish without telling everyone watching that Aragorn's scream after kicking a helmet is real because Viggo Mortensen broke his toe doing it.)

And that, in summation, is why you don't want to watch "Gossip Girl" with me. Besides, I'd spend the whole time making sure you were enjoying it as much as I think you should and that's always a stressful viewing experience.


Best Lines of the Episode:

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Blair: “Forgive me father for I have sinned, it’s been…awhile, since my last confession.”

Priest: “What troubles you, my child?”

Blair: “After being broken up with my boyfriend for exactly 20 minutes, I succumbed to inebriation, performed at a speakeasy and surrendered my virtue to a self-absorbed ass. The only good news is that he’s a total pig who’ll act like it never happened, thank God.”

Priest: [clears throat]

Blair: “Sorry. Truthfully, I’m not even Catholic.”

Priest: “You don’t say.”

Blair: “You don’t grant birthday wishes, do you?”

Priest: “I’m a priest, not a genie.”

Vanessa: “Vanessa, hi, nice to see you again.”

Serena: “This time you’re seeing less of me!”

Dan: “Um, tonight, tonight is Blair Waldorf’s birthday party. I think you might want to start by dipping a toe rather than diving off of a cliff, headfirst, into the rocks, with the sharks.”

Vanessa: “Why? We all know how to swim.”

Blair: “You sound like a jealous boyfriend.”

Chuck: “Yea, right. You wish.”

Blair: “No. You wish!”

Chuck: “Please, you forget who you’re talking to.”

Blair: “So do you. Do you…like me?”

Chuck: “Define like!”

Blair: “You have got to be kidding! I do not believe this.”

Chuck: “How do you think I feel? I haven’t slept, I feel sick, like there’s something in my stomach…fluttering.”

Blair: “Butterflies? Oh, no no no no no no no no no, no, this is not happening.”

Chuck: “Believe me, no one is more surprised or ashamed than I am.”

Blair: “Chuck. You know that I adore all of God’s creatures and the metaphors that they inspire, but those butterflies? Have got to be murdered.”

My Favorite Outfit of the Episode:

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There really is no choice other than Blair's Valentino birthday dress, but her confessional outfit finishes in a very respectable second place.

Final Stray Observations:

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  • Blair going to confession despite the fact that she's not even Catholic? An icon.
  • Do you think kids today get her "Da Vinci Code" reference? For a piece of pop culture that was SO huge at the time, it sure did fall off the map.
  • Vanessa got a job working at a café — presumably in Brooklyn, though the external shot is on 47th street — but she's there from open to close?When is she doing school?
  • An almost all-Virgins episode! The show was great about featuring music from real New York City acts, and this episode used the entire debut EP from The Virgins, "The Virgins '07," for the soundtrack. I thought I was extremely cool for listening to this after.
  • Chuck, dude, you're being very weird and gross about taking Blair's virginity, play it more cool.
  • Also, sorry, the idea that a teenage boy would have anyone purring is laughable.
  • ALISON HAS ARRIVED! And she looks just like Jenny! That's really great casting.
  • Everyone in this family loves making waffles! The question is: Who originated the waffle recipe and who just copies it?
  • "You know me, Al, I'm a loyal guy. Once I commit to something I stick with it," is a cool line for a dude who just made out with his ex at a party.
  • I would like to know what Blair was going to say about the jeweler before Eleanor interrupted her about the Archibalds.
  • Ann wants Nate to excuse himself from a conversation amongst adults and yet she made him come with her to the jail the night before? Pick a lane, lady.
  • Rufus is telling Alison how to act around her children as though she abandoned them years ago when she's only been gone since the summer.
  • LOVE the Verizon Samsung placement! Apple whomst!
  • Explain to me why any sane parent would suggest that their teenage son give his teenage girlfriend a literal engagement ring — one that is a family heirloom, no less! — as a birthday gift!!! "One day we'll be family and they won't have a choice in these matters!" "I'm not asking you to propose!" REAL MIXED MESSAGE STUFF, ANN.
  • The absolute nerve of Blair telling Nate he'll have to really work for it if he wants to get back together knowing she just slept with Chuck! I love my little psychopath. Also the bit with her thanking God is cute.
  • It's completely ridiculous, though startlingly realistic, that Alison tells her teenage son that she'd expected he'd tell her if he had a problem with her moving out of the house.
  • Chuck's popped polo collar under the button down, my God. The things we did in 2007.
  • It is sweet of Chuck to say that the three things he cares about in life are money, the pleasures money brings, and Nate. Dudes rock.
  • This party theme...is a little grimace-y now, no? Slightly worse because it's hosted at the home of Kati's brother, the one Asian character on the show? I dunno I just have questions.
  • Dan went back to the cafe to talk to Vanessa about his mom coming home while she was still working? Serena doesn't have shit going on, dude! Call up the girlfriend!
  • If the view from this balcony feels familiar, it's because it was the backdrop for the photoshoot in "Bad News Blair" aka the roof of Silvercup Studios.
  • This!!! Scene!!! The flippant way Blair handles Chuck trying to tell her sex with her wasn't that great! Ugh.
  • Jenny, please play it cooler about Nate wanting to take a walk with you.
  • Blair's little finger wave at Vanessa is perfect, no notes.
  • Honestly? I am Team Alison in this separation. She has a right to be happy!
  • Chuck telling Blair that Nate only wants to get back together to protect his family is so spot on for a stupid teenage boy who doesn't know what to do with his feelings for a girl.
  • This line about Britney's VMA performance is especially brutal in light of her recent testimony about her conservatorship, which started around this time.
  • Hey! Did you know that the writers worked Guitar Hero into this episode because Blake Lively was actually good at the game IRL?
  • And they splashed out on that "Freebird" license!
  • Oh Vanessa, how cunning to casually drop information about Dan that Serena doesn't have. Beautiful. Such a bitchy move.
  • It is very on-brand of Serena to turn a moment which should be about Dan into a moment about how hurt she is. Take a breath and ask how he's feeling about his mom coming home before you pitch a fit, ma'am!
  • Why is Dan being shady about taking relationship advice from Blair? Is this because he knows too much from being Gossip Girl?
  • Nate proceeds to tell Jenny about breaking up with Blair because absolutely no one on this show ever learns a lesson about anything. But he is right, it isn't fair to Blair either.
  • It's very sweet that when Jenny tells Nate her parents won't be mad she was out late because they think she was with a friend, he responds with, "Well, they think right." Nate's clueless, but a sweetheart most of the time.
  • Nothing has made Blair seem more childish than her fit about her birthday wish not coming true because it was that Nate would get back together with her. She really is a teenager!
  • As an adult, I'm trying to understand the logic of Alison and Rufus getting partially dressed only to hang out on the floor under a blanket. Fully naked or put pants on!
  • This back and forth between Vanessa and Serena about who is better at Guitar Hero is so painful, and thus, so real.
  • If anyone can find me that Erickson Beamon necklace, I'd owe you big time. "Something this beautiful deserves to be seen on someone worthy of its beauty," SIGH!!!
  • No one in this show ever learns to lock a door, either.

And Now, Your 'Dan Is a Psycho for This' Moment of the Episode:

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Somehow, while at Blair's party, Dan gets the tip about his sister and Nate — though, obviously it's from behind, which means he wouldn't know it was Jenny — and manages to send the blast from his phone. I don't even know that technology was even there back in 2007, but barring that, it's just extremely dickish of him to send this out with "Happy Birthday, B!" when he's right there at Blair's party! Rude!!!

And that's it! Thank you for signing up for Lincoln Hawk Fan Club; if you have any thoughts, questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. Hit me up at LTylerMcCall@gmail.com. XOXO!

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