17 May 2010

Babies, Babies, Gunblast in Prague

After some personal confusion last week, I'm here to recount the actual Gossip Girl season finale for you, right now, right here. Last week left us with marriages crumbling, friendships dwindling, and Jenny still doing everything wrong. Last night's episode closed off all those issues with what felt like the razing energy of a bomb blast. Seriously, everything that used to feel like a problem is now miles behind our favorite upper east siders - they've got much huger dilemmas to deal with over the summer. For starters, Dan's theoretically a father-to-be. Besides that, Jenny and Chuck finally came full circle from that rooftop scene in season 1, with implications that are wiping everyone out. And finally, Chuck's got some serious gunshot wounds to deal with during these summer months. Unless, of course, he died.
  • When Rufus and Lily aren't fighting, they wax philosophical about what it is to raise a daughter. And the resulting conversation is hilarious.
  • It was a huge relief that Nate and Jenny didn't do what we all thought they did at the end of last week's episode, after all. It was an even huger relief to find out Chuck was still sharp as a tack, guessing what happened with only Nate's snoring and Jenny's New Moon pay-per-view order as clues. He was the president of the Limo Detective Teen Agency for a reason, you know.
  • Dorota is ready to POP.
  • Blair asserts her love of Harry Winston and Harry Winston alone at breakfast with her parents. Ah, tradition.
  • Then she calls Chuck a "Basshat." And we're back!
  • How did Dan and Serena end up in the same bed? Wasn't Dan one of the people who helped Nate nab Dad der Woodsen last week? What's the difference between what Dan did and what Nate did? Oops, too much thinking. It's Serena. Besides, I like it better when she's with Dan.
  • Serena took her pants off just to sleep. Oy, Serena.
  • I love that Serena is able to sic Blair on Jenny just in one short phone call. It's a nice way to see how manipulative she is without even realizing it.
  • Blair's smackdown of Jenny is phenomenal. Pure Season One Queen Bee Blair. She basically lets Jenny know that no one loves her - there are six older kids, and they all paired up and love each other - leaving Rufus as the only one who could love Jenny, and maybe even he doesn't anymore. Sowwy Jenny but it's true.
  • At one point, Dan asks, "Why...when did we start talking about Chuck Bass?" Story of Dan Humphrey's life.
  • I called it - Dorota obviously went into labor. Which of course leads Chuck to "close his heart forever" when Blair doesn't show up, and she could have texted by the way.
  • When Rufus tells Jenny he's sending her to her mother's house in Hudson, she grumbles, "Dad, the city's all I have." LOL.
  • It only takes until about 7:20 for Chuck to make his hugest mistake yet with Jenny. Yuck, I can't talk about this. I don't want to think about it. It's too gross in too deflating a way. AND IT HAPPENED ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH!
  • Dan and Serena look at the hospital nursery and pick out their baby selves, and immediately after, Georgina slinks in and murmurs, "one of those babies is going to grow up to do something that makes all the other babies hate her." Please Georgina, don't steal Dorota's new baby. Oh, I see - you're pregnant. Why would that make everyone hate you? That's some pathological thinking.
  • Eleanor Waldorf is finally likable when she's cradling a baby she's in love with. Finally.
  • Let it be noted that Blair Waldorf got something out of the trash for Chuck. Granted, they were her peonies. But she literally took her own hand, reached it into a trash can, and pulled it out. Come on, Chuck.
  • Did I just fast forward by a Sex and the City 2 commercial where SJP is wearing a tuxedo? I will get a picture of this, I promise.
  • Back from the break, Eric marches downstairs to see a wrecked Jenny. Oh yeah, she does have someone who loves her. It's Eric! Too bad she finishes their conversation by telling him not to touch her or tell anyone.
  • Dan makes a "she needs help" joke when Eric earnestly asks him to help Jenny in the hospital chapel. Oh, Dan.
  • Chuck and Blair take a walk in the city, and Chuck pulls out a ring box. I can understand him wanting to hide away the Jenny indiscretion, but how audacious could he be to propose half an hour later? Dan flying-punches him for his first and last time ever, and then Rufus shows up for some reason. "Hi kids!"
  • On the phone with Dan, Nate says "You fired a shot at me, I fired a shot at you," but instead of "fired," I heard "farted."
  • Why do Nate and Chuck deal with being newly single by having depressing pre-threeways with Ileana Douglas-looking women? These guys need better role models.
  • Dan googles a ticket to Paris rather than Binging it!
  • For Georgina to be pregnant with Dan's baby is 100% Dan's fault for ever going within 6 inches of that evil trainwreck. No sympathy there.
  • Oh Lord, please don't let Chuck be dead!
And here's the necklace to end this whole necklace thing (I hope):

So that was season 3 of Gossip Girl. Jenny became evil, Chuck met his mom, Blair got into Columbers, and Dan/Vanessa/Serena/Nate switched partners like they were at a hoe down. Oh, and Lily beat fake cancer. My predictions for season 4:
  • Which other parents do we still need to meet? Vanessa's dad, I guess. Huh.
  • Jenny will come back once to do something AWFUL, just like Georgina does all the time.
  • And speaking of Georgina, it will become abundantly clear that she's wearing a pregnancy belly and stole someone's sonogram pictures. Dan will have already married her, anyway.
  • Vanessa stays in Haiti forever!
  • Dan and Serena have an affair while Dan is married to Georgina, finally putting that big check-mark by "adultery" on Serena's bucket list.
  • Lily will get pregnant, too!
  • We'll meet some new characters? I think we've got to. These people can only date each other so many times. Seriously, my thoughts were, "Nate dates Blair! Oh, he did that. Then he dates Serena, instead! No, Becky. Vanessa? Already did that. Jen- nevermind."
  • Chuck will survive but will for some reason be in love with Serena.
  • Blair and Dan will slowly but surely become best friends!

See You In September Night Live

After a very reasonable cold open (not a verbatim retelling of a political event), Alec Baldwin stormed the SNL stage in full glory. This was only the second time ever that I've enjoyed watching him host SNL, the first being the his first 30-Rock-era hosting gig. That's right, America. I didn't like the canteen boy scoutleader, and I didn't like Schweaty Balls. He was only one notch better than John Goodman in my book, but that was back then. Back before he completely won me back over with 30 Rock. Or maybe Royal Tenenbaums. Let's say anything between Marrying Man and Royal Tenenbaums - that's when I didn't like him, and that's when he hosted the most. So hooray, because now I'm very happy about Alec Baldwin hosting tonight!

The only note I have from the monologue is that it's clear that Alec is the sort of performer you can just give a line to and he'll make it funny. Don't worry about it. He'll take care of it.

The digital short presented a singing, dancing, way coked-up ex-husband/father played by Andy Samberg. There's not much to say about it, besides you should give it a look:

Then there was an "Arizona Evenings" film shoot where Kristen Wiig played a script supervisor named Starfish whose teeth kept getting into the shot. It was like an acid dream I would've had in 7th grade. At one point Alec apologizes to Starfish by saying "open mouth and insert toes, right?" Well said, Alec.

Swim Team Awards' funniest line was Alec Baldwin saying "alright, let's get this nightmare over with" because that's all I ever heard or said at every swim team banquet of my life.

And then came Bedilia, the girl who's in love with her parents, which is such a simple and perfect idea. It's the kind of thing where you laugh to relieve tension, she's that awkward. It's a similar feeling to watching Kay sketches on the Tracey Ullman Show.

Abby Elliot did a Sally Fields commercial for Preniva and it walked the balance beam between alright and slightly annoying, teetering every few steps. I hope you like gymnastics metaphors, as there are only two years left before the summer olympics.

Old man Kenan Thompson (Grady Wilson) did his version of a video kama sutra with Greek Alec Baldwin helping demonstrate. These Grady Wilson ones always make me feel weird, but at the same time it's the exact sort of sketch that you just accept and then years later you turn around and it's the "Makin' Copies" of the 2010s.

  • I liked it when Snookie stopped by and accidentally ate a finger thinking it was a chee-to. And also when Seth Meyers tried to pat her poof and she bellowed "be careful! My freakin brain is in there!"
  • Stefan the Family City Correspondent literally couldn't keep himself away from a million awesome, scary clubs, no matter how hard he tried. That's what I took all the mouth-covering to mean, like "I can't believe I did that, I bailed on ESPNzone to stop by a warehouse party that seemed like much more fun. Oooopsieeeee!"
  • I liked it when Garth & Kat tried to sing together because it reminded me of my favorite improv game ever, which is that exactly.
  • Goodbye for a few months, Weekend Update desk!
I would watch Timecrowave in my real-life infomercial line-up if I could. Next came a very well-acted performance by Jenny Slate in "Some Big Shot," in which a sad prostitute gives her honest life story. And of course, as everyone knew from the pregnant pause after her monologue ended, her john (Alec) would still be interested - this was his bag. HEY JENNY, YOU ARE ACTING WITH ALEC BALDWIN, NO BIG DEAL.

I didn't get this one at all. Maybe I was falling asleep. I remember liking Alec's energy.

one final thought:
I missed Will Forte but am very excited for MacGruber.

Hooray for your 35th season, SNL!

13 May 2010

What Is This, Pistachio Day?

At the behest of my departing roommate/beloved cousin Julia, I made pistachio ice cream last Friday. You may remember a day last year when I had a pistachio baking party - evidence here - and make no mistake, I should have added this ice cream to the festivities. Then again, I didn't have my ice cream maker yet. And so the sequel to Pistachio Day is today!

I used a recipe from epicurious that had notes on it by a blog called Use More Butter. I used unsalted ground pistachios for the cream mixture and salted chopped pieces for the add-in pistachios. And I don't regret anything about it and neither did Julia and you can eat this with a really ripe green pear if you want. Below please find pictures and the recipe.

"I froze right away in the ice cream maker because I'm such a great ice cream."

"Pistachio Ice Cream
recipe from Epicurious.com

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped

Finely grind 1 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in processor. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat. Mix in almond extract [Note: I actually think it's best to add the almond extract when everything has cooled - so I waited to add it just before putting it in the ice cream machine]. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Strain into large bowl. [Note: This is when I add the almond extract.] Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Stir 1 cup whipping cream and chopped pistachios into custard. Process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container and freeze." (no words Becky's!)

11 May 2010

Dr. Holland Kemble's Opus

Last night's Gossip Girl paved the way for next week's season finale...unless, of course, this week was the season finale? I was confused until next week's promo came on at the end of the episode. And so we won't leave the UES gang in the midst of crumbling marriages and Chuck ultimatums, after all - we'll get to watch the marriages fall all the way apart and Chuck will hop in a helicopter back to Thailand before anyone gets to profess love for anything. Gossip Girl finales, we know you through and through!

Here are a few things I noticed during last night's episode:
  • Blair tells Serena that she's never been on a date before, even while in relationships with Nate Archibald and Chuck Bass. Then she mentions Louboutins for the twelfth time this season. Is Blair getting dumber, or was she always this into Louboutins? (a) Of course Blair has been on dates, especially with these boyfriends. She's the exact opposite of the Danessa Stay-In Date Classic - she only ever goes out on very expensive, very special dates. And (b) now she's making up for referring to her shoes as "Christian Louboutins" earlier this season by showing how many times she can just refer to them by their more recognizable surname. Blair needs to spend a good long summer reading books again.
  • Tough-Dad Rufus takes away Jenny's phone when he catches her using it during her 100-month grounding. LIKE SHE CAN'T SKYPE!
  • Dan starts talking in third-person to help out with his dad and sister's fight. Where would the Humphreys be without Dan? Probably doing pretty well on the UES with a lot of money.
  • When Lily's sick, she wears a bulky gray wrap sweater with a necklace that literally looks like a crown.
"Please excuse me while I take this very expensive pill."
  • A multi-family confrontation at Serena's apartment culminates in deciding they need to get downstairs neighbor Holland up there. Then in the next cut they've gotten her up there, but everyone is standing in the exact same places as before. What is going on in this apartment? Was that a jump cut?
"We should invite her up here."

"You rang?"
  • And then Nate just glides in silently through the eternally unlocked front door. They really need to talk to the front desk guys about calling up.
  • Is Serena packing a suitcase? Is she packing bolts of fabric? Oh, they're Jenny's? Whatever's going on in that brain, Serena's got no time to logic through what should go in this suitcase that she's for some reason packing up. She's too busy assigning people to "sides" based on how much they ask her to think something through.
  • Why on earth are Chuck and Jenny (a) working together and (b) asking Blair to help their junior detective agency Medication Mystery? No, no, no. None of this is adding up.
  • Eric and Lily take a very long stroll down the street, and they're the oldest, grandest queens on Park Ave.
"These lattes are so delicious because they remind me of all my money."
  • Blair's date at one point says "Show me your world, Blair Waldorf." Bad news, Blair: you're not on a date this time, either. I think you're on a marriage proposal with a crazy person.
  • I need to go back and check this quote, but someone at some point says, "Come on, Jenny, the future of __ depends on your sleuthing!" Huh? Did Chuck say that? No, couldn't be. Was it about Rufus and Lily's marriage? No, I don't think that's possible. No, neither of those could be right.
  • Blair and Chuck get back together temporarily to bamboozle Dr. Holland Kemble, Couples Therapist/Huge Liar. They immediately turn on the old Jewish couple act, and it works like a charm. Also, it comes out that Chuck knows about Blair's Uncle Jack indiscretion! Now we know!
  • I've got to try to get in a picture of the Teen Detective Agency in the back of Chuck's limo. They're way too cute.
(Chuck and Nate are smushed into a seat next to Dan.)
  • Serena gets rudely slapped into adulthood when she realizes her dad skipped town as bittersweet Pete & Pete-style music plays in the background. It's really nice to think that Serena might actually be learning some big life lessons, until...
  • she shows up in a parking lot wearing a trench coat and fedora "to get the truth out of her dad." So really, she hasn't learned anything at all. And in fact, maybe she forgot some stuff, too.
  • Rufus and Eric consecutively say bitchy things to Jenny, and it reminds me of a real family with teenagers. But then I look at Jenny's terrible cleavage and rhinestone jewelry and I shudder to think of other real families with teenagers.
Jenny, I have had it! This is just obscene.
  • Suddenly Chuck tells Blair that she's got until tomorrow to decide if she's still in love with him..."or he's closing his heart to her forever." This is the most pathetic thing Chuck Bass has ever said in the history of the show. It's neither fiendish nor clever. It's only sad. My guess is that the writers aren't trying to make Chuck this desperate - they're just trying to set up a Chuck/Blair rendezvous for the finale to revolve around. Perhaps it would've been more seamless if Chuck were embarking on his 19th century steam-ship, and Blair had to decide whether she should spend the summer re-enacting famous naval battles throughout history with him or galavanting through Europe with Serena.
  • Either way, please let this chunky necklace motif end.

I'm very tired, and I was very tired when I watched last night, and I wonder if that's why so little of the episode made sense. My memories are a blurry loop of Rufus giving nasty looks to his grumpy, terrible daughter. I really hope something NUTS happens to Jenny next week. And what was this business with Nate silently and seriously looking into the room that Jenny went into at the end of the episode? Yuck!!! No!!!!!!!!!!!!

Predictions for the season finale:
  • Chuck will continue to be very serious about his ultimatum. After spending the morning deciding not to meet him, Blair will arrive one minute after his helicopter has taken off. Boo hoo, another lonely-shopping summer for Blair, another Thai bender for Chuck. Boo hoo I want your problems boo hoo!
  • Rufus and Lily will whatever. Who cares!!
  • Danessa ditto!
  • Serena and Nate will GET MARRIED!!!!! Or maybe at least someone could get pregnant, for Pete's sake. It's not like Serena's necessarily smart enough to be able to handle her own birth control regimen. She really, really should have had at least one scare by now.
  • Jenny will DIE! You heard it here first, folks. I think she's going to roll her eyes SO far back into her head that she starts falling backwards over a bridge that her mad-cap druggie friends have taken her to. Then she slowly falls backwards off the bridge, her black lace gown flowing beautifully for a minute in the wind. Then when she lands on the ground, almost dead, she rolls her eyes some more and her cleavage is gross and miserable, and all of her 16 years flash before her eyes as she utters her last word: "Overrated."
  • Dorota will have that baby! But don't worry, the baby won't inherit Jenny's soul. Gossip Girl doesn't work that way.
  • Blair will be revealed as Gossip Girl because she is a diabolical genius and it was always very clear that she was in control of the whole thing from the very start. And it will turn out that she was always pushing Chuck through a loopy, tricky labyrinth towards marriage, and through him she'll get tons of money and hotels, and then she'll be free to start her real life as a Yale student, finally, who cares about admissions or transfer policies! Blair's going to Yale!!!

04 May 2010

Bacon Watch '10 Marches On

I've got a habit for weekend bacon, and this sat/sun were no exception. On Saturday morning, Josh and I went to Whole Foods to collect the items we'd need for an anniversary celebration home made brunch. Amongst* these items: bacon. You guessed it!

*Should I have used "among" there? What's the difference between "among" and "amongst?" Once I used "thusly" in a paper and my teacher's margin note was like 8 full inches of "YOU ARE NOT FROM ENGLAND. GET IT STRAIGHT FOR ONCE." One other thing I'll mention, however, is how often people use "awhile" when they mean "a while." You can wait for a while or you can wait awhile something happens. But never the twain shall meet.

On Sunday, my apartmentmates and I met old apartmentmate and adored friend Tess for brunch. Although 24 Prince boasts a kitchen staffed by at least one Top Chef contestant (Nikki**), they really can't boast about their bacon. Yipes.

**Nikki, you're before my time. But google images show that you are very pretty.


Whole Foods: 365 Brand Applewood Smoked Uncured Pork Bacon. Very good. I cooked it longer than my mom taught me to, and it turned out extremely well. The key: always drain cooked bacon on a paper-towel-lined dish. Do I even have to say that?

my full meal: Cinnamon-raisin french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, oj

24 Prince: miserable bacon. Just miserable. Maybe one millimeter better than Stacks's bacon. They did not drain off the grease. Blech. I had my first baked egg, though.

my full meal: baked eggs with spinach and feta, bacon, bellini

03 May 2010

Actually, Blair Does Go To Columbia

After last week's explosive episode, I knew for sure what was coming in tonight's Gossip Girl: Nate would somehow be a member of Columbia's Lacrosse team? Oh. Actually, I thought they might have talked about Jenny and Serena's Nate-Fight. They did hit the Rufus-Lily-Serena's Dad scandal, and Danessa were as boring and insecure as ever, but somehow no one dared venture into Jenny-Tried-To-Kiss-Nate-And-Serena-Saw territory. Instead, the girls just fought about who was being more honest with her father. Classic GG.

And now, here are a few of my observations in list form:
  • Wow, we start off the episode with Serena & Nate kissing while Danessa act dumb in Brooklyn. What is this topsy-turvy world we've entered?
  • Serena's planning on going to a lacrosse game after lunch? Does she have a dress for that?
  • Twice in this episode, we see Chuck with cocaine. Parents Who Hate The TV I Watch, prepare your protest posters! This stuff is getting way too real for your teens.
  • It took Vanessa's sparkly, sequined sweater and her crunchy gross hair extensions for me to finally realize just how little GG's costumer watches the show. Does anyone from Brooklyn wear sequins? Has any playwright ever gotten hair extensions? I mean, I know Brooklyn has its fair share of chunky jewelry boutiques, but this is a depiction of a person who has nothing to do with what Vanessa's supposed to be. Maybe that's why everyone hates her. She dresses out of her own sphere. And it's always a disaster.
  • Do the van der Woodsens have a butler? How do people just appear in their foyer? Is the door left open? Do the front desk guys downstairs not call up to announce visitors? If there is a butler, why doesn't he announce who's there? I only comment on this because it does seem like an issue that just anybody can silently stand behind a pillar and hear any old secret conversation happening in that apartment.
  • Josh: "Everyone on this show always comes up with the worst possible idea ever." Bingo. They really just think of what the worst idea would be, and they go with that. Exmple: Blair telling Columbia students that she herself went to the university. Really, Blair? Is that really anything close to a good idea? You could have easily said, "I'm at NYU, but I'm considering transferring." Would have meant the same thing. Thank God her miserable ex-boyfriend applied on her behalf and saved her from her own idiot lie.
  • "Falafel is what paralegals eat." That's funny but not because it's true, just because it's what these girsl really literally think.
  • Eric telling his dad he's gay was almost as good as when the girl from First Wives' Club tells her dad, Stephen Collins, that she's gay. What a barb!
  • It is kind of nice to see Serena and Jenny fighting like actual teenage sisters. Huh, in all this time talking about how much Eric morphs into his older brothers, I never considered that Jenny's doing the same thing. Even after I had all those theories about J turning into S. Huh.
  • Did Danessa just break up? Does anyone care?
  • And in the midst of Jenny and Serena's fight, J serves up some steaming hot preteen garbage about "not screwing up things between her and her dad just because Serena's scared her dad won't love her for who she is." My cousin Julia: "Why aren't they talking about Nate?"
  • Of course Dan wants to sneak forties into Film Forum again. It's almost as fun as eating Shake Shack burgers in the middle of St. Marks but not quite as fun as reading each other's short essays in front of the Village Voice office on Bowery. HIPSTER DATE!
  • How on earth does Nate play lacrosse? Don't college athletes have practice like, everyday? Or even twice a day sometimes? I would've liked it if when Nate saw the girls Blair was talking to, he was like "oh, she's in my lit hum class...what a turd." Maybe his nonattendance of class is why he didn't say something along those lines.
  • Gossip Girl blog blasts are back in a big way. Does this mean the mystery of her identity is important again? Is it Blair? It's Blair, isn't it?
  • Serena completely tells on Rufus and then disinvites him to the Nightly Gala while Lily stands by like "you better listen to her! she's mad!" What a country.
  • Seeing best friends Chuck and Lily reunite was beautiful, as it always is. Why do they always reunite at galas? And in which past life did they know each other? Because it's pretty clear that these two have been friends for a very long time.
  • Aw, Jenny thinks she was dealing drugs? That's adorable.
  • Jenny and Dan's bro/sis heart to heart was great to watch, if only because it made them both seem like people again. For a while it seemed like they were both just made of shellac.
  • Serena, confessing her half-truths to her father: "The truth is, I've been a part of more than one scandal." Well said, power-tramp!
  • As Dr. William, VDW, professes his love for his entire family (or just Lily?), there are quick shots of everyone, and Jenny's is a very quick but very elaborate eye roll. I wish I could get video of this. Plus, the reaction shots end with a steaming mad Rufus!
  • Jenny wears a Serena dress yet again.
  • Oh my God, leave it to Danessa to make hand-written letters seem lame. Does this mean I'm a hipster? Help, am I a hipster too? I thought I was just polite!
  • JENNY BING'D "CANCER." +80,000,000
  • Eric tells his mom that he loves Elliot because he "speaks 3 languages and has a subscription to People magazine." When did Eric turn 43?
  • How amazing that Serena completely removes Rufus from the family just by inviting her father over for cocoa - in the universe of Rufus, Serena has Blair powers. She fully moved him on the chessboard.
  • And in the promo for next week, she wears a fedora while having a clandestine parking lot meeting with her estranged father. Picture to come.

So that's the week in Gossip Girl news. Jenny Bing'd "Cancer." That's all there is to say.