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Gossip Girl, Season 1: Episode 6: ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’

Well folks, we should start with some history.

Last night’s show was called “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” a reference to the famous Margaret Atwood book about the subjugation of women in a futuristic totalitarian theocratic society. The book is about the dangers of Christian fundamentalism and why it’s a bad idea to stone women to death. On the other hand, the Gossip Girl episode was a pretty good argument for why a little pebble tossing might not be a bad idea.

First, let’s review the plot:

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Everyone starts off a little confused by love. It seems like Dan likes Serena, Serena likes Dan, Dan used to like Vanessa, Vanessa still likes Dan, Blair likes Nate, Nate still likes Serena, Nate kisses Jenny who, in turn, just likes to be liked, Rufus likes Lily, Bart likes Lily, Lily used to like Bart, but is starting to like Rufus. And–of course–Bart has a secret cocaine problem, which is to say Bart just likes Bart.

Which pretty much sums up my reasons for public stoning, but it does raise a few key questions:

Parties, for one. Last week it was a sleepover, this week it’s a masquerade ball. Isn’t Blair in school? On the field hockey team? Applying to colleges? Running some kind of looks-good-on-my-resume philanthropy? Apparently, the week is 10 days long in Gossip Girl land.

New York Tax Law, for two. Serena went to boarding school out of guilt for her amorous transgressions. Apparently, Vanessa split for similar reasons.

When most of us sleep with the wrong person we just have to, er, suffer the consequences–but not in Gossip Girl land. I’m starting to suspect that these Manhattanites pay an extra tax that the rest of evade–a sort of statewide trust fund that kicks in when their love lives get a little confusing.

Which, again, is nothing more than a few good reasons for a reprise of public stoning.

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