For all the “meh” and “Season 1 was so much better” and “shitshow”-esque comments I heard about the sophomore (slash senior year) season of this fantastically indulgent teen show, I thought Season 2 was pretty dang awesome. It was not without its bumps in the road, though.
Let’s get those out of the way. First one: Little J’s foray into slutty eye makeup and fashion design and friendship with Willa Holland. As much as I love seeing the artist formerly known as Caitlin Cooper, this plot line spun way out of control. Little J’s mood swings are a bit much even for a rebellious teenage girl. Seeing her try to declare emancipation and dance around in front of a random dude and hook up with Nate (she’s 15, come on!) was a little much. Second one: Nate’s affair with the woman who played Sherri on Gilmore Girls (yeah, I’m showing how much I know about WB shows). Weird. Third one: Dan’s affair with the young hot teacher. Also weird.
Moving on to awesome things: The guest stars this season were unreal! Wallace Shawn played Blair’s stepfather, Desmond Harrington played Chuck’s uncle, Madchen Amick was great even if her plot with Nate sucked, Michelle Trachtenberg returned and was surprisingly bearable, Armie Hammer played Serena’s con artist boyfriend, and then there was the Valley Girls episode, featuring Brittany Snow, another chick from Gilmore Girls (Krysten Ritter), and Ryan Hansen from Party Down. Nice.
More awesome things: Nate and Vanessa were a cute couple! Lily and Rufus quit being annoying and started being together! Eric got a boyfriend! Nate had to deal with some Real Life stuff, at least for someone at his level—turning your father in for attempting to flee the country would have to rank high up there on the list of things one should never have to go through—and I actually think Chace Crawford did some solid acting there.
But the most awesome thing that happened was Chuck and Blair. I began the series a Serena and Dan ‘shipper, but by the time Season 2 got rolling for me, I had docked that boat and hopped on with ol’ C & B. Dan and Serena got boring, and the show realized that, because they put them together and tore them apart, and showed how even they weren’t as great for each other anymore. But Chuck and Blair, my god. Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick have incredible, complex, believable chemistry together. Of course, it helps that they’re both insanely hot and insanely talented, but it’s worth mentioning because they’re actually not a couple (like Penn Badgley and Blake Lively were while filming this season). The way that Chuck and Blair torture and play with each other throughout the season (and last) seems ridiculous at first, but once you start to see how much they love each other and how stubborn they are as people, you realize just how feasible their relationship really is, and how the romance isn’t. Watching them come together was quite beautiful, even on a show about rich, snobby teenagers. I’m in for another season, dammit.