“Gossip Girl” mini-cap: Clones and cronies

Another week, another social event filled with bad dancing and mean-girlness — and believe it or not, Blair was neither the inspiration nor the executioner of the cruelty. That honor fell to Jenny.

It’s time for the Snowflake Ball (the winter formal and charity ball), and that means the Upper Eastsiders are obliged to stress out over whom to invite as a date. This event is so important that parents, like Lily and Rufus, rather than students are on the planning committee.

Aaron, Serena’s one-woman man, can’t go to the ball because his ex is in town, so Serena and her new BFF Dan decide they will meet up and hang out together at the dance.

Jenny’s back at home with no job and no school. A 15-year-old’s idea of heaven? Not quite. She’s so bored she’s arranging Rufus’ albums alphabetically. (Albums? How old do they want us to think Rufus is?) Vanessa comes over and she and Jenny get all “Let’s be friends, forget about Nate, move on” — only Vanessa knows that she stole Nate’s letter and that she’s moving on with Nate in tow. Vanessa’s guilt gets the best of her when Nate calls while she’s speaking with Jenny and Vanessa rushes out, taking her guilty conscience with her.

Penelope, a Blair crony, finds her way to Brooklyn to commission Jenny to make her a dress for the ball. Jenny claims to hate Penelope, but decides to make her a dress because Jenny’s broke and really doesn’t have anything better to do. Penelope tells Jenny that she’s interested in asking Nate to the ball because he’s back from being destitute, and she wants to know the deal with him and Jenny. Jenny tells her sadly that there’s no deal.

When Vanessa sees Nate, he invites her to the dance, but she says it’s not a great idea. Nate guesses correctly that Vanessa has not told Jenny that the two of them are dating. Vanessa and Nate kiss on the crowded city street and, of course, their picture is taken and sent to Gossip Girl. Dang, how dense is Nate? Didn’t he just get burned the exact same way kissing Jenny at the guerilla fashion show? Duh.

The text of Nate and Vanessa’s kissing picture arrives to Jenny and Penelope’s cell phones at the same time. Penelope looks sick to her stomach and Jenny looks like she might go and put her black eye makeup back on and cause trouble.

Serena and Dan go to the gallery where Aaron is showing his rather annoying ex- girlfriend Lexi his latest work involving Serena. Lexi disses Serena as Aaron’s new muse and then continues to lose all credibility by finding Dan charming. Then the four go walking around the city, where somehow Lexi manages to invite herself to be Dan’s date at the Snowflake Ball after finding out that Aaron would be accompanying Serena to the dance.

Aaron tells Serena that Lexi tends to have sex on the first date with guys and Serena gets a little weirded out thinking that Dan may soon be having sex with someone obnoxious. Later Serena mentions to Blair that she and Aaron have not even had sex yet. But Serena thinks that will change the night of the ball.

Blair and Chuck believe that they know each other so well that they decide to select a date for the other. In their usual twisted foreplay way, they place a bet on who can deliver the best date. Blair asks for the use of Chuck’s limo for a month if he’s please with the person Blair chooses for him, and Chuck asks for Dorota for the month if he can deliver on bringing Blair’s dream date. Run, Dorota, run!

After seeing the picture of Nate and Vanessa, Jenny confronts Vanessa for betraying her and not telling her that she was seeing Nate. They get into a who-hurt-who-first argument, and Vanessa tells Jenny that she’s going to the dance with Nate. Ouch.

When Jenny drops off the dress to Penelope, her other cronies are there and they devise a plan to have Jenny make a dress for Vanessa without a lining and then throw a spotlight on Vanessa at the dance to truly embarrass her in public. Nice.

Jenny takes the dress to Vanessa as a truce, and poor Vanessa tries to tell Jenny about Nate’s letter but her phone rings and it’s Nate and Vanessa’s honesty is thwarted again. Vanessa tells Nate over the phone that there’s something she has to tell him and that she’ll do it in person.

Lily is still on the outs with Bart. Who can blame her? Being spied on is not the best foundation on which to build an until-death-do-us-part bond. Bart finds Lily and apologizes for keeping the files and says that he fired the private investigator, and Lily starts thinking about giving Bart another chance.

She ends up calling Bart to have him meet her at the dance, only to find out from Bart’s secretary that he’s meeting with the private investigator he said that he had fired. That’s it — Lily’s done with Bart.

At the dance, Chuck and Blair show up with clones of themselves for the other one. The Chuck lookalike is creepy. Of course, the two clones decide that they dig each other. So much for that bet. Dorota and the limo are safe.

Penelope asks Nate to save a dance for her.

Vanessa walks over to Nate and tells him that she stole his letter to Jenny and she felt awful about it and she’s never felt this way about a guy before, and at that moment the lights hit Vanessa exposing the fact that her dress has no lining and that she’s not wearing a slip. Vanessa leaves the dance in shame. The Cronies are pleased.

Nate confronts Jenny and says that she’s not the person he thought she was. Too bad Jenny didn’t know about his prostitution so she could have given him the “ain’t that the truth” look.

Lily tells Rufus that she’s leaving Bart, and Rufus tells her that he regrets letting her get away.

Chuck sees Lily and Rufus together and calls Bart to tell him to get there quickly. Bart then asks the PI to give him the dirt on Lily’s stay in the asylum.

Nate follows after Vanessa and tells her that he really likes her and that he’s glad she came clean and they kiss as Jenny watches from across the street.

Back inside, Serena and Dan get all into each other’s business about potentially sleeping with their respective dates and both are a little jealous and have a silly fight about the value and the meaning of sex.

Both agree that their first time together was meaningful and the best night of their lives. Really? Obviously, they’re young.

After seeing their clones making out and seeming happy, Chuck and Blair decide to have a dance and to stop over-thinking their relationship so much.

Lily gets a call that Bart has been in an accident. She asks Serena to help her find Chuck. (We knew that was coming, right?)

So the season is now halfway through. Any surprises? Disappointments? Wishes?