The season premiere of “Gossip Girl” opened 3,000 miles west of the Upper East Side. Best friends Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald traveled across the country to meet up with Serena van der Woodsen. Last season, Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell made a short blink-and-you-missed-it cameo on the show, where he offered Serena a job on his new (fictitious) set of The Beautiful and Damned. Now, Serena is working hard as a production assistant (or intern) in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Blair Waldorf is still chasing fairy tales.

There were a lot of guest stars including Elizabeth Hurley, Zoë Bell, and another David. O. Russell cameo. It was a big season premiere with plenty of new storylines, plus the unresolved ones of last season.

The Players:

Episode: “Yes, Then Zero”

Serena makes a grave error at her new job in Hollywood. Chuck and Nate then meet up with her in L.A., where Nate is captivated by an older woman. Elsewhere, Blair is not pleased when Louis sides with his family over her; and Dan receives help from an unexpected source.

The Good:

  • Chuck Bass Says ‘Yes’ to Everything, Including Zoe Bell: Chuck Bass always finds new ways to cope with the absence of the love of his life, Blair. Last season he escaped to Paris. This time, he’s turned into an adrenaline junkie who always says “yes”. His new character isn’t afraid of anything. So when he starts hanging out with bad-ass Zoe Bell, it’s a match-made in heaven.
  • Bright Young People: Serena is working on the film adaptation of The Beautiful and Damned, a book that she can definitely identify with. Seeing Chuck, Nate and Serena together, popping a bottle of champagne right in front of a limo, makes you think that these are the kinds of people F. Scott Fitzgerald would probably be writing about if he was alive and young today.
  • Cameos in Hollywood (SPOILER!): Besides David O. Russell and Zoe Bell, Jenny Lewis also makes an appearance. All of the cameos added some authenticity to Serena’s Hollywood experience, despite the fact that her overnight success as a producer’s assistant did not.
  • Serena Can’t Catch a Break: Everywhere Serena goes she has a hater. She’s Serena van der Woodsen, and everyone hates that her life is handed to her on a platter. This has always made for interesting storylines – last night another storyline was born involving Serena and a hater. Chances are Serena’s in for another sabotage, and then showdown will ensue. Serena’s haters always stir up some riveting drama.
  • Blair’s Unresolved Feelings: Blair has wanted to be a princess since always. She craves to be a part of a royal family, but has always gone back and forth between Chuck or being Princess Diana. Now, there’s another boy in the mix and he’s nothing like Chuck Bass. Dan Humphrey and Blair’s relationship went through a roller coaster last season including a lot of denial and sneaking around. The denial continues – Blair is stuck in another love triangle only this time it’s between the Prince of Monaco and the boy from Brooklyn. Sorry Chuck Bass.

The Bad

  • How Dan Finds Out His Story Is Being Published: So Dan wrote a book and in last season’s finale, Vanessa Abrams took the manuscript of Dan’s novel to an editor who was eager to publish it. But just how was Dan suppose to find out that his novel had been published? Leave it to Noah Shapiro, Dan’s mentor from Season 2, to be at the right place at the right time. Hate those over-convenient moments. He tells Dan that he read an “advanced copy” of a story in Vanity Fair that reminded him of Dan’s work. The writers just had to bring back a phony old character.
  • Nate and Serena Takes Chuck’s Advice: Nate and Serena know Chuck well enough to never take any advice from him. Why then would they so easily agree to Chuck’s advice? Yes, it sounds like Chuck is being optimistic and positive, but Nate and Serena needed to not be so easily persuaded.
  • Blair’s Hair: What is wrong with her hair? She’s usually perfect from head to toe, it was hard not to notice her bad hair day.

Overall:

There was a lot of entertaining new storylines, and the change to Hollywood seems nice. There’s a few plot points that felt forced, but overall “Gossip Girl” is off to a good start.

Rating: 7/10

Watch “Gossip Girl” Monday nights at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Gallery:

What did you think of last night’s episode?