The XX Factor

He Kissed A Boy and He Liked It

Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass always had polysexual tendencies in Cecily von Ziegesar’s YA book series , but it took the CW until the third season to indulge us just a simple kiss with a man. But when it finally happened last night, it was splendid.

It was swift, it was sexy, it was, most importantly, not a big deal . On last night’s episode, devious Blair comes up with a scheme to snag a spot on the speakers list for the well-attended freshman dinner. Unbeknownst to Chuck, Blair tells gay alumnus Mr. Ellis that he can smooch her boyfriend in exchange for a toasting opportunity. Mr. Ellis goes for it (OK, small concession: The idea that all it takes to sway a gay is a promised kiss by a nubile young thing is maybe mildly offensive). But Chuck, as it turns out, doesn’t mind at all. As he later tells Blair: “I’m upset because I kissed somebody that wasn’t you. Do you really think I’ve never kissed a guy before?” An unexpected gay man-to-“straightish” man kiss goes down on network TV with nary a protest. I loved it.

Another interesting angle on the kiss: Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz is a big fan of meta-play in his shows. As writer Martin Mulkeen points out , The O.C. , back in the day, was the pinnacle of tongue-in-cheek self-references. When tabloids dubbed O.C. actor Benjamin McKenzie a Russell Crowe look-alike, The O.C. scripted a scene in which Marissa and Ryan catch a Russell Crowe movie and Marissa ends up saying: “People say he’s good-looking, but he just doesn’t do it for me.” It could be that the man-man kiss on Gossip Girl last night was a response to the never-dying Internet rumor about Ed Westwick’s supposed gayness . There’s nothing better at disarming gossip than turning it into a fictionalized meta-joke.

Photograph of Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick by Giovanni Rufino/The CW  © 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.