It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World is the 20th episode of the third season and 63rd overall.
It's said that we're all strapped to fortune's wheel. Nowhere is this truer than the ever changing landscape of love. As one couple enjoys an upswing, another is plunged downwards. But top or bottom, don't get too comfortable, because the one thing you can rely on is that the wheel will keep on turning.
The return of William van der Woodsen creates a rift within the joint Van der Woodsen-Humphrey family. Meanwhile, Blair visits Columbia University and pretends to be a student in order to try and reinvent herself and Dan discovers another secret of Vanessa's.
The episode begins with Nate and Serena happily kissing at The Empire and Dan and Vanessa acting distant at the loft. Serena tells Nate she's going to Lily's for breakfast, and he suggests that she move back in with her mom while she continues to get better. She's opposed to the idea, not wanting to see Jenny every day due to their recent issues. They both see a woman emerge from Chuck's room and leave, and they note that that's not the same girl Chuck brought home the night before. Chuck comes out and Nate asks Serena if he's seen Lily since her diagnosis. She says no, and leaves. Nate suggests that Chuck go with her, but Chuck declines. At the loft, Vanessa and Dan make plans to meet later. Before she leaves, Vanessa confesses that she doesn't know what's going on since they've been tiptoeing around each other for days since the Tisch debacle. Dan has the idea to make a list of topics they can't discuss with each other to avoid any problems; including classes, internships and jobs, and any possible playwriting submissions. Dan goes to leave for breakfast at the VDW's and asks Vanessa to join. She says no, and that she has something to do. Dan asks if it's related to the list, she says yes and he thanks her for not sharing.
At the VDW's, Eric is texting his new friend Elliot and Rufus is using cooking as a stress reliever. Lily comes downstairs and asks everyone to treat her like they always have. William shows up, and Rufus asks what he's doing there. Serena says she invited him. He invites everyone to an alumni gala the next night, and Serena agrees to go and says she also invited Nate and Blair. Lily says she and Rufus will go, much to Rufus' dismay. At Columbia, Blair walks the campus, and calls Nate to say she's coming to his lacrosse game. She admits everyone at NYU is planning living arrangements for the next year and she's depressed about it. Nate asks about her friends that asked her to live with them, but Blair isn't impressed with the apartment they chose. When they hang up, Blair runs into two girls. They ask if she remembers them from Eleanor's fashion show. She does, and they ask what she's doing there. They excitedly ask if she's transferring to Columbia, and she lies and says yes.
At brunch, Serena tells William a story about how she won a hot chocolate drinking contest at boarding school, although Jenny isn't buying that the drink was hot chocolate and tries to tell a story about Serena and a teacher at a bed and breakfast.. Serena lies and says she was never into partying but academics and announces she's moving back in. William then announces that he's moving back into the building too. Dan calls Rufus to say he's sorry for being late, and Rufus accidentally tells him about Vanessa's internship for CNN in Haiti, where she'll be gone for three months. Eric tries to leave the apartment, and William asks Eric to come and bring a girl. Eric informs him that he's gay and tells William to stop acting like they have any kind of relationship, and that while Serena might want to get to know him, he doesn't. Meanwhile, Serena has begun pulling Jenny's clothes out of the closet to get her room back. Jenny yells that she can't do that and tells Rufus to make Serena stop. Rufus suggests that Serena move back into Chuck's old room, but she refuses. Jenny says Serena can have her old room back and leaves. Serena asks Rufus how many problems Jenny has to cause before he realizes she's the problem and leaves also.
Dan meets with Vanessa and demands to know about her internship. She says she was going to tell him but then put internships on their do not discuss list and that things were easier when they were just friends. Dan asks if she wants to go back to being just friends and she admits that she doesn't know. Dan leaves. Back at the VDW's, Lily mentions how their apartment is becoming crowded. Rufus says it's a little unusual that William is moving into their building and asks if he's trying to be closer to her. She says no, and that he's doing it to be closer to Serena and Eric. However, Rufus isn't convinced and calls his friend Holland. At Columbia, Blair is hanging out with the two girls she met telling them about the travesties of attending NYU. She gets a text from Serena about Jenny trying to claim squatter's rights on her room. They ask Blair about her plan of attack and Blair says she's not getting involved. The two girls say Blair Waldorf was over the minute she became a student of NYU. Blair says she would do something, but doesn't have any dirt on Jenny to use as ammo. Jessica says her boyfriend bought drugs from Jenny and Damian Dalgaard a few months ago. Blair sends the tip to Gossip Girl to show off to her new friends.
The next day, Jenny confronts Serena abut tipping off Gossip Girl about her drug dealing. She says that her and Rufus are finally in an okay place after a really rough patch, and that she can't believe Serena is willing to ruin her relationship with Rufus because she's too scared William won't love her for who she really is. At the loft, Dan and Vanessa discuss the internship. She says she's going to turn it down, because her relationship to Dan is more important and three months apart is just too long. He asks her to go out that night, but she declines and says she's going to meet with the woman from CNN to give them her decision. At Columbia, Blair is walking around again when she receives a text from one of her minions saying that they have to sign their apartment lease today and want to know if she's in or not. Nate spots her and asks her what she's doing, drawing the conclusion that she's pretending to be a student there. She denies it at first, and Nate says he saw the smackdown of Jenny on Gossip Girl and that he expected her to grow up a little after her breakup with Chuck. She admits that she is pretending to be a student but only because life at NYU is so terrible. Nate reminds her that it's always possible to make things right with someone you slander online and that Chuck might not get the chance to do that with Lily. However, Jessica overhears the whole thing and tips off Gossip Girl. After their conversation, Blair goes to see Chuck at The Empire. She confronts him about avoiding Lily, and that she knows that the possibility of losing her terrifies Chuck. He tells her to spare him the psych analysis, and Blair then receives a Gossip Girl blast about her pretending to be a Columbia student. She leaves, but not before she tells Chuck to talk to Lily before it's too late. In the elevator, she calls Amalia and tells her she will take the apartment.
That evening before the benefit, Serena is angry at Rufus for blocking William from getting into the building. She tells Lily, who at first doesn't believe her until Rufus confesses that he did it. Lily once again tells him that William was moving to be closer to his children and the two leave for the gala without Rufus. At the gala, Blair runs into her new friends who brush her off for being a fake student. Lily sees Chuck, and the two hug while he promises that she isn't going to lose him, and that he's always going to be there for her. Serena asks Nate what he had to promise him to get him to come, and when he says it wasn't him, the two realize it was Blair that talked him into it. At the loft, Dan runs into Jenny. He asks her if it was true about her dealing, and she admits that it was when she was with Damian. He tells her to tell Rufus herself before he hears it from somewhere else, and she grudgingly admits he's right and decides to catch him at the gala. She tells him to try and talk to Vanessa too. Back at the gala, Serena takes William aside and tells her about her partying past. She admits that she was scared that once Lily gets better, he won't want to be around someone as troubled as her. He says he wants to stick around, but doesn't know how big a role he can play without stepping on anyone's toes. At the bar, Blair explains to a stranger that the gala is torture because it's at Columbia and she goes to NYU. She introduces herself and he recognizes the name. He explains that he works in the admissions office and reviewed her application earlier that day, and that even though it isn't policy, he tells her she was accepted. She's very surprised, but thanks him anyway. Nate approaches and notices her crazy eyes. She says her being accepted was a surprise since she didn't reply, and Nate realizes Chuck went through with his joke of applying for Blair to Columbia because she had too much pride. At the VDW's, Rufus is sadly making himself a sandwich when Eric approaches. He says William must still be working his magic, but Rufus admits it's not all him. Eric says he makes Lily happier than all her ex husbands combined, and he should be with her that night. Elliot shows up, and tells Eric he got a call from his dad inviting him to the gala. Rufus says it wasn't him, so it must have been William. He tells Eric that while it's okay to be mad at William, it's also okay to try and forgive him.
Back at the gala, Rufus arrives and immediately runs into Holland Kemble. However, he brushes her aside to talk to Lily. He apologizes to her, and says he doesn't care who lives where because all he wants is to be with Lily and the two kiss. Jenny tells Chuck that Lily looks amazing, and he remarks suspiciously that she seems to be the picture of health. When William is presented with his award, he talks of Serena's honesty and that he needs to be honest too. He says that the greatest sacrifice he made to be a doctor was his family, and that he made the biggest mistake of his life walking away and that he's going to do whatever he can to make it right because he loves them. Lily realizes Rufus was right, that William was trying to be close to her. Rufus insists she find a new doctor, but she says she needs to be alone for the night and asks him to stay with Dan in Brooklyn. Elsewhere inside, Jenny runs into a girl who bought drugs from her and Damian. She calls Jenny a bitch because the pills she bought were supposed to be oxy, but were actually antibiotics and she got a yeast infection. Rufus overhears the conversation and Jenny tries to explain but he doesn't let her. He tells her to get her things because they're going home to Brooklyn. Dan goes to see Vanessa, and he encourages her to take the internship and promises that they can figure everything out. He presents her with stationary and says they can right. She says she's going to miss him, and leaves to visit her new boss.
Before she leaves the gala, Serena runs into Holland, who is looking for Lily. She tells her that if everything William said was true, maybe there's something she should know about Rufus about him sleeping with her. Outside, Serena catches up with William and tells him that if he wants to fight for Lily, he should. At the loft, Jenny does research on Lily's cancer and medication. Blair also meets up with the girls and tells them that the information they got about her being a fake student was false, and she will be attending Columbia in the fall. She also informs them that next time they cross her, they'll witness a takedown first hand. When walking away, she sends Chuck a thank you text. He reads it, and then gets a call from Jenny. She tells him that there's something weird going on with her medicine. At the VDW's, Eric is telling Lily about his night with Elliot when Serena and William arrive home. She says she invited him for hot chocolate, and Eric tells him it's okay if he stays. Lily invites William to stay, and the phone rings. Serena answers and it's Rufus wanting to speak to Lily. Serena says she went to bed and she'll tell her he called and hangs up. Eric thanks William for setting up his date with Elliot. Lily asks who was on the phone, and Serena lies that it was just Blair and goes to sit with her family.
- Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen
- Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf
- Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey
- Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald
- Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey
- Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass
- Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
Guest Stars/Recurring Cast
- William Baldwin as William van der Woodsen
- Connor Paolo as Eric van der Woodsen
- Alice Callahan as Jessica Leitenberg
- Sherri Saum as Holland Kemble
- Animal by Neon Trees
- Audience by Cold War Kids
- Forever Young by Last Gang
- Let's See It by We Are Scientists
- Salvation by Scanners
Chuck: Judge away. Shame turns me on.
Blair (on her friends' apartment): It's a post war building on a street that's not even numbered it's lettered and it's big selling point is that it's above a falafel stand.
Eric (on his suicide attempt): Going through all of that without a father made me realize I don't need one.
Blair: Ten freshmen, a keg, and hummus on a card table is not a party, it's a tragedy.
Jenny (to Serena): Fine, maybe you didn't send the actual email but everyone knows you have Blair do your dirty work.
Nate (to Blair on sending the Jenny tip to GG): It's called plotting and conniving which is the Waldorf equivalent of Chuck sleeping with every call girl in the city and avoiding any kind of emotional contact.
Blair (to her new minions): I don't live with the help. Oh, and you wanted to see a Blair Waldorf takedown? Well cross me again, and you'll experience one first hand.
- The episode title is based off the movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
- Jersey Shore - Dan says the reality TV show is one of the few topics he and Vanessa can talk about.
- Keith Richards - William says a friend of his has stories that would make the singer blush.
- CNN - Vanessa gets an internship at the news station.
- Nancy Meyers - Rufus mentions the producer's name to Lily.
- Lady Gaga - Jessica compares the singer to Blair receiving a text.
- Warren-Tricomi - Blair asks her new friends about mani pedis at the salon.
- Chanel - Zoe, one of Blair's new friends, says Blair will one day probably be president of the fashion company.
- Pablo Escobar - Serena compares Jenny to the drug dealer.
- Dom '95/Roederer - Blair and Chuck mention the champagnes.
- Lanvin - Blair mentions the Parisian fashion company.
- Sartre and de Beauvoir - Vanessa says maybe she and Dan can be like the intellectual power couple.
- People Magazine - Elliot has a subscription to the magazine, according to Eric.