Will the new Gossip Girl reboot live up to the legacy of the original drama?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the 21st century, you must have heard of the 2000's TV show Gossip Girl, described by Netflix as: Rich, unreasonably attractive private school students do horrible, scandalous things to each other. Repeatedly. So brutal, yet so true. This show was a huge success back in the noughties, and in 2021, HBO decided to reboot it for this generation. The first half of season one aired in July of this year, with the second half airing throughout November and December.
The reboot takes place eight years after the original, so no one really remembers (spoiler alert) Dan Humphrey's not-so-little secret project. The show revolves around nine people on the rich Upper East Side, all living and loving within the same snooty private schools and elite circles. But according to Joshua Safran, one of the creators, while the reboot takes place in the same setting as the OG, the story will take a different approach.
Well, people spotted these differences as quickly as Gossip Girl spotted Serena Van Der Woodsen in Grand Central. And viewers aren’t as excited as HBO imagined—almost everyone thinks the show is everything but good. Perhaps it’s because of the high expectations and the constant comparison to the old GG, but as soon as the reboot aired, social media exploded with lots of—ahem—“feedback”.
(Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the reboot yet.)
The plot itself is a mess and poorly written. Viewers (myself included) found it very strange that the instigating antagonists are a bunch of teachers who decide to meddle in their students' business—just because they don't behave. It seems a little extreme—and pervy, and illegal—for these teachers to stalk their students after school hours, revealing their secrets, sex tapes, and more just to “humble” them.
Julien and Zoya
The sister plot twist is so basic. Julien and Zoya basically become enemies over a flavorless boy who feels guilty about his privilege and obvious mommy issues. Viewers were criticizing that, in less than two episodes, Jules and Zoya go from meeting each other for the first time to stealing boyfriends and sharing an important but rushed dramatic moment. Pacing much? In the reboot everything unfolds so quickly that you don’t have time to experience any suspense or tension. Talk about lost potential with the sisters' drama and the GG feud.
Let's be honest here, the first half of the season was bad—and I'm being nice. I mean, this show is supposed to represent Gen Z, but it feels more like cringey millennial writing. It’s forced, sounding like a typical old man who’s trying to mimic how Gen Z talks. It's like the writers don't even realize the need to have at least one Gen Z representative in the room to inform them about overused emojis and slang. At least in the second part of the season, the writing feels a bit more toned down and “normal." Either that, or we got used to it.
Certain people have also been saying that the diversity on the show feels slightly forced, especially concerning the casting of Julien and Zoya—the new Blair and Serena—while others feel there is a lack of representation on the show for people of color and plus-sized people. Personally, I think the reboot clearly represents colorism in the media and how dark-skinned people lack lead roles in Hollywood. It has always looked good for Hollywood to have Black lead actors and actresses—as long as they’re light-skinned. To make matters worse, there is not a single plus-sized lead actor or even side character in this reboot. It’s 2021. Why does everyone on this show seems to fit in what society deems acceptable standards of beauty?
Okay, but the reboot’s not all bad. For one, I didn't know that the mind behind the new GG’s account, Miss Kate Keller, is played by Tavi Gevinson. Who? you may ask. Well, in 2010, Tavi was the first fashion blogger to grab everyone's attention with her blog Style Rookie. Tavi entered the fashion industry when she was only 11 years old. As a kid, she was besties with Karl Lagerfeld. She’s a fashion icon. It's interesting that she pursued this role because, as an OG influencer herself, she’s highly aware of the power of social media.
Also, the reboot has blessed us with some excellent guest stars as well, like Georgina Sparks' little son Milo, who is just as smart and as problematic as her. Like mother, like son. And in the latest episodes, some characters from the original series reappeared: Eleonor Waldorf, Cyrus Rose, and one of my favorites, the loyal and iconic Dorota, known for being Blair's confidante since forever. During one conversation, Eleanor let us longtime viewers know that Blair is in Paris living her best life, like she always wanted.
All episodes of season one have now been released on HBO and as I said, the second half is much better. The show has been renewed for a second season, and I know I’m hoping to see better interactions between Julien and Zoya, more about the lives of Luna and Monet, and drama. So far, they’ve sort of redeemed themselves with this season finale, but we’ll see what comes next.
Will the creators listen to viewer feedback or will they stick to their cheesy plot twists? At this point, all we know is that we can’t stop watching it.
You know you love it.