The Gossip Girl Reboot Misses the Vibe by a Long Shot

Culture

Hey Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here. And I'm here to give you the inside scoop on the scandalous lives of the Manhattan elite.

Those first drawling lines signaled the beginnings of fresh new drama brewing in the halls of Constance-St. Jude's and the bustling streets of New York City in the original rich-people's drama that aired from 2007-2012.

Gossip Girl's popularity stemmed from people's draw to this world: one that was incandescently rich, super messy, and had a list of characters who were so iconic they're still mainstream today. The non-judging Breakfast Club, Lonely Boy, and Little J schemed and strutted their way into the limelight during the first show's prime.

HBO Max, which now holds the rights to all 6 seasons of the original drama, recently released a new "reboot" version, targeted toward a more modern audience and set in a post-COVID Constance-St.Jude's.

But, for most people, the show is falling short in more ways than one, and it definitely lost the draw that the original Gossip Girl had.

The Original Gossip Girl is an Homage to Youthful (and Money-centered) Indignance

Objectively, Gossip Girl's draw stemmed from its self-awareness that it was, in fact, a depiction of pretty awful people.

Blair Waldorf's "queen bee" status came with a laundry list of wrong-doings, and let's not forget that even innocent Little J was scheming by the end of the first season. But, that's what it was advertised as. A bunch of über-rich socialites doing whatever the heck they wanted and then getting confused when they have to deal with the repercussions.

We all knew what we were getting into. And we loved it. It was decadent, scandalous, and just the right amount of ridiculous that it was amusing to watch.

It also helped that "B" & "S" were consistently fitted in the latest designer fashion, which solidified "Gossip Girl" as a fashion-inspiration gold-mine.

It also worked, specifically, because Gossip Girl wasn't necessarily at the root of everything. Sure, there was this omnipresent blog that somehow knew every downfall every character had. But the story was separated from that more often than not.

Gossip Girl, for a large part of the series, was just a plot device, not necessarily a titular role.

When the story did shift to more of a "who and why is Gossip Girl" centered storyline, it was tactful. It played into the lives and the development of each of the characters.

The Gossip Girl Reboot Abandons The Original Image in Favor of an Idealistic Approach to Upper East Side Power Dynamics

The original Gossip Girl is laudable for its self-awareness. It centered on the primarily white-dominated, ancestral wealth social stratification present in the world of Manhattan socialites.

The new Gossip Girl's approach to the same power dynamic is less than realistic. What results is a storyline that effectively abandons the critique of wealth that the original had in favor of a more "politically-correct" appearance.

But that's the thing. This world is far from politically correct. Wall Street has so little diversity it was crucified by news outlets when Fortune 500 statistics came out.

The best way to make a statement would be depicting the world of Gossip Girl as exactly what it is: a hot, steaming pile of garbage.

The diversity is a strong suit of the new series, but the storyline itself is rather disturbing. One of the main plot-points is the fact that teachers are running the new iteration of Gossip Girl in order to coerce themselves into a position of power. Considering what Gossip Girl's reputation is, and the fact that the tagline refers to the "scandalous lives of the Manhattan elite," it's pretty...gross that teachers are this involved in the lives of their students.

And even then, Gossip Girl's voice loses her charm. Even with the numerous call-backs to the original show, the addition of modern slang into these posts makes it weird to hear, and the knowledge that it's a bunch of teachers calling the shots still haunts you as you hear about Constance's new drama. Also, the fact that it's a verified Instagram page? Max Wolfe had it right when he blocked the account immediately.

Coupled with the general weird-ness of that storyline, the rest of the "plot twists" are more disturbing than they are entertaining, the characters are lost in a muddle of about one million separate subplots, and you're just generally rooting for no one. Luna's barely said more than 10 words in the past two episodes, and Obie's only personality trait is being a B-rate Nate Archibald. Audrey, Monet, and Max have the best acting in the show, which isn't necessarily a feat, because the delivery of 98% of the lines in this show are super bland.

I think, personally, Gossip Girl should have died along with Lonely Boy's reputation and our Serenate hearts in the finale 9 years ago. But since HBO had some different plans, at least they offer up some important queer representation that is severely lacking even in mainstream modern media.

Aside from that, Gossip Girl's new iteration is just another big mess of a reboot, and with new iterations of Sex in the City and Clueless slated to hit streaming services later this year, maybe the film industry just needs to move forward instead of consistently trying to recycle their old successes.

Spotted! A bunch of wannabes on the MET steps thinking they can live up to the OG's. Looks like we've got another Little J in Manhattan. Didn't anyone tell you that buying Instagram followers doesn't buy class?

You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl.

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Riya Jayanthi
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Riya Jayanthi is a freshman in college from Atlanta, GA who loves sweetgreen, acai bowls, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.