In addition to the uber-popular and equally R-rated teen T.V. produced by HBO like “Euphoria” and “Genera+ion” comes the much-anticipated reboot of the 2007 CW drama, “Gossip Girl.” The show premiered on July 8 and featured six episodes as a part of the first half of season one.
From the teasing ending of the original, the chance of a reboot was left wide open to bring in a whole new set of rich Manhattanites. After a nine-year wait, the kids who were in the second grade during the end of the original series are now under the same (yet different) watchful eye as they tangle in messy dramas and affairs.
While the schools of Constance Billard and St. Jude’s remain the same, a playground for the children of the uber-wealthy to plot, scheme, and now, Instagram has a completely new schtick: the audience knows who is gossip girl from the very first episode. Viewers watch as a group of young teachers create an Instagram to supposedly get a hold of their impetuous students who glide through school as if they own it. This choice of gossip girl has been repeatedly discussed and questioned by fans, especially focusing on the teacher’s willingness to cause conflict in the lives of 16-year-olds.
Creator Joshua Safran defends this decision in Variety and says, “I understand the teachers are operating this moral gray area, [But] these people entered this noble profession believing that they could shape the hearts and minds of young people — and found out very quickly that they couldn’t.”
As a reboot should, the new cast is filled with all-new personalities, yet still, a click who display themselves cohesively through accessorized uniforms. As of the six episodes, the central conflict has been between two half-sisters, popular influencer Julien Calloway, daughter of a rich music producer portrayed by Jordan Alexander, and Zoya Lott, her younger sister who recently moved from Buffalo played by Whitney Peak. From deceased mother drama, to sort of stealing your boyfriend drama or stealing your limelight, the two have had a very tumultuous relationship in their brief time together.
That’s not to mention many of the other charismatic (and problematic) mains as well.
Other plot points spurred at the moment include the devious works of Luna La, played by Zion Moreno, and Monet de Haan, played by Savannah Smith. The two are Julien’s two close friends, or co-workers as they describe themselves as her public relations and designers. They may give off regular Constance mean girl but have shown inklings of promising backstories that will hopefully give the show a little more to work with.
The other characters are seemingly soon to be throuple. The trio consists of Max Wolfe, who is played by Thomas Doherty, unhinged as Chuck Bass yet slightly less creepy, Emily Alyn Lind who plays Audrey Hope, a rich, soon-to-be bankrupt girl with family troubles, and her good-natured boyfriend Aki Menzies is played by Evan Mock. The three have probably gotten the most comparisons to the original show’s love triangle between Chuck, Blair, and Nate, only this time it seems to not be a pick one or the other situation — at least not yet.
As mentioned, the glitzy glamour of this reboot is targeted towards Gen-Z and involves a lot of social media and influencers. The reboot is a different thing than the original and to pit the shows against each other is like comparing apples to zucchinis. One of the best aspects of this reboot is the increased representation of POC and the LGBTQ+ missing from the original.
Safran told Dazed, “It is very much dealing with the way the world looks now, where wealth and privilege come from, and how you handle that.”
Whether the second part starts as it ends with Max sending blackmail to end an affair with an abusive teacher, or Julien kissing her ex-boyfriend, who is now her little sister’s boyfriend during a protest, we’ll just have to wait until November to see.