Back in 2007, Gossip Girl was the thing, it was the most talked about show on TV and it was the first show in a long time that both me and my Baby Boomer Mom both could enjoy, it was our guilty pleasure, every Monday we would tune in to see just what on earth Chuck and Blair would be getting up to this week and if he had finally said those 3 little words (something that didn’t happen until almost series end and by that time it was a moot point), so when they said they were rebooting the series and that it was going to be on HBO, I was a little sad bcause my Mom wouldn’t be here to see it with me, but I was also a little excited because what on earth could they possibly do with the story now?
At the series end, we got a glimpse of Gossip Girl not being fully ‘done’, and perhaps there were others who would take on the mantle because NYC Prep School kids are a dime a dozen and as one class graduates another is set to take its place. However, considering how iconic the actual cast of this show was and the fact that none of them were interested in returning speaks volumes.
‘Gossip Girl’: the reboot that no one actually asked for
Of course, that could just be because of the toxic hookup culture that the CW promoted behind the scenes (that was the rumor, at least) or the fact that the entire cast has moved on to other projects, but dang, ya’ll couldn’t even get Vanessa (Jessica Szhor)? Yike!
In this reboot we follow the two protagonists Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander) and Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak), two half sisters who have the same Mom but different Dads. Just like in the OG they were trying to do a rich kid/poor kid thing because one sister, Julien, is the privileged one and the other sister, Zoya, grew up in a decidedly more middle class setting.
Their Dads hate each other because of the relationship that they shared with the Mom (who is conveniently dead and does not have to deal with all of the emotional baggage that she left in her wake) and if they knew that their daughter knew of each others’ existence other than on social media they would pull them both out of school for reasons that I am still not too clear on.
However, it looks like the girls are actually friends behind the scenes and are actually excited to see each other at school, so excited that they even got matching neck tatoos (what?) but as it turns out Zoya is there on scholarship and she cannot afford to stay if she doesn’t have it which no one actually knew about until it was posted on Gossip Girl’s instagram page – wait back up, Gossip Girl has an instagram page?
I thought it was a blog? Get with the program, blogs are soooo 2009. Also, Gossip Girl? Try a bunch of teachers trying to shame kids into behaving.
Yeah, that was what we got in the first episode. A bunch of private school teacgers trying to salvage their otherwise terrifyingly hard jobs by shaming a bunch of 15 year olds into behaving by publicly posting all of the hijinx that they get into. This is the moment I felt my soul leave my body while watching this reboot. Gossip Girl used as a disciplinary tool?
Can we not? The OG Gossip Girl is rolling over in her grave! (Although they did manage to get Kristen Bell back as the narrator, HBO money speaks volumes as well I guess.) I could have believed that Gossip Girl had been dormant and could have been an ever present threat just not active but as a disciplinary tool used by actual teachers?
Ugh. Can we say trying too hard? (Also the whole teacher’s salary comments made by the students – WE GET IT! Teachers are underpaid.)
The diversity in this cast, while a breath of fresh air (seeing as the original series was predominantly white as white could be.), did not necessarily add anything to the storyline, at least in the first episode. It was still the lives of rich and arguably privileged (though some more than others) kids in NYC, which is exactly what the original was, so while the diversity is appreciated the larger statement was a little… lost.
As for the other characters in the series, they are honestly kind of forgettable. You kind of recognize Max Wolfe (Thomas Doherty) simply because he was in the Disney Descendants franchise and you also realize that he is supposed to be sort of a junior version of Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) but something… is off.
Also Audrey Hope (Emily Alyn Lind) is trying so hard to be Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) that it physically hurts and while she does pull off the uptight good girl characterization well, again, no one is Blair and no one’s actually giving anyone a run for their money.
This cast is decidedly different. Is she after the bad boy? Yes. But she resorts to things that our Blair never would have done in order to get him. Blair didn’t have to do these things but Audrey does and it just comes off as desperate, sorry/not sorry.
All this being said I do realize that sometimes reboots are written without the original audience in mind in order to attract a newer, fresher audience, but it feels sort of like the original audience was neglected completely in parts for this reboot. Is it worth the watch?
Yes and no. If you want a new fresh series filled with diversity that makes slightly more sense than Riverdale? Yes. If you’re looking for the glory days of the original, then, sadly, no. Oh well, can’t win ’em all. Stay tuned!!!
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