A strange and implausible premise, bad writing, and inconsistent characters. It deviates so far from the Archie comics’ trademark lightheartedness that the programme becomes a steaming mess of cliché plotlines and trite drama. Nothing makes sense; everything is simply too much to handle. There are very rare clever approaches to anything in the show. It had a lot of potential.
The allure of Gen-Z degrades
Gossip Girl was a product of its time: a look into the lives of wealthy New York high school kids in the early days of social media — it premiered the same year as the iPhone — and its hook was a blog written by the titular and anonymous “Gossip Girl” that monitored and identified on the high-status, Blair, Serena, Dan, Nate, Chuck as well as their idealistic hangers-on and devotees. It was the epitome of millennial good trash.
And now, HBO Max — which also holds all six seasons of the original GG — has embarked on a sequel, a Gen-Z sequel, which is distinguished in part by some noble aspirations. The original Gossip Girl had a lot going for it in terms of the population it addressed, but it was very white and very straight, which is thankfully no longer the case for programming geared at younger audiences.
The desire to do these generational upgrades is insufficient.
The presence of smartphones, black students, and bisexuality don’t fix plot issues; they provide new and better routes to explore that don’t matter if you don’t take them. And there isn’t a clear or engaging tale for these youngsters to read in the group text
This is the type of project that people think of when they ask why reboots keep happening: an upgrade for the sake of an update, an intellectual-property expansion that lacks a clear creative impetus.
The comedy that went disastrously wrong
It’s a tired critique to argue that a programme doesn’t know what type of show it wants to be, but it’s a serious issue here. Joshua Safran, who also worked on the original GG, told Variety that he wants the new programme to be more diverse, as well as more straightforwardly and purposefully hilarious. He even referred to it as a comedy.
It’s not a comedy, by the way. Only one aspect is funny: a tangle of unhappy teachers who are weary of being tortured by and at the mercy of their spoilt kids. Tavi Gevinson, a former blogging prodigy who launched her fashion site Style Rookie when she was 11, the same year as Original Gossip Girl (OGG?) debuted, portrays the leader of this pack, and she’s fantastic. This is a comedic scene.
Bizarre storyline mismatching the characters
Julien (Jordan Alexander) is the center of the student universe, a luxurious 16-year-old Instagram influencer who is so well-known that her friends Luna and Monet (Zion Moreno and Savannah Smith) are content to wander around her, retouching her make-up or checking her light sources as she sits haughtily on the school’s stairs, waiting to do her Insta story. On the first day of school, we meet Julien and her “friends,” which also happens to be the first day of school for Zoya (Whitney Peak), a 14-year-old sophomore on an arts scholarship. Julien and Zoya have the same mother; Mom left Julien’s father to be with Zoya’s father at some time, and the girls have never gotten along since their fathers despise one other.
Getting Chuck Bass to the year 2021
Audrey and Aki are both good friends with Max (Thomas Doherty), whose inclusion is the strongest evidence of Safran’s (laudable) intention to include LGBTQ children thus far.
Max is also the best OGG character transfer from one show to this one: he’s practically Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). Chuck, a flamboyantly dressed guy who committed two sexual abuse in the debut before being justified, was bisexual in the book from which the original series was derived, but he was nearly completely interested in women on the programme.
Making Max overtly gay opens the door to new tales, but Max’s main arc in the first four episodes is sadly based on one of the worst and most irresponsible clichés to ever be replicated throughout high-school programmes to the point of being a cliché. It doesn’t work as a comedy, and it’s not a good idea to go with the show’s most famous LGBT character.
But who is “Gossip Girl,” exactly?
It would be unfitting to divulge how, but they do clear up the mystery of who is behind the “Gossip Girl” social media messages here. This is a wise decision, yet it is nonetheless part of a poor implementation of the story’s crucial internet aspects.
The social media world of Gossip Girl is Instagram, and displaying almost every significant narrative moment while people are looking at their phones wins points for realism but none for dramatic impact.
As an ever-increasing number of streaming platforms vie for consumers yearning for stories they’ve seen before, we’re living in the age of reboots and remakes. So it’s possible that the reappearance of “Gossip” was unavoidable. But if there was a better way to upgrade this narrative for 2021 that’s as competent, engaging, and sensuous as the original, and perhaps even better, this isn’t it.
This has been the most uninspired sort of relaunch, one that thinks you’ll be too attracted by a famous title to notice how bad the final result is.
No matter how many times Gossip Girl repeats “XOXO,” it’s an awful disaster.