By Ria Sharma, English Literature, Second Year
Spotted; our favourite New York insider returning to our screens in a brand-new reboot from HBO Max, eight years after the blog shut down.
Now, it’s no surprise that the original Gossip Girl (2007) remains timeless to this day, with the likes of Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and Serena Vander-Woodsen (Blake Lively) epitomising and inspiring the very essence of haute couture, while Nate Archibald (Chase Crawford) and Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) remain iconic fictional heartthrobs, still fawned over by many. So, when news circulated that Gossip Girl was going to be revived without our favourite upper-east siders, many die-hard fans including myself waited impatiently, anticipating what this new iteration would bring us.
St. Judes and Constance Billard are ruled by a new set of monarchs, featuring mega influencer Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander) followed by her PR representatives Monet De Haan (Savannah Smith) and Luna La (Zion Moreno), reticent Audrey Hope (Emily Alyn Lind) and her long-term boyfriend Akeno Menzies (Evan Mock), the hedonistic Max Wolfe (Thomas Doherty) and the guiltiest rich of them all Otto “Obie” Bergmann IV (Eli Brown).
“Our group of friends have known each other since we were babies, we have trust, and history.”
The posse are also acquainted with freshman Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak), Julien’s half-sister who is actively vocal regarding her distaste for the rich who are passive when it comes to using their privilege to better society, coming from a lower socioeconomic background herself.
Within the last decade, the highly coveted status of socialite, demonstrated by Serena in the original series eventually transitioned into influencer, the type you see promoting makeup, fashion and fitness all over TikTok and Instagram. Following Julien’s status as an esteemed influencer and it-girl, the reboot hones much of its focus on the power and ubiquitous nature of social media, mirroring Gossip Girl herself, “You thought I was a person. But I never said I was. I’m a revolution.” whilst symbiotically exploring how much the social landscape of New York has subsequently evolved.
Each teen has their own public Instagram account, with regular posts throughout the week following the episodes which provides fans a more dimensional insight to their world and evokes some verisimilitude.
Moreover, the criticism with the reboot lies in the fact that Gossip Girl is revealed in the first episode. The appeal in the original series was the inherent secrecy and the obliviousness to the super surveillant’s identity until the very last episode, with fans coming up with multiple theories who it could be for six seasons straight.
Without the element of secrecy, in conjunction with Julien tweeting and posting almost everything, the lack of suspense truly diminishes the core concept of the show. Although comprehending that nothing could quite compare to the original, fans were under the assumption that the reboot would implement the same ethos; online omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience.
The teachers of the St. Judes and Constance play a more significant role this time around, a plot line I don’t particularly enjoy. I would prefer more screen time be given to Monet and Luna, appreciated for their iconic one-liners but known the least about by fans-perhaps a glimpse into their family life as we’ve seen so far with rest of the group.
The rest of season 1 will be premiering in November and while I’ll continue to watch despite my initial disappointment, I stay optimistic that the pace will pick up for these 'super rich kids with nothing but loose ends' as Frank Ocean aptly said, in the city that never sleeps.
Featured Image: IMDB