The new “Gossip Girl” reboot is here and in just one episode it declared itself the perfect hate-watch.
Premiering on July 8, the series broke the record for the highest viewership for an HBO original production. Written by Joshua Safran, the reboot reinvents the scandalous teens of the Upper East Side as social media obsessed monarchs, with Instagram, spiteful teachers, and hypocritical woke culture piecing together the show’s plot. Couple the aforementioned with out-of-touch writing, and the new “Gossip Girl” is a lackluster version of the first.
The initial appeal of the original Upper East-Siders was their complete lack of social awareness. “Gossip Girl” was a ridiculously absurd show that illustrated a reality where teens could drink martinis on New York’s rooftops, while simultaneously planning the downfall of NYU’s dean. The reboot completely misses that mark and is instead a bundle of desperate attempts at trying to appeal to a newer generation.
“Gossip Girl” 2.0 ultimately fails at crafting contemporary, organic writing that is actually believable. The script treats social media, like TikTok and Twitter, as novel buzzwords that are the epitome of what’s relatable in a Gen Z high school setting. Sprinkle in random, misused pop culture references and you’re left with 50 minutes of forced authenticity.
Apart from the writing itself, the show prematurely introduces gossip girl’s identity and stifles any chance for mystery. Spoiler alert, it’s the teachers.
Not only does the teachers vs. students conflict create a tired millennial vs. Gen Z dynamic, but it also normalizes a creepy fixation on the students’ personal lives. The show brushes past the fact that two adult teachers took and posted pictures of practically nude minors. Which is in fact a crime in the real world, and one of many ways in which the show’s self-proclaimed wokeness contradicts itself.
All the characters perpetuate the same patriarchy and classism they proudly preach against. Namely Julien, Zoya, and Obie, who “Gossip Girl” sees as satisfactory replacements for Serena, Blair, and Nate, who were at least self-aware enough to know their own immense privilege. The only promising characters so far are Max, Audrey, and Aki who uphold the same hedonistic decadence as the original cast.
In light of the first “Gossip Girl,” one thing the reboot does do right is acknowledging the past generation and granting viewers a nice wave of nostalgia. It also successfully balances novelty through an incredible soundtrack and costumes.
Widely viewed shows like “Riverdale” and “Emily in Paris” illustrate the lengths people will go to continue watching a show they hate but can’t get enough of. The “Gossip Girl” reboot sees that trend and leaves you with malign anticipation towards its crash-land ending. All the pieces have been set in place, and one can only hope that the show will surprise us all.