Review: Gossip Girl reboot fails to capture the intrigue of the original

Last Thursday, the first episode of the Gossip Girl reboot premiered on HBO Max. To say that I was excited was an understatement, considering I watched all six seasons of The CW’s 2007 version of Gossip Girl in less than two weeks.

Though there was some backlash online about whether or not a reboot was necessary, I was hopeful. By the looks of the promotions, the sets and costumes looked beautiful.

There were many reasons why I loved the original Gossip Girl, but I think most of its appeal was how out of touch everyone in the show was.

The original followed a wealthy group of high school friends that lived on the Upper East Side of New York and the scandals that surrounded them. From owning hotels to having an anonymous gossip account stalking them, their issues weren’t things that most teenagers had to deal with.

Everyone was rich and disconnected from society’s bigger problems, making it entertaining to watch. I felt like I was escaping to a separate world, one with its own rules and issues.

In the reboot, we’re introduced to a new cast of wealthy friends as well as a group of teachers who teach at Constance St. Jude's, the elite high school they all attend. The show takes place in a post-pandemic world.

The reboot was hard to watch, especially in the first half. In the original, the characters did all sorts of awful things that were brushed off. Although their morals were questionable, they kept things interesting.

We as the audience knew that the original characters were privileged and terrible without being told. In the reboot, all the surrounding issues are spelled out for us. The show is more aware than before, and while it could be considered educational, it was not very entertaining.

Within the first thirty minutes of the show, it was revealed that the teachers worked the gossip account as a means to keep control because teenagers were bullying them.

I hated the entire plotline with the teachers. It felt weird to watch a group of adults run a gossip account and stalk minors simply because they were threatened by the privilege of their own students and had nothing else to do.

I wish they had kept who Gossip Girl was anonymous. I think there’s an element of fun that comes with guessing who it is.

Despite not liking the first half of the episode much, the second half gets much better. It shifts most of the focus back on the students rather than the bitterness of their teachers.

It might be harsh to say I hate the show based on one episode. The plot was interesting enough, and if the teachers were cut out entirely, I might have liked it more.

However, I can’t imagine actively making an effort to watch this show. There are some elements that definitely intrigue me, but in the end, they couldn’t make up for everything else the show lacked.

@aivylinaa

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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