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still from gossip girl reboot
still from gossip girl reboot
Emily V. Aragones/HBO Max
Culture > Entertainment

Gossip Girl Reboot: Is it Worth the Watch?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

This article contains spoilers for both the original Gossip Girl and the reboot.

With the vast majority of popular streaming services hopping on the reboot train, we are all reminded of one thing: how good the originals were. Viewers have been saddled with the task of wading through a swamp of recycled plot lines and sub-par writing just to figure out which “new” shows are worth watching. Recently, filming on another installation of the overpopularized teen drama “Gossip Girl” reboot has wrapped, and this time for good.

The original “Gossip Girl” was a teen drama that ran on the CW for six seasons from 2007 to 2012. This show focused on the lives of Manhattan’s elite and their lives on the Upper-East Side. With powerful character arcs and gripping plot lines it stood the test of time and still remains relevant to this day. 

The reboot came out in 2021, nine years after the original series had its final episode. The producers decided to keep the same name and leech off of the success of the original like a parasitic twin. This new show also focuses on the lives of Manhattan’s elite. However, this time, the group of troubled privileged teens is different and the Orwellian big brother that plagues their lives has almost a sociopathic twist. 

This new Gossip Girl isn’t the all-knowing, enigmatic anonymous blog that thrilled the masses with its Edith Wharton-esque writing and captivating subject matter. It is instead an Instagram page run by a group of teachers, saddened by the fact that the rich privileged teens they are teaching can use their parent’s power and wealth to get them fired and coast through school. The instigator being an English teacher, who just might be a little bit too obsessed on how the students view her, named Kate Keller. 

When I sat down to watch this reboot I didn’t have the highest of hopes and just one episode into the first season my doubts were proven to be right. Instead of keeping the identity of Gossip Girl shrouded in anonymity they put it out in the open from the beginning. The  “Gossip Girl” is a group of scorned teachers at The Constance Billard school from the original show. These teachers set out to revive the way that the original Gossip Girl was able to use her popularity and never-ending influx of tips sent in from the denizens of New York City to keep the wealthy teens in check. 

This immediately ruined the show for me. The only reason “Gossip Girl” worked is because no one knew who it was, not even the audience. Not knowing the identity gave people something to look forward to when it was eventually revealed, even though that turned out to be a let down in the original. Dan Humphrey wasn’t everyone’s choice as the voice behind Gossip Girl, but his reasons for the creation of it were a whole lot more interesting. Dan created the Gossip Girl blog as a way to write himself into the lives of this group of rich students that he so desperately wanted to be a part of. He exposed their secrets and brought them down to a more human level, exposing their flaws. Teachers reviving Gossip Girl just because they want their students to pay for being mean and entitled is definitely less enticing. It is almost a little unsettling. These are teachers, fully grown adults, partaking in childlike rumor-spreading to make their students feel bad and take them down a peg. They even go as far as taking and posting photos of half-naked students to make them look like they were hooking up. Not only is that wildly inappropriate and unprofessional, but just plain sick.

Overall, it comes as no surprise to me that this show has been denied a third season. I am amazed it even made it through two. This show should serve as an example to all other show creators out there that just because an original show was successful does not mean that viewers want a new Frankenstein’s monster version of it. The show has terrible dialogue that just seems forced and unnatural. The characters have little to no character development and the teens of the show seem like they were written by someone who has never interacted with a modern teenager. It’s almost as if the writer got all of their information on teen interaction from Twitter and just put it right in the script with no proofreading. 

One of the main elements I noticed that I believe contributed to the downfall of the show is that they have characters full of progressive political ideals and lobbying for different causes while still living their lives full of excess and frivolous spending. In the original show, the characters were terrible people sometimes and lived their lives with little to no concern for those that did not run in the same social circles. In some cases, they openly mocked those of lesser fortune. For example, the running joke that Dan being from Brooklyn automatically slates him to a spot on the social ladder beneath those from the Upper East Side. The characters were privileged and they knew it. This gave the show satirical moments throughout, enabling the audience to criticize the frivolous lives and many wrongdoings of these privileged characters. 

Instead of keeping with that same theme the new writers decided to make their characters socially conscious and entirely hypocritical. Living their lives as one would expect of a rich and privileged Upper-East side teen but at the same time being entirely aware of and sympathetic to the plight of the lower classes. No one likes a hypocrite. Especially when that hypocrite has no complex character development beyond what makes them a hypocrite. 

Overall, this show, in my eyes at least, was a complete flop from beginning to end. They kept none of the same elements that made the original “Gossip Girl” popular, instead replacing them with poor character development and a complete removal of any of the original mystery and intrigue from the original show. Seeing how this reboot was unable to live up to the original in the smallest amount even with Joshua Safran, writer and executive producer on the original series, does not give me any hope for reboots as a whole. It is my opinion that writers should focus their time and creative energy on crafting new shows instead of trying to revive old ones.

Hi! My name is Amy Wallace I am currently a junior at ODU and I am majoring in English with a concentration in journalism. I love writing because it gives me an opportunity to let out some creativity and I find it genuinely enjoyable. I also enjoy books, movies, music, and coffee!