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Spotted: An Insider’s Review of Gossip Girl Season 1B

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

HBO’s reboot of the beloved classic Gossip Girl recently released the first three episodes of Season 1B. While it’ll be hard to ever outshine the original, these three episodes offered fresh scandals and drama, and I have opinions. Read on to see what some of my favorite (and least favorite) aspects of the new installment were.

Warning: Spoilers below

The second half of season one was released on Thanksgiving, a clever release date, as the OG show was known for its outrageous Thanksgiving episodes. The reboot worked to replicate that same level of drama as the main protagonist, Zoya Lott, and her father hosted a “Friendsgiving” open to anyone. Somehow almost all the students end up there with their families (despite not being friends with Zoya). The teachers are also in attendance because that’s very normal. The dinner scene sets the stage for the next few episodes, as details about Julien’s father having a massive secret are revealed. 

Happy Holiday GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

The next two episodes take a much more serious turn, as Julien’s dad, Davis, becomes front-page news for taking advantage of women he met through work years prior. This news breaks the dynamic between Julien, Zoya and their dads, who were finally working to be in a better place. This situation offers an upsetting but realistic look at how people in positions of power are able to get away with crimes, as the evidence that Zoya and Julien find of Davis taking advantage of women is ruled to not be valid. Julien and Zoya come to terms with the reality that men in this world will continue to take advantage of women as they are harassed on the subway. They work to reach out to the victims of Davis’ crimes but when they do finally meet with one of the victims, Riley, she is advised to not speak out. If she were to expose him, she could be sued for defamation of Davis’s name because Riley’s friend came forward on her behalf to protect her, claiming that she was one of Davis’ victims when it was confirmed she was not. This is upsetting legality keeps Davis immune, much to the dismay of Zoya and Julien.

Friend Crying GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

An aspect of the show that I’m not a fan of is how the identity of “Gossip Girl” was revealed right away, and how the teachers run the account. The show introduces new teachers (like the greasy gym teacher, Scott) who take the project of “Gossip Girl” and start to target students. Its creator Kate urges them to lay off the kids because she believes that it’s gone too far. I would agree with this, as in the original there were points where “Gossip Girl” realized that the blog was physically hurting people and went dark as a result (the Blair and Chuck car accident comes to mind here). While Kate wanted to use “Gossip Girl” to try to make the kids more in touch with reality, the other teachers use it to maliciously attack Julien, who suffers on social media for her dad’s mistakes, which Julien is trying to fix.

Losing It Out Of Control GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

What I did love about these episodes were the song choices, not only did they add “this is me trying” by Taylor Swift, but also included “traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo. Both songs enhanced the emotions felt by the characters, and — as a Swiftie myself — any mention of Taylor Swift is a win to me. 

Another thing that I loved was Max Wolfe being vulnerable. He opens up about his feelings for Aki and Audrey and about his fathers’ relationship. Maybe it’s a personal bias because I loved Thomas Doherty in “Descendants,” but his acting in these episodes is one of the strongest performances. Not only is it revealed that he’s capable of more than feeling a fleeting lust for people, but it shows how much he cares for his family, and personally I just want to see him happy in the end.  

Fathers Day Love GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

The trailer for the next three episodes was released today, and my prediction is that they’ll bring back the original Gossip Girl alum, Wallace Shawn, who portrayed Blair’s stepfather Cyrus Rose. Cyrus’s voice is teased at the end of the trailer, and it would make sense for him to be in the show as he was a high-profile entertainment lawyer. He might be the one to defend Riley, the woman who came forward against Davis. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. Until then you know you love me, xoxo.

Hailey is a freshman at the University of Central Florida pursuing a degree in marketing. Besides writing, her hobbies include keeping up with celebrity gossip, reading, making collages and watching TV. She cites her biggest inspirations as Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Blake Lively, but deep down knows that some days you just wake up feeling like Nick Miller.
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