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The New Gossip Girl: Review on the Reboot and What It Does For Gen-Z

Why the reboot and the original feel like two different shows:

While the original Gossip Girl will always remain iconic, the new rendition feels like more of a miss than a hit. In the first six episodes of the new Gossip Girl we are introduced to characters that feel similar to the original in the form of an unbreakable group of Manhattan’s richest friends who have known each other since childhood and who all seemingly know each other’s business. However one of the biggest differences felt between the original and the reboot is that of the original being about “old money” and generational wealth whereas the reboot is more suited to Gen Z and the time of social media and online influencers.

Now don’t get me wrong, the new Gossip Girl isn’t all bad. As much as it’s done a good job of updating the show for a more modern climate, the problem with reboots are that they often try too hard to make it seem like the original. The main characters of the popular friend group are Julien Calloway, Obie Bergmann, Luna La, Monet De Haan, Audrey Hope, Aki Menzies and Max Wolfe. Julien’s younger half-sister Zoya Lott arrives in the first episode to stir things up in the hopes of becoming closer to Julien after having to keep their relationship secret.

One thing the reboot got right were the music choices, something the reboot and the original have in common. Something the reboot choose to do differently this time around was to determine who Gossip Girl would be from the very beginning. In the pilot episode we see the teachers at the school of Constance Billard feeling frustrated and ignored by their wealthy and privileged students. The teachers bring back Gossip Girl in the hopes of regaining control in the classrooms. Another positive for the reboot is the revival of Kristen Bell as the narrator for Gossip Girl’s voice which is nostalgic of the original.

Despite the good moments, the reboot has done a lot of questionable things such as the romantic relationship between student Max and teacher Rafa Caparros. After a longstanding crush, Max engages in a romantic relationship with his teacher. The relationship doesn’t last long once Max finds out Rafa has a history of being with underage men which raised the question of grooming for many fans and romanticises an inappropriate relationship between student and teacher.

There’s also the messy love triangle between Julien, Obie and Zoya after Obie breaks up with Julien and starts falling for Zoya. The sibling dynamic between Zoya and Julien seems to have no balance, as they’re only ever seen fighting and stirring up drama or being overly close in the form of Zoya asking Julien for dating advice with Julien’s ex-boyfriend Obie. Zoya and Julien work hard to have a proper relationship, however they let Obie come between them constantly.

The reboot and the original could work as two different shows and if the reboot were a standalone show it would be good, but compared to the original it falls short. Between the good, bad and medium moments of the new Gossip Girl, I look forward to seeing what the show has to offer after its production break.

Sarah is currently a fourth year student at the University of Cape Town focusing her honours degree in Linguistics. She completed her undergrad in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Linguistics, English Literature and Media Studies. She enjoys learning languages and writing, as well as sitcoms and technology.
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