By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer
Hey Upper East Siders! Word on the street is that there’s a new show in town. This copycat bourgeois bootleg is Gen Z’s run at the oh-so iconic original Gossip Girl. But there’s only one right way to share the secrets of your favorite East Siders, and Gossip Girl always knows best.
The new Gossip Girl puts an exciting spin on the eponymous blogger who spread every secret the students of Constance Billiard had to hide. No spoilers here, but it’s a fun and controversial twist, and a good way to retell an old story without copying it verbatim.
The Gossip Girl reboot` is already irresistible. I’m not sure that we can actually call it a reboot, because it’s really more of a continuation. It exists in the same universe and mentions the original characters in the first episode.
While the OG Gossip Girl introduced the iconic Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, Nate Archibald, Chuck Bass and Dan Humphrey to the world, the HBO Max reboot makes an honest attempt at creating in-depth, complex characters and somewhat succeeds.
Zoya Lott is the newcomer in town and seems to be a Dan Humphrey/Serena van der Woodsen type. She’s the down-to-earth girl you want to cheer for and the less wealthy kid facing the one-percenters who make it their mission to eat her alive.
Her half-sister, Julien Calloway, is the it-girl influencer who inhabits Blair Waldorf’s position and possesses Serena’s disposition. Their relationship is so extremely back-and-forth that it’s getting old, despite only four episodes having been released.
Julien’s attempts to maintain her throne while staying true to her genuinely kind and compassionate self is compelling and reminiscent of Serena’s own story.
When it comes to the other characters, however, the script gets a little dry.
Aki Menzies is the sweetheart discovering his sexuality. Audrey Hope is his girlfriend with an interest in another guy and an attitude to match Blair Waldorf’s, minus the likability. Max Wolfe is the off-brand Chuck Bass who’s slept with anyone and everyone and is trying to get with a teacher (a little too successfully). Obie Bergmann is Dan Humphrey, but a whole lot richer and a lot less charming, with an interest in a freshman girl. Finally, there’s Luna La and Monet de Haan, Julien’s minions with no depth, no dimension and really, no personality.
The show is honestly enjoyable, and I’m a little obsessed, but it lacks the drama and the depth of the original. Each character was hateable and likeable all at once. You loved to watch them succeed as much as you loved to watch them fail.
The new Upper East Siders are trying too hard to be mash-ups of their predecessors, instead of having their own personalities and backgrounds. Aki is currently my favorite but doesn’t get enough screen time, so he lacks development. Too many of the characters have been left out to dry without personality, motivation or even information given to the viewer. The show may only be four episodes in, but so far, it’s the Zoya and Julien show.
The original Gossip Girl explored every character equally. It never felt like there was only one main character while the rest served as extras or stepping stones to the plotline. From the beginning, each character was explored and rounded out.
This isn’t to say that the OG was without flaws. Dan Humphrey could be pretentious and self-obsessed, and Serena was the classic female protagonist of the early 2000s who was “not like other girls.” Chuck Bass was problematic, to say the least, and some of the plotlines have not aged well.
This new show is shaping up to make some waves, and I, for one, am excited to watch from the sidelines. You heard it here first followers. This first season may blow your minds, or it may leave you wishing for the early 2000s cast to make another appearance.
Either way, I know you’ll be tuning in. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment