‘’Hey Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite’’, may be one of the most iconic phrases in teen drama history. Based on the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl took the world by storm from the moment of its release in 2008 as it detailed the lives of the wealthiest teens in New York, who happened to have every detail of their lives blasted on the internet by the anonymous ‘Gossip Girl’. With the show ending on its sixth season in 2012, 2021 has brought us a reboot of the show, but is it entirely necessary?
The iconic Met Steps, Constance Billard school and luxury Manhattan penthouses define the opening moments of the trailer, with Frank Ocean’s Super Rich Kids fittingly being played in the background. Seemingly, the essence of the show remains the same, as backstabbing rich teens have their lives documented by an anonymous blogger whilst they deal with the ins and outs of teen dramas and relationships. The parallels to the original show can be explained by the involvement of Joshua Safran, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage in the reboot as executive producers, all of which contributed to the running of the original show on The CW back in 2008.
What is Gossip Girl without hearing the iconic ‘‘I’m Chuck Bass’’?
While diehard fans of the original (including myself) may be intrigued to see how the reboot fares in comparison to the show which we all know and love, there is debate as to whether it will be as popular as the original. The fact that the show is only available on HBO Max is the first hurdle – fans will have to pay for the subscription service to be able to watch it, and accessibility is further limited by it only being available in America. Fans across the pond in the UK will have to wait until next year to venture into the world of Manhattan’s elite once again, as the show will be available on BBC iplayer months later than its original July 2021 release date.
And what is Gossip Girl without ‘Lonely Boy’, ‘Golden Boy’, Chuck Bass and the iconic duo that is Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen? None of the original cast are set to return in the reboot, bar the narrator (Kristen Bell). For this reason, it makes me question whether the return of the show is necessary; after all, one of the reasons it became so popular was because of the unmatchable chemistry and natural connection between the cast, involving Ed Westwick, Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley, Leighton Meester and Blake Lively. Perhaps bringing the concept of the show back under a different name and branding may make more sense – after all, what is Gossip Girl without hearing the iconic ‘‘I’m Chuck Bass’’?
The lack of inclusivity in the original show was a major issue, so the fact that the leads of the show are non-white is a huge step forward
Yet the reboot is interestingly and importantly self-aware of how society has changed in the past nine years since the final season of The CW show aired. Showrunner Joshua Safran stated that slut-shaming and catfights will be left out of the reboot, and the cast is set to be diverse with LGBTQ+ storylines. The lack of inclusivity in the original show was a major issue, so the fact that the leads of the show are non-white is a huge step forward, as the likes of Whitney Peak are among the elite group in which Gossip Girl’s focus remains upon. Additionally, the new ‘Gossip Girl’ runs via the inescapable app Instagram rather than an old-school style blog, reflective of the pervasive and increasing encroachment of social media upon society.
With all this in mind, I think that being open-minded towards the reboot is the best approach to take. While the original cast will be sorely missed, the 2021 take on the show should be commended for its diversity, inclusivity, and adaptability to today’s society. And after all, I’m not one to turn away any extra Gossip Girl in my life, whatever form that may be in.
Featured Image courtesy of Pom’ via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
In article trailer courtesy of HBO Max via youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.
In article images courtesy of @gossipgirl via instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.
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