Gossip Girl 2.0 is upon us. I am scared.
There will be no slut shaming. No ‘privilege porn’. No evil scheming. And definitely no Chuck Bass.
There will be:
– Hot rich people who are aware of their privilege…apparently
– And lot of questionable, garishly trendy, avant-garde (?), school girl, street wear fashion…somewhat consistent with its iconic predecessor I suppose. I hate all of these outfits with a burning passion. Eric Daman, you’re a mad man.
– Evan Mock being very hot
– Soft porn (as described by the media…probably a bit of a reach, I’d say)
– Tavi Gevinson wearing a bad iteration of Serena’s pilot outfit, for some reason.
I don’t wanna be asshole, cause I haven’t seen it yet…but how potentially boring.
I am not against a show hiring more actors of colour and wanting to be socially responsible for a potentially young, impressionable audience. I’m not saying we need characters pulling pilot-Chuck-Bass bullshit in order for this to be entertaining. I’m happy for them leave out sexual assaults that never get condemned, like in the original pilot. However, I never enjoyed a Gossip Girl character because they were a good person. In fact, the few characters in Gossip Girl who prided themselves on being righteous and good, like Rufus and Dan, were the most insufferable to watch.
I loved Gossip Girl because it was, generally, very shit. I loved how horrible and ridiculous everything was. It was problematic™, but I don’t think it was actually trying to make any moral statements. If anything, it presented rich people as beautiful, rude, obnoxious and ironically, lonely and unfulfilled 99% of the time. We expected them to rattle around purely in their own 1% bubble and be completely oblivious to the struggles of the real outside world. OG GG showed its middle class characters struggling to insert themselves into the lifestyles of the rich and completely losing themselves in the process, more than implying that the rich characters are poisonous and unwelcoming.
It is very strange to see a trashy, flawed phenomenon that literally defined me as a preteen being remade and aggressively marketed as socially aware. It’s got the same white creators as the original. I’m afraid it will be all optics, pandering to empty notions of diversity and woke-ness instead of presenting actual meaningful conversations about classism, racism and homophobia. At the same time though…does anyone really expect a Gossip Girl remake to be socially aware? Do we watch Gossip Girl to be moralised at? I certainly don’t, and I never did.
Then again, my race, my culture, or my identity has never been blatantly ignored, poorly portrayed and underrepresented by TV. I’m not really a verdict on that.
Surely it will be very difficult for them to create the same level of guilty pleasure…the same delicious shallow, mindless fantasy and addictive bitchy-ness…that we know and love, if the show spends it’s time calling out and exposing rich people and their delusions of grandeur. How do you keep the twisted charm of OG GG if the rich out of touch folks are not allowed behave in their true rich and out of touch ways?
Conversely, the way young modern audiences read too much into dumb light hearted shows is not lost on me. Emily in Paris, for example, was undeniably a shit show and a shitshow. But I never for a second thought Emily in Paris was trying to give us realism and moral guidance. It was a distraction. A frivolous, cringey, escapist romp, obsessed with bolstering the bad decisions of its tactless white American protagonist and packed with heaps of weird bigotry toward French people. I agree with most of the criticism, it really didn’t deserve an Emmy, but I also feel like we need to stop holding light, mediocre shows to standards they never set out to meet in the first place.
Plus, award shows have been rigged forever. I’m no longer shocked to see incredible shows like I May Destroy You getting snubbed. There’s always a walking disaster of a show that slips into the awards season and wins, despite competing against way more creative, thought provoking ground breaking shows.
You have to understand the rules before you can skilfully break them. I am forever betrayed by the new cast admitting they don’t even know anything about their source material. Starring in new Gossip Girl and not having watched the original isn’t a flex, guys. If it’s too problematic for you, at least hate-watch the original so that you know what you’re trying to subvert.
Anyway…I’m struggling to see where new Gossip Girl fits into the current teen drama landscape. Is it meant to be woke and gritty, or is it meant to be escapist and dumb? If they do manage to find a sweet spot in the middle, I will be pretty impressed.
In light of Gossip Girl 2.0 being the subject of negative press, here’s OG GG’s magnificent marketing that capitalised on outraged reviews from conservative media. Pure genius.
Yes I do have a large, original version of the Chuck Bass one in my room.