Gossip Girl 2.0 is upon us.
I am scared.
There will be no slut shaming. No privilege porn. No Blair Waldorf. No limo sex. No scheming (I’m assuming???) and definitely no Chuck Bass.
There will be:
– Hot, toxic rich people who are aware of their privilege, apparently
– Some questionable, garishly trendy avant-garde (???) school girl street wear fashion…consistent with its iconic predecessor, I suppose. Eric Damon, you are a mad man.
– Evan Mock being very hot
– Soft porn (as described by the media…probably a bit of a reach, I’d say)
– And Tavi Gevinson wearing an iteration of Serena’s pilot outfit …for some reason. Happy for her tho.
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 POC and wanting to be socially responsible for a potentially young, impressionable audience. I’m not saying we need a character pulling any pilot-Chuck-Bass bullshit. 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. Interestingly, it also 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 strange to see a trashy, flawed phenomenon that literally defined me as a preteen being remade and marketed as socially aware.
It’s got the same white creators as the original. I’m afraid it will merely pander to empty, pat-on-the-back notions of diversity and woke-ness instead of actually presenting meaningful conversations and statements about classism, racism and homophobia. At the same time though…does anyone really expect a Gossip Girl remake to be socially aware? Personally, I don’t, and I never really 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?
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, but I never for a second thought they were trying to give us realism and social statements. It was a distraction. A frivolous, cringey, escapist romp. Obsessed with bolstering the bad decisions of its tactless white American protagonist and laced with heaps of weird bigotry toward the French. I agree with most of the criticism, it really didn’t deserve an Emmy, but I also feel like we need to stop holding mediocre shows to standards they never set out to meet in the first place.
Plus, award shows have been rigged forever. It’s sad, but I am no longer shocked to see incredible shows like I May Destroy You getting snubbed. There’s always a shitty show that slips into the awards season and wins, despite competing against other more creative, more thought provoking and more ground breaking shows.
On another note, 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, at least hate-watch it so that you know what y’all are both living up to and 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 sophisticated and gritty, or is it meant to be escapist and fantastical? If they do manage to find a sweet spot in the middle, I will be very impressed.
New Gossip Girl, I am both fascinated and afraid of you. In light of you being the subject of ‘soft porn’ press, here’s OG GG’s magnificent marketing that capitalised on bad reviews from conservative media. Watch and learn.