Spotted: A reboot of the beloved Gossip Girl series left viewers feeling high and dry.
Reboots of iconic movie(s) and/or TV series make me kinda sad. I’ve rewatched Gossip Girl (2007-2012) from start to finish so many times I’ve lost count. And I think it’s because there’s a comforting feeling knowing exactly how a show is going to end. I love being able to recite lines from iconic characters and memorise what song is going to play during a certain scene. It becomes background noise when you’ve had a bad day or need help falling asleep at night. As someone who never had an interest in New York City, it’s now number one on my travel list and I have Gossip Girl to thank for it. So, it was a bittersweet feeling hearing that a remake was being made of this series. Reboots of iconic shows can be classified into two categories: flops or bops. I felt there was no climatic revelation of discovering Gossip Girl or legitimate rivalry between friends like S and B had in the original series. For me, the remake felt boring. And, although I only got five episodes in, I’m calling it a flop and I’m going to tell you why.
36% on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the worst score ever, but it isn’t the best either. Fans of the beloved GG series found that this reboot wasn’t revealing enough. It didn’t peel back layers to further character development, it didn’t shock audiences with the drama that spilled across the scenes, and ultimately, it felt like a cheap remake.
‘Gossip Girl: revealing the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite’.
The original slayed that saying. Watching 14-year-old Serena drink hard liquor and sleep with her best friend’s boyfriend, little Jenny at the prime age of 15 refusing to listen to her father’s orders but instead infiltrate the fashion industry, Blair being traded for a hotel by her own boyfriend, it was all chaos. This show gave young teens inspiration towards fashion, music, and lifestyle culture.
Following in these footsteps to produce a TV show that still has young adults by the throat, would be difficult. It was great to see a diverse character list and new actors that are still exploring certain roles, which is something the original Gossip Girl lacked a fair bit. But the diversity only went as far as the show stated so. There was no character development or further exploration into the life and identity of these people. It felt like the creators were trying to represent diversity, so audiences felt included and represented, without representing them in a way that makes us feel proud.
The setting of this reboot was completely different than the original. It doesn’t host two best friend protagonists, but rather, sisters who couldn’t be more different. Originally, I found it to be a promising storyline, as sister rivalry goes way harder than best friend drama (as a younger sister, I can vouch for this).
It’s one thing for a show to be bad, but another for it to feel like a complete bore. The reason I think this is because you’re introduced to Gossip Girl’s identity within the first episode. The posts to the account were a yawn and the opposite of scandalous… it just felt juvenile. In hindsight, the curated account is, but it’s the drama that makes viewers not care. What’s worse than the petty content was the blogger behind the account. A dull teacher who wants to put her students in line… give me a break.
This show also lacked humour. Where were the witty blows that Blair would constantly throw at anyone and everyone? Where were the one liner(s) that Gossip Girl would always state? Where were the satire genres of characters? It felt too serious and not so light-hearted in the way that the original was. There was no real conflict or drama that escalated throughout the series and there was no climatic revelation of ‘my best friend slept with my boyfriend,’ like the original. It felt too serious and led to lack of interest from viewers.
Season two is set to release in December 2022, and I don’t think I’ll be watching. However, I’ll definitely be googling those reviews to see if the creators took on board the criticism received by beloved GG fans.