When the first season of “Gossip Girl Reboot” was announced, we must admit that we were less than thrilled. There was this sense of distrust that the idea invoked. When the original “Gossip Girl” premiered in 2007, it was one of the most “restaurantry” shows ever. It was about the lives of the rich and privileged and about their power plays to stay on top of the social ladder. “Gossip Girl” was definitely not one of the best shows to be made around such a topic. But what made it iconic—a status it retains to this day—was the strength of its characters. Seriously, a bunch of teenagers with the pettiest struggles framed in the most “Tolstoy-Esque” manner—it was as funny as it was engaging. However, as the years have gone by and we have grown up, age and better content have made us review our love for the show, rendering it more of a guilty pleasure than anything else. Maybe that’s why we were inclined to give the first season a chance. Honestly, we were surprised when we realized that we sort of liked it. But as the episodes went by, we saw that we liked it as a shadow of the original. This is strictly a show for teenagers or for those who are teens at heart. It follows the petty social struggles that defined the old show, but this one lacks the oomph factor, and that hasn’t been redeemed in the second season.
Even if the plotlines could be tolerated, the characters are the show’s greatest downfall. Remember how everyone wanted to be as charming as Serena van der Woodsen but just couldn’t handle her wishy-washy behavior, yet she was undoubtedly the “it girl”? And the forever iconic Blair Waldorf. It would be fair to argue that she was the real backbone of the show. Can the writers make up their minds as to who they want to model around her? Is it Zoya, or is it Audrey? And honestly, we know that Obie is supposed to be the reboot’s Nate Archibald, but he was useless in the first season, and that hasn’t changed in the second one. But the biggest affront to our sensibilities is Chuck Bass 2.0, aka Max Wolfe. The original Chuck Bass was not just someone who was all over town. He was suave, cunning, and emotionally reckless. Max Wolfe is a poor imitation who is neither of these things. He could have been something, as we believed in the first season, but the second season just proved that his character is present only to increase the viewership with the aid of nostalgia, without any relevance to the greater storyline. Yes, an exploration of polyamorous relationships is interesting, but this series is just missing the mark. It would be unfair to say that the first season did not have substance. But the second season is just absurdly caricaturish, with plotlines that look like they were borrowed from some bad manga. What are those dialogues? What is that behavior?
Something else that has severely disappointed us since the first episode of the first season are the clothes. The original had served us with fashion moments that are still relevant, more than a decade later. It was one of the major talking points of the show. Coming to this reboot, other than a few looks here and there and mostly served by Audrey, the rest of it has just been so lackluster. Yes, they are all dressed as influencers would, but they are unable to influence us. And on that point, Hollywood has a really skewed idea of how content creators’ function, and the presentation of it through Jacqueline and Monet is extremely shallow. We also can’t help but notice how unremarkable the actors are. Serena, Blair, Nate, and the others ruled our hearts not just because of how they were written but because of how they were executed by the actors themselves. This current crop has none of that magnetism. Maybe Thomas Doherty and Emily Alin Lind, who plays Max and Audrey, are exceptions to that sentiment, but they don’t have much to go on.
“Gossip Girl” is centered around the lives of the flashy kind of rich, the ones who don’t like the silence that comes when the money is old. But maybe go easy on the metaphors and the references in the dialogues and make actual sense for a change? It was okay for one season, but now it is getting tiresome. The reason we can’t help reminiscing about the original “Gossip Girl” so much is that this show wouldn’t stand a chance if it wasn’t built on the memory of the old series. There are far too many shows and movies that are way better for us to give any attention to this one if we did not feel nostalgic for the original series. Therefore, the disappointment is doubled when we are presented with such a basic product. If anything, we would say that the second season is a serious miss. Just watch the first season and be done with it. In fact, go back and rewatch the old show; maybe you can find those episodes when Blair and Dan were a thing. That was a beautiful subplot, and anybody who disagrees can argue with the wall. Now excuse us while we go check out some of the best moments of the OG “Gossip Girl.” It will mostly be Blair Waldorf putting people in their place. She was undoubtedly our favorite character, and she is the one this show should have tried to emulate the most for it to have a shred of success.
Note: The review is based on the first five episodes of “Gossip Girl” Season 2 provided by Warner Bros. Discovery.