HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl”: a mediocre Gen Z makeover

HBO Max’s “Gossip Girl”: a mediocre Gen Z makeover

From “And Just Like That” to “iCarly,” reboots and revivals have been taking the TV streaming world by storm. One of the latest and maximum expected displays has been HBO Max’s revival of the overdue-2000s hit demonstrate “Gossip Girl.”

Set in the same universe as the fashioned “Gossip Girl,” the revival follows a absolutely new roster of privileged Upper Eastsiders attending the all-girls college Constance Billard and the all-boys college St. Jude’s as they deal with the related omniscient gossip account widespread as Gossip Girl.

Despite how unimaginative some reboots and revivals, like “How I Met Your Father,” can be, the new “Gossip Girl” had the potential to be various. The long-established exhibit changed into groundbreaking in its use of social media nevertheless become also a reflection of the minimum online culture of the past due 2000s. A revamped Gen Z edition of the exhibit seems like the ideal way to highlight contemporary online culture in ways other youngster dramas haven’t.

Here, Gossip Girl is no longer a blog with a badly designed website, on the other hand is somewhat an Instagram page that, by means of episode two, gets verified. The way the characters have interaction with the Instagram account feels very biological and present — from firstly assuming or now not it’s faux to blockading it and even sending incriminating evidence by the use of Instagram direct messages.

This dynamic is now not restricted to the online sphere. The display’s queen bee Julian Calloway (Jordan Alexander) doesn’t gain her fame and energy from real-global minions and intricate revenge schemes like Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) did in the usual. Instead, her status comes from being an influencer with millions of followers. But the exhibit doesn’t have an awful lot going for it beyond that.

Joshua Safran, executive producer of the customary display and showrunner of the revival, told “Variety” that he didn’t desire the new display’s characters to have the same eccentric courting with wealth that the usual’s did.

“These kids strive against with their privilege in a way that I believe the fashioned didn’t,” Safran said. “The ‘Gossip Girl’ team of 2021 is aware of profits inequality. They take Ubers, no longer limos. They’re (mostly) no longer impolite to carrier workers.”

Safran’s concept is best high-quality in theory. The complete charm of the customary demonstrate was that it turned into detached from reality. You music in because you want to go to rich, spoiled brats be exactly who they are with a backdrop of romance, revenge schemes and the latest fashion trends. No one turned into watching the normal “Gossip Girl” with an expectation of difficult political knowing and social awareness from the characters.

The optimum example of this is found out in Otto “Obie” Bergmann IV (Eli Brown), the leading love interest of Julian and her half-sister Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak).

He is a social activist whose ardour for activism only appears to come from the fact that he feels overbearing guilt for his wealth. Throughout the series, he spends his time bouncing among the sisters because Julian’s influencer ventures take up too an awful lot of her time, or because Zoya is just no longer invested in his faux activism. This makes for no longer most effective an unlikable character in spite of this also a storyline that is simply now not sensible.

The original demonstrate’s juicy and wacky dramas, like when Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) become the owner of a gentleman’s club at age 16, were what made it attractive in the first place. We pass over when Serena van der Woodsen’s (Blake Lively) aunt hired an actor to play her cousin Charlie, who ended up dating both of Serena’s mom’s ex-husbands later on.

The other characters don’t offer appealing alternatives. The dynamic maximum reminiscent of the usual reveal is that of Aki Menzies (Evan Mock), Max Wolf (Thomas Doherty) and Audrey Hope (Emily Ayl Lind) as they try to figure out their sexuality and if they need to be in combination as a throuple. While still interesting to watch, the characters fight to stand out as individuals and are living in the shadow of the customary display’s archetypes. This is particularly real for Max, who lacks forte as a character and simply appears like a pansexual version of Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick).

Still, the greatest problem with the show is that even as the characters have higher social morals, the reveal explores borderline uncomfortable storylines.
Gossip Girl’s identity is the biggest symptom of this.

Unlike the normal show, the revival takes a different approach by manner of revealing the identity of Gossip Girl in the first episode. The problem is never the early show itself. In statement, or not it’s a quite sensible way to escape the disappointing show that many teen mystery dramas, like “Pretty Little Liars” and the usual show, suffer from. The disappointing — and even demanding — element comes from the assertion that the academics at Constance Billard are Gossip Girl. Disappointed with the manner that their entitled students mistreat them, the group, led through English teacher Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson), make a decision to create a new account after they are exposed to the Gossip Girl website from the long-established exhibit.

While this plot aspect does shed pale on the pull privileged students have over their academics at elite prep schools, it’s just hypocritical and, frankly, pathetic to watch. Plus, it’s sad, and genuinely creepy, to watch those adults in their 30s spend all their time obsessing over who their students are snoozing with. Even if those teachers have not anything greater to do, exposing that you are dozing with your sister’s boyfriend seems through a long way the least valuable way of coaching an individual sensible morals.

Unfortunately, not even Kristen Bell returning as the voice of Gossip Girl is ready to distract from the disturbing nature of the users in the back of the account. It simply makes it impossible to buy into this new Gen Z version of the display that is supposed to be “woke” but in its place centers around teachers basically stalking their students.

It feels like the show hasn’t determined what it wants to be. It hopes to be cool and socially aware but fails to grasp itself responsible to those criteria when attempting to explore darker storylines.

“Gossip Girl” has been proven for a 2nd season by HBO Max, in spite of this no details have been officially released. While the first season ends at a cliffhanger, I am skeptical that the writers will be ready to get away the mediocrity that just makes the exhibit less attractive than the customary.