Welcome back Upper East Siders. It’s that time of year again when a tired TV show tries to redeem itself with a reboot. You guessed it, it’s Season 2 of the new “Gossip Girl.”
The second season seems to reuse “Gossip Girl’s” old tropes rather than adapt them for Gen Z viewers, like the first season of the reboot. Focusing on the original qualities that made “Gossip Girl” so popular robs it of its freshness, and the show still has a long way to go to accurately resemble the venomous lives of the privileged upper-class adolescents of the Upper East Side.
Paying homage to the original “Gossip Girl” series, Season 1 of the “Gossip Girl” reboot is caught mirroring Serena’s entrance, both embodying iconic camera angles, character introductions and filming in beloved landmarks of New York, like the Grand Central. The reboot follows a transfer student earning a scholarship to start a life at Constance Billard — the fictional private school in “Gossip Girl” — in a plot reminiscent to the original “lonely boy” Dan Humphrey.
We also see the fashion similarities between Jenny from the original series and modern-day Zoya when she shows up to her first day in a uniform nearly identical to the original fashionista. Many allusions and easter eggs from the 2007 series bleed into Season 2, like the iconic frenemies dynamic between Serena and Blair that fans have come to love and dread. We find a similar rivalry with Julien and Monet competing for the Constance throne, an informal title held by the school’s most popular and influential.
The main issue with the first season was its complex and confusing thesis. The director focused more on creating a “new and improved Gossip Girl” with more morally sanitized themes in an attempt to revolutionize the original. However, the original show was marketed as an escape rather than a reality check, drawing audiences in with its emphasis on the corrupt lifestyle of the Upper East Side. The saving grace for the reboot is Monet’s reintroduction to Season 2. The viewers are gifted with Monet landing the throne of Constance all while rocking the Blair Waldorf headband and persona, reviving the original “Gossip Girl’s” hype.
Season 2 on HBO Max stars the same Season 1 cast but focuses more on the initial sidelined characters that lurk in the shadows of Season 1’s posse. One of these characters is Monet, who we see develop a cast of henchmen throughout the season in a classic Queen Blair fashion. Her adversary Julien is more on the friendly side, which demonstrates an anomaly to the original plot of “Gossip Girl,” where each character drowns in their toxicity. Although the increased incorporation of sideline characters have added tremendously to the plot, some characters like Obie should have been written out. The second season tries to account for his irrelevance by cutting his screen time, yet his character is too underwhelming in a show that spins off a rollercoaster of repudiating yet wildly entertaining corruption.
Throughout the second season, one can see a similar course of events between Serena and Blair’s battle for the throne to Julian and Monet’s own conflict. As time goes on, the show adds depth to deuteragonist, creating an emotionally gripping face off. While this conflict is a great nod to the relationships in “Gossip Girl” (2007), the knock off characterization and conflict just further prove that the new series lacks the boldness and escapism that fans of drama crave. Hopefully the characters receive story arcs that make them more than the ghosts of beloved and despised characters, but it won’t be easy replicating the popularity of the 2007 version.
Until next time, Upper East Siders. XOXO Gossip Girl