Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: ‘Gossip Girl,’ like Serena, just had to go

<p>Jordan Alexander and Luke Kirby portray Julien Calloway and Davis Calloway in the 2021 remake of &quot;Gossip Girl.&quot;&quot;Gossip Girl&quot; will not have a season 3 according to HBO. </p>

Jordan Alexander and Luke Kirby portray Julien Calloway and Davis Calloway in the 2021 remake of "Gossip Girl.""Gossip Girl" will not have a season 3 according to HBO.

SPOILER ALERT: This column contains potential spoilers about both the original and reboot versions of “Gossip Girl.” 

“My dad left her for another man. She lost 15 pounds, got an eyelift. It's been good for her.” 

In the world of TV, is a good line still king? Is it still okay to be mean — and say the wrong thing? If we’re going by the rules of the failed “Gossip Girl” reboot, I’d have to say no. In today’s television, our characters must try to right their wrongs, watch their tongues and speak with a triteness that is clearly meant to only carry plot, not wit — or else we seem to feel bad about watching it. 

Well. In teen TV, anyway. 

That line is from the excellently developed, conniving-yet-loyal Blair Waldorf. Played by a brash and biting Leighton Meester in the original “Gossip Girl,” there has never been anyone else like her on TV. That show built a world of characters and schemes unlike anything we’d ever seen. 

At the core of the story, Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) wants Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively). Lonely Boy constantly complains about living in Brooklyn in a multimillion-dollar loft owned by his former-rocker-turned-gallery-owner-and-waffle-makin’-father Rufus Humphrey, but he’s a necessary evil. He is every annoying wannabe writer who has graced the streets of Brooklyn. He is every “nice guy” who turns out to be wimpy and weak but thinks he deserves everything. He is every nerd who is actually kinda dumb and less clever than the very people he intends to mock. 

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Serena is a necessary evil, too. Her swank is somehow breezy, her blasé attitude toward brunch and boys is somehow aspirational and her naïveté is somehow something to envy. She seems like the character who has it all — because she does — but she does “having it all” better than anyone. You can hate her and want to be her. The two can coexist and Serena exemplifies that. I mean, for god’s sake — the girl pinned her graduation tassel to her hair. She’s an icon. She’s the moment. 

She’s Serena. 

And then there’s Blair, the heart of the show. Serena may be the “it girl” of the Upper East Side, but Blair is Queen B, ruling with a bit of an iron fist, a disdain for leggings as pants and a weakness for headbands.  

Legends aside, though — I have to talk about the recently-canceled reboot.  

Enter the yawn of the century: “Gossip Girl,” HBO Max edition. 

A romp through these characters’ lives, regardless of how rich they were, felt like something I already knew. I’m so tired of the influencer trope: Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander), a Serena knock-off, did nothing remarkable with her platform, ultimately deciding to do a series called “Stop the Story,” which is about telling the truth or something. She lies frequently, by the way. 

The fashion was subpar, looking more trendy than timeless, like I’d see it walking around campus. The soundtrack didn’t mix indie, pop and rock well enough to be exemplary. None of the actors had particularly good chemistry. 

Oh, and being on HBO Max didn’t even make it edgier. So what was the point? 

It’s really just about a bunch of teachers, who are “bored with their own lame lives” (thank you, “Mean Girls”), with no idea how to discipline. So they bully minors. Oh, yeah — it’s the teachers who are Gossip Girl in this one, which we learn very early on. Which is a bummer, because in the first run, part of the fun was trying to guess who this mysterious entity was. 

Part of the error, too, is the general misunderstanding of all that Gossip Girl can do. Gossip Girl is a method of getting ahead. Gossip Girl is a tool to destroy. Gossip Girl is the weapon of choice on the Upper East Side. 

Sending in a bombshell tip to Gossip Girl is like playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. 

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The entire existence of this reboot is checkers, in fact. Grammatically, I’m not sure that makes sense. But emotionally, in the depths of my soul, I understand exactly what I mean. Every episode in this reboot was remarkably lame. Every character seemed to lack any incentive to have a personality. No move was made that couldn’t have been wickedly countered and outrageously topped by one of the original characters. 

No one gets traded for a building. No one marries royalty only to divorce them for a billionaire. No couple discovers that their respective parents used to date and have a love child somewhere. I guess they just don’t make them like they used to, huh?  

So, to the creators and writers of the reboot: I’m sorry you couldn’t conquer the steps of the Met. Not all of us can be Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf. Some are simply minions, destined to sit below the "it girl” and Queen B, forever failing to use their noggins to rise above and climb the social hierarchy with good writing, devious schemes and riveting relationships. 

I digress. As the wise Gossip Girl has always said, you know you love me. And in the words of our forever “it girl,” Serena — I have to go. 



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