Lonely boy looks a little different here
( @gossipgirl // Instagram )
“Gossip Girl” has made its reemergence after a build-up of anticipation from fans of the 2007 hit, and the steps of The Met are looking as stylish as ever. This time around, though, there are less headbands and the teachers are not just propped up like Madewell mannequins in the background of a scene.
The episode begins with the whirling image of a train predictably en route to the Upper East Side in New York City. A clean-cut blonde woman takes center frame on the subway, (who very closely resembles Jenny Humphrey – or is that just me?) and appears somewhat irritated as she gazes at the Instagram story of an edgy influencer touting her travel skincare routine. Although at first glance the woman appeared to me as someone in her senior year of high school–possibly a prospective poli-sci major with the blazer and neck scarf duo–the character ends up being introduced as one of the teachers at Constance Billard, Miss Keller. The influencer on the other end of her phone is actually one of her students. Now, I know what you’re thinking—what kind of teacher openly stalks her students on the internet–it’s definitely giving single white female!
Well, that is only the beginning of the odd, inappropriate teacher-student dynamic, because the revamped Gossip Girl is no faux-middle-class Brooklyn boy, but a group of middle-aged scorned teachers looking for revenge.
Miss Keller, the woman at the head of the millennials’ attempt to strike back, is played by none other than Tavi Gevinson, a woman with acclaim from her fashion blog Style Rookie, which would evolve into the magazine Rookie that she launched at only fifteen-years-old. Yes, fifteen-years-old, the age when most of us were binge-watching all six seasons of the original Gossip Girl, hair-matted from being against the pillow too long and trying not to let the smell of day-old peanut butter ice-cream get to us. The addition of Gevinson to the cast was a wonderful nod, as Gevinson is a woman who gilded a cobblestone path into a now golden road for many female-led blogs and magazines to come. Not to mention, she was kind of like a real-life gossip girl! Well, one without the life-ruining blackmail, of course.
Those on the end of the gossip-girl-takes-Instagram attempt at vengeance, is a group of trend-wielding nepotism babies, aglow with their La Mer-coated skin, and the iridescence of their parent’s clout, who apparently have the power to control their teachers. Those who defy the students, are fired on the spot.
The new gang of frenemies is introduced through a series of transitions between luxe mansions; first, we meet our new-age Serena Van Der Woodsen, Julien Calloway, a music producer’s daughter with some apparent family issues, followed by her two lavish sidekicks, Monet and Luna. Then there’s Chuck Bass wannabe Max, golden boy, activist Obie, and the couple, Audrey and Aki. Finally, the screen cuts to Zoya, our token scholarship student in the sea of trust funds, who the audience soon learns to be it-girl Julien’s half-sister from their deceased mother’s side.
After we get to know our remake cast—notably, one with far more diversity, with Jordan Alexander and Whitney Peak, two POC as our leads—we are pulled into the world of Constance Billard, which revolves around frivolous purchases, teacher-shaming, sibling reconciliation, and Zara slander (now that one hurts).
The hour-long episode manages to flutter between the world of the Gossip Girl brigade and the super rich kids, as reminded by the Frank Ocean soundtrack in the background. We go from a DUMBO party to a high-rise apartment scandal and a fiery Christopher John Rogers show, just to be swept back to our landing spot of Constance Billard. And by the end of the episode, the sisters who were once admiring each other’s matching tattoos and gifting Ivy Park Superstars, are following in the footsteps of Blair and Serena’s infamous rivalry.
There’s sex, there’s fashion, and there’s activism, arguably the trifecta obsessions of this generation. The 2021 pilot follows around the same formula as the beloved 2007 classic, allowing for only a small possibility that fans of the original won’t enjoy the remake. Though there are undeniably some attempts at modernity that come across as a bit forced– “We’re supposed to send them out of here Barack Obamas, instead of Brett Kavanaughs,” and reality becomes a bit warped when menacing teachers post photos of underage students in their underwear onto Instagram *yikes,* I am still intrigued to see where Gossip Girl circa 2021 takes us...
Just trade that Louis Vuitton bag out for a Telfar, and we’re good to go.