The Upper East Side has changed, and not for the better.
Gossip Girl (2021) Season 1 Episode 1 introduced us to a new crop of teenagers under the microscope of the iconic blogger, and letting the cat out of the big from the jump rendered it a bit of a dud.
Teenagers stalking private school students is a big swing, but wouldn’t it have been fun to build to some sort of reveal down the line?
The original series ultimately botched the Gossip Girl reveal, so it’s understandable Joshua Safran, and his band of writers wanted to try something new here, but the attempt at reinventing the wheel fell mostly flat for me.
The quick wit from the teachers and the way the scenes of them realizing they could start this new generation of Gossip Girl reminded me of Netflix’s The Politician.
But the lengths the teachers went to were rather bizarre. I guess they needed to get the intel they needed to make their campaign against the rich teens a success. Yes, Julien and her friends are a nightmare, but do they deserve to be put under a microscope?
In all honesty, this obsession from the teachers to get back at the students will only result in them getting more followers on Instagram.
Julien being an influencer, she will love the publicity that comes with being talked about. If the original Gossip Girl taught us anything, it’s that you’re nothing unless you’re talked about.
When I was a student, we lived under constant threat. People like Nate [Archibald] were scared straight. It was this thing that started freshman year, called itself Gossip Girl. Kind of like an Orwellian Big Sister that kept tabs on the students it deemed important. If she knew your secrets, and she always did, she told them. She kept us all accountable. People thought it was me, but it was actually one of my classmates, Dan Humphrey. It was ridiculous. I wouldn’t even read it.
Julien and Zoya lying about not talking to each other seemed strange on the surface, but when you dig into the inner dynamics of each of their relationships with their respective fathers, it makes sense.
They were fated to hate each other, so the fact that they managed to carve out a sisterly bond is a major positive. It’s just a shame the show seems more concerned with putting them together than nurturing that bond.
Julien and Zoya come from very different walks of life. They share a mother, but their fathers will never see eye-to-eye, making a relationship between them difficult.
It was refreshing to have them as friends initially, but the sooner they manage to navigate this relationship while in full view of Gossip Girl, and of course, their fathers, the better.
At least then this Instagram account run by the teachers will not put them against one another.
Julien is a caring individual. She puts on this front on social media for her perfect life, but deep down, there’s a lot of heartache behind those eyes. I dare say losing her mother at such a young age has affected her.
It was a bit of a surprise how welcoming Julien was. If this was the original Gossip Girl, there would have been a cheating rumor spread, and yogurt spilled just to assert her power over her younger sibling.
Speaking of Zoya, she reminded me of Jenny Humphrey in that they were both fish out of water when they entered the world of the Upper East Side. That’s not a bad thing since Jenny was one of the strongest parts of that series.
Then again, Zoya appears to be the strongest part of this new iteration off the bat. At least with Zoya, she wears her emotions on her sleeve. She’s easy to read, unlike the other characters who have ice-cold exteriors.
Gossip Girl successfully dragged the sisters apart by the end of the premiere, leaving us to question whether they will be able to make things work. If they can work on their communication skills, it’s possible, but having secrets is a breeding ground for disaster on a show like this.
Julien was very trusting of Zoya, even believing her about the photo with Obie. That was nice, but now that Obie has ditched Julien for her scheming ways, I suspect jealousy will be running rampant in the school.
And, given the instant success of the Instagram page, there will be plenty of tips to keep things moving.
Hello, followers. Gossip Girl here. Your one and only source for the truth behind the scandalous lies of New York’s elite. Been a minute. Did you miss me? I know I’ve missed you. Though you’re probably going to wish I’d stayed away when I’m done. Because I can see you. Not the you you’ve oh-so-carefully curated. The real you. The one hiding just outside the edge of frame. Well, it’s time to reframe that picture. You’ve gotten away with everything a little too long. Now that I’m back I’m going to feature your finstas, surface those subtweets, and crack your caches. You can’t hide from me. Never could.
Obie and Zoya are an unlikely pairing, but it was obvious from the get-go that Obie thought there was more to life than sipping cocktails and talking about how many followers he had.
I would much prefer if the show kept it strictly platonic between them because that would be more cutting edge than throwing them together to spite Julien.
Luna and Monet, on the other hand, are a match made in heaven. It’s clear from the actions they love the chaos they can construct together, and they’re the type of characters you need on a show like this.
Luna’s comments about freshmen disappearing if you don’t look at them had me rolling. I wouldn’t mind if the show opened up the world a bit to shine a light on these two some more down the line.
The Audrey, Aki, and Max scenario came out of nowhere, but it’s clear they are all interested in each other.
Max is the 2021 iteration of Chuck Bass. He’s less problematic, but he still wants to find a way to spread his wealth and get between the sheets.
Could we be in for a throuple? I don’t know, but Max appears to be open to saying yes to anything. Whether Audrey and Aki’s relationship could survive adding a third person, I don’t know.
“Just Another Girl on the MTA” lacked the spark I was expecting from a show named Gossip Girl, but if the series can dial up the drama with outlandish rumors about the characters, it will be worthwhile.
There’s a good show in there somewhere, but it will all come down to how the layers are peeled back throughout the rest of Gossip Girl (2021) Season 1.
What did you think of the new direction?
Did you like that Gossip Girl was unmasked on the series premiere?
Who is your favorite character?
Hit the comments.
Be sure to return to TV Fanatic for a Gossip Girl Round Table in the coming days. Oh yes, we’ll have a lot to talk about.
Catch new episodes of Gossip Girl Thursdays on HBO Max.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.