Gossip girl reboot; critical lens on high society or a lame attempt at stroking the egos of the rich?

Thursday, September 02

By Lane Bashline

Hey Consonancie readers, lane here. We all know the classic, early 2000’s voice that told the internet what and who Blair Waldorf and The other upper east side elite were doing, but does this voice withstand the test of time?

In the new reboot, we meet our main character, Zoya; the new girl with more secrets than dollars in her bank account, whose sister got her into constants. Julien; the sister of Zoya, internet sensation and Grammy award-winning daughter of an ex-alcoholic. Max; the one that keeps the group interesting, and keeps his interests with people he shouldn’t. Akeno or ake; rich family, not so rich personality, the one who wants everyone to get along, almost as bad as he wants to get with max. Audrey; A socialite who would do Blair Waldorf proud, with a troubling home life that never seems to stay at home, no matter how hard she tries she has a thing for max, just like her boyfriend ake. Obbie; yes this name is real, the richest of them all, the word “white ally” doesn’t begin to describe how bad Obie’s feelings weap for the poor, even if he would never say it to his family. 

In episode one, we learn that the teachers are actually the makers behind this new and improved gossip girl. The thing is, these teachers are horrible people. They’re exploiting their student’s personal lives and traumatic events for respect. Yet there shot in a good light, we’re supposed to see the teachers as “lower class heroes” fighting for the respect of the rich, yet it is shown that these teachers are just sadistic. Instead of reporting that these kids are doing drugs and having sex with teachers(which could get the students in trouble), they report about their deeply personal business that only affects their life with their peers. The people who are supposed to protect us from bad things are exploiting these children for doing childish things. The worst part of it all is that there only doing it for attention and fear, they want the students to be feared into respecting them. This makes the show highly improbable and utterly disgusting. 

Then there are the kids, who pretend to be doing “good things” but are only doing them to make themselves feel good. When their family do horrible things they tend to stay silent. Obies family is destroying homeless shelters and by the end of the episode were supposed to feel bad for him. This character refuses to talk to his parents about the sexual exploitation happening in their company because he needs their approval. Yet, the character is framed as “not needing a parents permission or approval.” And of course, it’s understandable, not wanting to hurt your parent’s feelings, but he ignores the largest part of the issue which is his family. This makes him a selective Ally, which can also be described as another rich white guy TV shows want to paint as a good guy but under the surface, he’s about as complex as a rock and not shedding light upon real issues. Furthermore, the character throws money at problems and people, while pretending to be “poor” as an aesthetic that diminishes the real struggles that the homeless and lower-class people go through in New York City alone. 

In the end, this show is stroking the individual god complex of the 1 per cent. Without the good feeling of the original, it just makes you hate all the characters. We don’t have a Blair, we have a Claire who thinks her life is worse than everyone else, even though she has had every opportunity handed to her. lokes like little Z’s character arc can be summed up in a line.



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