The Gossip Girl reboot is coming next month and a lot has changed since the original series. Chunky headbands aren’t in style anymore. Flip phones are extinct. And rich New York City youths would much rather hang out at Dimes Square than at some overpriced nightclub. But it turns out, the reboot will change the core of Gossip Girl in another substantial way.
In an interview with Variety for a piece on how TV shows are dealing with audiences no longer seeing the rich and powerful as heroes in narratives, the new Gossip Girl series’ showrunner, Josh Safran, says the reboot’s characters will check their privilege: “These kids wrestle with their privilege in a way that I think the original didn’t. In light of [Black Lives Matter], in light of a lot of things, even going back to Occupy Wall Street, things have shifted.” As Variety points out, these fresh crop of Upper East Siders are “aware of income inequality. They take Ubers, not limos. They’re (mostly) not rude to service workers.”
But here’s the thing: nobody watched Gossip Girl because they wanted relatable characters (unless you were one of those rich, snobby kids). The main enjoyment of watching the show was seeing terrible elite New York City kids with zero self awareness in action. They’re all conceited nightmares!
It was fun to watch and poke fun at how corny power-hungry asswipe Chuck Bass was, and how Blair Waldorf would’ve easily made Mean Girls’ Regina George cower in fear. Gossip Girl was co-created by Josh Schwartz, who also made The O.C. But while The O.C. actually did have some explicit critique of class differences and many of the characters grew to be self aware (Julie Cooper in particular learned not to take wealth for granted), Gossip Girl was pure camp—and you’re supposed to feel relieved that you’re not one of those rich kids. So, what’s the point of the reboot if they’re not giving us that? We’ll have to see how the new Gossip Girl stacks up against the original when it premieres on July 8.