XOXO, Gossip Girl takes on a whole new meaning in this modern retelling of a classic.

First off, I have to say—the updated version of Gossip Girl is sooo updated. It takes place post “new normal”, after the pandemic.

After watching the pilot, it has become very clear to me that a whole new generation has taken over. My OG Gossip Girls Serena and Blair are so over they have become legends referenced by their new incarnations—Julien and Zoya.

But unlike S and B, Julien and Zoya are not frenemies. In fact, they’re half-sisters—both black and very stunningly beautiful. How’s that for the new ruling class cool? They share the same mom who died and have different dads. Of course one is rich, the other poor. Very teleserye-esque meets The Parent Trap.

A Tale of Two Sisters

On campus, Julien is the reigning Queen Bee, while Zoya is the incoming fresh-person—to be perfectly in the new vernacular. What’s more, Julien’s boyfriend, Obie, is the new Dan Humphrey. He’s no longer looked down on because he’s the richest in Constance-Billard, yet he still carries the same humility as OG Dan.

What’s more, Obie sees the Julien he fell in love with in her younger half-sister Zoya—that is, before all of Julien’s influence on Instagram and her power on social media took over her motivations in life. Very modern.

From there, you see how the politics of the two will play out throughout the series—two half-sisters sharing everything. But as always, only one sister can have it all. Until, of course, the other takes them from her. It’s a good set-up.

The twist to the story? Gossip Girl is no longer a blog and no longer anonymous to the viewer. She is revealed in the pilot and it sort of becomes a class war where the targets are the elite. And speaking of elite, the scenes and characters feel like they’re lifted directly from the playbook of the Spanish Netflix hit, Elite. All with the teenage sex and the homoerotic innuendos—albeit tamer and less shocking.

Some of the actings in the series can be really bad, especially the whole trans actress in the cool-girl triumvirate, but I’m glad there’s so much representation and diversity in the cast. So, definitely kudos to that.

All in all, the Gossip Girl reboot seems braver but still with a lot of camps—but not like Ryan Murphy camp. It’s a little darker. After all, it’s HBO.

Kinda like it, kinda don’t. Will watch more.


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