Wannabe Upper East Siders, a Gossip Girl reboot is coming and it’s an even worse idea than Bart Bass coming back from the dead.
A 10-episode series – penned by original executive producer Joshua Safran – will follow a new bunch of Manhattan’s Am-Ex waving privately educated teens some eight years after the original gossip site went down.
The reboot, which will reportedly drop in 2020 on Warner Media’s upcoming streaming service HBO Max, will “address just how much social media – and the landscape of New York itself – has changed in the intervening years”.
Gossip Girl ran from 2007-2012 and was a staple of the Y2K generation, as iconic as MSN messenger, Tamagotchis and Tammy Girl clothing to us millennials.
The hit show starred Blake Lively (Serena Van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf), Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass) and Chace Crawford (Nate Archibald) among others as perhaps the most self-obsessed bunch of trust fund teens on TV – minus Penn Badgley’s Dan Humphrey.
They thrived off of bullying, blackmail and manipulation – spending their entire educations plotting to destroy one another with messages, pictures and video footage for publication by mysterious blogger, Gossip Girl.
Admittedly, the concept is more suited to the media-obsessed present day than life pre-Instagram. Picture it: a bunch of super-rich teens dominating Manhattan in their chunky Balenciaga sneakers as they flood social feeds with filtered selfies, live streaming everything, fending off trolls and impulsively hashtagging in a bid to become Insta famous.
But the reason we all loved the show was because of the characters. No matter how unbelievable you make the new bunch, no matter how many cutting one-liners they drop and no matter how incredibly Machiavellian they turn out to be, a reboot will never be as good as the original. Blair is Gossip Girl in the same way that Serena and Dan and Chuck and Nate are, too.
Plenty of shows have had success documenting the fictional lives of high school teens, and or rich kids navigating life post-puberty – think Dawson’s Creek, My So Called Life, One Tree Hill, The OC, etc – so why make another Gossip Girl?
Make the next ‘Gossip Girl’ for a new generation so they have a show to fawn over nostalgically like mine did. Rebooting it would be like rebooting Sex and the City without Carrie Bradshaw or Friends with a new group of coffee-obsessed pals. Like Blair and Dan, it just wouldn’t work.
I have no doubt Safran, together with original creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, will pen an entertaining script, but anyone who grew up on Gossip Girl will be unable to watch a reboot without missing the characters, and in turn the show risks never quite reaching the cult status of what went before.
So Safran, in the words of Blair Waldorf: “I have an idea for you – quit.”