Spotted: A failed reboot once again – Gossip Girl
With HBO having announced that its reboot of Gossip Girl was canceled after two seasons, one can’t help but wonder: What went wrong? At first glance, it seemed to have everything a typical teen drama needs; an influential clique, the infamous bad boy and a queen bee who had more than what meets the eye.
Yet, that was all it seemed to have. While the original was remembered for giving the average viewer a taste of the lives of the upper east side’s youth, the reboot failed to set itself apart from the original.
The show’s efforts to be more conscious of current societal issues are impressive, such as questioning the ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card the uber wealthy seem to have when faced with their immoral and criminal actions. It also portrayed the characters as still being separate from the general population. This excused their controversial behaviour, leading to a toss and turn over how the characters should be presented; as aware and evolving teenagers while simultaneously making questionable choices.
The choice to emphasize their good character led to the viewer having to envy Gossip Girl’s victims, while also condemning them for their actions.
This lack of consistency in the characters’ morals contributed to the reboot’s downfall, its slim chances of succeeding at its start also explained its inevitable end.
The circumstances of the original Gossip Girl’s arrival benefited its release, along with their incredible characters and storylines (at the beginning at least). It came at a time when the market for teen drama needed something new, with many of the dominating shows reaching their end. Gossip blogs were also the rave then, though only recently becoming popular, allowing Gossip Girl to take advantage and define it.
Best of all, Gossip Girl provided an escape for the many who were struggling to cope with the current economic state of the 2008 recession.
When competing against this, the Gossip Girl reboot was facing stacked odds before the first episode was released. Gossip blogs have now become the norm, from TMZ to the DailyMail. Having a blog antagonize the young elite is not rare, and certainly wouldn’t call for as much turmoil as the reboot expected it to. In addition, ‘cancel culture’ has lost any true influence, with celebrities apologizing left and right only to act like nothing happened the next day. Similarly, the recent economic crises has resulted in people being frugal and demanding change, and less of divulging into shows about rich teenagers with first world issues.
However, there is one factor that truly set the reboot up for failure: Gossip Girl herself or rather, ‘themselves’, with Gossip Girl being the teachers of the shows’ highschool. Besides the fact that having adults harass teenagers is concerning all on its own, the fact that Gossip Girl’s identity is revealed from the pilot takes away any intrigue into discovering the mastermind, leading to an uninteresting plot.
It seems that the Gossip Girl reboot will only be remembered for what it was: a reboot.