Spoiler-Free Review of “Gossip Girl” Reboot on HBO Max: Why So Serious?

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Been a minute…did you miss me?”

The reboot of Gossip Girl premiered on HBO Max on July 8th 2021 with the first episode. The remaining nine episodes will air weekly. Each episode runs for approximately 55 minutes. The reboot stars Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Tavi Gevinson, Eli Brown, and Emily Alyn Lind.

Kristen Bell returns as the voice of Gossip Girl, but the rest of the original cast do not. The Upper East Side is back on display as we follow a new group of teenage elites and witness them go to scandalous measures to get what they want while attending Constance Billard. The original Gossip Girl website may have shut down, but a new source emerges to keep the dirt coming.

Here is the trailer:

Gossip Girl (2021) has a lot to live up to as the original series was an entertaining guilty pleasure to indulge in. Are we ready for a reboot of the series and does it do enough to find a voice of its own? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A more diverse cast.

Much like the Saved by the Bell and Charmed reboots, we are presented with a more diverse cast for the reboot of Gossip Girl. I think this is a step in the right direction to be more inclusive this time around.

Sibling rivalry and a new Gossip Girl.

The main plot reminded me a little bit of One Tree Hill. We have half siblings who end up in the same school and drama is high as a result. I think this is the best part of the show so far and I’m interested to find out more about the true intentions of both siblings and how far they will go to keep up appearances.

We also get a twist on the new “Gossip Girl” and learn the identity right away. This takes us away from the outrageous reveal at the end of the original series and also gives us a chance to connect with a different set of characters that may see things a little bit differently. I’m intrigued by this so far.

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A familiar voice to put us at ease.

It wouldn’t feel right with anyone else narrating the show as the infamous “Gossip Girl” and hearing Kristen Bell’s voice made me feel right at home. Sure, the dialogue is a little outrageous, but there was a much needed nostalgia present as a result, especially since the rest of the cast is absent…even though we get plenty of reminders and name drops along the way to keep us tuned in.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Don’t lose sight of what made the show work in the first place…

My biggest con with this reboot is that it takes itself way too seriously. The dialogue is beyond atrocious. I understand we are focusing on a new generation, but no one talks like this. While Riverdale presents us with some over-the-top dialogue as well, it still manages to keep us entertained because it knows when to lighten the mood even during some of the angst-filled melodrama.

In similar fashion, the original Gossip Girl worked because it was so outrageous and it embraced this. The cast really elevated the characters and made you care about them…even though they were horrible human beings!

Blair Waldorf is the iconic Queen Bee of television and even though Chuck Bass was beyond ridiculous, he was so entertaining to watch! The back-stabbing and twists just somehow worked because the show understood that it was meant to be a guilty pleasure teen drama.

The reboot is having an identity crisis and is taking itself too seriously, which makes the execution flat and uninspiring. I don’t care about any of the characters yet and it was honestly really difficult to watch a lot of the pilot episode, which is beyond disappointing.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m 50/50 on this one…

I want to give this show a chance to get better because I am a fan of the original series. However, the majority of the pilot episode was painful to watch. I am going to give the show at least three episodes to change my mind, but it needs to really make some major changes if it wants to connect with a new generation and fans of the original series.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on the Gossip Girl reboot in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

My performance of the week ending 1/11/20 on TV goes to…

Marlo Kelly as Beth Cassidy on USA Network’s Dare Me.

There’s a new mean girl in town and she can already give Regina George and Heather Chandler a run for their money.  Throw in some over-competitive cheerleading, dark secrets, obsession, and a possible murder, and she may just be crowned the new Queen Bee.

**Please note spoilers have been left out for your convenience.**

Dare Me has aired two episodes so far and I am already completely captivated by Beth Cassidy, played brilliantly by Marlo Kelly.  While a lot of the other characters have potential as well, there is something almost magnetic about Beth. Her wide eye stares and dangerous actions make her a potential modern day femme fatale, but there’s also several layers beneath this tough appearance.

Beth clearly has a weakness for her best friend, but we all know that obsession can be a deadly game, especially when someone gets in her way.  While the cheesy montages are a little bit much, Marlo nails every scene with unsettling perfection.  This may be her break-out role because she is destined for stardom.

In addition, Beth clearly has some family issues going on.  Her father moved in with his mistress across the street and their daughter is also on the squad, which causes even more drama during games and practice.  Being on top of the pyramid is not just a privilege…it’s a necessity, and Beth is willing to take out the competition while keeping a smile planted on her face.

Beth is already set up to face off against our main protagonist, Coach Colette French (Willa Fitzgerald), but will she be able to put her personal agenda aside for the good of the team?  I personally am looking forward to more interactions between these two because the tension is intense.

Coach Colette French does not initially seem to be intimidated by Beth, but she is not an ordinary teenage girl.  There is clearly this jealousy and rage brewing inside of Beth, but she is able to appear so calm and in control on the surface.  Sometimes, that can be even more dangerous; however, as Beth even keeps certain secrets from her best friend, Addy.  Beth is manipulative and calculating and yet we can’t turn away from her.

Marlo Kelly fearlessly embraces this beautiful dark role with perfect poise.  She is a scene stealer for sure and the main reason why I keep coming back for more every single week.

What’s next for Beth?  Well, there is this mystery unfolding slowly week after week and you have to wonder if Beth is behind a possible crime, but is she the obvious choice?  Beth has already demonstrated that she is not afraid to break the rules to get what she wants, but how far will she go?

I can’t wait to find out!  

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Dreaming of Wonderland Series Final Chapter Blog

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

Ranking the top 5 TV Mean Girls of all time: “Stop trying to make Fetch happen!”

“On Wednesdays we wear Pink!” (Mean Girls) Well it is Wednesday, but I am sorry to say I am not wearing anything pink.  Due to the lack of new shows airing because of the holiday season, I thought it would be a good time to start diving deeper into the roles of some of my favorite characters on television.  While the good girl typically saves the day or solves the mystery in the nick of time, it got me thinking about the mean girls who sometimes end up in the background, no matter how much they try to hog the spotlight.

While the Mean Girls film is one of my absolute favorites, I started to think about some characters from television shows who could have easily been invited to sit at their table.  While these female characters put their best effort forward to look amazing and act fierce, they each have a likable quality as well, which goes to show that there is a lot more to them than initially meets the eye.  My top 5 TV Mean Girls of all time are:

5

Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars.

“Friends share secrets.  That’s what keeps us close.” (Alison from Pretty Little Liars)

If you haven’t gotten a chance to binge-watch Pretty Little Liars yet, I absolutely recommend it.  Just when you think you have it figured out, there is a new twist or turn.  Please note spoilers are ahead as a warning.  In the beginning of the series, four friends are trying to figure out the mystery behind Alison’s disappearance and presumed death.  There are flashbacks from the past along the way which showcase how mean Alison was to those around her.

Alison had the gift of manipulation and spoke to others in such a condescending manner, that even adults feared her.  At this point in the show, it didn’t seem like Alison had any redeeming qualities.  She made Hanna feel bad about her weight and led Emily on, realizing that she was a lesbian without a care in the world.  She also strategically used the secrets of her friends against them and played them to her advantage.  However, later we learn that Alison is actually alive and the mysterious A is out to punish her along with her friends.

While Alison never really leaves her mean girl card behind, she does start to show signs of truly caring for others, especially Emily, as she does have romantic feelings for her.  When the series goes five years into the future, Alison is actually a school teacher and tries to pay it forward, but still refuses to allow anyone to step on her or get in her way.

4

Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl.

“Ladies you can give your tiny brains a rest.  Once again the world has proven that anything you can do, I can do better.” (Blair from Gossip Girl)

Blair is the image of perfection in Gossip Girl.  Her ensembles and make-up are always flawless and she even has minions who follow her around and follow her every demand, as if they were truly serving a queen.  Blair even refers to herself as the “Queen Bee” and her loyal subjects at her prep high-school in New York City don’t really challenge her on this.  Blair is infamous for her schemes and frequently feuds with her best friend, Serena.

While Blair is not afraid to fight dirty, she refuses to shatter her image of perfection in the process.  She is typically the master-mind behind the scheme and has others do her bidding, refusing to apologize for her actions.  While it seems that this mean girl is cold and heartless, Blair does have a loving side.  Her on and off again romance with Chuck Bass reveals her vulnerability, as she finds herself thinking with her heart before her head here, exposing that she does have goodness within.  Nevertheless, you certainly do not want to ever cross Blair because she will do whatever it takes to win.

3

Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale.

“You catatonic bimbos didn’t vote for me!” (Cheryl from Riverdale)

Cheryl has the mean girl act down pat for sure.  She doesn’t enter a room unless she has her perfect shade of dark crimson lip-stick flawless in order to match her hair.  Much like her hair, Cheryl is fiery and passionate.  She is not afraid to speak her mind and often says insensitive things without realizing it.  Cheryl is the head of the cheer-leading squad and treats the other girls like her subjects, completely appalled when she is voted out and Veronica becomes captain.

Cheryl is not just talk however; as her actions have proven to be very dangerous.  She even sets her house on fire with her mother still inside without thinking twice about it.  Cheryl does reveal glimmers of goodness along the way.  She was truly impacted by the loss of her twin brother, Jason and she does try to help Betty and the gang here and there to prove that she can be useful.  However, Cheryl is damaged by the deceit and betrayal of her family and it’s not so easy to turn off the mean girl vibe.  While I have hope for Cheryl, she is still a girl to watch out for.

2

Valerie Malone from Beverly Hills, 90210.

“I’m not Brenda.  I’m never going to be Brenda.  Don’t talk to me about Brenda!” (Val to Dylan in Beverly Hills, 90210)

Valerie Malone still deserves a spot toward the top of this list even after all this time.  Known for being a scheming femme fatale, she fools everyone when she arrives to town, appearing to be a sweet and innocent girl from the mid-west.  However, the characters from our favorite zip code are in for a rude awakening, as Val unleashes her street smarts and uses her powers of persuasion and manipulation to break apart this happy group of friends.

Val has romantic relationships with pretty much all of the main characters including Dylan, Brandon, David, and Steve.  As a result, she burns bridges fairly quickly with Kelly who becomes her main rival.  Val’s snappy one-liners and sneaky maneuvers prove that she is one to watch.  She has grown past the high school drama, however; and moves on to blackmailing and dangerous negotiations to help her become a successful business woman.  Talk about making a deal with the devil, Val doesn’t allow anyone to double-cross her.

Val is not all bad, however; as she has a very troubled past and does truly care for Brandon as if he were her own family.  Val tries to be a good person, but when the task becomes too difficult, she finds it easier to hide behind her bad girl image.

1

Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

“God! What is your childhood trauma? Excuse me, I have to call everyone I have ever met, right now.” (Cordelia to Buffy when she attacks her by accident)

So my number one pick for best TV mean girl has to go to the beautiful and hilarious, Cordelia Chase.  While Buffy and Willow tend to have most of the fan-base and get a lot of air time, one should not discount Cordelia.  She started out in a supporting role, playing the mean girl role to a tee, as if it was her calling in life to be unpleasant to those around her.  However, later in the series, Cordelia becomes a member of the Scoobies and does try to lend a helping hand…when it’s convenient for her.

One of my favorite episodes is when her and Buffy compete for Homecoming queen.  Cordelia is not about to just hand over the crown to Buffy and goes through great lengths to defeat her.  The two end up caught in a trap cleverly called “Slayerfest 98” where the vampires mistake Cordelia for Faith.  Nonetheless, the two have to make amends and put differences aside to stay alive, even if it means using a spatula as a weapon.

Cordelia does eventually grow into a caring person especially when she joins Angel in LA, but one cannot forget her witty come-backs and her unforgiving attitude.  She even tells a ghost off in Angel, proving that she is not going to let anyone step on her, supernatural or not.  Cordelia would probably end up leading the “Plastics” if she were in the Mean Girls film, proving to be a timeless mean girl that we still root for.

I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post your thoughts and comments below on some of your favorite TV mean girls.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl