“It’s the 21st century, shouldn’t it be Gossip Woman?” is a comment made about the titular distributor of secrets in the first episode of the HBO Max remake of Gossip Girl, releasing one episode a week starting today. This comment is made by a character who was actually born in the 21st century, but so was the original. Gossip Girl, and that’s the kind of detail that’s not worth dwelling on for long while watching this show, lest the craze ensue.

Recreated by Joshua Safran (who eventually executive produced the original series), Gossip Girl: The New Class takes place in the same universe as the OG, but in a post-vaccine New York City (presumably fall 2021, though in reality all teen dramas, in one form or another, operate in a timeless vacuum until certain point). Kids are young, horny, and fast with social media; Yes Gossip Girl: Lost In New York offers anything, it is an introduction to the terminology that “today’s kids” are using in the ‘gram.

As other outlets have revealed, not to mention the first episode itself, Gossip Girl’s identity isn’t a mystery in this iteration (and if fans of the original series are curious, it’s not Dan Humphrey, which makes sense given that Penn badgley is currently busy being the source of a much more scandalous scandal). However, the legacy of the original is more than honored here; While technology has been updated from blogging to Instagram, the tone, once again embodied by ironic cynicism of Kristen bellThe voiceover remains constant.

At the center of the story are officially the half-sisters played by Jordan alexander Y Whitney Peak – Julien, the oldest, is a well-established influencer and model who initially takes new freshman Zoya under her wing, although there is a clear tension between them for surprising and unsurprising reasons. The supporting cast of high school students is inclusive enough to escape any accusations of symbolism when it comes to LGBTQ + representation, with plenty of drama in the complex triangles (and possible quadrangles and more) that come up when you’re young, cute, and fluid .

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The changes made to keep this series as fresh as … Okay, I have no idea what kids call cool these days, but Gossip Girl with Vengeance it certainly feels like it’s of the moment. However, the original Gossip Girl hit the zeitgeist just as I was thirsty for the misadventures of a new generation of teenagers acting much older than they are, and it could be argued that right now, we’re not exactly lacking similar content. I actually had a surreal moment launching the first episode today on HBO Max (so I could rewatch it with subtitles, for the sake of my aging and decrepit ears) and receiving a pre-video announcement from Generation. Another HBO Max original, Generation premiered just four months ago, while the HBO original series Euphoria is currently in production for a second season, due out at the end of the year. In short, just within the WarnerMedia family there is no shortage of new teen dramas available, and while of course each series has its own unique twist on the topic, it certainly doesn’t seem like the audience here is being neglected.

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That leads to the question of who is the audience for these shows, especially Gossip Girl 2.0, who feels more aware than ever of being outside looking in. I’m sure a lot of young people watch these shows too (when they’re not doing Tiktoks and advocating for climate change reform), but to speak from my own experience, when I was a teenager, I didn’t watch a lot of teen-centric TV (a Unless you count Jake Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and it probably won’t). But again, I was hardly in danger of attending wild parties at home (see parenthesis above for maybe explanation) and not particularly those shows to remind me of what I was missing.

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As an adult, I have consumed many more of those shows and enjoyed them for what they are: escapism. Because, as a critic who has yet to discover the ability to stop aging, it is something that I become more and more aware of with each passing year, increasingly looking at teen dramas as a window into a unique universe from which I know very little. for the same reason, I watch shows about drug cartels and Mexican space stations.

What are you doing Gossip Girl: The Next Generation Noteworthy in this sense is that, without saying too much for fear of the spoilers, that point of view – the curious viewer, who seeks to understand the rites and rituals of rich adolescence, strange and strange as they may be – is well represented in the program. . Even, at times, with the exclusion of stories about real teenagers at the center of the narrative.

This leads to the question of for whom, exactly, Gossip Girl: The Masters Strike Back is intended, a question for which I don’t necessarily have an answer. But I know I watched all four episodes provided to critics in advance and enjoyed them, especially for the wildly obscure references, since the drop of the name of Gaspar NoĆ© to an extended cameo from the Tony-nominated playwright Jeremy O. Harris – although, to be fair, I should say that these are the kind of references that feel appropriate for wealthy, educated New York City teens.

It is worth noting that the type of participation Gossip Girl and the Chamber of Secrets Asking your viewers includes avoiding any questions about the age of consent, especially the fact that one of the main characters is 14 years old at the beginning of the season. Some things that are almost inappropriate for blatantly illegal happen on this show! And if you’re looking at it with any consideration of what would actually happen, it could be quite unnerving!

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That said, something addictive lurks here, and while it’s a fix you can get elsewhere, Gossip Girl takes Manhattan for the most part he knows what he’s doing and looks good doing it, creating the feeling of something aspirational and also totally unattainable. It remains to be seen if his balance issues will be shaken when the season is over, but he has that magnetic quality of not being able to look away that can’t be denied.

New episodes of Gossip Girl: Here we go again Premiere Thursdays on HBO Max.

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