Gossip Girl (2021)

Teens sit on the stairs of the MET





Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Welcome to Constance Billard High. Here, at this private high school in New York City, the rich run the show. Allow me to introduce you to some of them.

There’s the queen of it all, Julien Calloway, or J.C., known for her millions of followers on Instagram, her unquestionable fashion sense and her desire to maintain her image as the girl who rose from nothing. But she can’t keep up a perfect image alone. She needs the help of her pretentious friends.

Like do-gooder boyfriend, Obie. Or best friends and cut-throat sidekicks, Luna La and Monet De Haan. Or Max Wolfe, the hedonistic, polyamorous pansexual always down for stirring up trouble and getting into bed with whomever catches his eye. Or perhaps even the naïve Audrey Hope and boyfriend Evan Mock, the long-standing couple who are ready to test their sexual boundaries with Max.

These friends are not only out to serve their own interests, but the interests of Julien.

Which is why they’re baffled when Julien’s freshman, poor, half-sister Zoya comes on the scene. Who even is this girl from Buffalo, New York, with no money to her name? Sure, she and Julien share a dead mom, but how much else could they share?  

Well, Julien and Zoya hope that they can find as many similarities as possible to make up for lost time. But Julien’s friends aren’t so sure that’s a great move. And, to be honest, Zoya is wary as well. She comes from a respectable, well-mannered home with a dad who is trying to raise her with morals and values… the opposite of nearly everyone else in Julien’s life.

No matter: Julien and her friends and even Zoya and her father aren’t going to have much say in what goes on. Not when a group of teachers are out to ruin the lives of this ostentatious clique in the same way the kids have ruined theirs. They’re done with getting fired for standing their ground over grades and classroom policy or being made fun of for the way they dress.

And so, Julien and her followers will be introduced to an anonymous, Orwellian Instagram account known as Gossip Girl—an account run by jaded teachers who are determined to show the privileged pupils that they are merely pawns in a vicious social media game.  

Gossip Girl, Take 2

In the land of HBO, we all know that anything goes. And that could not be truer for the reboot of Gossip Girl. This new series takes a page right out of the original but “freshens” it up with content galore.

While the original concentrated on a blog that was out for blood, this new series focuses on the negative effects of Instagram and how quickly social media can destroy lives. And while the first was TV-14, HBO decided to take it up a notch by rating the latest series as TV-MA. And if you keep reading, you’ll soon see why.

Graphic sex and sexual activity of all sorts, between all genders, is fair game here with these teens, and it’s plastered across the screen for all to see. Drugs? Well, they’re discussed and taken casually. Betrayal? It’s like the middle name of every character in this show. And language? Expect it to be foul.

Let’s not pretend that the early 2000s Gossip Girl was refined. But some of it pales in comparison to this new, mutated version that’s sure to catch the eyes of the teenagers to which it’s being marketed.

Episode Reviews

Jul. 8, 2021: “Just Another Girl on MTA”

Zoya meets her half-sister Julien for the first time, but she soon finds that Julien’s world is unlike her own in every possible way.

Max, Julien’s pansexual friend, jokes about taking drugs to make it through high school, and we also see him take Xanax and other unlabeled drugs at a party as he makes out with both men and women.

Two other friends, Audrey and Evan, have sex and oral sex (we see graphic movement and hear sounds); they also discuss thinking about another man while they have sex. Two dads kiss their son on the cheek. A female teacher talks about her ex-wives. Girls wear revealing clothes. Two teen boys change in front of one another in an erotic way. A teen girl and guy change next to one another (we see him shirtless and she in a bra and underwear) and a teacher takes pictures of them from outside.

A group of girls are rude to their teachers and publicly disrespect their authority. A teen girl gets a teacher fired after she refuses to change her grade.

A teen smokes marijuana and carries around a Vape while others drink hard liquor at a party. God’s name is misused once. The f-word is used three times and the s-word over 10 times.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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