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Series / Gossip Girl (2021)

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Gossip Girl is a teen drama and sequel to the series of the same name that aired on The CW from 2007 to 2012, itself based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar.

Set nearly a decade after the original blog went silent, a new generation of entitled teens on the Upper East Side of Manhattan become targets of public fascination when someone identifying themselves as Gossip Girl emerges on social media. With the internet now more prevalent than ever before, nobody is safe under the watchful eye of Gossip Girl — possibly not even Gossip Girl themselves.

Among the new cast of characters are estranged half-sisters Julien (Jordan Alexander) and Zoya (Whitney Peak), sensitive activist Obie (Eli Brown), prim & proper Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), skater boy Aki (Evan Mock), cocky rich boy Max (Thomas Doherty), intimidating and powerful social media manager Monet (Savannah Lee Smith), scheming and stylish Luna (Zion Moreno), and new Constance Billard teacher Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson). Kristen Bell also returns as the voice of Gossip Girl.


Gossip Girl debuted on HBO Max on July 8, 2021. It has been renewed for a second season.

Gossip Girl (2021) contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name:
    • Luna La.
    • Kate Keller.
    • Gossip Girl, of course.
  • Bald Woman: Julien has a buzzcut, which no one comments about. In her case, it seems to represent a tomboy streak, since she also wears more masculine clothing a lot.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The main teen characters (without Zoya) are this. They're at least considerably popular, wealthy and good-looking.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Max and Audrey. They taunt each other frequently and they are clearly attracted to each other at the same time.
  • Beta Bitch: Zigzagged with Luna and especially Monet. Though they're Julien's assistants as she's the most popular girl at school, they're more scheming than the latter mostly Monet who's also the richest female student but both generally maintain a sidekick role as they're personally dependent of Julien.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • There is nice rich kid Obie's Archie for good-natured activist Zoya's Betty and Lovable Alpha Bitch Julien's Veronica.
    • In the Audrey/Max/Aki triangle, there is 3 cases of this trope:
      • Max is the Archie for innocent-looking Aki's Betty and sarcastic Audrey's Veronica.
      • Audrey is the Archie between her supportive boyfriend Akis's Betty and snarky Max's Veronica.
      • And Aki is the Archie while his longtime girlfriend Audrey is his Betty and flirtatious Max is his Veronica.
  • Big Applesauce: Gossip Girl is set in Manhattan's Upper East Side.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Aki is attracted to both his girlfriend Audrey and Max. Audrey in turn also finds Max attractive. She tries to avoid making either choose by them hooking up with Max together.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rafa initially appears to be a level-headed teacher who turns down Max’s sexual advances on the basis of him being a student, and was disowned by his family for being gay. The fourth and fifth episodes however have him take advantage of an emotionally-vulnerable Max, threaten Aki when he attempts to get Rafa to stop the affair, and reveal him to still be on speaking terms with his family (despite his prior claims). Additionally, contrary to his previous claims to the opposite, it’s revealed that Rafa had previously been in sexual relationships with other teenaged students.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Audrey is the blonde, Max is the brunette and pink-haired Aki is the redhead as they're a Love Triangle/polyamorous relationship.
  • Character Blog: The main characters all have accounts on Instagram.

  • Closet Key: Aki realizes he's bisexual due to his attraction toward Max.
  • Collective Identity: The new "Gossip Girl" is actually a network of teachers at Constance Billard.
  • Coming-Out Story: Aki realizes he's bisexual and tells Audrey, his girlfriend (he isn't quite sure of the label at first).
  • Continuity Nod: Nate Archibald and Dan Humphrey are name-dropped in the first episode, with the latter's secret role as Gossip Girl now public knowledge.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Several characters in this series are positioned as being similar but different to their counterparts from the original:
    • Julien and Zoya have a comparable dynamic to Blair and Serena as two girls with a strained relationship who try to get along, but this time they're related by blood and not just longtime frenemies.
    • Obie is something of an inverted Dan, both having a degree of social activism to them but Obie is from a wealthy family whereas Dan came from a more modest background.
    • Max can be seen as an analogue to Chuck, particularly adopting his bisexuality from the books that never quite made it to the screen. Appropriately, he enters a love triangle with established couple Audrey (comparable to Blair) and Aki (comparable to Nate).
  • Disappeared Dad: Audrey’s father Richard had left her and her mother shortly before the series began, while Max’s dad Roy moves out early on when it’s revealed that he had been fishing for other men though later makes an effort to reconcile his relationship with Max.
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Child: Helena Bergmann isn't aware that her son Obie broke up with Julien months ago when Zoya reveals herself to be Obie's girlfriend. It's later subverted when it's revealed that Obie didn't tell her to begin with.
  • Evil Feels Good: Gossip Girl says in Episode 5 that it's simply a fact being bad just feels better.
  • First-Episode Twist: In contrast to this show's predecessor, where the identity of Gossip Girl was only revealed in its series finale, the new Gossip Girl of this series is identified before the title card of the first episode —- it's a network of teachers within Constance Billard, led by new hire Kate.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Audrey accidentally outs Aki to his parents Roger and Jody, though he isn't aware of it at first because he was out of the room at the time. Later, when his company is being sued for its discriminatory treatment of its LGBT employees, Roger deflects this criticism by revealing that his son is gay...on television (he's actually bisexual). Aki, however, isn't mad at Audrey because it was an accidental outing on her part and is more angry at his father for outing him to avoid media criticism of his company.
  • Freudian Trio: Aki, Audrey and Max fit this. Max is impulsive and hot-headed in his actions (Id), while Audrey is elegant and dignified (Superego) and Aki is the one tempering the two others (Ego). Partially lampshaded by Audrey in 1x05 about Max's Id though she's implied herself to be The Ego.
  • Girl Posse: Julien, Monet and Luna are this since the beginning as Monet and Luna are respectively it girl Julien's media manager and stylist.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Julien shares the interests of her Girly Girl friends and is perfectly willing to wear more feminine attire. However, she's got a buzzcut and usually wears a shirt with a tie, or other boyish attire.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Invoked by Gossip Girl, who attempts to spin a rivalry between it-girl Julien and her newly-arrived ingenue sister Zoya. The girls try to avert this trope but Julien's friends Monet and Luna want them to split apart because they feel that Zoya is trying to supplant Julien in the school's popularity chain.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: The teachers who become the new Gossip Girl have the sympathetic goal of taking a group of horrible teens down a few pegs, but are disturbingly willing to rope innocent bystanders into their schemes, like contriving Zoya into joining the group.
  • Has Two Mommies: Max has two dads.
  • Heel Realization: In "Fire Walks With Z" Julien releases a traumatic video of Zoya being bullied at her birthday party. She quickly comes to realize that she's a bully to her friends, teachers, and fans and she should try to do better in the future.
  • Hereditary Homosexuality: Max, who's bisexual, has two dads.
  • Hot for Teacher: Subverted. Max attempts to seduce one of the teachers, Rafa, in episode 2, even following him to a bathhouse and kissing Aki to make Rafa jealous, though Rafa turns him down due to Max being a student (though he seems open to a relationship after Max graduates). By episode 4, however, he starts an affair with Max. Gradually deconstructed when it's made clear that not only is Rafa taking advantage of Max during a particular low point in his life, but also reveals himself to be a manipulative predator who uses "legality" as an excuse to sleep with his students.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The new series really takes advantage of its status as a streaming series that doesn't have to abide by the censors of network television. To really drive the point home, there's a sex scene within the very first minutes of the pilot.
  • Ironic Name: Kate points out her name means "pure", which Zoya says suits her. Kate herself points out that's not quite true (since she's the driving force behind the new Gossip Girl).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Julien is this. As the most popular girl of the school and a trendsetter, she has a lot of support and social influence. She tends to be arrogant and antagonistic though not openly mean like Monet and Luna as she was kind and welcoming with Zoya.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Max and Rafa have sex on school grounds repeatedly, which the latter says is a terrible idea, admitting they need to do this elsewhere.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Max's dads are an example before breaking up. Roy is a Straight Gay average guy, and Gideon's a Camp Gay crossdresser with long hair.
  • Missing Mom: Julien and Zoya's mother Marion died when they were young. It is later revealed that she died giving birth to Zoya who feels responsible for her mother’s death as a result though Julien tells her that it was their mother's illness, lupus, that killed her.
  • More Diverse Sequel: A noticeable directive of this series (according to Word of God) was to diversify the cast and setting, as its predecessor was often critiqued for being overly white and heteronormative. By contrast, this one features many more people of color in the cast and a greater emphasis on LGBTQ+ relationships.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: During a particularly low point in their relationship, Julien tries to use a video of Zoya in order to smear her reputation at her birthday party, believing that it showed Zoya willingly participating in delinquent behavior. Unfortunately, it turns out the video was of Zoya being locked in a classroom by her bullies and trying to get out by setting off the fire alarm. Julien didn't see the full video and has a breakdown when she realizes what she’s done, telling the audience that she’s a bully.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The series came out during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is set sometime around post-pandemic era.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the aftermath of the public revelation of sexual assault allegations against Julien’s father Davis, Julien is targeted by Gossip Girl due to her lack of a public stance on the matter. Kate attempts to avoid this harassment from escalating further by going live to clear up the matter when Julien is spotted with one of the survivors Riley. However, this does more harm than good when it appears that Julien is trying to coax Riley into not coming forward. In actuality, Julien (and Zoya’s father Nick) is forced to inform Riley that she has to stay silent as her friend Lauren had already falsely accused Davis of the assault in order to protect Riley’s secrecy and revealing that Lauren was lying would jeopardize any future case against Davis by discrediting Riley. Nevertheless, Julien’s social reputation seems to be ruined by the end of the episode.
  • No Bisexuals: In-universe. Everyone's initial assumption is that Aki's gay, not bisexual (even though he has a girlfriend).
  • Perspective Flip: Whereas the original series portrayed Gossip Girl as an unseen antagonist, this one immediately has the audience in on the secret and shows their effort to sabotage the teens.
  • Power Trio: Julien Calloway, Monet de Haan, and Luna La are the Girl Posse at Constance Billard.
  • Rich Bitch: Monet in spades. She's the richest female student and uses her social status to threat teachers.
    • Zigzagged with the wealthy Julien as she can be very ruthless and arrogant and then looks more likeable.
  • Rich Kid Turned Social Activist: Obie is said to be the richest teen in the cast and is the most outspoken about social issues, resenting his wealth and privilege.
  • Rich Sibling, Poor Sibling: Julien and Zoya are half-sisters through their late mother and come from different financial circumstances — Julien is wealthy, while Zoya is not.
  • Sibling Triangle: Both Julien and Zoya are romantically involved with Obie being half-sisters as well.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Julien and Zoya both have personalities that contrast one another. While Julien is aloof and calculated, Zoya is warm and pure of heart.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Zoya constantly stands up for her political and social beliefs and isn't afraid to offend others if she feels she's doing the right thing. For example, she directly confronts Roger Menzies (Aki's dad) about his company's right-wing stances and their discriminatory practices against LGBT employees.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Luna is much taller than all the other girls, especially noticeable when she's facing Julien. She's also quite beautiful (her actress is a model).
  • Threesome Subtext: The first episode introduces the idea that Audrey and Aki—a confirmed couple—are both attracted to Max, to the point where Aki gives Audrey his permission to think of Max when they're having sex. Episode 6 implies that the trio engage in a threesome.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Luna appears to be a Latina.
    • Aki is a boy with East Asian ancestry, who's also bisexual.
    • Monet is a Black girl who's a lesbian.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Audrey is very supportive to her boyfriend Aki initially coming out as bisexual. When at first she thinks he's gay and has used her as cover, her reaction is simply sympathy, telling him even if they're not a couple she'll still be his friend. He assures her that isn't the case, and he still loves her. She then even supports him being with Max, whom he's attracted to. Aubrey sets up a threesome with all of them. Later, Audrey and Aki allow the other to date other people in order to see if an open relationship is right for them.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: Julien and Zoya improvise to dress up as the real boyfriends of the women who their female friends are cosplaying as after their initial choices were leaked before, so they're still original.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: In contrast with the Max/Audrey relationship, Aki and Max have mutual attraction as well but Aki's newfound bisexuality makes things more underlying. Episode 6 implies the pair have sex in a threesome with her.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Obie silences himself, his social life, and his activist work to appeal to his mother Helena and her rich, conservative friends when they're around. He is eventually called out on this by Zoya, though later learns to stand up for himself.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Max's dad Gideon is a kind man who also likes to crossdress sometimes. No one cares.
  • With Friends Like These...: Monet and Luna frequently try to separate Julien from Zoya because they view the younger girl as a threat to Julien’s popularity. Then episode 5 has Monet reveal to Julien’s rivals her and Zoya’s costumes for the Halloween party and firmly break with Julien and Luna when her betrayal is revealed.


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