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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 (Zión 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. Later that year, it was renewed for a second season, which will premiere on December 1, 2022.

Gossip Girl (2021) contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name:
    • Luna La.
    • Kate Keller.
    • Gossip Girl, of course.
  • 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're a kind of Vitriolic Best Buds who show mutual attraction between them since the beginning but Audrey especially try to not act on it for some reasons.
  • 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 are 3 cases of this trope. Interestingly each case has different structures:
      • Max is the Archie for innocent-looking Aki's Betty and sarcastic Audrey's Veronica. In his case, his Betty and Veronica are typical personality-wise.
      • Audrey is the Archie between her supportive boyfriend Aki's Betty and snarky Max's Veronica as in her case, she's torn between routine (her Betty) and new experience (her Veronica).
      • Aki is the Archie while his longtime girlfriend Audrey is his Betty and flirtatious Max is his Veronica. In his case it's what he knows (his Betty) and what he doesn't (his Veronica, though more technically here another person of his gender/sexuality).
  • 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.
  • Broken Pedestal: Julien feels betrayed and horrified to find out her dad, who she loves dearly, is a serial date rapist after she had initially believed his claims of innocence.
  • Character Blog: The Young Characters have accounts on Instagram, the Handles are available On the Character Page.
  • 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), then other people. They're all accepting.
  • 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. They also have a comparable dynamic to Serena and Lola Rhodes as sisters who aren’t fully blood-related but half (in Julien and Zoya’s case) or three-quarter siblings. The older sisters (Serena and Julien), who are the It girl of their respective generations, try to welcome their artsy sister from a humble background (Lola for acting and Zoya for writing) into the world of the UES, but end up jealous and hurting them instead. While Serena and Lola weren’t able to repair their relation, Julien and Zoya try to maintain their relationship regardless of what obstacle they encounter growing up. The only difference is that Zoya and Julien knew they were sisters, while Serena and Lola had no clue until they were adults.
    • 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. They also dated the It girl of their generation. While it’s unknown if Obie and Julien intend to get back together, considering the former moved on, Dan, after having on-and-off feelings for Serena, ends up marrying her.
    • 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).
    • Like Blair, Audrey has a fashion designer mother and a not-so-perfect relationship with her longtime boyfriend Aki. But she isn't interested in power dynamic and social influence as she's not envious of her Best Friend Julien's popularity and It girl status like Blair was towards Serena.
    • Aki seems to be this towards Nate. Both are the naive, passive and caring Nice Guy who plays the moral compass for some of their relatives especially their more dominant respective girlfriend and dark-haired hedonistic friend. But the main constrast is Aki's bisexual and took a while to express that while Nate is straight dating many girls through the show. They also try to befriend the students at Constance-St. Jude from modest backgrounds (Nate for Dan and Jenny and Aki for Zoya).
  • Death by Childbirth: Julien and Zoya's mother Marion died while giving birth to Zoya as a result of her lupus. Zoya still feels guilty about it, even though this was hardly her fault, as Julien tells her.
  • 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.
  • Erotic Dream: At the beginning of Episode 7 Julien has one with Obie (both of them naked) and Audrey with Aki and Max, coincidentally after both parties ended up sleeping together. Both girls wake up panting.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite also joining in with Monet in causing conflict between Zoya and Julien, even Luna is shocked that Monet would reveal Julien’s costume ideas to her rivals.
  • 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 generally nonchalant and dignified (Superego) and Aki is the one tempering the two others (Ego). It's seems to be set up in the pilot by their trio dynamic as Max is driven by instinct and desire while Audrey favors common sense over pleasure and Aki is confused by his own feelings. Partially lampshaded by Audrey in 1x05 about Max's Id though she implied herself being The Ego.
    • There is also Julien, Monet and Luna as a Girl Posse. Monet is The Id (take-charge attitude, edgy, bossy), Julien's The Superego (level-headed, cunning, not openly antagonistic with teachers) and Luna's The Ego (the most neutral, not intense as Monet but neither passive like Julien in power dynamics and schemes). Can be reflected on how they individually treat Zoya. Monet sees her as a threat and wants her social destruction, Julien wants to get along with her (most of the time) while Luna ignores her existence at best or plots against her at worst.
    • The three main adults of the school staff acting as Gossip Girl: Kate, Jordan and Wendy. Wendy is The Id as she wants revenge against students the most and is prone to hurt them socially , in constrast, Kate as The Superego is the driving force acting as Gossip Girl with I Just Want to Be Special behavior and Jordan is The Ego want change things as Gossip Girl but he's not vengeful as Wendy or level-headed as Kate.
  • 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.
  • Graceful Loser: Zoya says exactly this when advising Julien to act like this instead of like a Sore Loser when the latter was involved in not only driving Grace and Obie apart but humiliating Grace at the bar. The speech ended up convincing Julien to do the right thing.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Though it's lampshaded all the group (minus freshman Zoya) have history since their childhood, Julien/Audrey and Obie/Aki consider each other as best friends as each pair has a sibling bond.
  • 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).
  • Insecure Love Interest:
    • Zoya. During the Season 1 Thanksgiving Episode shows to be insecure about Obie as she thinks he still has feelings for Julien her half-sister. At the end of the episode, she breaks up with him after learning they had an affair.
    • Max as well during Season 1 part 2. After he had threesomes with Aki and Audrey and developed feelings for both as a result he has doubts about dating both of them because they're longer together and he has never been in a relationship before. In the season finale , he's finally agree to date both of them equally.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Max can't perform with a Russian ballerina named Valeria, who is a casual sex partner of his (he gives her oral sex instead). Luna tells him that it stems from wanting emotion with sex now, as a result of his feelings for both Aki and Audrey.
  • 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.
    • Aki and Audrey hook up repeatedly in the school's chapel, right by the altar even. Later they also do it with Max in there.
  • 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).
  • Not What It Looks Like: Julien is photographed talking with one of her dad's victims, making it seem like she's trying to cover up his crimes since she previously supported his innocence. However, it wasn't actually the case. Nonetheless, she's canceled by many people over this.
  • 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.
  • Polyamory: Aki, Audrey and Max start a trio relationship together.
  • Pool Scene: The Season 1 finale has a long scene with the kids sitting or standing around the pool in their swim wear, showing off all their attractive bodies with the girls mostly wearing very revealing swimsuits.
  • Power Trio: Julien Calloway, Monet de Haan, and Luna La are the Girl Posse at Constance Billard.
  • Proper Lady: Audrey could been seen as a younger example of this. She's nonchalant with an icy exterior but she's devoted to her mother especially since her parents' divorce. In addition, her outfits are described as classier and simpler than those of her friends. Deconstructed since she displays some difficulties regarding her longtime boyfriend Aki and shows a more hedonistic side lusting over Max, which led to a threeway relationship with the two boys (although that was partly to let Aki explore his bisexuality too). Audrey has the blonde hair that is typical of a Proper Lady as well.
  • 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.
  • Sadist Teacher: Kate and the school staff are slowly growing to be this since they restarted "Gossip Girl".
  • Scenery Censor: After they all have sex together, Aki, Audrey and Max have their genitals/breasts covered by the roof beams overhead, since it's shot from above.
  • Sibling Triangle: Both Julien and Zoya are romantically involved with Obie while 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.
  • The Social Expert: Luna seems to know a lot of things in social media including trends or scandals. She uses this ability to learn for Julien about the past of Obie's new girlfriend and point out to Max his newfound feelings for Audrey and Aki in a therapeutic manner.
  • 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 Zión Moreno is a model who's 6 feet tall).
  • 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 7 confirms that the trio did engage in a threesome multiple times.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Aki, Audrey and Max have threesomes together on more than one occasion. It's an unusual MMF bisexual version, before it evolves into a long-term trio.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Both Luna and (especially) Monet for Julien. They're pretty obsessed about she must keep her high social status as they're act like assistants/advisers encouraging her to socially destroy her own half-sister Zoya (thing about Julien herself is rather reticent to do).
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Luna is a Latina trans girl.
    • Aki is a boy with East Asian ancestry, who's also bisexual.
    • Monet is a Black girl who's a lesbian.
    • Max is a pansexual Jewish boy.
  • 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. Audrey 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 7 resolves this since the pair have sex in a threesome with her, and they form a trio later.
  • "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.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Obie and Julien through Season 1 between breakup, Love Triangle, unrequited love and UST. They don't in the season last episode as Obie has a new girlfriend and Julien accepts to let him go.
    • A rare threeway version between Aki, Audrey and Max in the part 2 of Season 1. They finally do in the Season finale, starting a polyamorous relationship in equal terms.
  • 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.