Entertainment

HBO Max's 'Gossip Girl' Revival Immediately Reveals Who the New Gossip Girl Is

It's a surprising choice, considering the original 'Gossip Girl' held out until the series finale, but it works.

HBO Max
HBO Max
HBO Max

If there’s one thing to know about the original run of Gossip Girl, which lasted between 2007 and 2012, it’s that it whiffed the ending. Pressured to reveal just who was behind Gossip Girl, the anonymous blogger voiced in narration by Kristen Bell, who chronicled the lives of Manhattan’s elite, the writers decided the culprit should be Dan Humphrey, a.k.a. Lonely Boy, played by Penn Badgley. Maybe it made sense on a theoretical level, but for viewers of the series, it was nonsense, turning the romantic hero of the show into a sociopath.

The new Gossip Girl, overseen by Joshua Safran and debuting today on HBO Max, decides to spill Gossip Girl’s secrets nearly instantly. Gossip Girl this time is not initially introduced as an omniscient presence, wreaking havoc for funsies. This time we know who the culprit, or rather culprits, are. The brains behind Gossip Girl are not wannabe queen bees or outerborough lonely boys. Nope, they are the teachers of St. Jude’s and Constance Billard, who, feeling threatened and tormented by the privileged teens attending their school, decide to put them in their place by reviving Gossip Girl by way of Instagram.

The beleaguered instructors are introduced to the old blog through one of their own, who explains that Gossip Girl used to keep the kids in check by always being on the verge of exploring their deepest, darkest secrets. Kate Keller, played by former blogger Tavi Gevinson, takes the reins of the project. She’s an aspiring writer who figures she is the one who can emulate the catty, punny style required for such an endeavor. Armed with an Instagram account, she sets her sights on the school’s queen, an influencer named Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander). In a lucky break, Julien just happens to be secret half-sisters with new girl Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak). Their mom is dead and their dads hate each other, so they arranged for Zoya to move to New York and get a scholarship in Constance in secret. And then Gossip Girl blows up their whole spot.On one hand, it’s a relief that Safran decided to do away with the Gossip Girl mystery. But on the other, the question of who was Gossip Girl was never really the reason Gossip Girl was so appealing. Gossip Girl just hovered over the action, sometimes creating drama, but mostly wasn’t involved in the story, just just reporting on it. Here, Gossip Girl feels more like a malevolent force, and the fact that she is perpetrated by the people who are ostensibly supposed to be the adults in the room makes the premise almost gleefully fucked up.

At one point, Kate’s colleague (Adam Chanler-Berat), follows Zoya and Julien’s boyfriend Otto “Obie” Bergmann (Eli Brown) back to his GIANT Dumbo apartment-yes, in this Gossip Girl even the richest of the rich live in Brooklyn-and photographs them stripping off wet clothes after braving a rainstorm. That, my friends, is extremely creepy, and would likely result in an arrest if the perpetrator was ever unveiled or Gossip Girl was at all tethered to reality.

The teachers, especially Kate, have varying levels of guilt over their actions, but they decide that the ends are worth the means-except, as far as the audience can see, the ends are mostly just traumatized teens, who, as far as we know, did nothing to deserve this. Julien and Zoya are the targets of most of Gossip Girl’s most vicious posts, but they seem like the nicest girls at Constance and are cruelly pit against each other for the crimes of just wanting to be friends.

It’s absolutely deranged, but is it a bad story choice on the part of Safran? Not necessarily. Old Gossip Girl ended on the out-of-nowhere conclusion that you have to be a sociopath to run something like Gossip Girl. New Gossip Girl operates from that assumption right out of the gate. For as much as Gossip Girl fans would like to disavow the Dan-as-Gossip Girl ending, Kate Keller and Dan Humphrey have a lot in common. They are both outsiders in awe of and terrified of the wealth around them, who have dreams of being literary icons. (Apparently, in Gossip Girl 2.0 Dan achieved his dream. Kate is impressed when she hears that he was the mind behind the blog.) But Kate is seriously misinterpreting the power dynamics at play. Sure, it seems the Constance and St. Jude’s students can wield their parents’ influence to fire the instructors that are getting on their nerves, but they are still, for the most part, minors, and Kate is ostensibly the adult in the room.

So the question then becomes: How long can she get away with it? Season 1 of new Gossip Girl consists of 12 episodes, split between the six airing now and the six that will debut in the fall. Can Kate sustain this ruse the entire time? Or will she get discovered by the end of the first outing? Here’s my theory, based on nothing: Kate and her gang will be unveiled by the finale of the first season, but Gossip Girl won’t die. It will change hands. Now that it’s back from the dead, it will live for as long as Gossip Girl airs. Sounds pretty good to me. Let’s go. XOXO.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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