Spoilers ahead for Episode 1 of the Gossip Girl reboot. Gossip Girl is officially back. In HBO Max’s new reboot, the titular blogger has moved to Instagram, where in a twist it’s the teachers of Constance Billard and St. Judes running the account. They want their spoiled students to stop exploiting their resources and start taking responsibility for their actions, and anonymously posting their scandals and schemes online is apparently the best measure of accountability they can come up with.
Their first order of business? Replicating the hate-love power struggle between Serena and Blair that made the original blog so successful. In this case that means sowing discord between estranged half-sisters Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander), an Instagram-famous It girl who rules the school, and Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak), a meek freshman with a strong moral compass who’s just enrolled at Constance on a scholarship.
Plenty of drama spirals around them. Julien’s right-hand girls Monet (Savannah Lee Smith) and Luna (Zión Moreno) meddle wherever they can; type-A Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind) is in the midst of a rut with her longtime boyfriend Aki (Evan Mock); and pansexual party boy Max Wolfe (Thomas Doherty) is on a mission to sleep with his classics teacher. It may be a new generation, but all of the same glamour and salaciousness is still there — as well as plenty of nods and references to the original series. Read on for all of the Easter Eggs you may have missed.
Kate’s First Day-of-School Outfit
If the beige blazer, stripes, and cute neck handkerchief that teacher Kate (Tavi Gevinson) wears on the first day of school feels awfully familiar…it’s because you’ve seen it before. In fact, it’s almost an exact replica of Serena’s outfit from the pilot episode of the original series, when she arrives fresh off the train from a year at boarding school.
Nate Archibald is Doing OK
The hopeless romantic we came to know and love in 2007 gets a name check in the first episode. As Kate lists off all the great leaders that have graduated from the elite Constance Billard and St. Jude’s private school, she brings up Nate as an example. Though she is quickly reminded, “It’s not like Nate Archibald was such a saint when [he] started.”
Dan Humphrey Is Still Writing
It seems our sweet and somewhat conniving Dan has had continued success in the literary world. The pilot confirms that he is now working as a novelist, presumably happily married to Serena and living a life of luxury somewhere in Manhattan. The disgruntled Constance teachers have him to thank for introducing them to Gossip Girl’s signature voice and penchant for drama.
Rebecca, a Constance Billard alum turned high school teacher, is the one to thank for Gossip Girl’s return. She was the one who showed the OG blog to the group of disgruntled teachers we now know is behind Gossip Girl 2.0. If you remembered her name, congrats: you’re in the top tier of super fans. Rebecca Sherman was only briefly mentioned as a possible Gossip Girl suspect in the second season finale, "Girl.”
“It’s such a very deep Easter egg, I assumed that nobody would know. Unfortunately, her full name would make you know her if you Googled it. But I couldn't get her full name in. I tried and I just couldn't say, 'Rebecca Sherman, you went to school here?'" creator Joshua Safran told The Wrap. "But Rebecca Sherman is the name of the character at the end of Season 2 that they briefly think could be Gossip Girl before they think that it is Eric's boyfriend."
The Headband Power Struggle
On her first day of school, Zoya opts for a cute headband and sneakers. But later, on the steps of The Met, Julien takes the headband off little Z and refashions it around her neck as a scarf. Considering how important headbands were to Blair, the original queen bee of Constance, the moment felt very “in with the new, out with the old.”
Where Sex and the City had cosmopolitans, Gossip Girl had martinis. In the pilot episode of the original series, Blair and Serena make amends over martinis after Serena’s mysterious disappearance to boarding school. In the reboot, it’s over martinis that Julien invites Zoya out on the town for the first time. Everyone looks down at Zoya for not enjoying the bitter vodka drink, because what high school junior doesn’t enjoy sitting around sipping $18 dirty martinis in a couture gown?
The Fashion Figure Cameo
Unless you’re a fashion-insider, you might have missed the quick little cameo from current The Cut Editor-in-Chief and former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner. While Julien is getting ready backstage at the Christopher John Rogers show, Wagner stops by in a stunning cobalt blue ensemble to say she’s “had her eye” on Julien. The original series was known for its fun fashion cameos (some notables include Rachel Zoe, Alexa Chung and Tim Gunn), and this suggests that the reboot will be no different.
Audrey’s Designer Mom
The Blair and Audrey connection only gets stronger in this episode. We find out that Audrey’s mom is also a fashion designer who has recently been left by her spouse. While it looks like Ms. Hope is more in the athleisure sector — as opposed to high-fashion queen Eleanor Waldorf — the storyline draws a clear parallel to Blair’s in the original series.
Dating the Elite
Blair had a penchant for wooing princes and other high-status men, and Julien similarly attracts a certain caliber of dates. While the rest of us are getting pizza with part-time amateur photographers, Julien is truffle hunting with the Italian prime minister’s son and yachting with the last Shah of Iran’s grandson.
Jeremy O. Harris
Gossip Girl 2.0 continues the original’s honored tradition of celebrity cameos with award-winning playwright, actor and Zola writer Jeremy O. Harris. He first made a splash in the New York theatre scene with “Slave Play” and in Gossip Girl, he debuts his new play Aaron, a retelling of Titus Andronicus focused on Aaron the Moor.
The Daily Mail
While the original series employed a variety of hectic Page Six spreads of Serena’s wild nights out, the new one opts for Daily Mail articles. The UK-based site is similarly dedicated to documenting the drama of the rich and famous with unflattering paparazzi shots and gossip-focused articles. But on Julien’s night out doing ketamine at the club to rediscover herself, she celebrates the fact that her underwear pictures ended up in the Daily Mail rather unapologetically.
This post will be updated throughout the season.
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